Canine Coronavirus Vaccination

Canine coronavirus is an acute and highly contagious intestinal disease of dogs. The disease causes depression, vomiting, and diarrhea. The symptoms are similar to canine parvovirus; however the disease is less severe and fatalities are rare. Occasionally, very young or weak puppies, as well as older geriatric dogs, become severely dehydrated and die from the disease.

The majority of dogs infected with canine coronavirus are asymptomatic (have no symptoms). These asymptomatic animals are often the source of the virus for healthy, noninfected dogs. Particularly susceptible to the disease are show and field trial animals and dogs that are kenneled (boarded).

Canine coronavirus is transmitted from the feces of infected dogs to noninfected animals via the oral route. Infected animals can shed the virus for several months after clinical symptoms have disappeared. Asymptomatic dogs shed the virus as well.

Since canine coronavirus can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration, veterinary care is required. Using laboratory tests, a veterinarian can distinguish between canine coronavirus and parvovirus.

Since the effectiveness of canine coronavirus vaccine is controversial, many hospitals do not use it. Your veterinarian can recommend a prevention strategy that is specific for your pet.

Lyme Disease Vaccination

Lyme disease affects dogs, cats, people, horses, birds, cattle, and wild animals. Although it affects a large group of animals, clinical signs are often observed only in dogs and humans. In dogs, the most pronounced symptoms of Lyme disease are sore joints, a stiff gait, and lameness. The lameness is not always pronounced and often shifts from one leg to the other.

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria-like organism called Borrelia burgdorferi. This organism is transmitted to animals by the deer tick, Ixodes dammini. Borrelia burgdorferi is difficult to isolate from clinically affected animals, however it can be isolated from these ticks.

The white-tailed deer and white-footed mouse are involved in transmission of the disease. The adult tick attaches to the deer and feeds on its blood. These adult ticks drop off the deer and lay eggs. The eggs hatch, larva and nymphs (young ticks) emerge, and these young ticks attach to mice. Since the white-footed mouse is the main reservoir of the disease, the young ticks become infected with the Borrelia organism.

Both the young ticks (nymph) and the adult ticks are responsible for transmitting the disease to animals. Researchers believe that the tick must attach to the animal for a period of 10-24 hours before the Borrelia organism becomes infectious. This is an important fact when dealing with prevention of the disease.

Arthritis, with joint pain, is the most common clinical symptom in dogs. Other symptoms include weight loss, fever, fatigue and swollen lymph glands.

A complete veterinary examination along with blood tests is required for diagnosing Lyme disease.

Ticks are generally found in wooded areas. They are most active during the warm months. Pets should be examined daily for ticks. If ticks are found, they should be removed immediately. Unfortunately the ticks that carry Lyme disease are extremely small. The nymph stage of the deer tick is equivalent to the size of a pinhead. Very often, single nymphs or adult ticks are not seen. (Remember that the tick must attach for a period of 10-24 hours before the Borrelia organism can be transmitted).

Spraying your dog with a tick repellent is beneficial; however, your veterinarian can recommend a product that is more effective, more convenient and lasts longer than a conventional spray.

A vaccine for the prevention of Lyme disease exists for dogs. Ask your veterinarian about vaccinating against Lyme disease.

Canine Cough (Kennel Cough) Vaccination

Infectious tracheobronchitis (canine cough or kennel cough) is the name given to a contagious disease of the canine respiratory tract. The germs associated with this disease infect the cells lining the interior of the trachea (windpipe) and the bronchi (large air passages of the lungs). The disease is usually caused by a virus (parainfluenza or adenovirus type 2) associated with an infectious bacteria (Bordatella bronchiseptica). Other viruses have been incriminated in the disease along with bacteria-like organisms called mycoplasms.

Viruses, being extremely contagious, are responsible for the initial phase of the disease. Bordetella bronchiseptica, the secondary invader, is associated with the severe, pronounced symptoms.

A harsh, dry cough often followed by gagging are the most common signs of kennel cough. Any type of excitement or physical exercise triggers the cough. The dog often coughs so hard that the owner thinks that an object is caught in his throat. Most dogs with the uncomplicated form of kennel cough do not have a fever.

This disease is extremely contagious for dogs. It does not affect humans. The name “kennel cough” comes from the notion that dogs boarded in kennels are more likely to contract the disease. This is due to the high concentration of dogs, the stress, and the nose-to-nose contact.

As long as the dog appears healthy, is eating well, and the cough is not too severe, a trip to the veterinarian may be delayed. If the cough persists or the dog begins to show other symptoms, a visit to the veterinarian is necessary.

Infectious tracheobronchitis is extremely contagious and dogs with the disease should be isolated from healthy dogs. If your dog has kennel cough, rest is very important. If a dog with kennel cough is worked too hard, pneumonia can easily develop.

Exposure to canine cough often occurs at dog shows, grooming parlors, and boarding kennels. Modern vaccinations are available to protect against the disease. Bordatella bronchiseptica vaccine is recommended for dogs that board at kennels. Consult with your veterinarian for the vaccination protocol that is best suited for your dog.

Leptospirosis Vaccination

Leptospirosis is a disease that infects dogs, humans and other animals. The organism that causes the disease is a type of bacterium called spirochete. Leptospirosis is spread by recovered animals that shed the spirochete in their urine for months to years following infection. Exposure to the disease usually occurs in the environment from contaminated water, food, soil, or vegetation. The Leptospirosis organism penetrates through the interior lining of the mouth (mucosa) or through injured skin. Wild animals, especially rats, are carriers of the disease.

Symptoms of Leptospirosis begin to appear about 1-2 weeks after exposure. Signs associated with the disease are fever, depression, vomiting and a reluctance to move. Loss of appetite, dehydration, and weight loss are also noticeable symptoms. The spirochete reproduces in the kidney and if left untreated, death results from kidney failure.

Leptospirosis is a serious disease and requires veterinary treatment. Intensive care with fluid therapy and high doses of antibiotics are essential. Even after a dog is clinically cured, he / she can still shed the organisms in the urine. At this point, the animal becomes a chronic carrier of the disease.

Leptospirosis vaccine is sometimes combined and administered with the distemper vaccine. Consult your veterinarian for the vaccination program that is best suited for your dog.

Canine Hepatitis Vaccination

Infectious canine hepatitis is a contagious viral disease of dogs, foxes and other canids. The disease should not be confused with human hepatitis, even though both diseases cause liver problems. Dogs and other canids do not transmit the disease to humans!

Vaccinations are extremely effective in preventing this disease and it is rare that a vaccinated dog becomes infected.

Two forms of the disease are possible. With the acute form of the disease, dogs develop a high fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Eventually they become moribund and die. All of this occurs within a few hours.

Vaccination against hepatitis is usually combined with Distemper vaccine. The vaccine is very effective in preventing the disease. Boosters should be administered regularly.

Parvovirus (Parvo) Vaccination

Parvovirus (also known as Parvo) is a serious, highly contagious viral infection of dogs that causes vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Parvovirus is transmitted through contact with the stool of an infected dog or contaminated environment. Puppies are most susceptible to parvo infection and fatalities are extremely common.

Very often, young puppies die suddenly from heart failure. This sudden death occurs before any gastrointestinal symptoms of parvovirus appear. More often, however, dogs develop a pronounced fever, become extremely depressed, and vomit. Bloody diarrhea is the most common symptom of parvovirus infection. Dogs become dehydrated, anemic (as a result of blood loss), and die quickly. Other gastrointestinal diseases may mimic parvovirus, however most are not as severe.

Vaccination against parvovirus is the best protection. Like Distemper, Parvovirus vaccination should begin at 6-8 weeks of age. Repeat vaccinations should be administered every 2-4 weeks until the puppy is 16 weeks old. Recent information regarding Parvovirus infection may extend this recommendation to 20 weeks and even longer for certain breeds. Regular booster vaccinations are strongly recommended to ensure proper immunity.

Having your dog vaccinated by a veterinarian insures protection against parvovirus infection. Only your veterinarian knows the most efficient vaccination strategy for prevention of parvovirus infection.

Canine Distemper Vaccination

Distemper is a common, highly contagious and often fatal disease found in dogs, wolves, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, mink and ferrets. The disease is most often seen in young, unvaccinated dogs, as well as older dogs who have not been vaccinated regularly. The period between exposure to the virus and symptoms is approximately five to nine days.

Symptoms of distemper are extremely variable. All of the symptoms or any combination of symptoms may be present. Usually the first signs of the disease are fever, no appetite, fatigue, and vomiting. These symptoms are usually followed by diarrhea, coughing, thick yellow-green discharge from the nose and eyes, and pneumonia. Eventually the dog may develop convulsions.

Treatment for distemper is mediocre at best. There is no known medication that destroys the virus. The treatment is aimed at preventing secondary infections and keeping the dog warm and hydrated. Antibiotics are usually given for pneumonia and diarrhea. If the dog manages to recover from distemper, he or she is often left with permanent neurological problems.

Vaccinations against distemper should begin at six to eight weeks of age. Repeat vaccinations should be administered every three to four weeks until the puppy is 16 weeks old. Regular booster vaccinations are strongly recommended to ensure proper immunity.

Vaccinating your dog against distemper is safe, effective and inexpensive. Call your veterinary hospital to arrange a vaccination appointment.

Dog Vaccinations

Vaccinating your dog is a simple procedure that is routinely done by all veterinarians. Vaccinations are safe, effective and well worth the financial commitment. Many diseases that were once considered fatal to dogs are now under control due to the use of modern vaccines.

When vaccinations are administered, the body produces substances called antibodies. These antibodies are produced by cells (called lymphocytes) which originate in the bone marrow and multiply in the spleen, thymus and lymph nodes. When the actual disease agent is encountered by the dog’s body, these lymphocytes respond very quickly, producing antibodies that neutralize the disease. This rapid production of antibodies is only possible if the animal had been previously vaccinated.

There is not a general rule regarding vaccinations; however, some basic rules apply to all dog vaccination schedules. At the very least, a minimum of two multivalent vaccines containing Distemper and Parvovirus are given three to four weeks apart to all puppies over three months of age. In most states, Rabies vaccination is also required. Other diseases such as Coronavirus, Bordatella (Canine Cough), and Lyme Disease, require different vaccination protocols.

Young puppies are usually given their first set of vaccinations at six to eight weeks of age. Additional vaccinations are given every three to four weeks until the puppy is 16 weeks old. Recent evidence shows that Parvovirus vaccination should be continued even longer, especially with certain breeds of dogs. Thereafter, an annual or biannual vaccination is administered.

Animals sometimes react to vaccinations. These reactions are usually very mild and of brief duration. Muscle aches, slight fever, and drowsiness are the most common side effects. Rarely do animals have a more severe reaction, and if they do, the most common symptoms are vomiting, swelling of the face, and hives. If a vaccination reaction occurs, a veterinarian should be called.

Vaccinating your dog is a simple procedure. Only your veterinarian knows the vaccination schedule and the vaccines that are best suited for your dog.

Remember, not only does your dog receive the proper vaccinations, but he or she also gets a thorough physical exam. This medical examination, along with some nutritional and behavioral advice, goes a long way in preventing problems in your adult dog.