Your dog’s Annual Vaccine Schedule should include the following:
Tennessee law requires that dogs and cats over 6 months of age be currently vaccinated against Rabies. While Rabies is not prevalent in the State of Tennessee, a small number of cases are confirmed each year (generally in wildlife e.g. bats and skunks) so it is possible for your pet to contract Rabies from interaction with infected wildlife. Of greater concern is if your pet were to bite someone. In that situation, if your pet does not have a current Rabies vaccine, the pet may need to be quarantined or possibly even euthanized, depending on the circumstances. Therefore it is extremely important that your pet’s Rabies vaccine be kept current. The initial Rabies vaccine is typically administered around 12 weeks of age and then once a year thereafter. Some clinics also offer a three-year vaccine. NOTE: A Rabies vaccine is required for a dog to be in our clinic for an extended period of time e.g. for surgery, bathing, boarding, etc. Please contact our clinic with any questions about the Rabies vaccine.
The Bordetella vaccine helps protect your dog from Kennel Cough (Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis). Most clinics, boarding facilities, grooming facilities, and daycare facilities require a Bordetella vaccine. The Bordetella vaccine can be administered as early as eight weeks of age. Our clinic requires a Bordetella vaccine every six months to ensure protection for your pet as well as other patients. NOTE: A Bordetella vaccine is required for a dog to be in our clinic for an extended period of time e.g. for surgery, bathing, boarding, etc. Please contact our clinic with any questions about the Bordetella vaccination.
The Canine Distemper vaccine (DAPP or DA2PP) protects against FOUR viral infections in dogs (see below). These infections are highly contagious and some are potentially fatal. Young dogs and puppies are especially susceptible. Medical treatment can be expensive and difficult for the pet, so the cost of vaccination far outweighs the risks of not vaccinating. The initial Distemper vaccine should be given between 6-8 weeks of age. After the initial vaccine, our clinic highly recommends a series of three additional boosters, given three weeks apart, in order to provide sufficient immunity. The 3rd and 4th vaccines may include a Leptospirosis component (see below). The Canine Distemper should then be given once a year. NOTE: A Canine Distemper vaccine is required for a dog to board in our clinic. Please contact our clinic with any questions about the Distemper vaccine.
- Distemper Virus
The Distemper Virus attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems of infected puppies, dogs, and wildlife. Distemper Virus is spread through airborne secretions or from contaminated environments. Symptoms initially include fever, eye discharge, nasal discharge, coughing, lethargy, hardening of the paw pads, reduced appetite, and vomiting. As the virus attaches to the nervous system, infected dogs develop circling behavior, head tilt, muscle twitching, convulsions, seizures, and paralysis. Distemper is often fatal, and dogs that survive usually have permanent neurologic damage.
Adenovirus Type 1 attacks the liver to cause Infections Canine Hepatitis, while Adenovirus Type 2 attacks the respiratory tract as one of the three most common causes of Infectious Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough). Adenovirus is spread through airborne secretions or from contaminated environments. Vaccination protects against both Type 1 and Type 2 because they are similar enough that there is cross-protection between them. Symptoms of Type 1 (Hepatitis) included fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and blue cloudiness of the eyes. Type 1 Virus can be fatal, although dogs with milder disease may survive with appropriate supportive care. Symptoms of Type 2 (Tracheobronchitis) include a dry hacking cough, often with a terminal retch which produces white foam, and conjunctivitis. Type 2 Virus is generally manageable with supportive treatment.
The Parainfluenza Virus attacks the respiratory tract and is one of the three most common causes of Infectious Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough) along with Bordetella Bronchiseptica and Canine Adenovirus Type 2. Parainfluenza Virus is spread through airborne secretions. Symptoms include fever, cough, nasal discharge, lethargy, and poor appetite. This virus is generally manageable with supportive treatment.
The Parvovirus attacks white blood cells (responsible for fighting off infection) as well as the gastrointestinal tract of puppies and dogs. Parvovirus is spread from direct dog-to-dog contact, or exposure to contaminated feces, environments or people. Symptoms included fever, lethargy, poor appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting, and severe diarrhea (often bloody). Parvo is a very serious illness that can cause death, especially in young puppies. If Parvo is recognized early, affected dogs do have the chance of survival if given appropriate intensive (and expensive) supportive care.
Leptospirosis (Lepto) is a disease caused by Leptospira bacteria that can affect both animals and humans. Leptospirosis is carried by wildlife such as rats, raccoons, opossums, skunks, squirrels, and deer, and if found in places where they may urinate, including lakes, streams, puddles, or soil in your backyard. Signs of the disease can be difficult to identify and may mimic many other diseases. Symptoms may include fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, refusal to eat, weakness, and stiffness. Sometimes pets do not show any symptoms. If aggressive and appropriate medical therapy is administered, including hemodialysis when indicated, the prognosis for dogs with leptospirosis is good.
Has your dog been vaccinated? Dogs should start their vaccine series at around 6-8 weeks of age. Did you know puppies should be vaccinated every 3-4 weeks for four sets of distemper/parvo vaccines? Canine Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that can affect all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies are the most at risk. Signs of parvo include vomiting, diarrhea (often bloody), loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and lethargy.
The disease is passed through the feces of an infected dog and can live in the environment for years. This is why we do not recommend your puppy go to parks, playgrounds, pet stores, or get around other dogs until they complete their vaccine series. We recommend that adult dogs get vaccinated every year against distemper/parvo.
If you suspect your dog may have parvo, keep them separated from other dogs in your house. Contact your veterinarian immediately. Keep the puppy isolated to keep from contaminating the area. Do not allow the puppy to walk around outside or in the lobby of your vet’s office. Limit the number of family members that have contact with the puppy to stop the spread of the disease. Any areas that have been exposed should be disinfected with a bleach mixture. Remember that your hands, clothing and especially your shoes should also be disinfected!
Treatment for parvo can be very expensive. Treatment should be started immediately and usually requires hospitalization for intravenous fluids and medications. Even with aggressive treatment, parvo can be fatal.
Making sure your puppy is fully vaccinated is the easiest and most cost-effective way to make sure they are protected from this and many other diseases!