Is your Pet Fully Vaccinated?

Every year at about this time, we start to hear tales of parvovirus raising its ugly head in the South Australian dog population. This disease has been around since the late 1960’s when it appeared worldwide. It’s been killing dogs ever since. Luckily, we now have very effective vaccines which protect our dogs but these are only effective when applied properly!  There are several points to consider in making sure your pup (old or young) stays healthy.

  • Parvo-virus is a deadly infection of dogs
    • The virus attacks and rapidly destroys the lining of the intestinal tract
    • This causes massive fluid and protein loss into the gut
    • Without the normal protective layers, bacteria from the gut can readily invade the bloodstream and cause fatal septicaemia
  • It’s highly infectious
    • The virus can be transmitted via dog-to-dog contact or through owners handling an infected dog
    • Even contact with faeces from an infected dog can pass on the disease
    • Without adequate vaccine protection, most dogs are very prone to infection
  • It’s very hardy and lasts a long time in the environment
    • The virus can live for months and so anywhere an infected dog has been is a potential source of spread of the disease

It’s not all bad news, however! As mentioned, there are very good vaccines available to prevent the disease infecting your dog. We recommend the following protocol:

  • Complete a full, comprehensive puppy vaccination program
    • For us, this means a course of 3 injections at 6-8, 12 and 16 weeks of age.
    • There are vet clinics still recommending an ‘early’ finish at 10 weeks of age – we disagree with this in the strongest terms and there have been numerous cases of breakthrough infections caused by following this recommendation
    • Don’t skimp on providing full protection by missing out this last injection – it’s a false economy and potentially disastrous!
  • Keep your puppy away from dog-parks and other dogs until his/her puppy vaccination course is complete
    • It takes about two weeks following the last injection for the immune system to respond fully, after which you have reliable protection.
  • Make sure you keep your dog up to date with annual boosters
    • In Gawler, we are adjacent to some high-risk areas such as Elizabeth and Salisbury – councils which tend to report a high incidence of parvo cases.
    • Although there is a ‘triennial’ vaccine (given once every 3 years), we feel that annual boosters are far safer.
  • Parvo is a year-round problem but seems to be more prevalent in hot weather
    • Possibly due to the rash of Xmas present puppies appearing on the scene
    • Unfortunately , the Xmas season is not always a happy one as a result
  • If you really don’t like giving vaccinations, there is a titre test we can use to check your dogs’ protection
    • The vaccine is actually cheaper than the test but there are certain dogs in which we’d recommend doing annual tests instead of vaccinating
  • Keep vaccinating your dog into old age
    • Just because they’re old, it doesn’t mean you should neglect them
    • The immune system doesn’t get any more efficient with advancing years!
  • Even if your dog is fully vaccinated, avoid contact with infected dogs
    • There’s no point in pushing your luck  and your dog can spread the disease even without catching it

If your dog needs a booster vaccination or if you’re not sure when that’s next due, give our fantastic reception staff a call on 8522 3500 and we can make you an appointment to come and see us. ! IF you already know your due dates, go online to book an appointment directly.

Picture of Anne Crouch

Anne Crouch

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Gawler Animal Hospital

Your full-service, high quality, locally-owned veterinary practice.

Offering a wide range of pet-care options from vaccinations up to complex medical and surgical treatments.

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