The Importance of Vaccinations
Fortunately both for us as humans and for our pet dogs, there are measures which we can take to prevent serious and fatal diseases. However not all dogs need all owners to take the same measures. The lifestyle and life stage of your dog bring them into contact with different diseases.
This article is to look at how a dog comes into contact with diseases that you can prevent and then how we put strategic measures in place to manage those risks.
Fatal Disease managed with Vaccination followed by Annual Boosters
As with humans, vaccines save lives. The fatal diseases which we protect our dogs from are Parvovirus – which still occurs in Weston-super-Mare, Infectious Hepatitis, Distemper and Leptospirosis.
We recommend booster vaccination to maintain protection. The boosters against parvovirus, distemper and hepatitis last for 3 years. This means that we are not over-vaccinating your dog which is what happens when other veterinary centres use cheaper vaccines. The leptospirosis protection lasts for twelve months and so requires an annual booster.
We recommend that every dog, irrespective of the age or lifestyle, receives annual booster vaccination. There are exceptions but the decision not to vaccinate should be taken after discussion with your vet.
Kennel Cough protection by annual vaccination
There is a vaccine which helps to protect your dog against kennel cough, a serious and unpleasant disease. This vaccine protects against two of the infectious agents of this disease. There are other infections causing kennel cough so protection is not complete. That said, in our experience, vaccinated dogs suffer less from the disease.
We recommend this vaccine for all dogs under 2 years and for all dogs which are sociable and meet other dogs during their daily lives.
Internal Worms managed by strategic use on worming treatments
Roundworms are picked up by your dog directly from the mother or by consuming larval lifestages easily available outside. Once inside your dog, these worms become trapped in the muscles, protected from treatments and then occasionally the worms are released to become adults which lay eggs.
It is these eggs which are the risk to humans. In a recent survey 80% of untreated dogs carry worm eggs on their coats. When the worm develops in our bodies, they become cysts. in 80-100 times each year in the UK, this cyst develops in the eye of a human and causes blindness.
We recommend either Milbemax chewy treats every 3months or monthly Advocate Spot On to all dogs. Worms are not a problem for your dog but they are a preventable problem for people.
Lungworm risk should be assessed before deciding which round worm prevention strategy to follow. Lungworm is the only potentially fatal worm disease in the UK and causes death either by bleeding or by the adult worms which live in your dog’s lungs and heart.
Your dog will get lungworm by eating slugs and snails. Most dogs do this inadvertently – by playing with a toy, drinking water outside or eating material to which slugs or snails have become attached.
We recommend that if your dog lives where there are slugs and snails that you prevent the risk of lungworm by monthly application of Advocate Spot On.
- If you decide to prevent lungworm using Advocate then the rest of your dog’s preventable disease protection is as follows :-
· Monthly applications of Advocate also prevents hook worm and whip worms which are internal worms causing bleeding guts
· Monthly applications of Advocate also protects against fleas, lice and fox mange mites
· Advocate does not treat tapeworms – these are picked up from eating raw meats and rubbish. Certain forms do affect humans. We recommend six monthly tapeworm treatments using Droncit tablets which can be safely used with Advocate.
· Advocate does not repel ticks. If you exercise your dog in Lyme Disease areas or through long grass, then we recommend that you either remove ticks daily with a tick hook or use a Seresto collar. Seresto is a revolutionary new way of safely protecting your dog without contaminating the environment or you with tick repelling drugs. Each collar lasts for 8months. Lyme Disease is transmitted to dogs and humans by tick bites and is a serious and painful disease.
· If you decide to prevent lungworm using Advocate then the rest of your dog’s preventable disease protection is as follows :-
- If you decide that you have no need to prevent lungworm in your dog, then the rest of your dog’s preventable disease protection is as follows:-
· We recommend Milbemax tablets or Chewy treats every 3 months which treats adult roundworms, hook worms, whip worms and tapeworms.
· Many dogs are sensitive to flea bites. Flea eggs are found outside in gardens and beyond in the summer. Very quickly a few fleas on your dg means a household infestation. Prevention is certainly much cheaper than the cure. We recommend monthly flea prevention which can be either applied as a spot on or the fastest treatment is Comfortis, a monthly palatable tablet.
Seresto collars will provide your dog with 8 months of flea protection (see below)
· Ticks can picked up when walking through long grass or where sheep, deer and wildlife have visited so if you walk your dog in such areas you need to consider tick repellent products to prevent ticks biting and transmitting Lyme Disease. We recommend Seresto, a collar which provides 8months of tick prevention and allows you to safely groom and cuddle your dog. Alternatively you can use a tick hook after each walk to remove ticks before they bite.
· If your dog likes to rub up where foxes have visited then there is a risk of fox mange mites which is an intensely itchy disease. We recommend monthly Advocate spot on so now you need to review your measures to ensure that by preventing this disease that you are not duplicating treatments.
The staff at Green Pastures are happy to help you go through these risk assessments so please call in or make a free appointment with one of our veterinary nurses.
Green Pastures Team
PS We offer our Dynamic Dog Plan which includes all the healthcare products and services which your dog needs at discounted prices – see http://greenpasturesvets.co.uk.mediatopiaprojects.co.uk/dogs/dynamic-dog-plan