Puppy Diseases and Vaccines

April 4, 2017

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Ever heard the word Zoonotic before? If a disease is Zoonotic it means that it can spread to humans. Some examples of zoonotic diseases are Hookworm, Roundworm, Rabies, Ringworm, and Leptospirosis.

**If your dog likes to swim or play in water, I would recommend asking your vet about the Leptospirosis vaccine.

Vaccines provide immunity against one or several diseases. They prevent or minimize the risk of contracting a disease after they have been exposed to it.

Newborn puppy’s immune systems are not fully developed. The puppies get disease fighting antibodies from their mother before they are born through the placenta and then after birth by nursing. The puppies only receive antibodies against diseases that their mother has been vaccinated against or has a history of being exposed to.

At your vet visit, your new puppy will begin a course of vaccines to prevent either core or non-core diseases.

Core vaccine diseases

  • Distemper is contagious. It’s an airborne disease and is transmitted orally. The organ systems affected by distemper are respiratory, GI, and central nervous system. Possible signs to look out for are fever, lethargy, and eye and nasal discharge. Can be FATAL
  • Adenovirus is contagious and is also an airborne disease, transmitted orally. It can affect the liver, eyes, blood vessels, tonsils, and kidneys. Some signs to look out for are fever, anorexia, abdominal pain, dehydration, and even death. Can be FATAL
  • Parvovirus is transmitted orally. It affects the GI tract and can cause vomiting, bloody diarrhea, fever, dehydration, and death. Can be FATAL
  • Rabies is transmissible to humans. It is transmitted via infected saliva in a bite wound. All warm blooded animals (including humans) are at risk. It affects the central nervous system and some of the many possible signs are:
    • Muscle paralysis
    • Erratic behavior
    • Inability to swallow
    • Seizures
    • Can be FATAL

Non-Core vaccine diseases

  • Bordatella is an airborne disease which affects the respiratory system. Possible signs are eye and nasal discharge and a dry hacking cough.
  • Parainfluenza and Canine Adenovirus 2 are also airborne and affect the respiratory system. Look out for Flu-like symptoms, cough, and eye or nasal discharge.
  • Coronavirus is transmitted orally and affects the GI tract. A possible sign is diarrhea.
  • Leptospirosis is transmissible to humans – it is transmitted through the mucus membrane and  by skin contact with contaminated urine or water. This disease may be FATAL.

While this may all look very scary, there are vaccines available for your pets to protect them and yourselves from these diseases. Please speak to your vet about your puppy’s vaccination schedule.

Your vet will advise you in the best interest of their patient and may modify the vaccination protocols to differ from the AAHA guidelines at their discretion, based on

  • The puppy’s health status
  • Vaccine type
  • Manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Endemic risk factors (diseases specific to your geographic area)

American Animal Hospital Association vaccination guidelines