Vaccinations protect your dog from illnesses that can cause them severe pain or take their life. If you have a puppy, they should have their first round of vaccinations at 6 weeks old and an additional round at 12 weeks. Adult dogs need to receive a yearly booster shot to remain protected, and your vet will give you a vaccination record, which has to be up-to-date if you want to travel with your dog, use a doggy day care service or board them in kennels. Getting your dog vaccinated protects them from the following four serious illnesses:
This is a highly contagious viral illness with no cure, and your dog can contract it by coming into contact with infected animals. The lymph nodes, gastrointestinal system, respiratory system and nervous system are affected by the illness, which is often fatal for puppies due to their underdeveloped immune system. Symptoms of distemper include vomiting, lethargy, seizures and paralysis. When a dog develops distemper, they will be kept hydrated with intravenous fluids and monitored with the hopes their immune system will overcome the virus.
This is another viral infection that's contracted by contact with the bodily fluids or faeces of an infected dog. The virus is often fatal if not treated quickly and targets the kidneys, lungs and liver. Symptoms of infectious hepatitis include jaundice, vomiting, fever, a swollen abdomen and increased thirst. Your vet will administer pain medication to make your dog as comfortable as possible, and your dog may require antibiotics or a blood transfusion.
Caused by bacteria, kennel cough is spread by the breath of infected dogs. If your dog contracts this illness, they will develop inflammation in their respiratory system due to the bacteria attacking their lungs. Symptoms of kennel cough include a runny nose, eye discharge and a hacking cough. Your vet will prescribe antibiotics to treat this illness, and they'll want to monitor your dog, as a dog can contract pneumonia if the antibiotics don't completely eradicate the bacteria.
Spread through contact with an infected dog's faeces, parvovirus has the ability to survive for months on inanimate objects, such as a pavement. If that's not scary enough, the virus can cause intestinal haemorrhaging, as it attacks the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms of parvovirus include passing blood, vomiting, dehydration and diarrhoea. Parvovirus can't currently be cured, but while waiting to see if your dog's immune system can beat the virus, they can be given intravenous fluids and medication to stop them vomiting.
The pain these illnesses cause is simply not worth the risk, so if your dog's vaccinations aren't up-to-date, schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.