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Common Conditions - Articles of Interest - Vaccinating your Dog

Vaccinating your Dog

Our pets offer us love, affection and friendship unconditionally; they are an important part of our lives and our families. Just like any other family member their health and well-being is no doubt important to you. To safeguard your pet from fatal diseases Greencross Vets recommend a tailored preventative healthcare program for every pet, including vaccinations.

Why vaccinate your dog?

Like they say ‘prevention is better than cure’. It is no different with the diseases that can affect our dogs. Most of these diseases have no targeted cure. Where treatments are available, it can be prolonged and even prove unsuccessful. 

What do you need to protect your dog from?


Commonly called Parvo
Parvovirus is nasty disease that can present itself in two different forms. The more common form is the intestinal form, which shows symptoms such as severe vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, weight loss and a loss of appetite. The less common form is the cardiac form, which attacks the heart muscles of very young puppies, often leading to death. 
Parvovirus is highly contagious and unfortunately can survive for long periods in the environment after being passed in the faeces of infected dogs, even with thorough cleaning and exposure to seasonal weather changes.  It can easily be spread on the hair and feet of dogs, through contaminated bedding and our even our shoes and clothing.
This virus is typically seen in young unvaccinated puppies but older dogs can be affected too.  Certain breeds seem to be more at risk for contracting parvovirus. Parvovirus can be fatal and symptoms can progress very quickly.  Treatment is symptomatic and supportive only as there is no targeted cure.

Canine Distemper:

Commonly called Hard Pad Disease
Canine distemper is a highly contagious disease that is spread through the air and by contact with infected animals. It can be contracted by dogs of all ages and affects the gastrointestinal, respiratory and central nervous systems.  It has no known cure.
In the initial stages of canine distemper, the most common symptoms are high fever, reddened eyes, watery discharge from the nose and eyes, poor appetite and lethargy. As the disease progresses the virus starts attacking the nervous system and the dog may start having seizures, develop paralysis and attacks of hysteria.
Similar to parvovirus, treatment is only symptomatic with no antiviral cure available.  Affected dogs who are able to recover become carriers, shedding the virus in urine and other bodily secretions.

Canine Adenovirus:

Commonly called Infectious Canine Hepatitis
Canine adenovirus is a viral disease that targets a number of organs, notably the liver, kidneys and eyes. This virus is spread in the faeces, urine, blood and saliva of infected dogs. .  Symptoms can vary and include in the early stages - fever, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and tonsillitis. The disease can progress rapidly with death seen within several hours in some cases. 
This disease has become uncommon in recent times with high rates of vaccination, but sporadic outbreaks, which may reflect maintenance of the disease in wild and feral animals, reinforce the need for continued vaccination.  Treatment for canine adenovirus can be required for prolonged periods and some dogs will develop chronic hepatitis and painful ongoing conditions of the eyes.

Infectious Canine Tracheobronchitis

Commonly called Canine Cough
Canine cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs.  As the name would suggests it presents itself as a dry, hacking and persistent cough.  Young puppies are most at risk to suffer more severe complications such as pneumonia, fever and lethargy and even death.
It is spread easily through inhalation of the infectious particles during contact with infected animals and is commonly contracted in areas where large numbers of animals congregate eg dog parks, kennels, dog shows.  While not commonly fatal this disease is distressing to infected animals (and their owners!) and can take up to 3-6 weeks to recover.  Vaccination greatly reduces the incidence and severity of the disease.

When does your dog need to be vaccinated?


Core Vaccination schedule:  
  • 6 - 8 weeks First vaccination 
  • 10 - 12 weeks Second vaccination
  • 14 - 16weeks Third vaccination 

Adult Dogs

  • Annual Dogs require a Canine Cough vaccination every year. 

Booster Vaccinations

12 months after your dog’s 14 week vaccination another booster vaccine is required, this is to ensure long-term immunity against the contagious diseases.  Thereafter, your vet will determine the most suitable ongoing vaccination program. The recommendations outlined by your vet will be guided by your dog’s lifestyle and environment. 
Unvaccinated pets are at risk of contracting serious diseases.  You can protect your dog and keep them safe from disease by maintaining the vaccination program recommended by your Greencross pet care team.
For more information on vaccinating your canine companion, please contact your local Greencross Vets team or book an appointment online today! 

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