Vaccines for Puppies & Dogs

Vaccines are effective in preventing diseases and reducing the severity of those illnesses.

At Island Veterinary Hospital, we offer a full range of vaccinations for puppies and dogs. Vaccines are effective and safe precautions used to keep your canine companion healthy. When vaccinated, your dog is protected from diseases that can be fatal, and in some cases be transmitted to humans.

When should my puppy start vaccination?

A puppy should have its first vaccine dose by the time they are 8 weeks old. A vaccination schedule is usually established by the veterinarian, where your loyal companion gets a different dose every 4 weeks until they are 16 weeks old. It is extremely important to follow this schedule to prevent any gaps in protection. After the puppy series, your adult dog will need boosters to maintain immunity.

Why do adult dogs need vaccines?

Vaccines offer immunity for a limited amount of time. Some vaccines are effective for a year, three years or even six months. After this time, the immunity wears off which makes them vulnerable to diseases. Additionally, your adult dog’s overall health and lifestyle circumstances may change which means they will need new vaccines. To discuss vaccination for your adult canine pal, feel free to call us at 604-273-3158.

Which vaccines may be recommended?

Your veterinarian will recommend vaccines that are required by law and are necessary for your puppy/dog. Core vaccines are necessary for all canine companions which include Rabies and DAP or DAPP (Distemper, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus). Non-core vaccines are specific to certain dogs because of their environment, household, lifestyle and even their travel plans. For dogs in the Richmond area, we will recommend Leptospirosis and Canine Cough (Bordetella) vaccines.

What happens if my dog is not vaccinated?

When infected with diseases, your canine pal can experience some severe symptoms which will reduce their quality of life. Here are some symptoms of the diseases they may catch:

  1. Bordetella/Canine Cough - Dogs that frequent dog parks, kennels, daycares, groomers, or interact with other dogs should be vaccinated annually against this disease. Canine cough is characterized by a harsh, hacking cough which most people describe as sounding like “something stuck in my dog’s throat.” It is an airborne, highly contagious disease. Some dogs get better without treatment, but some dogs may develop pneumonia without antibiotics.
  2. Rabies - We will always recommend the rabies vaccine. Rabies is a highly fatal virus that causes neurological disease in affected animals. Dogs, cats, bats, skunks, raccoons, and many other animals can get this disease. Humans can become infected and die from this disease as well. Once a person/animal shows signs of this disease, it is fatal and there is no treatment. In British Columbia, the primary source of rabies is bats which are common in the Richmond area.
  3. Distemper - The symptoms begin with gooey eye and nose discharge, fever, poor appetite, coughing, and the development of pneumonia. Then the virus causes vomiting and diarrhea, callusing of the nose, and footpads. Finally it proceeds to the central nervous system leading to seizures, tremors, imbalance, and limb weakness. Signs may progress to death or may become non-progressive and permanent. Recovery is also possible. 
  4. Adenovirus - Canine Adenovirus type 1 causes canine hepatitis. The virus invades the dog’s liver causing damage and sometimes uncontrolled bleeding resulting in death due to shock. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, vomiting, tonsillitis, abdominal swelling and pain, and loss of appetite. In severe acute cases, especially puppies, death can occur in 1 to 2 days. If dogs can survive the initial few days, they should recover and have lifelong immunity. Vaccination is highly effective against this serious disease.
  5. Parvovirus - This disease is highly contagious and generally presents with severe vomiting and diarrhea, severe dehydration, loss of appetite, and weakness. The diarrhea is frequent, uncontrolled, very liquid, and often laced with blood. These are very sick dogs. Death occurs in 60% or more of affected individuals. Cases are seen in our area every year.
  6. Parainfluenza - This vaccine is not required for dogs after their first vaccines as an adult. Once a dog is an adult, the Canine Cough Vaccine is sufficient for protection. This is another highly contagious disease that is part of the Canine Cough complex which means they have similar symptoms.
  7. Leptospirosis - The signs usually include vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, dehydration, lethargy, and fever. Leptospirosis bacteria cause liver and kidney failure and those affected often die. Humans can get this disease as well.
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