Your pet is a part of your family and, just like you would take your human relatives to the doctors, you want to look after your furry relatives in just the same way.
This means regular check-ups at the vets and, unfortunately for your canine friend, regular vaccinations.
According to Aylesbury Vets, vaccinating your pet has a double advantage. Not only is your own pet at less risk of contracting severe, and sometimes life-threatening diseases, you are also protecting your dog’s pals by reducing the risk of spreading these diseases further.
However, we know that vaccinations can be a somewhat costly affair, so how do you know which ones are the most important for your furry friend?
Here, we’ve outlined the 3 most common and important vaccinations for your dog in the UK.
3 Core Vaccinations
According to the UK Government’s Veterinary Medicines Directorate, there are both core vaccinations and non-core vaccinations for your dog.
Core vaccines are those that the VMD advise all dog owners get for their pets, to help prevent the most common and dangerous diseases in the UK.
Non-core vaccines are those recommended for pets who are at risk of certain diseases based on their geographic location, environment or lifestyle.
For more information on this distinction, see NOAH’s post here.
Canine Distemper Virus
The first common vaccination that your dog needs is the CDV vaccine.
Canine distemper is a highly contagious and severe viral infection found in dogs and other animals such as foxes and ferrets. The disease is typically spread through secretions from infected animals.
Typically occurring in younger dogs (although older animals can still be infected), the disease is often characterised by a rise in temperature, listlessness and reluctance to eat, as well as a discharge from the eyes and nose, depression, and fever. More serious symptoms include paralysis, seizures, ataxia and muscle spasms.
The second vaccination your dog will need is the CPV vaccine. The Canine Parvovirus is an extremely serious and contagious virus that originated in the 1970s.
It affects the entire canine population and has numerous strains within the virus. However, there is a consensus among many scientists that the current vaccines protect against all of the known strains.
The virus is transmitted by direct contact with infected dogs or indirectly through contact with contaminated feces. Due to the virus’ stability, it can survive in an environment for long periods of time and therefore may spread by transfer on clothing or other objects.
CPV is characterized by two predominant syndromes. Firstly, dogs can be affected by an inflammation of the small intestine, with symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea and a depressive state.
The second syndrome is an inflammation of the heart muscle. This infection tends to occur in very young dogs when the heart muscle is still developing, and symptoms depend on the severity of the infection.
Finally, the CAV vaccine is the third most common vaccination required by dogs. There are two closely related viruses associated with this disease.
CAV-1 is infectious canine hepatitis and is associated with respiratory, kidney, neonatal foetus and eye diseases. CAV-2 is associated with respiratory disease.
This disease is spread most commonly through urine, faeces or saliva from infected dogs as well as the respiratory route.
CAV-1 is characterised by a painful abdomen due to the inflamed liver, vomiting, depression, increased body temperature and a lack of appetite. In the most severe cases, it can cause sudden death, jaundice and ‘blue eye’ through affecting the cornea.
CAV-2 is characterised by ‘Kennel Cough’, a hacking cough and pneumonia.
All of these diseases can be vaccinated against, dramatically improving your dog’s resistance to the viruses. For more information on these viruses, as well as non-core vaccinations, see the VMD’s paper here.
However, there is no ideal vaccine plan for all dogs. Aylesbury Vets suggest tailoring your pet’s vaccination programme to their own needs and local environment to provide the best protection against common diseases.