All dogs are at risk of being exposed to many infectious diseases, some of which are life threatening while others pose a public health risk to humans. Prevention of infectious disease is more beneficial to your pet than treating the disease once it occurs. The combination of the physical exam and vaccinations are the two most reliable and cost efficient methods of health care available.
Core Vaccines Given Routinely
Distemper Vaccination is actually a combination of 4 vaccines in one administration. It covers:
Distemper- A widespread virus where exposure is considered inevitable during a dog’s lifetime, so distemper vaccine is almost always recommended. The clinical signs of distemper include respiratory disease, diarrhea, fever, nasal and ocular discharge, and neurologic signs. This disease is easily transmitted and often fatal
Parainfluenza- A viral infection that is easily transmitted through the air or through direct contact and causes respiratory disease. Frequently this disease will progress to pneumonia
Canine Adenovirus Type-2- A viral infection that causes symptoms similar to the Parainfluenza virus. However, CAV-2 is closely related to Canine Adenovirus Type-1 and also protects from that strain. CAV-1 is the cause of infectious canine hepatitis, a severe liver infection.
Parvovirus- A virus that causes severe diarrhea and vomiting. Unvaccinated puppies and young dogs are most commonly affected. Severe cases of parvovirus can be fatal due to the dehydration and secondary infections that accompany it.
Rabies- A viral disease that is usually transmitted by bite wounds, often from wild animals. Rabies causes nervous system abnormalities. Once signs are detected, death is inevitable. Transmission to humans usually occurs through bite wounds from the infected saliva of an animal.
Bordatella- A bacterial disease that is better known as “kennel cough”. Bordatella is a highly infectious respiratory disease that is transmitted through the air or through direct contact with other dogs ie. boarding, obedience class, dog shows, and dog parks.
Lyme- A bacterial disease that comes from the bite of an infected tick. Lyme disease can cause serious, potentially deadly health problems. Symptoms of Lyme disease include lameness, swollen joints, fever, and fatigue.
Leptospirosis- A bacterial infection that comes from contact with the urine of infected wildlife or contaminated water or food. Lepto causes severe liver and kidney damage and can be transmitted to humans by contact through breaks in the skin or mucous membranes.
Intestinal Parasite Exam- Intestinal parasiteshave become a hot topic in the news. Not only are they unpleasant and can cause illness in animals, but many of them can infect human beings. Each year 3,000,000-6,000,000 people are infected. The best way to reduce the risk to humans is to detect and eliminate parasites from pets. For these reasons, the Center for Disease Control and the Companion Animal Parasite Counsel recommend yearly testing along with monthly deworming (most heartworm medications cover this).
Heartworm Test- Heartworm disease is a parasitic infection that can be fatal if not treated. Mosquitoes carry the parasite from one dog to another, so if it is possible for your dog to be bitten by a mosquito, they are at risk. According to the American Heartworm Society, all dogs should be tested yearly for this deadly parasite. Also, all pets should be on monthly heartworm medication year round. This serves a two-fold purpose one, it ensures the most protection for your pet and two, it acts as a deworming agent.