Vaccination from 6-8 weeks of age is vital to protect your puppy from life-threatening diseases. Follow this expert advice from the Village Vets to ensure your dog maintains an adequate level of immunity.
In the first few weeks of life, a puppy has natural immunity against canine diseases due to high levels of maternal antibodies. However, as maternal antibodies start to decline when the puppy grows up, he or she becomes susceptible to infection.
Celebrity vets James Carroll and Anthony Bennett of the popular show Village Vets Australia, share their expert advice on why vaccination and regular boosters are so important for good pet care.
1. Near 100 per cent protection
Nowadays, vaccination provides almost 100 per cent protection against life threatening diseases including Parvovirus, Distemper and Hepatitis and it decreases severity and duration of illnesses caused by kennel cough due to Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza virus. Leptospirosis, which is an important zoonotic disease to humans, can now also be vaccinated and prevented.
2. Diseases almost eradicated
In 1960s, Canine Distemper Virus was once a very common yet deadly disease across Australia as back then vaccination was not widely available. Fortunately, with the development of vaccines and the increase in awareness in the past few decades, this disease is almost eradicated in Australia. However, Canine Distemper is still present in many cities around the world.
A lot of people might ask if we hardly see Distemper and Hepatitis now why do we still need to keep our dog vaccinated. This answer lies in what is called “herd immunity”. We rely on the majority of a population to have been vaccinated and have immunity to protect the rest of the population by reducing the spread and reservoirs of the infectious agents.
3. Optimal living environments
In the human world, we are now seeing more worldwide epidemics with measles and mumps which both are diseases that vaccination can prevent. This is due to more parents these days making the decision of not vaccinating their children, which leads to a decrease in the percentage of vaccinated people in a population to provide enough “herd immunity” to the whole community.
This could also happen in our dog populations with Distemper and Hepatitis if vaccination levels drop too low. To establish an optimal living environment for our furry friends and to keep them happy and healthy, the importance of vaccination and regular boosters should always be reinforced.
4. Some diseases completely preventable
Parvovirus is the most important of the diseases that we vaccinate for as it is the most common one that we still see and is often fatal. This horrific virus first appeared in the late seventies and quickly spread around the world. This disease is completely preventable, however in lower socio-economic areas where vaccination rates are lower, this is still a common disease.
Discuss with your vet their specific recommendations they have for your pet – vaccination protocols can vary but a cornerstone is yearly checks and regular vaccination, examination and prevention of other diseases like heartworm. Vaccinations are extremely safe and complications are incredibly rare. If you have any questions your vet will be able to provide you with scientific data and recommendations for vaccination in your pet.