Vaccine Recommendations for Puppies and Dogs

The following vaccinations are strongly recommended for your puppy or dog:

Distemper Virus: A contagious airborne virus that infects many different species including dogs, skunks and racoons. The virus rapidly attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous systems causing widespread disease and illness. This viral infection is almost always fatal in unvaccinated animals.

Adenovirus: A contagious virus that can be spread from one animal to another through respiratory secretions, saliva and feces contact. The virus rapidly targets the liver, kidneys, eyes and blood vessels and causes widespread disease and in many cases severe illness. Some animals can succumb within hours of exposure, especially those unvaccinated against Adenovirus.

Parainfluenza: An airborne virus that affects the cells lining the respiratory tract from the sinuses to the lungs. Clinical signs can be variable, however, the viral infection often leads to bacterial infections that make clinical signs much worse. The most common situation of parainfluenza infection with or without additional bacterial infection is referred to as “kennel cough”.

Parvovirus: An extremely contagious virus that affects both domestic and wild dogs (foxes, wolves, coyotes, etc.) that can survive long periods of time in the environment. Affected pets are almost always severely ill with vomiting and hemorrhagic (bleeding) diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, fever and dehydration. Young pets affected with parvovirus have very poor prognoses if unvaccinated and often the virus tends to cause devastating losses to entire litters of puppies.

Some breeds are at a higher risk of parvovirus infection, due to a genetic predisposition, such as Rottweillers, Doberman Pinschers, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, English Springer Spaniels, Pit Bull Terriers and Alaskan Sled dogs.

Rabies virus: A severe, invariably fatal viral infection that can affect any warm-blooded animal, including humans. Animals carrying rabies virus transmit the virus through their saliva when they bite another animal. Although less common, the virus can also be transmitted through contact with the saliva and through deep scratches from the affected animal. The rabies virus attacks the central and peripheral nervous system causing severe neurological disease and almost always causes death within 7-10 days.

Due to the fact rabies virus is readily transmissible to humans (a zoonotic threat), the Ministry of Health must be contacted in all suspected cases of rabies and federal law enforces that all pets be vaccinated for rabies.

Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is a worldwide problem and common cause of disease in many animals. Several different strains or “serovars” of Leptospirosis bacteria exist and are carried by many wildlife species including skunks, raccoons, rodents and squirrels. In Muskoka, many people believe that Leptospirosis is not a concern, however, there are numerous cases of confirmed disease and severe illness, including death of pet dogs. Leptospirosis is widely under-diagnosed because some cases do not cause very obvious illness, whereas others cause severe disease.

Signs of disease are variable and can be confused with many other diseases. More significant exposure and illness can lead to severe and irreversible kidney and liver disease.

At Bracebridge Animal Hospital we recommend strongly that pet puppies and dogs be vaccinated appropriately for Leptospirosis due to the increasing prevalence and incidence of severe disease being seen in Ontario.

Bordetella bronchiseptica: An airborne bacteria that is highly contagious between pets. This bacteria takes advantage of weaknesses in the respiratory tract lining that may be caused by viral infection (such as Parainfluenza, Distemper virus or Adenovirus infections), other bacterial infection, poor housing conditions or air quality and causes a bacterial infection. The infection caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica may include a mild to severe cough, fever, lethargy, decreased appetite, tracheitis, bronchitis and even progress to severe pneumonia. Many cases require treatment for many weeks with antibiotics, cough suppressants, anti-inflammatory medications and may even require hospitalization.