Vaccinating your canine pack member is a relatively inexpensive but essential way to protect his or her health. In addition to preventing many life-threatening illnesses, vaccinations can prevent diseases prevalent in wildlife and those that can be passed to humans. It’s important to administer vaccinations to dogs when they are puppies because their young immune systems are still developing and need protection to stay healthy.
While any medical treatment involves some degree of risk, in the case of vaccinations, the benefits far outweigh any potential side effects. Adverse reactions are rare and usually mild and short-term when they do occur.
Puppies should be vaccinated at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age—we do not vaccinate puppies younger than 8 weeks. Except for rabies, most other vaccinations will require a booster in 3-4 weeks; one vaccination against these diseases will not keep your pet protected. If you adopt a puppy over 12 weeks of age, he or she will only receive 2 vaccinations 3-4 weeks apart, then again at 1 year.
Which vaccines should your dog have? We typically recommend:
- Distemper/Adeno/Parvo/Para-influenza – this is an especially important vaccination because the coyote and wild dog population in Saskatchewan have a high risk of carrying distemper.
- Rabies – Puppies receive their rabies vaccination typically when they are 16 weeks of age, then again within one year. Following that, rabies vaccinations are administered every three years. Proof of this vaccination is required at all boarding facilities and to return into Canada if travelling to the US.
- Bordetella/Canine Parainfluenza – important for dogs/puppies going to boarding facilities, groomers, daycare and dog parks they should receive this vaccination beginning at 12 weeks of age then annually. Administered nasally.
Canine Distemper - Distemper is one of the two most important diseases of dogs. It is very widespread and nearly every dog will be exposed to distemper within the first year of life in our area. Signs include coughing, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite, fever and discharges from the eyes and/or nose. “Squinting” of the eyes is often the first sign observed. Once the virus enters the nervous system, convulsions, twitches or partial paralysis become evident. It is spread through all body secretions and is highly contagious. It is usually fatal.
Canine Parvovirus -A highly contagious, potentially fatal disease. It is transmitted through direct and indirect contact with infected dog feces. Signs include vomiting, fever, depression and diarrhea, which often will contain large amounts of blood. It is especially dangerous in young dogs but all unvaccinated dogs are at risk of contracting this severe disease.
Canine Hepatitis - An adenovirus disease which may lead to severe damage of the liver, kidneys, spleen and lungs. Spread through an infected dog’s urine. Exposure can mean anything from a mild infection to death. Puppies are at most risk with this disease.
Canine Parainfluenza - A highly contagious respiratory infection in dogs. It is transmitted readily by air-borne respiratory secretions. Infection by the parainfluenza virus produces coughing and fever. This virus is typically mild; however, secondary bacterial infection may occur and contribute to a more severe disease.
Canine Bordetella (Kennel Cough) - An extremely contagious infection of the upper respiratory tract that is characterized by a persistent, dry, hacking cough.
Canine Rabies - Rabies is fatal viral infection of the central nervous system that can affect all mammals, including humans. The virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. Routine vaccination is the key to controlling this dreaded disease