Parvovirus is a very serious viral infection, with several outbreaks reported in the UK every year. Infection can cause severe vomiting, bloody diarrhoea and dehydration. The most severely affected cases are usually young unvaccinated dogs, however, it can affect dogs of any age. Intensive emergency treatment is necessary however despite this many don’t survive. After the primary vaccination course dogs require a vaccination one year later then every three years.
Canine Distemper cases in the UK have vastly decreased due to vaccination. Distemper can cause severe disease affecting many organs in the body. Signs can include a high temperature, discharge from the eyes and nose, coughing, vomiting and diarrhoea. Thickening of the skin on the foot pads and nose can occur. Dogs which survive the initial stages can develop neurological complications including seizures. After the primary vaccination course dogs require a vaccination one year later then every three years.
Canine Infectious Hepatitis
The signs of this disease can be variable. Some dogs show no obvious signs and others develop serious signs including fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain and jaundice. In some cases sudden death can occur before any signs of disease are evident. After the primary vaccination course dogs require a vaccination one year later then every three years.
This disease is caused by a bacteria which is shed in urine of infected rodents and dogs and can be passed to humans. When the urine enters water systems it is rapidly spread. The most common clinical sign is acute kidney failure (90% of cases) with acute liver failure in 10-20% of cases. Other signs include fever, depression, anorexia, vomiting, abdominal pain and in some cases breathing difficulties. Jaundice will also occur in cases with liver failure. In severely affected animals intensive treatment is needed with intravenous antibiotics and supportive care in hospital. Some animals can become carriers and need a prolonged antibiotic course to prevent them shedding it in their urine and spreading it to other animals and people. This vaccine is the one least likely to provide adequate and prolonged protection, and therefore must be administered annually.
There are many different types (serovars) of leptospirosis bacteria. The most important ones are:
- Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae (Weil’s disease in humans) – This can be passed to humans causing Weil’s disease. It is responsible for the majority of cases diagnosed in the UK.
- Leptospira canicola – clinical cases of this disease are now rare thanks to vaccination.
- Leptospira gryppotyphosa – this has not been found in UK but is commonly found in a number of European countries, in particular Germany but also Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Slovakia, Croatia and the Czech Republic.
- Leptospira bratislava – this has been isolated in the UK however not so commonly as in Europe and clinical disease is most likely to occur when large numbers of dogs are kept together.
There are 2 types of leptospirosis vaccination in the UK:
- Lepto 2: This is the classic leptospirosis vaccine used in the UK and protects against serovars Leptospira. canicola and Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae (serogroups L. canicola and L. icterohaemorrhagiae). Currently, due to the known circulating pathogenic serogroups in the geographical area we advise vaccination with a Lepto 2 vaccine as standard. For any dog with no intention of leaving the UK then this vaccine usually provides adequate protection.
- Lepto 4: With the increasing number of dogs travelling to Europe under the Pet Travel Scheme the risk of bringing novel strains of Leptospira bacteria into the UK is increasing. With this in mind it is recommended to vaccinate any dog travelling to Europe with the new Lepto 4 vaccine. Lepto 4 protects against serovars L. canicola, L. copenhageni, L. bratislava and L. dadas (serogroups L. canicola, L. icterohaemorrhagiae, L. australis and L. gryppotyphosa). The vaccination interval between 1st and 2nd vaccination for Lepto 4 is 28 days. We are continually re-assessing the situation in the UK and our advice may change in future. You can discuss this in more detail with a vet.
This upper respiratory tract infection is spread very easily between dogs in any environment and they can easily be exposed to it on a walk. Dogs are often contagious before any clinical signs develop. While fatalities are rare, it can be a very uncomfortable illness causing a hacking persistent cough often followed by retching.
There are many different pathogens that contribute to Kennel Cough, but the most common are the:
- Canine Parainfluenza Virus
- Bordetella Bronchiseptica Bacteria
Vaccination against Kennel Cough should be considered if your dog has any contact with other dogs (for example on walks) due to the airborne spread. Occasionally for a few days after vaccination a mild discharge from the eyes and nose with a mild cough or sneeze can occur. This vaccine does not provide prolonged protection, and therefore, must be administered annually.