Dog Vaccinations

Dog vaccinations

At Towy Vets we recommend that all dogs are vaccinated against the life threatening diseases that we still see in the dog population today.

The vaccinations that we provide can protect against these diseases:

  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Parvovirus
  • Parainfluenza
  • Leptospirosis
  • Kennel Cough
  • Rabies


The Primary Vaccination Course

Puppies may start their vaccination course as early as 6 weeks of age. If you acquire or have an older puppy or adult dog that is unvaccinated or has an unknown vaccination history, please book it in for its vaccinations straight away. Remember that the protective effects of vaccination are not immediate and our vet will advise when your puppy may be taken out for walks safely.

The primary vaccination course is made up of two vaccinations given two weeks apart. Your puppy will be given a full health check at both visits.


Booster Vaccinations

Annual boosters are vital to maintain the immunity which will protect your dog from these infections and provide an opportunity for a yearly health check by the vet. It is important to ensure your pet’s vaccination status does not lapse as this may result in your dog having to start their vaccination course again.


Record of Vaccination

On completion of your dog’s primary course, you will be given a record card providing a record of vaccination and advising when the next booster is due. Boarding kennels and training classes will require this before accepting your dog. Please remember to bring this certificate to the surgery each time your dog has vaccinations so that it can be updated.


The Diseases

Canine Parvovirus – Canine Parvovirus is a small but extremely hardy virus that can survive in the environment for long periods. The main source of infection is the faeces of infected dogs; the virus can also be spread on shoes and clothing and on the coat and pads of dogs.

Enteritis is seen in any age of dog from about four weeks of age, but most commonly in dogs less than one year old. Signs appear quickly and usually consist of depression, severe vomiting, refusal of food and water, abdominal pain and profuse smelly, bloody diarrhoea. This can result in rapid and severe dehydration leading to death.

Unfortunately Parvovirus is still commonly seen in unvaccinated dogs. Vaccination and annual boosters are vital to protect against this disease.


Canine Distemper – Whilst vaccination has resulted in a decrease in the incidence of this disease in recent years, many pockets of infection still exist, especially in large cities, which result in regular local outbreaks. The main source of infection is by inhalation during close dog to dog contact: signs may take up to three weeks to appear. Dogs less than one year of age are most commonly affected.

Typically, the first signs are runny nose and eyes with coughing and vomiting, followed by unusual tiredness, lack of appetite and diarrhoea. After several weeks there may also be a thickening of the pads, and nervous signs, including twitching or even fits. Dogs that survive may suffer from deformed teeth or even develop nervous signs later in life.

Treatment of canine distemper is often unsuccessful – vaccination is the best form of protection.


Infectious Canine Hepatitis (Canine Adenovirus, Canine Viral Hepatitis, Rubarth’s Disease) – Infectious Canine Hepatitis, which mainly attacks the liver, can rapidly be fatal. Transmission is by close dog to dog contact; dogs recovering from the disease may be a source of infection for more than 6 months. Dogs are most commonly affected in the first year of life, but all ages are susceptible.

Early signs include general discomfort and lack of appetite, very high temperature, pale gums and conjunctiva, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Subsequently, the dog may develop jaundice. In some dogs that recover, a clouding of the cornea, known as “blue eye” occurs, which will usually resolve.


Leptospirosis – Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria that are spread in the urine of infected animals. It can spread to humans by skin contact with infected urine. Two forms of disease are seen:

  • Leptospira icterhaemorrhagiae (Weil’s disease)
    This is contracted from rats, most commonly via contact with infected urine or rat-infested water. The liver is the main organ affected, although the kidneys may be involved. Signs are usually a high temperature, severe thirst, lethargy, increased urination abdominal pain, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea and jaundice.Death can occur in a few hours in severe cases.
  • Leptospira canicola
    This is contracted from the infected urine of other dogs. Milder signs are often seen with the kidneys being the main organs affected; jaundice is seen less often and is less severe. However, damage to the kidneys may cause problems later in life. Dogs that recover can excrete the bacteria in their urine for up to a year and thus, be a source of infection.


Kennel Cough Syndrome (Infectious Canine Tracheobronchitis) – Kennel Cough is an infectious disease that can be picked up especially when dogs stay in boarding kennels.

Although there are other organisms which can cause Kennel Cough, infection with Bordetella Bronchiseptica can lead to a persistent hacking cough that lasts for several weeks. Dogs can pick up Bordetella anywhere; it doesn’t have to be in kennels. The infection spreads from dog to dog through the air and dogs are just as likely to catch Kennel Cough at shows, training classes or wherever dogs are grouped together.

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