Vaccines for your Dog
Parvovirus was first diagnosed after it reached epidemic proportions in the United States, killing millions of dogs in the early 1980’s. Since then the virus has become manageable through vaccination but remains as the number one fatal infectious disease of dogs. The virus is very contagious and is spread by contact with infected feces. Parvovirus attacks the lining of the intestinal tract and the heart of young pups. The hallmark signs are vomiting and profuse bloody diarrhea. Collapse and death are common in unvaccinated puppies. A blood test confirms the diagnosis. No cure exists. Treatment consists of supportive care. Fluids to maintain the blood volume, prevent shock and correct dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea can be lifesaving. Fluids and other medications must be given through a catheter inserted into a vein (intravenously) until the vomiting stops. Once vomiting stops, oral fluids are introduced along with a bland diet. Prevention is the key. A vaccine and a nosode are available to prevent parvovirus disease.
PARVOVIRUS COMPLEMENTARY THERAPY:
Vitamin C – 250-2000mg per day depending on size; Vitamin E – 25-100 IU per day; Acidophilus – to replace bacteria lost in diarrhea; Peppermint Tea – helps with nausea and dry cough. CORONA VIRUS causes or contributes to the parvovirus-like intestinal disease. The primary sign is diarrhea. Like parvovirus, there is no cure for coronavirus. Supportive therapy is critical and is as for parvovirus. Prevention by vaccination is recommended for all dogs.
INFECTIOUS CANINE HEPATITIS
Infectious Canine Hepatitis is caused by two strains of Adeno Virus, Type I and Type II. This disease is spread by contact with an infected dog’s urine and/or feces. The virus causes hepatitis which is defined as inflammation of the liver. Blindness may also be a result. Initially signs include a high fever, depression and appetite loss. Later vomiting occurs and jaundice develops. Jaundice is a yellowish discoloration to the skin, gums and whites of the eyes and occurs when the liver is unable to function normally. Hepatitis is a serious disease and can be fatal in puppies. In those that recover, liver damage may be permanent. A Liver Biopsy confirms the diagnosis. The biopsy involves microscopic examination of a piece of liver tissue removed under local anesthesia using ultrasound.
No cure exists. Therapy is supportive for liver dysfunction and consists of fluids and antibiotics along with specific nutrients and vitamins.
Prevention is recommended for all dogs. A Vaccine and a nosode are available.
Leptospirosis is caused by organisms called spirochetes and results in damage to the liver and kidneys. Prior to the vaccine, this disease was fatal. Leptospirosis is spread to dogs and humans by contact with infected urine.
These organisms can enter the body though cuts and scratches as well as through the lining of the mouth, throat, and eyes. Infection can occur after contact with infected urine or contaminated water, such as in sewers, ditches, ponds, and slow-flowing rivers. Dogs are usually infected by swimming in ponds contaminated with rat urine. People become infected by accidental contact with their dogs urine. Rat urine may also contaminate animal feedstuffs on farms, which is a source of infection for cattle and dairy farmers.
Prevention involves vaccinating dogs annually and getting rid of rats. People should be sure all their cuts are covered and wear protective clothing while working in high-risk areas. Always wash your hands after handling any animal, or any contaminated clothing or other materials, and always before eating, drinking, or smoking. Report any illness to your doctor.
Leptospirosis is much less severe if diagnosed early and treated promptly. Antibiotics can be curative. Recovered animals can act as healthy carriers, spreading the disease to others but showing no signs themselves.
Rabies is a viral disease affecting all warm-blooded animals, including man and dogs. The virus is shed in the saliva and transmitted through a bite wound. The virus attacks the nerves, resulting in paralysis and death. In the United States, cat Rabies is a major concern. The incidence is increasing and currently the number of documented cases of feline Rabies exceeds that of all other domestic animals. Rabies in wildlife is the underlying problem. Bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes are the most important wildlife reservoirs. Because of the fatal outcome and potential for human exposure, Rabies vaccination is a law in most states. All puppies and kittens 12 weeks of age or older can receive an initial shot which is repeated at one or three year intervals, depending on the vaccine. If you suspect that your pet has been exposed to Rabies, contact your local health department. Possible exposures include finding a bat in your house, being bitten by certain wild animals, discovering bite wounds on your pet or receiving an unprovoked bite from a dog, cat or ferret. Recently most cases of Human Rabies have been associated with bats. If you find a bat in your home, don’t kill it and don’t let it go. Contact health authorities. The intact bat brain is needed to test for Rabies, which will determine whether or not Rabies treatment is necessary.
For you to protect your family and your pets from Rabies, vaccinate your pets regularly, avoid wild and/or unfamiliar animals and don’t keep wild animals as pets.