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Vaccination of Dogs and cats

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Vaccination Protocols for Dogs

Puppies - It is recommend starting puppies with their first wellness visit at the age of 8 weeks.

(starting vaccines earlier than 8 weeks of age is not recommended due to the level of interference from maternal antibodies.)

DHLPP Vaccine - recommended at 8, 12 and 16 weeks.
(the last distemper vaccine needs to be at 16 weeks or after - if series is completed before 16 weeks it may not be completely protective due to the interference of maternal antibodies.)

* The following is a description of each of the above vaccinations:

Canine DHLPP Vaccine: This vaccine is basically eight different vaccines put into one injection. The following are descriptions of the diseases included in this vaccine. This vaccine should be started at 8 weeks of age; boostered every 3-4 weeks until 4 months old; then once yearly.

Distemper: This disease is a paramyxovirus which is similar to human measles. It can cause fever, poor appetite, pneumonia and can continue on to cause neurological symptoms (which can be permanent) and death. It is transmitted mainly through saliva but can be potentially transmitted through any secretion.

Hepatitis: This disease is caused by an adenovirus. It primarily causes liver failure but can also affect the eyes and kidneys. The symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, changes in the cornea of the eye and even death. It is transmitted by bodily fluids, especially nasal discharge and urine.

Parainfluenza: The parainfluenza virus is one of several agents that can be part of the tracheobronchitis (kennel cough) disease. This virus causes mild disease unless combined with another virus or the bordetella bacteria. It causes a dry hacking cough and watery nasal discharge but can progress to pneumonia. If left untreated it can even cause death. It is transmitted by saliva and nasal discharge.

Parvovirus: This virus can cause severe, bloody diarrhea, severe dehydration, electrolyte imbalances and frequently death. It is transmitted through the feces. This virus is very hardy and can live in the environment for months under the right conditions.

Leptospirosis: This is a bacteria that is found in many types of outdoor environments. There are over 200+ strains for this bacteria. The vaccine does not cross protect (basically each strain needs its own vaccine). The symptoms can be either kidney or liver failure ? severe lethargy,fever, inappetance, vomiting, diarrhea and increased drinking/urination. Permanent kidney damage or death can also occur. It is transmitted through urine with contaminated water a likely source.

Rabies Vaccine - recommended at 16 weeks.

Rabies is a very serious disease transmitted by saliva either by bite wounds or saliva contact with open wounds. Incubation from time of exposure to symptoms is usually 3-6 weeks in the dog but can be as long as 6 months. It attacks brain cells and causes neurological symptoms. Once an animal gets rabies it is always fatal. Vaccination for rabies is required by Ghanaian law for dogs and keeping cats up to date with the rabies vaccine is also required.

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