This page will explain the importance of Vaccinations, prevention of fleas & ticks and Desexing of your much loved pet
Why Are Vaccinations So Important and Why We insist on them......
Canine parvovirus causes severe, debilitating disease in dogs of all ages. Young puppies are most susceptible to infection and the development of severe disease. Dogs and puppies can die within days of contracting the disease. Signs of parvoviral infection include vomiting, diarrhea (usually containing blood), severe abdominal pain and depression. Canine parvovirus can remain in the environment for over 12 months. All dogs should be vaccinated.
Distemper is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease affecting dogs of all ages. This virus attacks the nervous system and typical signs include fever, discharge from the eyes and nose, respiratory problems, loss of appetite, skin reactions, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle spasms and convulsions. Dogs that do recover from this disease may have thickened foot pads, damaged teeth, permanent brain damage and progressive paralysis. All dogs should be vaccinated.
Canine hepatitis is a highly infectious disease which causes liver damage in dogs. Puppies are most at risk and signs of infection include fever, ocular lesions, respiratory signs, jaundice, depression, lack of appetite, diarrhoea and abdominal pain (due to liver enlargement). The virus is passed by contact with infected dogs and through contact with the urine of infected dogs. It can continue to infect dogs for months after apparent recovery from disease. This virus can also cause long-term kidney and liver problems in older dogs. All dogs should be vaccinated.
Kennel (canine) Cough
This is a disease complex caused by a variety of viruses and bacteria. It is not confined to kennels as the name suggests. The two most important causes of Kennel Cough are considered to be parainfluenza (Type II) virus and the bacteria, Bordetella bronchiseptica. This disease is typified by a persistent hacking cough. It is not usually fatal but it causes significant distress to the dog and owner. Some animals will stop eating and may become depressed and lethargic. Kennel cough can be treated with antibiotics, nursing and rest, however, it is best to try to prevent the disease in the first instance. All dogs should be vaccinated.
Canine leptospirosis is a disease commonly associated with dogs that come into contact with rats and native rodents. It is particularly common in areas around rubbish tips and areas of annual crop harvests.
Your veterinarian will advise if vaccination is required for this disease.
After vaccination care
Vaccines are biological products and they are designed to stimulate the immune system. Therefore it is not unusual for an animal to develop signs of local discomfort or swelling at the site of injection. Very occasionally particularly sensitive pets may over-react to the vaccine and in these rare instances you should consult your veterinarian immediately. These reactions do not mean that your dog is not being protected by the vaccine. These reactions are very uncommon. The protection provided by a single course of vaccinations wanes slowly over time and it is advised that you re-vaccinate your dog every 12 months to ensure on-going and strong immunity.
Fleas & Ticks
Prevention is better than cure. I would suggest talking to your vet about a good prevention programme.
We use Bayer products with good success. When you use Bayer’s proven range of products – Advantage, Advocate and Advantix – your valuable animals get invaluable cover against a broad spectrum of parasites.
Here is a quick overview of their products.
1. Kills fleas fast: Advantage kills 100% of existing fleas within 12 hours of application and has shown to kill adult and larval fleas within 20 mins of contact.
2. Stops fleas biting within 3-5 mins
3. Larvicidal effect: Proven ability to destroy 99% of flea larvae in the pet’s surroundings
4. Waterproof: Advantage remains effective even if your pet goes swimming or is bathed and shampooed
5. Advantage is so gentle you can use it on puppies and kittens
Provides the broadest spectrum parasite control in dogs and cats
1. Stops fleas feeding within 3-5 mins, kills adult and larval fleas within 20 mins of contact and kills larval stages in the pets surroundings.
2. Heartworm Prevention. Monthly use of Advocate prevents heartworm in dogs and cats
3. Gastrointestinal worm treatment and prevention. All adult, immature and L3/L4 stages of, roundworm, hookworm and treats whipworm in dogs
4. Treats and controls generalised demodicosis in dogs
5. Sarcoptic mange mite
6. Treats and controls ear mites
7. Controls lice
Advantix for dogs:
1. Repels ticks – preventing ticks from attaching
2. Kills repelled ticks after they drop off your dog
3. Repels and kills mosquitoes and sandflies
4. Most effective flea control
5. Easy to use. No spraying or mess, just a simple topical application every 14 days
Alternative there are many products on the market, we recommend you speak to your vet.
DESEXING - These are some common misconceptions about neutering dogs, but the advantages of desexing your dog are too important to ignore.
What are the advantages of neutering dogs?
The most obvious effect of neutering is that the pet will no longer be able to breed. Thousands of unwanted puppies and kittens are surrendered to animal shelters, especially in spring and summer. Many of these cute little fur balls are the result of their owners being slow off the mark in having their pets desexed.
Some who own pure bred dogs will breed a litter on the assumption that they will make additional income when they sell the pups. There could be nothing further from the truth! Rearing puppies is an expensive and time-consuming pastime and, while it’s fun, your bank balance will be adversely affected.
There are health reasons for having dogs desexed, too. Your desexed female will not have the strain of continual litters depleting her body of essential nutrients. She is also much less likely to develop mammary carcinomas (breast cancer) as she ages. Desexing also eliminates the occurrence of ‘false pregnancies’ - a common problem in female dogs - and she will not develop potential life-threatening but all-too-common infections of the reproductive tract.
When you castrate your male dog, he will lead a healthier and much more content life. Health wise, he will be less likely to develop problems with his prostate gland, and the chance of the development of tumours in the testes will be eliminated.
The biggest behavioural effect of castration is the reduction in roaming. Roaming behaviour is reduced in 90 percent of male dogs after castration. It also greatly reduces aggression of one male dog towards another male and reduces ‘leg lifting’ (urine marking) behaviour. It will also reduce undesirable sexual behaviours such, as mounting and masturbation.
Are there any disadvantages of spaying?
Your dog’s personality, intelligence, or activity will not be affected by spaying. It is a myth that female dogs should be allowed one litter, or one heat period before spaying. In fact, it increases the risk of mammary cancer. Some dogs put on weight after the operation. Feeding the correct amount of an appropriate diet, and exercise, will ensure your dog does not become overweight.
What about aggression? The effects of neutering on aggression are a little variable as there are many different types of aggression. It reduces dominance-based aggression but has little effect if the aggression is fear based. If your dog is aggressive in any manner, neutering it is always a good idea. Even if it doesn’t help with the aggression, at least he will not pass his aggressive genes to any pups he may sire.
You can have your dog desexed anytime from eight weeks of age onwards. The most common age is at five to six months. There is no benefit in allowing your bitch to have a litter of puppies before she is desexed. It will not make her more content. Neither is there any advantage in allowing her to have a season nor to come in heat before being desexed.
For your male dog, there is absolutely no advantage in allowing him to service a bitch before he is neutered.
Pyometra in Dogs
How does pyometra occur?
Bacteria from the vagina gain access to the uterus through the cervix that is open during oestrus, and colonise the lining of the uterus after oestrus (heat, season) when the lining is thickened due to the influence of hormones. Pyometra is most often seen around 8 weeks after heat in the non-pregnant bitch.
How is pyometra diagnosed? Signs of pyometra include inappetance, depression, excessive thirst, and vomiting. If these signs occur 8 to 10 weeks after oestrus then pyometra is suspected. Pyometra may be ‘open’ or ‘closed’ which refers to the state of the cervix. In open pyometra pus can escape from the uterus, resulting in a vaginal discharge. No discharge is seen in closed pyometra, so an X-ray may be required to confirm the presence of an enlarged pus-filled uterus. Blood tests indicate the presence of infection. Since kidney failure can occur in pyometra, blood and urine tests are performed to check kidney function.
What is the treatment? Pyometra is usually a surgical emergency since it is fatal without treatment. If the dog is severely affected, she may need to be stabilized with intravenous fluids and antibiotics before surgery. Some dogs will die despite surgery due to overwhelming infection causing septic shock.
If the dog is a valuable breeding bitch and the pyometra is open, medical treatment may be effective, although the rate of recurrence is high and the dog may not respond, becoming critically ill in the meantime. Medical treatment with prostaglandins is therefore not recommended.
Prostate Problems in Dogs
What are the signs of a prostate problem?
An enlarged prostate can have several effects. Since it encircles the urethra it can obstruct the passage of urine so that affected dogs have trouble urinating. The prostate is located under the colon so that as it enlarges it can compress the colon leading to constipation.
Inflammation and infection of the prostate can result in bloody, cloudy urine and/or a urethral discharge that can be pus or blood.
An infection can cause an elevated temperature and other signs of illness such as inappetance, listlessness, and vomiting.
What disorders can affect the prostate?
Most older entire male dogs develop Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. It is a non-cancerous increase in the number and size of the prostate cells and is due to long-term exposure to testosterone. Sometimes fluid-filled cysts form within the gland.
Infection of the prostate is called prostatitis. Bacteria gain entry to the gland via the urethra or from the bloodstream. In some cases the infection becomes localized to form a prostatic abscess.
Paraprostatic cysts are fluid-filled cysts that develop next to the prostate, and are connected to the gland by a thin stalk. They arise from remnants of foetal tissue and although they start to develop soon after birth only cause problems years later.
Squamous metaplasia is also non-cancerous, and is caused by excessive amounts of oestrogen, usually due to an oestrogen-producing tumour of the testis called a Sertoli cell tumour.
Prostatic neoplasia or cancer is usually malignant and occur with equal frequency in entire and desexed dogs.
How are prostate problems diagnosed?
A rectal exam is performed to palpate the gland and feel for enlargement, asymmetry, masses, and abnormal texture. Radiographs (X-rays) or an ultrasound allow visualization of an enlarged prostate. Sometimes specialized radiographic techniques are required.
To differentiate between the many disorders of the prostate, tests include urinanalysis, urine culture, blood tests, and examination of prostatic fluid. Prostate tissue can be obtained by biopsy, and examined for a more accurate diagnosis.
What is the treatment? Specific treatment depends on the underlying problem. Intravenous fluids are required for ill patients, and enemas, urinary catheterization, and analgesics may be indicated.
Infections are treated with antibiotics, but abscesses need major abdominal surgery since antibiotics cannot penetrate into an abscess. Paraprostatic cysts also require surgery.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia is treated with anti-androgen drugs and castration.
Neoplasia (cancer) does not respond well to any form of treatment and has a very poor prognosis. Radiation, chemotherapy, and surgical removal of the prostate may be recommended depending on the type of neoplasia present.
Have no hesitation in having your dog desexed. A neutered dog is a cut above the rest.