Even though it may seem inconvenient to have to take your dog to the veterinarian on a regular basis for vaccinations over the course of several months and then again for boosters or titers throughout its lifetime, the diseases that vaccinations protect our pets from are dangerous, potentially fatal, and, thankfully, largely preventable.

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is an infection of the upper airways, often known as infectious tracheobronchitis. It frequently involves many infections occurring at once and can be brought on by bacterial, viral, or other infections, including Bordetella and canine parainfluenza. The illness typically only results in brief episodes of hard, dry coughing, although it can occasionally be severe enough to cause retching, gagging, and appetite loss. It occasionally can be fatal. It spreads swiftly across kennels because it is so easily transferred between dogs housed in close quarters. Except in severe, chronic situations, antibiotics are typically not required. A dog may feel more at ease on cough suppressants.

Parvovirus

All dogs are susceptible to the extremely contagious parvovirus, but unvaccinated animals and pups under the age of four months are particularly at risk. The virus targets the digestive tract, causing nausea, vomiting, fever, and frequently very severe, bloody diarrhea. In order to save a dog from extreme dehydration, which can kill them in 48 to 72 hours, immediate medical care is essential. Since there is no treatment, keeping the dog hydrated and managing the side effects can help him survive until his immune system recovers.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica

This bacterium is extremely contagious and can result in severe coughing, whooping, vomiting, and, in rare instances, convulsions and death. It is the main reason kennel cough occurs. There are nasal spray and injectable vaccinations available.

Proof of this immunization will frequently be needed if you intend to board your puppy in the future, go to group training sessions, or use dog daycare services.

Heartworm

Although they can migrate through the rest of the body and occasionally infiltrate the liver and kidneys, these worms typically settle in the right side of the heart and the pulmonary arteries (which carry blood to the lungs). The worms, which may reach a length of 14 inches, might group together to obstruct and harm organs.

Although dogs with advanced heartworm disease may cough, become lethargic, lose their appetite, or have respiratory difficulties, fresh heartworm infections sometimes have no signs at all. After light exercise, infected dogs may become exhausted. Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes, as opposed to the majority of the illnesses listed here, which are transmitted through the urine, feces, and other bodily fluids. As a result, a blood test rather than a fecal check is used to make the diagnosis.

Rabies

The symptoms of rabies, a virus that affects mammals, include a headache, nervousness, hallucinations, profuse drooling, dread of water, paralysis, and death. The most common way for it to spread is by a rabid animal’s bite. Treatment must begin as soon as possible after infection; else, death is very likely. The majority of states mandate ongoing rabies vaccines. Consult your veterinarian for information on local rabies vaccination regulations.

Canine Distemper

Distemper is a serious and contagious illness that affects dogs, raccoons, skunks, and other animals’ mental, GI, and respiratory systems. It is transferred through airborne exposure (through sneezing or coughing from an affected animal). Additionally, equipment and sharing water and food bowls might spread the illness. Eye and nasal discharges, fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, twitching, paralysis, and, frequently, death are all symptoms. Because it causes the footpad to thicken and stiffen, this illness was formerly known as “hard pad.”

Distemper has no known treatment. Supportive care and efforts to stop secondary infections, control vomiting and seizure symptoms, among other things, make up the course of treatment. It is thought that the dog’s immune system would have a chance to fight it off if the animal endures the symptoms. Dogs with the infection can continue to shed it for weeks.

Coronavirus

The virus that causes COVID-19 in humans is not the same as the canine coronavirus. There is no proof that COVID-19 makes dogs sick, and it is not believed to pose a health risk to them. Although it can potentially cause respiratory infections, canine coronavirus mostly has an impact on dogs’ digestive systems. The majority of GI symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, are indicators. No medication can destroy coronaviruses, but doctors can keep a dog hydrated, warm, and comfortable and help with nausea.

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