No loving and compassionate dog owner wants to think about their furry best friend becoming unwell, but the sad fact is that canines are just as likely to be affected by illness as we are. Not only can dogs develop medical ailments due to problems with the way their body functions, they can also catch many different viruses and diseases that are spread throughout the canine population. Some of these are airborne while others are transmitted through contact with the bodily fluids of an infected animal such as their saliva or feces.
Unfortunately, many of the infectious diseases that can affect your pet can have serious consequences for her health and well-being. Left untreated, some can prove fatal, while others, known as zoonotic diseases, can spread from animals to humans, potentially putting your family at risk too. The good news is that vaccinations have proven to be a highly effective way at protecting our animals from these dangerous diseases.
Nevertheless, there are some points during your dog’s life when he is at greater risk of disease. We have detailed more information about this below and explained just why ensuring your canine is up to date with his vaccinations, especially during this period, is so important.
Why puppies are at greater risk of disease
The main reason that puppies are at greater risk of developing disease is because, like the rest of their body, their immune system is still immature. While your pup will still receive antibodies in the milk of their mothers, these will gradually diminish and by around 10 weeks of age, your furbaby will be unprotected. For this reason, routine vaccinations of young dogs take please within the first 16 weeks of their life. By this time, animal scientists have found that the maternal antibodies have faded, and the vaccines given will be fully effective.
Although there is a recommended schedule of vaccinations for puppies, this is purely a guideline and if there is anything to suggest that this might not be suitable for your dog, your veterinarian will suggest an alternative vaccination program.
Older dogs are more likely to be affected by disease
Much like us, our dog’s ability to fend of illnesses and diseases starts to decline as they get older. The number of health problems that they are likely to experience rises and their immune system may become compromised as a result. Unfortunately, many people believe that since their dog will have had multiple vaccinations throughout their life, their immunity to disease should be fairly high. Nevertheless, the antibodies responsible for protecting our canine companions still only have a certain lifespan and after this time, your pet may be more vulnerable to disease. Therefore, it is just as important to keep your older dog protected using vaccines as it is your younger dog.
Increased disease risks for dogs in social settings
Perhaps it should go without saying that large groups of dogs in one location is a recipe for disease-related disaster if the animals are not suitably vaccinated. This is because most infectious diseases are spread either through virus particles in the air, or direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected animal such as saliva, urine or, most commonly, feces. Since dogs are well known for burying their noses in the behinds or excrement of other animals, it is little wonder that diseases can spread like wildfire among animals living or spending large amounts of time in social settings. This includes boarding kennels, animal shelters and even dog training classes.
If you would like more information about the infectious diseases that could put your dog’s health and well-being at risk, or if you would like to arrange a vaccination appointment for your canine pal, our team would be pleased to assist you. Please contact us and get in touch with our offices today.