Ever wondered what all those letters in your dog's vaccination record mean? Let's take a look at and what they mean and why they need them...
Most of us know our dogs require vaccinations to protect them against a range of diseases, but very few pet owners actually know what we're protecting them against. We're told by the vet and breeder when we buy a new puppy, that they need to have their 'puppy injections' and then as adults a 'booster'... but what does it all mean?
In your dog's vaccination card, you will see a range of stickers with information including the manufacturers name, batch numbers and expiry dates. There are also a series of letters DHP, L and KC, these letters stand for the diseases protected by the vaccinations.
A viral disease found in dogs, ferrets, badgers and foxes, which is spread through direct or indirect contact with an affected animal i.e. you take your dog on a walk and it comes into contact with another infected animal or something it has touched.
The signs can vary from animal to animal and the outcome too can vary, for some animals this disease will prove fatal whilst for others it will leave them with permanent neurological problems or blindness. Luckily for our pets, thanks to vaccine effectiveness, this disease is well controlled in the UK so we see very few cases.
Infectious Canine Hepatitis (H)
This hardy virus can survive in the environment for months and if contracted results in severe and potentially fatal liver damage for dogs. Again, vaccination against it is highly successful so the disease is uncommon in the UK.
Often referred to as Parvo, this virus is unfortunately still widespread in the UK as it is highly contagious and easily transmitted from dog to dog through contact with contaminated environments i.e. beds, food bowls, toys, footpaths etc. Whilst it's common to see young, un-vaccinated puppies with the disease, it can affects older dogs too.
The signs usually begin with lack of appetite and refusing food and water, followed quickly by vomitting and bloody diarrhoea, which will result in the dog becoming severely dehydrated. Once dehydrated the dog will go into shock and the organs will begin to fail over time. In very young puppies or weaker dogs, this can sadly be too much and treatment isn't always successful.
With regular vaccinations the chances of your dog picking up this nasty virus is very low.
Leptospirosis is a bacteria, of which there are several strains found widely in the environment, shed by host animals like rats and other rodents. Once shed, the bacteria can survive in damp conditions like ponds and rivers for quite a while, which poses a serious risk for dogs who enjoy swimming and walking in such places.
The disease affects the liver and kidneys and in serious cases can be fatal. Luckily vaccines are very effective and at Brentknoll we use the latest L4 vaccine, which protects against the 4 most prevalent strains found in the UK (note, some practices and breeders are still using the L2 which only protects against 2 strains).
Additional Vaccinations - Bordetella tracheobronchitis (KC)
Also known as Kennel Cough, this highly infectious disease is well known for it's 'honking' or dry hacking cough. Whilst the name suggests your dog is only at risk when visiting kennels, it can be picked up anywhere dogs meet and it's highly contagious.
Vaccination against Kennel cough is effective, however vaccinated dogs may still catch the disease, (although their symptoms typically are less severe than those who haven't received the vaccine.)
If you are in doubt about your dog's vaccinations and what they are or are not protected against, our staff are always happy to help. Simply bring your vaccination card in for team to check that your pet is fully protected.
Note : Check our next blog post (goes live 15/04/18) to find out why it's important to vaccinate your pets annually