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What Can I Vaccinate My Dog Against?

Canine Hepatitis

Infectious hepatitis is a virus that attacks the liver, blood vessels, immune system, kidneys, eyes, lungs, and heart.


Low energy (lethargy)
Eating less/off food completely
Drinking less


Pale or yellow gums
High temperature (fever)
Small red dots on gums or skin
Bloody vomit or diarrhoea
A painful/swollen belly
Unsteadiness/ seizures/fits
Sudden death
Cloudy blue eyes (after infection)


The disease can develop very quickly and sadly there is no specific treatment; however, vets will try and alleviate the signs and dogs can sometimes survive with intensive supportive treatment.

Canine Parvovirus

Parvovirus is a virus that causes severe illness and death in dogs. It damages the lining of the intestines, causing severe vomiting and diarrhoea. It also attacks infection-fighting cells inside the bone marrow, which weakens the immune system making it very difficult for dogs to recover.


Symptoms of parvovirus usually take three to seven days to appear and include:

Severe diarrhoea (foul smelling, watery and bloody)
Severely low energy (lethargy)
A very high, or very low temperature
Pale gums
Abdominal (tummy) pain
Reduced appetite


Dogs with parvo will require hospitalisation, often for many days, and will be put on a drip to correct dehydration. Antibiotics will be given to prevent any secondary infections as well as antiviral medication if available. Unfortunately a lot of dogs with parvo won’t survive, even with intensive supportive treatment, which is why it is so important to prevent the disease with vaccination in the first place.

Canine Distemper Virus

Distemper is a nasty virus that attacks several different organs in the body including the guts, heart, immune system, lungs, brain and nerves. Distemper causes a variety of symptoms ranging from mild cold-like signs to seizures and death.


High temperature (fever)
Runny eyes and nose (first watery then pussy)
Low energy (lethargy)
Loss of appetite
Thickened paw pads and nose (hard pad)
Fits and seizures.


There is no specific medicine that we can use to treat distemper (antibiotics don’t work because it’s a virus, not a bacteria) so instead, treatment involves supporting your dog’s body while they try to fight the infection. 

Even if a dog survives distemper there are often long-term effects such as muscle spasms, epileptic fits and even limb paralysis.


Leptospirosis (often shortened to lepto), is a bacterial disease that causes serious illness by damaging vital organs such as the liver and kidneys. Leptospirosis bacteria can spread in urine and can enter the body through the mouth, nose or wounds.


Fever (high temperature)
Jaundice (yellow gums and eyes)
Muscle pain and limping
Weakness and collapse
A reduced appetite
Drinking more
Bloody diarrhoea
Bleeding from the mouth and eyes
Mouth ulcers
Difficulty breathing.


Treatment will usually consist of antibiotics, fluid replacement, controlling the vomiting and other supportive liver treatments. Less severely affected dogs will recover but still carry the bacteria in their urine for months, posing an infection risk to other animals and humans.

Infectious Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough)

Kennel cough is an airway infection that causes a dry hacking cough in dogs. Similar to human colds, kennel cough can be caused by several different germs (viruses and bacteria).


Symptoms of kennel cough usually take 3-14 days to develop and then last for 1-3 weeks.

Most dogs develop a hacking cough and stay otherwise quite well, but puppies, older dogs, and poorly dogs can develop more serious symptoms such as:

A reduced appetite
Low energy (lethargy)
A high temperature (fever).


Kennel cough may go away on its own if your dog’s immune system is able to fight off the condition, but many puppies need prescription medication to help them recover. It is best to get your dog checked out by your vet at the first signs of coughing as not only will they be posing an infection risk to other puppies, but the longer the condition persists, the higher the chance of more serious complications, such as pneumonia.


Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that damages the brain and nerves. The rabies virus spreads in saliva (spit), often through a bite, and can affect any mammal including dogs, cats, ferrets, humans and wild animals. Sadly, rabies is a fatal disease for which there is no cure. Fortunately, a rabies vaccination is available (but this is only necessary for pets travelling outside the UK).


Sudden changes in behaviour such as:
Becoming over-friendly and attention seeking
Becoming fearful and aggressive

Paralysis and weakness such as:
Droopy face
Excessive drooling
Muscle weakness

Difficulty walking
Coma and death
Noise and light sensitivity.


Sadly, there is no treatment for rabies and it’s always fatal. It’s only possible to confirm rabies at post-mortem (after death). Anyone (animal or human) in contact with an infected animal is at risk of getting the disease if they are bitten

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