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Many vaccines available for dogs in a single shot

By HELEN PALMER

K9 Corner

A reader asked if her dog really needed to be protected from all the diseases listed. She was afraid her dog would be a problem if he had to be stuck that many times. I was happy that I could tell her that most of the vaccines for the diseases she mentioned are incorporated in one shot.

Since I have not recently covered the various diseases for which we have vaccines, this might be a good time to go over them again.

The most important is rabies. This disease is the only one covered by law; you are required to keep your pets and working stock (including barn cats) vaccinated against this disease. It is a separate shot. Rabies is a fatal disease; it is carried in wildlife such as skunks, raccoons, foxes and bats as well as other mammals and can be transmitted to humans. Low-cost rabies clinics are scheduled by the county public health departments around May and June of each year.  Occasionally, additional clinics may be scheduled if there is a confirmed outbreak of rabies in the area.

Distemper vaccine is essential. In this region of the country, the canine distemper virus is especially virulent. Without the vaccine or immediate diagnosis and medical treatment, this disease is considered fatal to the dog. The symptoms are fever, runny nose and eyes and later, lethargy, depression and death.

The second in the combined vaccine is for hepatitis. This is a strain specific to dogs. It primarily affects the liver, kidneys and lining of the blood vessels. It can be mild or rapidly fatal. It is highly contagious.

Third is the parvovirus vaccine. Parvovirus appeared in 1978 and spread rapidly throughout the world. The virus can be carried on shoes and clothing. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. Puppies that contract this disease become rapidly dehydrated and can die within hours of the first symptoms.

Fourth is the parainfluenza vaccine that protects against one of the strains of kennel cough. The adenovirus vaccine may be added in some inoculations, but the Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccine is separate. There are six strains of bacteria that cause kennel cough, but the vaccines help prevent or reduce the severity of most cases.

Corona virus may be included in this one shot vaccine. It is similar to parvovirus in its symptoms, but the disease appears to be milder than the parvovirus, at least in adult dogs.

Finally, there is the Leptospirosis vaccine. Leptospirosis is caused by the Leptospira bacterin. This vaccine protects against two strains of bacteria that cause leptospirosis. The bacterium is carried by rats and mice and is excreted in the urine. The disease causes loss of appetite and affects the kidneys, liver and digestive tract. This organism causes a disease in humans called Weil’s Disease, so precautions should be taken when handling sick animals or cleaning their quarters. This vaccine may or may not be included in the combination shot.