We vaccinate puppies and dogs to protect them against serious and potentially fatal infections: distemper, infectious hepatitis, parvovirus and leptospirosis (see below).
Most dogs also have some risk of "Kennel Cough", which is contagious from other dogs anywhere they meet, very common and quite distressing as it often causes a prolonged cough. There is a separate vaccine available against Kennel Cough.
Leptospirosis is a widespread bacterial disease that affects dogs, wild rodents such as rats, and many other species. It is transmitted by contact with the urine of infected animals either directly or indirectly from a contaminated environment such as still or slow-moving water. It can progress to potentially fatal liver or kidney failure. Any dog that is exercised outdoors is potentially at risk.
By far the best way to protect your dog from leptospirosis is to vaccinate. This also helps prevent shedding of the bacteria in their urine. The bacteria can also infect humans, so vaccination not only provides immunity for your pet, it also helps protect you and your family from potential exposure. Vaccines against leptospirosis provide immunity from disease for one year, but that immunity is likely to wane thereafter. We give the vaccine as part of a regular booster regime.
Leptospirosis vaccines have been available for over five decades. All of them targeted the two most common forms of the bacterium. However, in recent years, across the UK, Europe and the USA, new varieties of leptospirosis have emerged. For this reason experts have recommended the use of newer vaccines which target four strains (L4) of the disease rather than the traditional two.
The overall incidence of suspected adverse reactions to L4 vaccine products is considered to be rare: fewer than 7 for every 10,000 doses.
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