Perfect Pooches: It may not be necessary to have your dogs vaccinated every year

Do you know what you are vaccinating your dog against?

Saturday, 3rd April 2021, 12:30 pm
Vaccinations to a new puppy or rescue dog are very important and should never be missed. Photo: Getty Images

It has always baffled me why we take our dogs for yearly vaccinations. So, let’s find out what and why we are vaccinating.

There are some pretty nasty diseases our dogs can get which are potentially fatal and highly contagious.

Parvovirus is particularly unpleasant, it attacks the dog’s intestinal cells causing them to become weak and dehydrated and can kill a dog within days.

Canine distemper is also potentially fatal and is related to measles in humans, this virus invades the nervous system but thankfully due to an effective vaccination programme for dogs introduced in the 1950s it’s extremely rare.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease which damages the vital organs such as the liver and kidneys, spread by the dog sniffing or ingesting urine from an infected animal like other dogs, pigs, cows and rodents. This is also known as Weil’s disease in humans.

Canine hepatitis is spread through bodily fluids, and passed on from an infected dog. It’s a virus that attacks major organs and the immune system, it is also potentially fatal.

These are the main diseases that we protect our dogs against. Pretty nasty, eh?

The very young and elderly dogs are especially at risk.

Vaccinations to a new puppy or rescue dog are very important and should never be missed, but have you ever heard of titre testing?

Titre testing is a blood test that can show the level of antibodies your dog possesses for a particular disease.

If you’re a bit like me, and don’t feel that these vaccinations are needed every single year, ask your vet if they do titre testing.

I recently moved vets but I’m very glad to say my new vet at Palmer and Duncan in Ossett are able to provide this service.

The only disease that can’t be checked is leptospirosis. Therefore it is advised that this still be vaccinated against yearly.

But it’s worth giving it some thought, during the last 50 years we have reduced the spread of these diseases through a regular vaccination programme, which is fantastic, but we are now in a time that even though these diseases have not been eradicated and can still kill, they are much less likely to be transmitted.

If you take your dog to kennels, day care or groomers you would need to check if they accept a titre test certificate instead of a vaccination card as not everyone has cottoned on to this idea!

(Rachel New, owner of VIP Dog Grooming in Wakefield, our columnist has worked with dogs her whole life.)