Vaccination has revolutionised control of infectious disease in our pets. It is essential that all pets are adequately vaccinated to help protect the pet population as a whole.

Responsible pet care requires puppies to be given their initial course of vaccinations, but this cannot protect them for the rest of their lives. Adult dogs require regular vaccination to maintain immunity against disease.

Puppy Vaccination
Puppies are ‘temporarily’ protected against many diseases by antibodies received through their mother’s milk. These maternal antibodies decline in the first few months of their lives, however until they drop sufficiently they can also neutralise vaccines. This is why a series of vaccinations is necessary in a puppy.

Adult Dog Vaccination
The immunity from puppy vaccination weakens over time and your pet can again become susceptible to disease. Annual health checks and booster vaccinations, as required, will provide the best protection for the life of your pet.

After Vaccination Care
Occasionally, your dog may be off-colour following vaccination or may have slight swelling or tenderness at the injection site. Access to food and water with a comfortable area to rest is usually all that is required for a quick recovery. However, if the response seems more severe, you should contact our team for advice.

Infectious diseases that dogs are vaccinated against

Canine Parvovirus
Canine parvovirus is a disease that affects dogs of all ages but is most serious in young and old dogs. The virus attacks the intestines causing blood stained diarrhoea, uncontrollable vomiting and severe abdominal pain. Dogs often die from severe dehydration despite intensive veterinary care.

It is not necessary to have direct contact with other dogs for the disease to be spread. The virus is so persistent that the infected dog’s environment needs to be cleaned with a potent disinfectant to prevent spread to other dogs.

Outbreaks occur every year with a high number of casualties in our area.

Follow this list to reduce the risk:

  • Don’t put your unvaccinated puppy on the ground in places other than the home environment. It is safer to wait until the young dog has had all three vaccinations (6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks, 16-18 weeks).
  • If your puppy will be attending puppy school, take every precaution to ensure they do not come in to contact with:
    • Sick dogs or dogs who have not been vaccinated;
    • Contaminated soil from digging;
    • Faecal matter on the ground from sniffing.
  • Reduced contact between visitors to your home and your puppy, especially if they have been in contact with other dogs (vaccinated or not). Ask for visitors to wear clean clothes and shoes and to wash their hands on arrival.
  • Ensure older pets within the same household are vaccinated. If they are not, avoid taking your older pet to public places where they may come in to contact with infected dogs or soil.
  • Seek immediate veterinary attention if you are concerned about your pet’s wellbeing. It is not worth the risk if you wait to see if they get better and it is much less expensive to treat if parvovirus is detected early.

Canine Distemper

Canine distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that can affect dogs of any age with young puppies being at highest risk.

Symptoms vary but can include fever, coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and depression. Muscle tremors, fits and paralysis usually occur later in the disease. Treatment is usually ineffective and the recovery rate very low. Dogs that do recover may have permanent brain damage.

Canine Hepatitis
Canine hepatitis is a viral disease which, like distemper is extremely contagious and often fatal. Dogs of any age can become infected, however severe cases are rare in dogs over two years of age.

Symptoms include high fever, depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea and acute abdominal pain. In severe cases, death can occur within 24 to 36 hours. Dogs that recover may develop long term liver and kidney problems and can act as carriers spreading the disease to other dogs for many months.

Canine Cough

Canine cough is a condition produced by several highly infectious diseases, which can be easily spread wherever dogs congregate, such as parks, shows, obedience schools and boarding kennels. Among the infectious agents associated with canine cough is the bacterium known as Bordetella bronchiseptica and the canine viruses parainfluenza, adenovirus type 2 and distemper.

Affected dogs have a dry hacking cough which can persist for several weeks, which is distressing for dogs and their owners and is a major problem for working and sporting dogs. Pneumonia can also be a consequence of infection.

Canine Coronavirus

Canine coronavirus is another contagious virus and causes depression, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea especially in young dogs. Diarrhoea may last for several days in some cases. Although most dogs will recover with treatment, coronavirus has the potential to be fatal, especially if other infectious agents such as parvovirus are present.

Canine Leptospirosis
Canine leptospirosis is a serious disease risk in some areas and can cause high death rates. It is spread by the urine of rats and is usually transmitted to dogs by contaminated food and water, or by rat bites.

There’s an increased risk where high rat populations exist such as rubbish dumps. Incidence can also increase after long periods of wet weather when rat populations are forced to move or concentrate. Leptospirosis is an animal disease that can be passed to humans who may then suffer a persisting “flu-like” illness.

Vet Visits

The Australian Veterinary Association has produced a valuable source for pet owners to refer to ‘What to expect when you visit the vet’. We recommend that you visit this site to find independent information on visiting veterinary hospitals and looking after your pet.

A pet ages up to five times faster than humans, allowing major health changes to develop in just a few years. As with humans, the risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, heart disease and other serious conditions increase with age.

Annual preventative health checks aim to diagnose and treat disease before it may become life threatening. Our team can advise you on the common diseases that may affect certain breeds to help you to be proactive in looking after their wellness.  

A visit to us once per year is also a good opportunity to ask about nutrition, behaviour, and other issues, as well as vaccinations, parasitic check, dental health check, and age or breed related checks. The most important annual health screenings for dogs and cats are:

Adult dogs and cats (1-6 years)

  • Vaccinations
  • Parasite check (if required)
  • Heart & lung check (auscultation)
  • Dental health
  • Blood test & urinalysis (if required)

Additional exams for senior dogs (7+ years)

  • Osteoarthritis check
  • Chest radiograph
  • Thyroid check

Additional exams for senior cats (7+ years)

  • Osteoarthritis check
  • Renal disease screen
  • Thyroid check
  • Blood pressure check

Selecting a dog breed 

A fun and handy tool to help you choose the right breed for your lifestyle: Breed Selector

It is important to find the breed of dog most suitable for your particular lifestyle. Be aware of the responsibility that comes with dog ownership before you adopt or purchase a dog.

As your vet, we are willing to discuss the many aspects of dog care, including breed-specific medical problems and routine health care such as vaccinations, flea and tick control, desexing and worming that your future dog may need.

Dog Boarding

We have dog boarding facilities if you are going away. All animals are brought inside the air-conditioned hospital to sleep at night for extra security, warmth or cooling. 

All boarders are taken into the backyard to exercise a number of times throughout the day. All boarders are fed twice per day unless specified otherwise. 

Pet insurance

We strongly recommend that you insure your dog. Unexpected veterinary bills may be less of a burden when your pet needs emergency or unforeseen treatment or surgery. Speak to our team about where to look for reputable pet insurance.

Home life and socialisation

Like people, dogs required daily mental stimulation. This is to reduce behavioural and health problems and to improve their quality of life. Mental stimulation can be in the form of exercise, reward training, food toys to let them forage and problem solve, and family time for bonding.

Dogs view their human owners as being part of their pack and can develop behavioural issues if they feel neglected or excluded. It is also vitally important that dogs are socialised with people and other dogs from an early age in order to learn appropriate interactive behaviours.

For adult dogs with behavioural concerns, seek professional help from qualified or experienced trainers. There is also veterinary behaviourists who are trained veterinary specialists in pet behaviour (excessive barking, tail chasing, obsessive and compulsive etc).

Nutrition: Feeding your dog

A healthy and balanced diet provides protein to build the body, fats for skin and coat health, carbohydrates for energy, and minerals and vitamins for good bone development and healthy tissues.

By purchasing food from a reputable brand (we use Royal Canin, Hills Pet Foods, and Advance in the hospital), you are helping your pet’s overall health. It is likely that you will be required to feed them less as it is more nutrient dense than some other competitors foods.

We supply prescription food and special diets, though you can speak to our team if you would like advice on the best way to feed your healthy pet that suits your budget. Reputable pet stores also have trained staff to help making your decision as well.

Dog Dental Hygiene

It is essential to keep your dog’s teeth clean as it connects to the blood in their body. A dental care routine will minimise tartar build-up on your pet’s teeth as well as reduce the need for tooth extractions.

Never give your dog cooked bones as they are often brittle and can easily splinter causing harm to your dog’s throat. There are many other options available that are less harmful than bones and are cost effective. Speak to our team about options for your pets ongoing dental health.