Responsible pet ownership includes vaccinating, worming, and treating for fleas and ticks. There can be serious consequences to the dog’s health if this is neglected.
Vaccination aims to prevent infectious diseases such as Parvovirus, Parainfluenza, Distemper, Hepatitis, and Canine Cough (also known as Kennel Cough).
Puppies have an initial course of vaccinations and, as adult dogs they require annual vaccination to maintain their immunity against disease.
Puppies are temporarily protected against many diseases by the antibodies received through their mother’s milk. These maternal antibodies decline in the first few months of their lives, this is why a series of vaccinations is necessary.
Kodalihart puppies are vaccinated at about 6 weeks of age.
It is the equivalent of what is called a C3 vaccination. The puppy is not yet covered for kennel cough, so do not take him out and about yet.
Four weeks after the first vaccination, your puppy needs his second vaccination, which will then cover him for a year. His second vaccination needs to be a C5 vaccination. Your puppy does not need a third vaccination. His future vaccinations will be yearly.
You will receive a Pet Passport (or Vet Book) – a book that records the vaccinations and health history signed by the vet who has taken care of them.
You cannot take your puppy to Dog School, Obedience Classes, any boarding Kennels, or travel on a plane until he has had all his puppy vaccinations. It is also advisable to avoid taking him to public areas or dog parks until after his second vaccination, as he is not fully immunised yet and you are putting him at risk.
We provide a schedule in our Puppy Handbook for owners to record when the puppy / dog is next due for vaccinations, and don’t forget ot write it on your calendar too. This is just a schedule and does not replace your Pet Passport/Vet Book, in which the vet needs to sign what type of vaccination has been administered as an official record.
You’ll need to show his vaccination record at your dog obedience club and boarding kennels.
Worming is one of the first health issues pet owners need to address as puppies are most susceptible. There are two categories of worms which are intestinal worms and heartworms. Worms can range from small upto eighteen centimetres in length, all having negative and potentially deadly effects. There are certain roundworms that can also infect humans, especially children, if the puppy is not wormed adequately.
It is important to maintain a worming schedule to reduce the incidence of infestation and infection for your puppy; as well as handwashing, keeping the puppy’s environment clean, and cleaning up faeces.
Forms of worming medication include tablets, topical spot-ons, syrup, or paste.
We use Drontal syrup for baby puppies until they eating minced food. Then we switch to a tablet form: Popantel – an Allwormer that includes coverage for tapeworm.
You can break or crush worming tablets and mix into some mince or moist food. This method is the least amount of fuss and as long as you see the dog swallow it, you know the full dose has been ingested.
Find out from your vet if your worming regime needs to include coverage for heartworms. Heartworm is a silent killer, it can cause blockage in the heart and lungs, leading to cardiac and respiratory failure. It is spread by mosquitos and said to be in most parts of Australia now, including Victoria.
If you travel with your dog, you will definitely need to cover for heartworm.
How often to worm?
Puppies – every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age – so at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 wks old.
Then monthly until 6 months old.
After this, every 3 months for rest of his life, like adult dogs.
The vet will need to know your dog’s current weight so they can dispense the right amount of worming medication.
Flea and tick treatment
Fleas are most often seen in warmer months, but as we keep our homes nice and warm throughout winter, fleas can be present all year round. Only the adult flea population actually lives on your dog, the eggs and larvae live in the environment and can survive for upto a year.
Wash bedding regularly on hot cycle, and vacuum and clean the carpets.
Some signs of fleas on your dog include: scratching, biting, hair loss (especially at the base of the tail and rump), and you may even see fleas in these areas. Dogs have a reaction to the flea saliva resulting in a condition called Flea Allergy Dermatitis. They may become anaemic – which is low red-blood cell level that can cause them to become weak and tired, short-of-breath, and cause a weak immune system making them susceptible to other disease.
The worst tick of concern for dog owners is the Paralysis Tick as it can cause paralysis and death within 2-4 days of attachment. Whilst paralysis ticks occur more frequently in certain geographic areas such as the coastal eastern seaboard of Australia, they can hitch a ride with any people, pets, cars, rugs, towels and plants and still end up on your dog. Other ticks include brown dog tick and bush tick. Ticks can cause anaemia, irritation, skin rash, allergic reactions, and transmit diseases.
If your labrador gets a tick or ticks, it needs to be removed correctly straight away. Ticks inject their potent toxin and transmit diseases so your labrador needs to be assessed by a vet (take the tick with you in a jar to the vet for identification).
Tick prevention medication does prevent a lot of tick-related disease, however it cannot promise to be one-hundred percent effective and should always be used in combination with daily searches of your entire dog, especially if you have been in a tick-affected region.’
In our Puppy Handbook we talk about what Tick treatment we use (a topical spot-on treatment). There are some brands that have been causing dogs to become seriously ill. Be aware tick medications are neurotoxins, that is how the ticks are killed. We do advocate using a suitable tick treatment and we encourage you to be proactive, research the treatments and discuss with your veterinarian. We do not advocate flea and tick collars.