2018 is in full swing here at Montana Veterinary Hospital. We’ve been busy here at the clinic, starting off another round of annual wellness exams and vaccines. We highly believe in preventative medicine, and with that comes various vaccines. For dogs we recommend three main vaccines; Rabies, DHLPP, and Bordetella. These vaccines are a mainstay for most veterinary clinics, and boarding facilities. 

Rabies is a well known disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system and brain. It currently is mandatory in all states to vaccinate your pets for rabies. It is most commonly transmitted when an infected animal bites a non-infected animal. The virus then travels through the animal’s nerves to it’s brain where it then begins to impair the animal. There is no treatment for rabies. The best way to prevent rabies is through either a one year or three year vaccine.

The DHLPP vaccine is not a mandatory vaccine though it can protect your dog from a few particularly nasty diseases that are common to canines. The vaccine is actually a cocktail of five vaccines that include: canine distemper, canine hepatitis, leptospirosis, dog parvovirus, and parainfluenza. Canine distemper is caused by a virus that attacks the intestinal tract, the respiratory tract and the central nervous system. It is highly contagious and can be caught through the contact with bodily fluids such as nasal secretions. The virus may also be airborne and contracted in this way; dogs in kennels and animal shelters are more likely to catch the infection. Canine hepatitis is an infectious disease caused by the adenovirus type 1. The virus can be transmitted through bodily fluids and may manifest through the hepatitis blue eye, which is the formation of a cloudy-bluish pellicle on the surface of the dog’s eye. This disease can be fatal. Leptospirosis is a disease that can affect humans and canines. There are several forms of this virus though the vaccine only covers canicola and icterohaemorrhagiae. It manifests through dehydration, fever, diarrhea, and chronic vomiting. The parvovirus  affects the gastrointestinal tract of dogs most commonly in puppies. It can be deadly in puppies or immunosuppressed animals. The presence of the virus will cause diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss. The parvo can be transmitted through feces or direct contact with a contaminated area.

Canine Parainfluenza in a common highly contagious disease spread through the air. The dog will present symptoms such as coughing, a low grade fever, lack of appetite, nasal discharge, and lack of energy. Though this disease isn’t deadly it is extremely uncomfortable for the animal. 
Finally, the last vaccine of the three primarily given is Bordetella. If your pet is a regular at a boarding facility, doggy day-care, grooming facilities, or dog parks, then the bordetella vaccine is a good idea. Bordetella (Kennel Cough) generally causes only a mild illness in healthy adult dogs, in puppies or dogs with underlying health issues it can cause severe sickness and even death. A dog with Bordetella presents with a hacking cough and a runny nose. 

All of these diseases are easily prevented with vaccinations and are HIGHLY recommended to all canine owners.