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What vaccines does my adult dog need

Vaccination is the only way of preventing death and severe illness from a number of infectious viruses that are common in Hong Kong. Every adult dog should already have had a full course of vaccines as a puppy. A vaccine does not last forever and so booster vaccines are given to maintain protection.

At HHVC we strongly advise that every dog is seen by the vet once a year so that his health can be checked and any necessary vaccines given. The first time will normally be 12 months after the last vaccine, when the dog is about 15 months old. After this the body check and vaccination visit is normally done once a year.

What vaccines are needed?.

There are many vaccines available which may be used. Some vaccines (core vaccines) are advised for all animals and some only in special cases (none-core). This depends on the dog’s lifestyle and risk factors. We strongly advise every dog is vaccinated against the following viruses (Core vaccines).

Canine Parvovirus Causes severe bloody diarrhoea and vomiting
Canine Distemper Causes diarrhoea, vomiting, coughing and other problems
Canine Adenovirus Causes Hepatitis, diarrhoea, vomiting
Leptospirosis Bacterial diseases that mainly affect the liver and kidneys
Rabies Vaccination is required by Hong Kong law

In addition we often advise vaccination against Kennel Cough. This is a common infection wherever dogs are in contact with each other, for grooming at pet shops, in boarding kennels or even while visiting the clinic, from a sick puppy.

Other vaccines are available but we do not normally advise their use. The disease may not be a serious problem or the efficacy of the vaccine may be in some doubt.

What does the vaccine label and card show?

Each time we vaccinate your dog we will record this in the vaccine card to make a long term record of what has been given when. A sticker is peeled off the vaccine bottle and stuck onto the card. This records the vaccine batch, its expiry date and the vaccine brand and type. The letters represent the vaccines given, so DHPPiL is for Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza and Leptospira. The vet will then sign and chop the card to make an official record

Is this necessary?

The actual duration of effect of a vaccine in an individual dog is not known. This may vary greatly depending on the dog and the type of vaccine used. Some types of core vaccines are now licensed in some countries to be used less often, every 3 or 4 years. Other types still need to be given once a year (leptospira). To keep things simple and to follow the written advice given with the vaccines available in Hong Kong we advise that each dog has a booster vaccine and body check once a year.

Can a vaccine be harmful or cause a reaction?

A vaccine is a very effective medicine. It is designed to stimulate the dogs own immune system, so when this happens the dog may feel unwell. Sometimes the dog will be tired or quiet for a day or so, but this will usually clear up quickly. On rare occasions a more marked reaction can occur. The dog can develop an allergic reaction to one part of the injection. This can cause a dramatic sudden swelling of the lips eyelids and ears. If you see this please contact us.

Can a vaccine make a dog ill?

Every effort is made to ensure the vaccine is safe and effective. However it is possible for problems to occur. The vaccine may be contaminated during the manufacturing process or the virus strain could change to become too strong and affect the dog. Vaccines are tested and manufactured under strict controls to prevent these problems

There are worries that a vaccine may cause diseases of the immune system. Concerns about this have been publicised but nothing has been proven. This was studied by the Veterinary Products Committee in UK in 2005-07 but no link was found. Internet searches will no doubt reveal reports of dogs developing problems shortly after vaccination. Remember that by chance 1 in 12 dogs that become ill will have been vaccinated in the last month and 1 in 52 the week before they are ill, but this does not prove the vaccine caused the problem!

In Summary

Booster vaccines are advised once a year, starting one year after the end of the puppy vaccine course. This is usually combined with the annual health check. Rabies vaccines are given once every 3 years because the HK government accepts that the vaccine is effective enough when given in this way.

More info

Puppy vaccination
Why vaccinate at our clinic!
Rabies vaccination

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