What can I do if I can’t afford to vaccinate my dog?

We would always say that vaccinations are an essential part of owning a dog, so you need to ensure you can afford them before getting a pet. Of course, people’s circumstances change, so if you suddenly find yourself short on cash there are a couple of options to consider.

For puppies, the 14-16 week vaccination is the one that is the most important for carrying them through the first 12 months of life. If you can only afford one vaccination for your puppy, this is the one to have. It is very important that your puppy is confined to your home until two weeks after that vaccination to minimise the risk of them picking up parvo. It should however be noted that parvo can be spread very easily on clothing and shoes, so your pup will still be at risk from the disease.

Once your dog is an adult (over 12 monthsof age), a single vaccination will cover them for three years. Where cost is an issue, make sure your vet uses a three yearly vaccine so you don’t need to pay for the vaccine every year.

If you don’t have the money for any vaccinations at all, you really need to find a way to pay for one. It is cheaper to vaccinate your dog than to euthanase a dog with parvo, and treating a parvo case can cost $3000-5000.

Why worry about unvaccinated dogs?

 

There are two main reasons to worry about unvaccinated dogs.

Firstly, that dog is unprotected against diseases such as Parvovirus, which is highly fatal and extremely painful for dog.

Secondly, there is the safety o other dogs. The reality is that your fully vaccinated dog is very safe from Parvo, Distemper and Hepatitis. However, there are dogs which cannot be vaccinated because of illness, or puppies which are too young to have been fully vaccinated being put at risk by a lack of “herd immunity”. If the total percentage of dogs vaccinated falls below a certain level, diseases such as parvo can circulate in the pet population and puts a large number of pets at risk.

To book your dog for its vaccinations, CLICK HERE

Are Vaccinations 100% effective?

 

The vaccination against Parvo, Distemper and Hepatitis are nearly 100% effective. In 20 years, I’ve seen one fully vaccinated dog develop a parvovirus infection. Every other case I have ever seen has occurred in unvaccinated or under-vaccinated dogs.

Canine Cough vaccines are less effective, but if the dog does contract the condition we find it is much less severe and affects the dog for a much shorter period of time.

What are the alternatives to vaccination?

 

If you are particularly concerned about the risk of vaccinating your adult dog, please talk to us about a blood test called a “titre test”. This test measures the levels of antibodies in your pet’s blood stream, and can provide reassurance that your pet is still protected without needing a vaccination.

Titre testing is generally more expensive than vaccination, but can be very useful for pets where we want to minimise the vaccines used while ensuring they are still adequately protected.

For puppies, the titre testing isn’t useful as the maternal antibodies affect the test, so there are no safe alternatives to vaccination.

To book your dog in for vaccination or titre testing, CLICK HERE

Are vaccinations 100% effective?

 

The vaccination against Parvo, Distemper and Hepatitis are nearly 100% effective. In 20 years, I’ve seen one fully vaccinated dog develop a parvovirus infection. Every other case I have ever seen has occurred in unvaccinated or under-vaccinated dogs.

Canine Cough vaccines are less effective, but if the dog does contract the condition we find it is much less severe and affects the dog for a much shorter period of time.

What are the alternatives to vaccination of dogs?

 

If you are particularly concerned about the risk of vaccinating your adult dog, please talk to us about a blood test called a “titre test”. This test measures the levels of antibodies in your pet’s blood stream, and can provide reassurance that your pet is still protected without needing a vaccination.

For puppies, the titre testing isn’t useful, so there are no safe alternatives to vaccination.

Are Vaccines Dangerous to Dogs?

 

There is a lot of misleading information on the internet which drastically overstates the risk of vaccines in our pets. But it has to be said, there is a risk from any medication we give. This is why we need to look at the risks and benefits of any vaccine and tailor the protocol to each individual pet’s circumstances.

So how big is the risk? In nearly 20 years of practice, I have seen one dog which I believe died from a vaccine reaction, and two dogs which experienced autoimmune diseases within two months of being vaccinated (though of course it may have been coincidence). In the same time, I would estimate I have euthanased over 200 dogs with parvovirus infection, and treated a similar number. So as you can see, there is a small risk from vaccines but a huge risk from not protecting your pet.

I vaccinate my own dog every three years against Parvo, Distemper and Hepatitis. By using the three yearly vaccine we ensure your pet is completely covered while minimising the amount of vaccine your pet is given and hence significantly reducing the risk of adverse reactions.

Which Vaccinations Does My Dog Need?

 

Our belief is that all dogs should be vaccinated, but only as often as necessary. So what does this look like?

Puppies should be vaccinated at 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks and 14-16 weeks of age. They should then receive a booster injection at around 15 months of age.

After the 15 month booster, dogs only need to be vaccinated against Parvo, Distemper and Hepatitis every three years. The do not need annual booster against these diseases as we know that immunity lasts at least three years.

We recommend most puppies receive vaccination against Canine Cough, as they need to be socialised a lot with other dogs when young. This would potentially put them at a higher risk of contracting Canine Cough.

We recommend annual Canine Cough Vaccinations for all dogs which interact with other dogs. This means if your dog is going in to kennels, grooming parlours, training classes or just meets other dogs on walks, they should be vaccinated annually against Canine Cough. Canine Cough requires annual vaccination as the immunity against this condition is not long lasting.