• 24 APR 14
    • 0
    The New Puppy

    The New Puppy

    Puppies and dogs are our friends and companions. They never ask for much and are always ready to give plenty of love and companionship. Puppies are fun to own, but with ownership comes a huge responsibility: A commitment to provide comfortable housing, safety from danger, good food, the necessary veterinary care and, of course, lots of love and understanding.

    Puppies need to be vaccinated (inoculated) against some very serious and deadly diseases. During a vaccination, a dead or weak form of the virus is injected into the dog to allow the immune system to get to know and remember the virus and to develop immunity against the virus. The viruses which we usually vaccinate against include parvovirus (catflu, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea), distemper (which causes vomiting, diarrhoea, pneumonia and nervous symptoms), hepatitis (which causes liver failure and diarrhoea), some of the flu viruses (which cause kennel cough and pneumonia) and rabies (which is deadly to animals and to humans). These are all very serious diseases and can often result in fatal infections. It is thereforee vital that your puppy or dog be vaccinated regularly and correctly. All puppies need to be vaccinated at 6 – 8 weeks of age, again a month later and again a month after that. The vaccinations will then usually need to be repeated every year, for the rest of the life of the dog to ensure protection against these diseases. When you get your puppy from a welfare organisation, it will usually already have received at least one vaccination. If you obtained your puppy from another source, it may not have been vaccinated at all and it should be taken to your veterinarian to be vaccinated immediately. If it is older than 8 weeks, it will still need vaccinations, although your veterinarian will then adapt the course of vaccinations specific to the needs of the puppy. When you take your puppy to your veterinarian for the vaccinations, your veterinarian will also examine the puppy to make sure that it is healthy. This is also a good time for you to discuss any questions you may have, so make good use of the opportunity.

    Puppies are first infected with worms while still in the womb, and then from the environment and other animals thereafter. Worm eggs are highly resistant and can survive in the soil for years. All puppies thereforee need to be dewormed at the time of the vaccinations and again twice a year, for life. There are three basic types of worms, namely roundworms, tapeworms and hookworms, and it is important to select a deworming remedy that will kill all types of worms. This is important as some of these worms can also infect you, the owner, and cause serious disease.

    Fleas and ticks are everywhere around us and are just waiting to get onto your puppy. They can carry diseases and can irritate the skin and cause constant scratching. Ticks also carry the parasite that causes tick fever (biliary or babesiosis). It is not possible to completely vaccinate the dog against tick fever and the best method of preventing the disease is to prevent tick bites. It is thereforee important to apply safe tick preventives to your puppy regularly to prevent these parasites. It is important to note that some products are to be used on dogs older than 4 – 6 months only, and are not safe for use on young puppies. Always read the label and follow the instructions very carefully. Ask your veterinarian for advice on the safest and best products available. There are now very safe, efficient and easy-to-apply remedies on the market. Never use dog products on your cat.

    It is recommended have your puppy neutered or spayed at about the age of 5 – 8 months of age. Your veterinarian will advise you as to the correct age to have this done, specific to your puppy. Sterilisation does not only prevent unwanted litters, but has also been shown to prevent certain types of diseases and cancer of the mammary glands and genital tract. It will also help to prevent roaming of your dog in the streets and thereby preventing car accidents and dogfights.

    Lastly, whenever your dog appears to be unwell, always take him to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Many diseases, especially the very common tick fever, can become very serious or even fatal in a matter of hours. Early treatment is also more effective and less costly than treatment at a later stage.

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