Vaccinations available available in New Zealand for Dogs:


Your dog’s vaccination requirements will be determined by your veterianrian and they will take into account where in New Zealand you reside and the lifestyle of your dog.


Canine Parvo Virus


All dogs should be vaccinated against this highly contagious and preventable disease. Canine Parvo virus causes severe, sudden vomiting and diarrhoea, which is often fatal. Puppies and young dogs are the most susceptible, but the disease can affect dogs of all ages. While adults are less likely to be as severely affected as young dogs, they still get the disease and can also act as carriers, continuing the spread of the disease.


Dogs become infected by exposure to contaminated faeces. The virus is extremely hardy and survives in the environment well. Even after the faeces have been removed the virus left behind can remain infective for a number of years. Dogs shed the virus prior to showing clinical signs so environmental contamination is a big problem.


This disease is still seen frequently, especially in populations of unvaccinated dogs. Most veterinary clinics will record treating cases every year.


Image source wikimedia commons


Canine Distemper Virus


This disease has become rarer due to widespread vaccination, however, if the percentage of dogs being vaccinated reduces then this disease will re-emerge.


Distemper virus causes severe respiratory and neurological disease. Euthanasia is the usual outcome. The virus is spread by inhaling infective droplets (from close contact with an infected animal that sneezes or coughs). This is much the same way as the human common cold is spread.


Canine Infectious Hepatitis


This disease is caused by Canine Adenovirus 1. It causes the liver to become acutely (suddenly) inflamed. This is usually fatal. It can also cause kidney disease. If the acute phase isn’t fatal then affected dogs will usually develop severely debilitating long term liver disease.


Canine infectious hepatitis is a completely separate disease from human hepatitis and is therefore not a risk to humans.

The disease is spread by faeces, saliva and urine. Virus shedding occurs before the dog shows clinical signs, which means an infected animal could have spread the disease to many others before it is even diagnosed.


Canine Parainfluenza Virus and Canine Adeno Virus 2


These two viruses cause canine respiratory disease, collectively described as ‘kennel cough’. Kennel Cough is not usually fatal unless infection is severe and secondary bronchopneumonia develops.


Affected dogs may show a loss of appetite, lethargy, poor general appearance, coughing, sneezing and runny nose and eyes. The cough is typically dry and hacking and owners often describe that it sounds like the dog has something stuck in its throat.


These viruses are spread via infected droplets created during coughing and sneezing. The disease is usually spread from dog to dog by close contact; however, just going to the dog park or other areas where dogs go is also a risk. The clinical signs including the hacking cough can continue for several weeks.


Dogs kept in close contact with many other dogs are at higher risk. This is where the name ‘kennel cough’ originates. Dogs with the condition have often just returned from boarding kennels or areas where dogs gather such as dog shows.


Bordetella Bronchiseptica


This is a bacterial component of the canine respiratory disease or ‘kennel cough’ complex. Clinical signs are similar to those described for Canine Parainfluenza Virus and Canine Adeno Virus 2


Additional notes on Kennel Cough


It is important to note with the kennel cough complex that these two viruses and one bacteria are the main causes of ‘kennel cough’. But there are other less important causes, for which there is not yet (and may never be) a vaccination therefore vaccianted dogs can still get kennel cough. However the disease is less severe and of shorter duration in fully vaccinated dogs. If you suspect your dog has keenel cough tey should visit us for a consultation and are susually prescribed antibiotics against bacterial compnent sof the disease. You will also be advised to isolate your dog from others until all signs of coughing have gone.


Kennel Cough Vaccination - injectable or up the nose?


As well as an injectable form of vaccination against Bordetella Bronchiseptica and Parainfluenza virus, there is also an intranasal vaccine. A tiny volume of vaccine is squirted up the dog’s nose. The intranasal vaccine provides very rapid, strong immunity from just one dose in approximately 3 days.

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the intranasal and injectable versions of this vaccination with us.


Duration of immunity with Kennel Cough Vaccination


It is also important to note that immunity to kennel cough wanes in approximately 6 – 12 months depending on the vaccine used. Annual vaccination for this is adequate for most dogs, however if your dog is visiting kennels or attending dogs shows which are high risk activities, this may be required more regularly.



This is not currently required for dogs resident in Christchurch, however for dogs travelling to the North of the South Island or to the North Island need to discuss whether to vaccinate against this with us.


Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that as well as causing significant disease in dogs, is also a zoonosis – a disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans (see later section).


This disease is currently widespread in the North Island, especially the northern half of the North Island. Cases do occur in the northern regions of the South Island but other areas of the South Island are considered free. However, if the demographics of this disease change, more southern regions will also have to routinely vaccinate against leptospirosis. The highest risk areas are areas where rat populations exist. This is because the rat is a carrier in the life cycle of the disease. This could include areas such as farms, camping sites and waterways for example.


You should be aware of this disease and discuss vaccination with us. Owners who live in currently free areas need to consider vaccinating for this if they are likely to travel to an affected area with their dog, such as on summer holidays. Remember to plan ahead. Two doses of the vaccine are required 3 - 4 weeks apart and your dog is not fully covered until 10 days after the last vaccination. Currently this vaccination must be repeated annually to maintain immunity.

In dogs, leptospirosis causes liver and kidney failure. Cases of this disease are often fatal. Successful treatment requires intensive hospitalisation and nursing.

The disease is transmitted via close contact with an infected animal’s urine. Animal’s can shed infective bacteria without showing clinical signs. Other methods of disease spread include contact with placentas, bites and eating infected material.


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