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Puppy Vaccines

Congratulations! You are the proud owner of a new puppy. The following is some information to help you make sure your new friend stays healthy and happy.

Our BHVG Dog Life Charts are a great tool to easily setup everyting there is to remember from 2 weeks of age to the senior years. Print up a copy of the Life Chart at the bottom of this page, fill in the dates, stick it on the toilet or pantry door and away you go!

Puppy vaccinations

Subsequent annual health checks

There are a couple of options:

A tri-annual Durammune C3 vaccine (lasts 3 years), combined with…

An annual health check combined with…

Heartworm prevention

Bhvg heartworm transStart pups on monthly heartworm tablets from 12 weeks of age (e.g. Milbemax, Interceptor, Sentinel which prevent both intestinal worms and heartworm).

At 5-6 months (normally coinciding with the desexing operation) give a Proheart (heartworm prevention) injection which lasts until the first annual boosters.

What are in the vaccines?

Canine Parvovirus

Parvovirus is still common especially in lower income areas where people try to save money by avoiding vaccinations. When Parvovirus first occurred 15 years ago, there was no vaccine available and large numbers of dogs lost their lives. When the first Parvovirus vaccine arrived, vets had queues around the street corners.

It causes sudden vomiting and diarrhoea of watery blood, severe shock, acute abdominal pain and death within 24 hours.

Treatment is prolonged, costly and not always successful. The virus spreads easily and can survive up to one year in contaminated soil- a dog has only to sniff where a dog went to the toilet one year ago to pick up the infection eg on its walk in the park.

Diagram of normal intestines
Diagram showing damage caused by Parvovirus in the intestines

Canine Distemper

Canine Distemper occurs occasionally. It is a highly contagious viral disease. Symptoms vary but can include fever, sneezing, nasal discharge, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and depression. Muscle tremors, fits and paralysis occur later in the disease. Treatment is usually ineffective and for those that do survive, there is risk of permanent brain damage.

Canine Hepatitis

This is a very serious viral disease affecting the liver of dogs. Symptoms include high fever, depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea and acute abdominal pain. In severe cases, death can occur within 24-36 hours. Dogs that recover may develop long term liver and kidney problems.

Prevention of Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus
These days, dogs receive either annual or tri-annual booster to protect them from Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus.

Kennel Cough

Dogs coming into contact with large numbers of other dogs e.g. boarding kennels, shows, often catch kennel cough and develop a nasty throat and/or chest infection.
There are several "bugs" which can cause kennel cough of which the two worse are Bordetella and Parainfluenza.

Prevention of Kennel Cough
Both Bordetella and Parainfluenza are preventable by use of vaccines. There are still a few other "bugs" which can cause a milder kennel cough, especially in dogs that bark all day long when in kennels, but they are not as serious. It's like over-doing it when you go to support your kid's soccer match (not me!). Boarding kennels will not allow dogs onto their premises if these vaccines are not current, as they are highly contagious and makes dogs feel very ill.


Coronavirus causes severe bloody watery diarrhoea, shock, abdominal pain and vomiting. There is variable mortality amongst puppies and older dogs. Signs appear very suddenly. The diarrhoea looks and smells just like Parvovirus. We see approx. 1-2 affected dogs each month.

See also...


This is a disease spread by infected rodents. The bacteria affect the kidneys and livers and dogs can get seriously ill. It is more common in places where there is a lot of stagnant water. The Animal Emergency centre sees approx. 2-3 cases each year in dogs from the western suburbs of Sydney. It's something to be wary of.

Prevention of Leptospirosis and Coronavirus
and Coronavirus can be prevented by using the combined Protech C2i vaccine. It needs to shots 4 weeks apart to work. Once this has happened, then its an annual vaccine in combination with either C3 or C5