The Andys Veterinary Hospital

Adopting a puppy, pitfalls to avoid.

Acquiring a puppy from breeders especially for the new dog owners is normally an exciting experience. Clients visits to my surgery brimming with an array of questions that range from vaccinations, diet, and training to general care of puppy. It is quite responsible for new pet owners to visit their veterinarian for advice as this will help to avert a number of preventable diseases like parvo virus, canine disptemper, and zoonotic diseases, just to mention a few, like rabies, leptospirosis , ring worms.

Parvovirus which is an extremely contagious disease is passed mostly from fecal contamination from other dogs, especially the unvaccinated. It affects puppies mostly from the age of 8 weeks to 1 year; some breeds like Rottweiler are more susceptible than others.  Most, if not all of the unvaccinated puppies that get parvovirus die. Therefore proper history of the vaccination of the dam and puppies is important to avoid this virus.

Leptospirosis is transmitted from contaminated water and urine. The disease is zoonotic and affects kidneys and liver both in dogs and human. My colleague, Andrew who is doing PhD on a leptospirosis study in one of the informal settlements in Kenya, indicated that the disease is frequently misdiagnosed because of its clinical presentation and lack of equipped laboratories.

Canine distemper which appears as a respiratory infection from wheezing and ocular discharge causes pneumonia and brain damage. Some puppies can recover from the virus after treatment but will remain latent carriers and disease may flare up at later stages in their lives. Brain damage may cause seizures in their adult life.

Hook worms are common intestinal parasites that cause diarrhea, intestinal blockage and unthrifty or poor weight gain. Puppies get infested via fecal contamination, from the dam via breast milk or even to unborn puppies while in-utero. Affected puppies are susceptible to opportunist infections and struggle to remain healthy in life.

Skin diseases like mange and fungal infections can easily be passed from dam to the puppy, and this can also be an indicator of immunocompromising conditions. In addition it is expensive to treat these conditions and some of the puppies may not make full recovery.

Some of these conditions may be missed by the new puppy owners when adopting a puppy and it is imperative to make a visit to your veterinarian for vaccination and professional guidance on care for your puppy.

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