Prior to purchasing your puppy, the breeder will have started his "puppy shots" and will either have wormed him and/or had his stool checked for parasites. They should offer you a written list of what was given and when, what tests were done, and the results. Puppy boosters can vary in content and time schedule given. The puppy shots are generally started around 6 - 7 weeks and are given every 3-5 weeks thereafter for a total of 4 puppy combo shots. Additionally do not use Fort Dodge vaccines on your dog (there have been several severe reactions in chows to Fort Dodge vaccines). There are a variety of preventative shots and medications available and your pup may or may not need them depending on where you live and how much exposure your dog will have to such things as other dogs, parks, wooded areas, etc. or areas heavily infested with mosquitoes, fleas or ticks. Here are some of the more common reasons for your pups shots and medications.
DISTEMPER - This is a common viral disease, highly contagious and spread by secretions from infected animals. It is easily destroyed by disinfectants. Symptoms are: fever, watery nasal discharge, yellow eye drainage, and loss of appetite. If ignored, distemper can affect the respiratory, GI and central nervous system with twitching, unsteadiness, weakness, paralysis and seizures. It can be fatal, or result in serious chronic physical problems.
CANINE HEPATITIS - Not the same as the human form, this disease primarily affects the liver, kidneys and the lining of the blood vessels. Symptoms are various as this virus can be anywhere from mild to fatal and can strike suddenly with rapid advancement. High fevers, bloody diarrhea, refusal of food, painful movement, jaundice, bleeding gums and sensitivity to light require immediate vet intervention.
PARVOVIRUS - Highly contagious between dogs, it is transmitted by contaminated droplets and stool. It can easily be transported from kennel to kennel on shoes, crates or other inanimate objects. Affecting the GI tract, bone marrow, lymph nodes and heart, the symptoms are: abdominal pain, fever, bloody diarrhea, depression with loss of appetite and difficulty breathing. It is highly fatal to puppies. This virus is resistant to most disinfectants.
PARAINFLUENZA - Is another cause of Kennel Cough. Although parainfluenza is often a mild respiratory infection in otherwise healthy dogs, it can be severe in puppies or debilitated dogs.
CORONAVIRUS - Coronavirus is transmitted by contact with infected saliva and/or stool. The stool is usually noted to be yellow-orange in color, foul smelling, watery, and often bloody. Dehydration, weight loss and death can occur. It can reoccur 3-4 weeks after the initial symptoms subside.
NO !!!!! LEPTOSPIROSIS - Transmitted through the urine of infected animals, it has been on the rise in the past few years. It is contagious to humans. Symptoms are: vomiting, depression, kidney pain with frequent urination, ulcers of the mouth/tongue, and a thick brown coating of the tongue. Both bloody vomiting Both bloody vomiting and stools may occur. This shot should NEVER be given to chows! This shot can cause Anaphylactic Shock & can KILL chows !!!
HEARTWORM - Contracted from the bite of an infected mosquito, it grows into a long, threadlike worm that makes it home in your dog's heart. Symptoms are: coughing, decreased exercise tolerance, and weight loss. Advanced stages will have a swollen abdomen, fever and difficulty breathing. It is difficult to treat, but left untreated, it is fatal. We feel that you should use only Heartgard Plus not a generic! This should be given 12 months a year.
KENNEL COUGH - Caused by several different bacteria and viruses, such as canine parainfluenza, canine adenovirus-2 and bordatella bronchoseptica. Severity of symptoms varies with age and condition of dog. To puppies, older or debilitated dogs, it can be fatal. Symptoms are: spasms of dry, harsh coughing, usually followed by gagging or retching, fever, nasal discharge and depression.
LYMES DISEASE - Transmitted by ticks during their feeding. Symptoms are: a rash that is "target" like in appearance, fever, lameness caused by joint stiffness/swelling, and paralysis. Treatment is difficult and can extend over a long period of time.
RABIES - Transmitted via infected saliva and affects the brain. Symptoms are personality changes, staring off into space, sensitivity to light, fever, vomiting and diarrhea. As the virus progresses, the dog will either become agitated and aggressive, or paralytic - the mouth drops open with the tongue hanging out, drooling, coughing and pawing at the mouth. Once symptoms develop, it is fatal. Definite diagnosis can be made by autopsy only.
GIARDA - Caused by contaminated food or water from an infected animals stool, most often a wild animal or cross contamination at a dog park or other place where many dogs gather. It is usually asymptomatic in adult dogs, but will cause diarrhea, possibly mixed with blood and mucous in puppies. Diagnosis can be difficult, but once found, is easily treated. The source of the giardia contamination must be removed.
COCCIDIA - Very common in the canine population, it is estimated that 80% of all domesticated dogs are infected with coccidia. Again, like giardia, it is asymptomatic in adult dogs, but the spores are shed in stool, recontaminating the ground for youngsters to pick up once they trod through contaminated areas. It is also easily treated, but often recurs due to the spores shed and ground contamination. Luckily, treatment is cheap, however must be given for 21 days. Immaculate yard pick-up of feces is a must during this time. There is no way known to completely decontaminated the yard/play area, although it is surmised that a good winter freeze will do the trick. I suspect that it is just the pup coming into adulthood that ceases the symptoms, rather than a winter freeze.
John & Kimberley Tansek
P O Box 225
Monroe , Mi 48161