Responsible pet owners understand that their dog's annual vaccinations keep their beloved companions safe from potentially fatal diseases. While vaccinations protect dogs from most of the major illnesses that could harm them, there are exceptions to every rule. A dog's contact with others of his kind may expose him to certain illnesses he wouldn't otherwise catch.
Canine influenza is spread through respiratory secretions. The virus can live on exposed surfaces for up to 48 hours, increasing a dog's chances of being infected. The American Veterinary Medical Association indicates that canine influenza is a fairly new disease in dogs, and as such, not every dog will have been exposed to the antibodies. Dogs with the virus will often exhibit a runny nose, hacking cough and fever. Vaccines are available, but not recommended for every dog. A veterinary professional can advise concerned dog owners if the vaccine is right for their pet.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection spread from one animal to another by means of bodily fluids such as urine or mucous. Five strains exist; only two are commonly vaccinated against, according to experts at Rocklin Vet. (See References 2) Though a vaccinated dog's chances of contracting leptospirosis are small, an infection from a foreign strain is not unheard of. Licensed veterinary professionals can determine if an individual dog is at risk for one of these less common strains and advise the pet's owner accordingly.
Kennel cough, also called Bordetella bronchiseptica, may lead to a more serious infection of pneumonia if left untreated. Characterized by a chronic hacking cough, the condition causes a runny nose in infected pups and is highly contagious. Certain kennels require a vaccination every six months to prevent an outbreak. The American Veterinary Medical Association indicates that some dogs do not need the vaccination. Pet owners should ask their vet if it is recommended.
Ringworm and External Parasites
Though not considered a disease, the fungus called ringworm is transmitted between an infected dog and another, including humans. It can live without a host in the soil, or in the bedding of an infected pet, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. While individual dogs may recover without veterinary intervention, precaution should be taken to prevent the fungus from spreading. External parasites such as fleas, mites and ticks can be transmitted from dog to dog, and can cause debilitating diseases or hair loss. Topical monthly preventative products can prevent these pests from biting canine companions and infecting them.