If you have just got a new puppy or are thinking about a new puppy, it is important to be aware of what is needed to have a healthy puppy.


Although you may think caring for a dog is expensive, the cost of not caring may be a lot worse…  Caring for your canine friend is very easy, once you know what you need to do…    The first year is the most important in terms of health care, as puppies haven’t yet developed a strong immune system and are actively growing.




Vaccinating your pet against the common diseases/viruses  such as ‘parvo virus’, will  save you money in the long term by preventing the disease.

To ensure adequate protection against parvo virus it is important to commence a vaccination program from as early as 6 weeks of age and carry through with the program until it has finished at 14-16 weeks of age.  The puppy course consists of 3 injections 3-4 weeks apart.  In high risk areas, such as Emerald and the Central Highlands, a 3rd booster at 14 -16 weeks is highly recommended

The standard (core) vaccination that is recommended at Gray St Veterinary Clinic is called a ‘C4’ in dogs.  This vaccine prevents against

      • Canine Hepatitis (Viral Liver disease)
      • Canine Distemper Virus  (Viral Brain disease)
      • Parvovirus (Viral Vomiting and Diarrhoeal disease)
      • Parainfluenza Virus (Viral Influenza – not Kennel Cough)

You also have the option of vaccinating against other diseases such as Kennel Cough, Tetanus and Leptospirosis.

Kennel Cough is a  highly infectious respiratory virus, transmitted between unvaccinated dogs within close contact (typically within kennels – hence the name).  A  ‘C5’ vaccination prevents against the core diseases mentioned above, as well as ‘Bordetella Brochiseptica’ (the causal agent of Kennel cough).   This vaccination is not a requirement unless you intend to place your dog in boarding kennels,  however be aware roaming dogs with Kennel Cough may still transmit the virus to your unvaccinated dog that is within its yard if it comes in contact with the infected dog.

Tetanus is caused by Clostridia tetani, a bacteria that causes muscle contraction resulting in general stiffness of the entire body.  Dogs can get tetanus from an infected wound caused by a penetrating metal or wooden object, pig wound or dog fight.   Properties that have had cases of tetanus in cattle or horses are at greater risk and all animals should be vaccinated for Tetanus including dogs and cats if there has been a previous outbreak.

Leptospriosis and Coronavirus vaccine is also available for dogs. Lepto is spread by rodents and areas with lots of water laying around, dogs at higher risk of getting Lepto are dogs that run in and around cane farms, banana farms, and headlands of cotton farms.

Food for thought…..

The money spent on vaccinating your pup/dog is only 1/12th of the money spent treating a sick dog with Parvo….if they survive….



The first thing to understand about heartworm is that it is very different to all the other intestinal worms.  Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes, as tiny worm larvae, into the bloodstream.  The larvae may circulate in the blood stream and may not cause heartworm until it finds a mate to have more heartworm larvae (this requires another bite by another mosquito to transmit a second heartworm larva into the blood stream).  Once this occurs the worm embed themselves into the heart chambers and begin reproducing more worms.  When numerous worms are embedded into the heart chambers the passage of blood becomes blocked, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood around the body, this eventually creates heart dysfunction, which leads to heart failure if left undiagnosed and untreated.

Unlike intestinal worms, Heartworm is not easily identified in the dog until it is too late.  Signs of heartworm in a dog are similiar to that of a dog with heart failure; cough when laying down, abdominal enlargement and reduced exercise.  At this point heartworm treatment is not recommended because a massive kill of the heartworms will cause a clot or blockage within the heart and the dog may have a heart attack and die.  This is why it is recommended Heartworm is best prevented from an early age and continued for the life of the dog.  Using a preventative in an older dog without any prior prevention used can result in a severe reaction that can be fatal in some dogs.  Therefore testing for Heartworm before using preventatives is essential. At Gray Street Vet clinic we recommend an annual injection to protect against Heartworm, this injection is called ”Proheart’, and requires initial injection at 3 months (12 weeks) of age and a booster at 6 months, which then progresses to once yearly injection usually coinciding with your annual parvo booster.  Other forms of heartworm protection exist as monthly spot-on (at the back of the neck) and monthly tablets.  These treatments often come in combination heartworm and/or intestinal wormer and/or flea control.  Discuss with our staff which is the best treatment for you and your four legged friend.



There are numerous different worms that may inhabit the intestine of dogs. These worms can be loosely grouped into 4 major categories; hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms and roundworms.   It is beneficial when purchasing worming products for your puppy, to know what their habits are;  for example,  dogs that tend to eat lizards and geckos will be more prone to contracting a particular tapeworm known as the “zipper” tapeworm, which is not usually covered by most wormers (even though it may state it is effective against tapeworm).

The key to worming your dog successfully is knowing what your wormer targets and how often you should be giving it. 

“A high burden of hookworm can be fatal”

Your pup needs worming

  • Every 2 weeks until 3 months of age
  • Every month until 6 months of age
  • Every 3 months as a mature adult

Signs of high worm burden in dogs are:

  • pot belly appearance
  • pale gums
  • lethargy
  • weight loss
  • seeing worms in the stools.


Remember ……..  Heartworm is different to all the intestinal worms – so an ‘ALLWORMER’ does not always cover Heartworm.