As briefly mentioned in a previous post, Charlie has been quite poorly. I thought I would go into this in a little bit more detail, as hopefully our experience may help somebody else out one day!
When Charlie came to us at 10 weeks old he had already had both rounds of his vaccinations, which meant we only had to keep him in the house and garden for another week. As a first time dog owner this is something I didn’t know too much about, but felt like I had read up on it a lot and had taken advice from the breeder.
At around 11 weeks, Charlie started having soft stools, which got progressively worse throughout the week, becoming runny and mixed with mucus and blood. This was happening a lot, but he still had all of his personality, was an energetic little puppy and not at all lethargic so we weren’t too worried. After a few days, as his stools got worse I took him to the vets. Having never done this before I took some pictures of some of his stools and even took some along. I had no idea if this was the right thing to do, but thought I would rather look stupid and have it, than not take it when I should have.
The vet said they didn’t think it was anything too bad, as Charlie was still so full of energy, but it had given him colitis so they gave him something to hopefully firm it all up, a dose of a strong wormer, and put him on a prescription diet of bland food for a week. They also sent off a sample that I had brought, so I felt a bit less silly for taking it!
That night when we got home, Charlie started vomiting and in the morning wouldn’t touch his food. He had never been like that, he always wolfs his food down, which got me a little bit worried. I decided to call the vets again, who said if he was off his food then we should bring him in again. I didn’t want to overreact, but also didn’t want to miss anything that could be serious. The vet was great, reassuring me more than Charlie that I wasn’t wasting their time and had done the right thing bringing him in. She explained you have to be really careful with puppies as they can go downhill really quickly, much like babies I suppose. She gave him an injection and arranged to see him in a few days time.
By the time we went in again he had started to firm up a bit, which was encouraging. The vet had also had the results from his sample back, which confirmed that he had 2 parasites. One which would have probably cleared up on its own and another more serious one. I didn’t think it was possible for him to get these as he had had all of his vaccinations and hadn’t been allowed near any other dogs or their poo!
Apparently, the reason puppies are vaccinated twice is because their natural defences given to them by their mother break it down, which is why it needs to be done again. This natural defence can last up to 12 weeks, which is why some vets recommend vaccinations at 8 and then 12 weeks, with a further 1 week inside until it is fully working. They think that as Charlie had his second at 10 weeks it was broken down and left him vulnerable to the parasite. They gave him another round of vaccinations to be on the safe side and as it had damaged his insides he had to stay on the prescription diet for a month. This also meant no other food at all so poor Charlie had no treats! He got given quite a lot for Christmas and as we have been weaning him back onto his regular puppy food this week he has been allowed a few. It’s safe to say he loves them!
As I said at the beginning, I’ve written about our experiences here as hope it may help somebody else if they came across it. As neither me or my husband have ever owned a dog before, it’s difficult to know what is normal and what you need to worry about, so it is definitely a learning curve!