Immunizations are one of the best tools available in preventive medicine. The key to using dog/cat vaccines appropriately is to determine which diseases your specific pet may be at risk, then vaccinate for those diseases appropriately.
We tailor vaccine protocols to your individual pet, taking into account benefits and risks as well as environment and health status.
Vaccination in Dogs
This is a viral disease that is easily spread through direct contact and contact with bodily fluids or contaminated food and water. Puppies are the most susceptible to the disease and also have the highest mortality rate from severe cases or complications from the disease. Vaccinations have proven to be effective, so it is important to have your puppy vaccinated. The disease can be treated if contracted, but requires quarantining your dog from other dogs for many months, and the disease can also result in some long term health problems.
Adenovirus Type 2
This virus leads to the infection commonly known as “kennel cough” in dogs. It is very contagious, and is characterized by a hacking cough and a foamy white discharge. This vaccine is required in most areas.
Bordetella is a bacteria that can cause kennel cough. There are bacterins available to help prevent it.
This disease brings on symptoms of fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, and depression and it could lead to chronic kidney or liver disease. Although potentially severe, this disease is very uncommon in most areas. Depending on where you live this vaccination might not be necessary.
This disease is more commonly referred to as “parvo” and is one of the leading causes of viral infections in dogs. It is highly contagious and transmitted by direct or indirect contact with contaminated feces. There are cardiac and intestinal forms of the disease, both of which are fatal in most cases when left untreated. The vaccination is highly recommended and is given in a series of shots starting when the puppy is about 8 weeks old.
Coronavirus is very similar to the intestinal form of parvovirus in its symptoms. It results in vomiting and diarrhea, mostly affecting puppies. The difference is that coronavirus, while still dangerous to your dog, is usually not fatal. For prevention keep your dog in clean conditions and be careful when around other dogs. Your dog can also be vaccinated for this disease, and it is usually good for their lifetime.
Lyme disease is transmitted from ticks. These small insects wooded areas and areas with tall, overgrown grass or brush. If you live in areas where these environments exist, it is smart to take proper precautions to prevent Lyme disease. If your dog does become ill with Lyme disease, you will notice that the dog will walk with a limp or favor the area where the tick has bitten it. The tick needs to be removed, and you should consult your vet for proper treatment.
This incurable viral disease affects the central nervous system of almost all mammals, including humans. It is spread through contact with the saliva of infected animals (which can include skunks, foxes, raccoons and baths) through bites or any break in the skin. Vaccination will provide cats with much greater resistance to rabies if they are exposed to the disease. You must be aware that there is no cure once it occurs. For this reason, many municipalities absolutely requiere that all cats receive rabies vaccinations in a regular basis. Plus, you will definitely have to provide vaccination records if you ever want to travel with your cat across the country or around the world.
Vaccination in Cats
Panleukopenia is the cat disease most often referred to as "distemper" in this species. It is a deadly disease. Fortunately, it is not a very common disease as vaccination against it appears to be very successful. Kittens require a series of vaccinations starting between 6-8 weeks of age and then every 3 to 4 weeks from the time vaccinations start until they are approximately 16 weeks old. Since this virus does not always require direct contact for transmission, it is generally included in the series of recommended vaccinations for all cats.
Rhinotracheitis is caused by a herpes virus. It causes respiratory disease in its acute phase. Chronically, it can be the cause of persistant eye irritation and corneal disease (cloudiness or blood vessel infiltration in the clear part of the eye). Due to the potentially chronic nature of this disease it is also usually recommended for most cats. It appears that the protection against this disease from vaccination is of relatively short duration and yearly boosters seem to be a necessity.
This virus also causes respiratory disease in its acute phase. It also can become chronic. Affected cats may have persistant gum disease or chronically recurring upper respiratory disease. This virus is also recommended for most cats.
Feline Leukemia (FeLV)
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) requires direct contact with an infected cat in order to spread. For this reason, it may not be necessary for cats confined to the home. Some veterinarians feel that the risk of a cat getting loose from the house justifies using this vaccine, anyway. We think this might be true if vaccines were risk free. We don't think they are, though. This vaccine should be administered to cats who live full-time or part-time outdoors. We recommend that cats who live indoors exclusively not be vaccinated. All kittens should have at least two vaccinations regardless of their life style.
Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)
We think that there are very few instances in which the use of this vaccine is warranted. If you have a large number of cats, it might be worthwhile. Otherwise, skip it. There is a great deal of question about how well this vaccine works.
This is a bacterial respiratory disease of cats. It is generally believed that vaccine combination injections which include this bacterin are the most likely to cause reactions. Still, there are times when this disease is so prevalent in a group of cats or in a neighborhood that its use is warranted. Discuss this one with your veterinarian.
This incurable viral disease affects the central nervous system of almost all mammals, includinghumans. It is spread through contact with the saliva of infected animals (which can include skunks, foxes, raccoons and baths) through bites or any break in the skin. Vaccination will provide cats with much greater resistance to rabies if they are exposed to the disease. You must be aware that there is no cure once it occurs. For this reason, many municipalities absolutely requiere that all cats receive rabies vaccinations in a regular basis. Plus, you will definitely have to provide vaccination records if you ever want to travel with your cat across the country or around the world.