Many serious infectious diseases of cats and dogs can be controlled by vaccination. With over 20 million pet cats and 50 million dogs in the United States, your pet is quite likely to come in contact with an infectious disease at one time or another. Even indoor pets can be exposed to viral diseases carried in the air, in dust, or on clothing. Vaccination is inexpensive protection against costly treatment, or even the premature death of your dog or cat!
Rabies Vaccination (Dogs and Cats)
Rabies is a FATAL INFECTION of the nervous system that attacks ALL WARM-BLOODED ANIMALS, INCLUDING HUMANS. Rabies has become synonymous with the image of a vicious dog or wild animal, but cats have outnumbered dogs in reported cases since 1981.
Rabies is a public health hazard and a personal risk to all pet owners. Many states require vaccination against rabies, and most veterinarians recommend vaccination for all dogs and cats, regardless of state law. Rabies can be transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. Even cats and dogs kept indoors can come in contact with a rabies carrier in a basement, garage, or attic.
Because there is no cure for rabies, vaccination is your pet’s only protection.
Dogs: Initial dose is given at 12 weeks of age, boostered 1 year after initial dose, then given every 3 years thereafter.
Cats: Initial dose is given at 12 weeks of age, then given yearly thereafter.
This vaccine provides protection against:
- Canine Distemper — Distemper is very widespread, and nearly every dog will be exposed to it within the first year of life. The virus initially causes a severe respiratory infection, often leading to pneumonia. But it is the neurologic phase of the infection that often causes long-term neurologic changes, such as convulsions, twitches, or partial paralysis. It is spread through all body secretions and is HIGHLY contagious.
- Parvovirus — Since its devastating worldwide appearance in 1978, most dog owners have heard of Parvo. It is transmitted through direct contact with an infected dog’s feces. A dog that recovers from the disease remains a "carrier," spreading the virus in its bowel movements for 1-3 months. Signs include vomiting, fever, depression, and diarrhea (which often will contain large amounts of blood.) The younger the pet, the GREATER the chance of death. Dogs remain susceptible to Parvovirus infection until TWO WEEKS AFTER THE LAST INJECTION in the vaccination series. This is the MOST SERIOUS and FATAL disease we see today.
- Infectious Canine Hepatitis — This disease affects the dog’s liver. Spread through an infected dog’s urine, exposure can mean anything from a mild infection to death. Puppies are at the most risk with this disease. Vaccination has controlled this disease for several years, making it rarely seen by the veterinarian today.
- Parainfluenza — This is a virus that causes infection of the upper respiratory tract.
The Distemper vaccine is given initially at 8 weeks of age, then boostered every 3-4 weeks until 14-16 weeks of age. It is then given every 3 years thereafter.
Bordetella ("Kennel Cough")
Bordetella or Kennel Cough, technically known as "tracheobronchitis," is an upper respiratory infection with the major sign being a persistent, dry, hacking cough. It often lasts several weeks and is HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS.
This vaccine is started at 10 weeks, then given yearly thereafter. It is necessary for boarding.
Lyme Disease is a debilitating disease caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. It affects the musculoskeletal system as well as other vital systems of the body. Lyme is spread by the attachment of infected ticks on an animal. Pets that are most at risk are dogs that walk in wooded and tall grassy areas, or travel in places where wild animals frequent.
The vaccination is started at 10 weeks, then boostered 3-4 weeks later. It is then given yearly.
This bacterial infection causes liver and/or kidney failure in dogs and people. It is spread through the urine of small mammals and is especially prevalent in areas of standing water.
This vaccine is given initially at 10 weeks of age, then boostered 3-4 weeks later. It is then given once a year.
Panleukopenia, also known as "cat distemper," is a highly contagious and often fatal disease in young cats. It is the feline version of Parvo virus, causing profuse diarrhea and immune suppression with mortality rates approaching 95%. It is easily transmitted from cat to cat.
Feline Respiratory Diseases
Feline respiratory diseases include Rhinotracheitis and Calicivirus. Both are highly contagious and are widespread. Upper respiratory infections are easily spread from cat to cat by sneezing, etc. Even a stray cat that seems outwardly healthy may be a carrier capable of infecting your pet, even through a screen window. Infected cats often exhibit clinical disease periodically throughout their life.
Panleukopenia and the feline respiratory diseases Rhinotracheitis and Calicivirus are given as a combination vaccine initially at 8 weeks of age, then boostered 3-4 weeks later. The vaccine is then given every 3 years.
Feline Leukemia is a virus that often suppresses the cat’s ability to fight other infections or even cause cancer. Kittens can be born with the virus and can carry the virus for years before showing any signs of the disease. Feline leukemia is not transmissible to dogs or humans.
The vaccine is given initially at 8 weeks of age, then boostered 3-4 weeks later. It is then given as a yearly vaccine and is highly recommended for any cat that goes outside.