Vaccinating your animal is a large part of preventative health care. There are different regimes that are undertaken in each circumstance and patient. The most commonly used regimes at Chancellor Park Veterinary Surgery are as follows:
Dogs & Cats:
Puppies should have an initial vaccination at 6-8 weeks of age, and a second vaccination at 12-14weeks of age, and annually thereafter.
Should the puppy receive their second vaccination before12weeks of age, it may be advisable for it to receive a third vaccination at 16-18 weeks of age.
Kittens are usually vaccinated at 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks, 14-16 week and annually thereafter.
The reason that young animals must receive several immunisations is that they already have received antibodies from drinking their mother’s milk. As they are weaned, the levels of these antibodies within their system slowly dwindles. The level can still be high enough to interfere with the vaccine that we administer at 6-8weeks, and so a second vaccine is needed to booster these levels sufficiently to ensure that the animal is protected.
Canine Distemper Virus
Canine distemper is a viral disease that can affect any dog.Puppies and unvaccinated dogs are most at risk. The symptoms can include; high temperature, lethargy, inappentence , discharge from the eyes and nose,vomiting, diarrhoea as well as coughing with a likeness to that of pneumonia developing. Many dogs’ symptoms will advance to more severe conditions such as muscle spasms, convulsions and progressive paralysis. Recovered dogs can sometimes be left with permanent effects on their health.
Canine adenovirus, otherwise known as canine hepatitis, is a highly contagious disease spread by infected faeces, blood, saliva and nasal discharge. The disease results in acute liver failure and has symptoms including; fever, depression, loss of appetite, coughing, abdominal pain and corneal edema. The liver disease also causes jaundice and vomiting. Death can occur secondary to the liver disease. Recovered dogs will continue to spread the virus via their urine for a period of up to 6 months.
The disease is particularly severe in young dogs and can be fatal to puppies.
Canine parvovirus is a horrible disease that affects the intestinal tract. It is highly contagious and robust enough that it can survive12 or more months in the environment. Dogs contract the disease from contact with contaminated faeces and soil. Dog kennels, parks and showgrounds are major sources, but it can be found wherever an infected dog has passed.
The symptoms of the virus include severe abdominal pain as well as prolonged vomiting and bloody diarrhoea.
The mortality rate is high in puppies that contract the disease,though chances of survival are increased if immediate treatment is sought.
Fortunately, canine parvovirus is not as common as it used to be,due to the highly effective vaccines that are readily available.
Canine Parainfluenza & Bordetella bronchiseptica
These pathogens, sometimes working with other viruses and bacteria, most commonly the canine adenovirus, cause the symptoms of the canine cough. The classic symptom of which is the harsh, hacking cough that can result in the animal gagging. The cough can be exacerbated by exercise, excitement or by pressure on the throat region. Severely affected dogs may also experience; fever, lethargy and reduced appetite. The cough itself may persist for weeks, despite treatment.
The canine cough is often shrouded by the myth of its previous name; ‘kennel cough’, this myth being that the animal may only contract the infection after staying in a kennel. This is a misconception. The pathogens are highly contagious and can be found in most areas frequented by dogs such as dog parks, beaches, shows, or kennels.
Vaccinations are highly recommended, but it is important to realise that vaccination may not always give total protection, but will usually reduce the severity of the infection, should the dog contract it.
Leptospirosis & Coronavirus
Leptospirosis is a disease that is spread by the urine in rats. Dogs contract it from contact with contaminated food, water or rat bites. Sudden symptoms within 4-12days following infection include fever, depression, vomiting, loss of appetite, conjunctivitis. The patient may also suffer chronic liver and kidney disease which usually results in the fatality of the animal. Leptospirosis is very rarely seen in our area. For this reason we do not consider vaccination against corona virus to be essential
Canine corona virus is a disease of the intestinal system, which can cause the animal to experience vomiting, diarrhoea, and anorexia. The virus is spread from contact with contaminated faecal matter. Once recovered, the dog may continue to shed the virus for anywhere from nine days to six months. Fortunately, death does not usually result unless other pathogens, such as parvovirus, have been contracted as well.
Feline enteritis, is also known as feline panleukopaenia, is caused by a feline strain of parvovirus this is found in an infected cat’s faecal matter. Just like canine parvovirus, the virus is very resistant and can survive in the environment for long periods of time. An infected cat may show; poor appetite, lethargy, severe abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea containing blood. The virus may also cause abortion in pregnant queens or cause foetal abnormalities. Mortality rates in young kittens are extremely high.
However, vaccination against this disease has proven to be very effective and is strongly recommended.
Feline calicivirus is a virus which is seen to affect the patient’s eyes, nose and mouth, and can also be seen to affect some patient’s respiratory and musculoskeletal systems. Acute symptoms of the infection include; conjunctivitis, sneezing, nasal discharge and ulceration within the patient’s mouth. The virus can also cause lameness and pneumonia with secondary bacterial infections in some cases.
For healthy, adult cats the mortality rate is low, but risk is increased in kittens or older cats. It can be contracted through direct contact with an infected cat’s eye or nasal discharge, or through indirect contact with a contaminated object or surface. If a cat is to recover from the virus, they can still be carriers of the infection and ultimately continue to shed the virus into the environment via their excrements for a number of years.
Feline Herpes Virus
Feline herpes virus is the most common cause of upper respiratory disease in cats. It is transmitted from either direct contact with active carriers of the infection or through indirect contact with a contaminated surface or object. It is also possible for the virus to be transmitted to kittens from an infected mother, if they managed to survive the pregnancy.
The common symptoms are sneezing, discharge from the nose and eyes, conjunctivitis which leads to corneal ulcers in some cases, fever, loss of appetite, depression and pneumonia. Kittens and older cats suffering the virus are more at risk of dying than healthy adults as anorexia and dehydration from the loss of appetite will kill them more readily than it would in an adult.
Once a cat has been infected with feline herpes virus, it will have it for its entire life. The initial outbreak is usually the worst, and should the animal recover and be kept as healthy as possible, its immune system should be able to keep the virus in check. Stress and corticosteroid injections may also caused a cat carrying the virus to have an outbreak and experience the symptoms once more.
The common name given to infection by Feline calicivirus and Feline herpes virus is 'cat flu'.
Vaccinating against cat flu may not always give total protection, but will usually reduce the severity of the disease. For this reason, vaccinating is strongly recommended and is required if you intend to board your cat in a cattery.
Feline Leukaemia Virus
Feline leukaemia virus infects domestic cats worldwide. Cats most as risk of contracting the disease are those of which are allowed outside in a multi-cat environment. Infected cats shed the virus from their saliva, tears, blood, nasal secretions and urine. Another cat may contract this from them via mutual grooming, fighting or sneezing. Kittens can contract it from an infected mother’s milk.
Once infected, death usually occurs within 3 years, as the body’s immune system is weakened which increases the animal’s susceptibility to other infections and tumours. Some infected cats will experience weight loss, apathy, vomiting, diarrhoea, pale or yellow mucus membranes, reproductive problems and/or a loss of appetite.
Generally, it is by a case by case basis in which it is decided whether or not your cat should be vaccinated against feline leukaemia virus.This decision is determined from your cat’s lifestyle and risk of exposure. If vaccination is deemed appropriate, cats should be tested for feline leukaemia virus before initial vaccination.
The feline chlamydophila bacterium is found worldwide, but is more commonly found in multi-cat environments such as animal shelters. It causes inflammation and redness of the conjunctiva (the membrane that lines the inside of the eyelid), as well as a watery discharge from the eye. The cat may also experience mild upper respiratory symptoms which can include sneezing, nasal discharge and a minor fever.
Vaccination against feline chlamydophila is available, however the frequency of adverse side effects associated with vaccinating is relatively high compared to other feline vaccinations. These side effects may include lethargy, depression, anorexia, lameness and high fever. Due to the symptoms of the disease being relatively mild and responsive to treatment, vaccination is not recommended in all cases. It may, however, be considered for cats in a multi-cat household where infection associated with clinical disease has been confirmed.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
This virus is also known of as ‘Cats AIDs’ and is an infectiousdisease. It is seen to attack the cells of the immune system and compromises the cat’s ability to fight off infections. The most common cause of a cat contracting the disease is transfer through saliva from an infected cat by the means of a bite wound. Free roaming, entire male cats are at the greatest risk as they are more likely to be involved in territorial fighting.
Feline immunodeficiency virus can also be passed onto kittens from an infected mother, either in utero or via the mother’s milk. It is a fallacy that mutual grooming can lead to cats becoming infected. However, the biting that occurs during the mating of a female and male cat can transfer the virus.
The symptoms that an infected cat exhibit can range, depending on the animal. They can include; weight loss, poor coat condition, anaemia, gastroenteritis, gingivitis and stomatitis, diarrhoea, and chronic or reoccurring infections of the skin, eyes, respiratory and urinary tracts.
There is a vaccine available, however it is not 100% effective. Desexing, testing cats before breeding and not allowing your cat to roam free are all helpful measures to lessen the spread of feline immunodeficiency virus.
We understand that every animal and situation is different. For any information on vaccinating your animal or further information, please contact us.