like people, pets need to be vaccinated against diseases. Vaccines are
intended to trigger protective immune responses in pets in order to
protect them from future disease infections. Vaccine administration will
be based on your pet's lifestyle and/or breed.
or core vaccines for dogs include canine distemper, canine
adenovirus-2, parvovirus and rabies. The canine distemper, canine
adenovirus-2 and parvovirus is a combination vaccine first given between
the ages of 6 to 8 weeks and is continued every three weeks until the
puppy is at least 16 weeks old. Thereafter, the vaccine is repeated
every one to three years. Rabies vaccination is first given once the
puppy is 5 months old and boostered one year later. After that, the
rabies vaccine is repeated every one to three years.
distemper is a serious, highly contagious disease. It weakens the immune
system, leaving infected dogs vulnerable to other infections. Symptoms
include fever, coughing, green nasal and eye discharge, vomiting,
diarrhea, dehydration, loss of appetite, thickened toe pads, muscle
twitching, seizures and blindness. Puppies are most susceptible.
Distemper is fatal in up to 90 percent of cases. For the dogs that
recover from the disease, most have serious permanent neurologic
problems. Fortunately, the vaccination is very effective if given prior
to the dog's exposure.
There are two forms of canine
adenovirus, CAV-1 and CAV-2. Vaccination with CAV-2 provides protection
against both. CAV-1 is the cause of infectious canine hepatitis, which
damages the liver. CAV-2 is one of several organisms that can cause
infectious canine tracheobronchitis, or kennel cough. Just as you would
expect, the main sign is a persistent cough. It is spread mainly in
places where large numbers of dogs are in close proximity, such as
kennels, shelters, grooming facilities or dog shows.
parvovirus (CPV) is a highly contagious disease affecting the digestive
system. It can also weaken the immune system and damage the heart. Signs
include fever, lethargy, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, dehydration and
loss of appetite. It can be fatal, especially in puppies born to
unvaccinated mothers. Parvovirus treatment usually requires
Rabies is an incurable disease of the nervous
system that is always fatal. Worse yet, it is transmittable between
most animal species, including humans. Although rabies transmission
requires direct body fluid contact, even indoor pets can be at risk,
since sick wild and domestic animals may enter homes or yards. Regular
rabies vaccination is mandated by law in most states.
on your dog's lifestyle, additional vaccines may be recommended such as
Bordetella (kennel cough), influenza and leptospirosis. The kennel
cough complex, also known as infectious tracheobronchitis, is a
treatable respiratory illness. It can be caused by CAV-2, canine
parainfluenza, and Bordetella bronchiseptica, mycoplasma organisms and
possibly other viruses. The combination vaccine normally given to dogs
includes CAV-2 and parainfluenza. Dogs at high risk of exposure to
kennel cough can receive an additional vaccine, given as nose drops or
as an injection, that protects against Bordetella as well. This is
recommended for dogs that are boarded, groomed professionally or taken
to dog shows or dog parks.
Leptospirosis is a serious illness
that damages the kidneys and liver and can be transmitted to people.
Unfortunately, the vaccine provides only partial protection and must be
boostered annually. In the past it was believed lepto vaccines were
connected to a higher incidence of allergic reactions. Studies have now
shown that the greatest risk of allergic reactions is seen in small
breed dogs receiving multiple vaccines at once. We can help decrease the
risk of vaccine reactions by giving each vaccine a few weeks apart, so
as not to overwhelm their immune system. We see very few allergic
reactions with our vaccines and vaccination protocols.
core vaccines we recommend for cats are panleukopenia, feline
herpesvirus-1, feline calicivirus, chlamydophila and rabies. The first
four are combined in a single injection that is given to kittens
starting at 6 to 8 weeks of age and boostered every three to four weeks
until at least 16 weeks of age. Adult cats receive two doses initially,
given three to four weeks apart. Thereafter, the combination vaccine is
repeated every one to three years. The rabies vaccination is given first
at 5 months of age and then once a year.
panleukopenia, or feline distemper, is a serious gastrointestinal
disease. Symptoms resemble parvovirus in dogs and include fever,
lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, loss of appetite, miscarriage
in pregnant cats and nervous system damage in newborns. It is highly
contagious and commonly fatal in nonvaccinated cats. Panleukopenia is
rare in properly vaccinated cats.
Feline herpesvirus-1 (feline
rhinotracheitis virus) and feline calicivirus cause respiratory
illness. Nonvaccinated cats may get severely ill or even die. These
viruses are extremely contagious. Vaccination gives incomplete
protection, but vaccinated cats get only mild symptoms if they get sick
Feline chlamydophila causes a severe eye infection.
The bacterium primarily infects the conjunctiva causing inflammation
(conjunctivitis). It is spread by direct contact and is common in places
where large numbers of cats are housed together.
Rabies is an
incurable disease of the nervous system that is always fatal. Worse
yet, it is transmittable between most animal species, including humans.
Although rabies transmission requires direct body fluid contact, even
indoor pets can be at risk, since sick wild and domestic animals may
enter homes. Regular rabies vaccination is mandated by law in many
Additional vaccination against feline leukemia (FeLV) may
also be recommended, depending on your cat's potential exposure. FeLV is
transmitted by close, direct contact between cats, so vaccination is
most important for cats that go outside or otherwise contact potentially
infected cats. Cats should be tested for FeLV before vaccination, since
the vaccine doesn't help cats that already have the virus. Two doses of
vaccine are given three to four weeks apart, as early as 8 weeks of
age. Annual revaccination is recommended.