There is much debate in the Veterinary world about the frequency of administering the various vaccines to our canine and feline patients. The most effective vaccines in the prevention of diseases are as follows:
- Distemper, Adenovirus (Hepatitis), Para influenza and Parvo virus (DA2PPV).
- Bordetella (B).
- Rabies (R).
Distemper (D): Highly contagious, it is spread by discharges from the noses and eyes of infected dogs. Symptoms can include listlessness, fever, coughing, diarrhoea and vomiting; convulsions and paralysis may occur in the disease’s final stages. The distemper virus attacks many organs, including the nervous system, which may be permanently damaged, even if the dog recovers.
Adenovirus 2 (A2): Also know as Hepatitis, this disease is transmitted by contact of secretions from an infected animal to a non-infected animal. Symptoms are similar to distemper but here jaundice and a blue eye discolouration are often present, secondary to the liver damage. The course of this disease can range from mild to fatal.
Para influenza (P): This virus is highly contagious; causing respiratory infections, and is spread by an infected dog’s sneezing and coughing.
Parvovirus (PV): Very contagious and debilitating. Spread through infected feces, the highly resistant virus can remain in the environment for many months. Symptoms include high fever, listlessness, vomiting and diarrhoea. Parvo is most severe in young pups and elderly dogs and is potentially fatal.
Bordetella (B): Also know as Kennel Cough, this air born virus attacks the respiratory-tract and can result in a dry hacking cough. Most boarding kennels do require your dog to be vaccinated for Bordetella because like the common human cold, it’s easily transmitted between animals.
Rabies (R): 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 bats) through bites or any break in the skin. Vaccination will provide your pet with much greater resistance to rabies if he is exposed to the disease, but you must be aware that there is no cure once it occurs. If you intend to travel to the USA or most other countries, you will need a certificate proving that your pet has been vaccinated against this disease.
- Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calici Virus, Panleukopenia, and Chlamydia (FVRCP + CH).
- Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV).
- Rabies (R).
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR): Just like the common human cold, the virus that causes this upper respiratory-tract infection is easily transmitted from one cat to another. Its symptoms may take the form of moderate fever, loss of appetite, sneezing, eye and nasal discharges and coughing. Kittens are particularly affected, but this disease can be dangerous in any unprotected cat, as effective treatment is limited. Even if a cat recovers, it can remain a carrier for life.
Calicivirus (C): This virus is another major cause of upper respiratory-tract infection in cats. Widespread and highly contagious, its symptoms of fever, ulcers and blisters on the tongue and pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs) can range from mild to severe, depending on the strain of virus present. Treatment of this disease can be difficult. Even if recovery does take place, a recovered cat can continue to infect other animals, as well as experience chronic sneezing and runny eyes. Vaccination is therefore tremendously important.
Panleukopenia (P): Sometimes know as feline distemper, this disease is caused by a virus so resistant; it can survive up to one year outside a cat’s body. Symptoms can include listlessness, diarrhoea, vomiting, severe dehydration and fever. The infection rate for this disease can potentially be 90% to 100% but is well controlled today by vaccination.
Chlamydia (CH): This bacterial disease is responsible for 15 to 20% of all feline respiratory diseases. It’s extremely contagious, especially in young kittens and the infection rate is very high. It causes a local infection of the mucous membranes of the eyes but may also involve the lungs. Chlamydia can be transmitted to humans by direct contact.
Feline Leukemia (FeLV): This is a leading cause of death in North American cats. Infection can result in a multitude of serious health problems for your cat- everything from cancer to a wide range of secondary infections caused by the destruction of the immune response system. They may not show symptoms for months, even years, after they have been exposed to this virus, all the while infecting others.
Rabies (R): Please see the above description of this virus in the canine vaccines.
Canine Vaccine Administration
DA2PPV: Three vaccinations, starting when the pup is 6 weeks of age; 3-4 weeks between each one. To be followed up by an annual booster I year later, and then every 2 years after that.
(B): Can be given when the pup is less than 6 weeks of age, but will require a second vaccine when the pup is older than 6 weeks. We recommend vaccinating for (B) when the pup is receiving its second DA2PPV. This is followed by annual boosters, and we recommend another vaccination if the pup is going to a boarding kennel more than 6 months after the last update.
(R): We advise getting the (R) vaccine with the third DA2PPV booster, or when the pup is older than 12 weeks of age. This vaccine is followed by an annual booster 1 year after the initial treatment, and then followed by a booster every 3 years.
Feline Vaccine Administration
FVRCP + CH: Starting at 8 weeks of age, this vaccine is given three times at 3-4 weeks apart. To be followed by another in 1 year’s time, and then a booster every 3 years thereafter.
FeLV: We recommend 2 vaccines, starting when the kitten is 8 weeks of age or older. The second vaccine must be given after 12 weeks of age, 4 weeks after the initial treatment. Annual boosters are recommended for at risk cats.
(R): At 12 weeks of age we advise giving the (R) vaccine. This is to be followed by an annual booster 1 year later, and then every 3 years after the second treatment.
Our protocols will adequately protect your pet from these important diseases. If you have any questions or concerns about our recommendations please contact the clinic:
K.L.O. Veterinary Hospital
Suite 1-1155 K.L.O. RD