Most of us are familiar with vaccinations in that they are something their pet needs to visit their veterinarian for each year. However, may pet owners do not know what their pet is being vaccinated for and why.
Puppies require a series of 4 sets of shots, spaced three weeks apart, starting at approximately 8 weeks of age. This helps build up their immunity to diseases while the immunity they received from the antibodies in their mother’s milk is decreasing. Puppies are vaccinated against distemper virus, parvo virus, parainfluenza, adenovirus, rabies and bordetella. Once they have finished their puppy series, they are good for one year.
Recent changes have been made to the adult dog vaccine schedule. Rabies is recommended every three years. Distemper is recommended every other year and Bordetella is given every six months, based on risk of exposure. While we are decreasing the vaccinations given each year, we still recommend annual physical examinations, heartworm testing and fecal checks.
Kittens require a series of 3 sets of shots, spaced three weeks apart, starting at approximately 8 weeks of age. This helps to build up their immunity to diseases while the immunity they received from the antibodies in their mother’s milk is decreasing. Kittens are vaccinated against feline distemper (which includes Rhinotracheities, calicivirus and panleukopenia), rabies and feline leukemia. Once they have finished their kitten series, they are good for one year.
Some feline vaccines are still recommended on a yearly basis. Our feline patients are more sensitive to vaccine additives that are added to the 3-year rabies vaccine, so we feel strongly that a 1-year rabies vaccine without additives is much safer for our feline patients. Feline distemper and upper respiratory vaccines are given every two years.
Feline leukemia vaccine should be given annually based on risk of exposure.
DISEASES YOUR PET IS VACCINATED AGAINST
Dogs can be infected by coming into contact with an infected dog. This virus attacks the mucus membranes lining the respiratory tract. They will show signs of respiratory infection, which then progresses to pneumonia. The virus will then begin to affect the gastrointestinal tract, causing vomiting and diarrhea and may eventually reach the brain and cause seizures.
This virus is passed in the feces of other infected dogs and is able to exist for long periods of time in the environment. It attacks the cells of the gastrointestinal tract, causing severe vomiting and diarrhea, which can potentially be fatal. It can also attack the cells of the bone marrow. Puppies are extremely susceptible to this disease because they haven’t had the exposure to build up immunity.
This virus can exist in the environment and infects multiple areas of a dog’s body. Some strains can cause respiratory disease, while other strains may lead to hepatitis or liver disease.
These highly contagious organisms can cause respiratory disease, characterized by a hacking cough–also known as “kennel cough”. Dogs are infected by being around other infected dogs, especially in boarding and grooming situations.
Dogs and cats are required by law to vaccinated against this virus. Rabies is a fatal neurologic disease that is contagious to humans and is spread through open wounds.
These viruses cause upper respiratory infections in cats and are typically included together in a single vaccine.
This virus is spread by close contact or from the kittens’ mother. It attacks the bone marrow and causes immunosuppression. It can also lead to lymphoma or cancer of the lymphatic system.