Just as millions of people worldwide strive to vaccinate their children against widespread disease, so should pet owners with their dogs and cats. The vaccines which are available to our much loved pets happen to cover the major contagious viruses and bacteria which threaten the animal population today.
For both dogs and outdoor/indoor cats residing within Ottawa, it is mandatory by law for them to have current rabies immunization at all times(Animal Care and Control By-Law no. 2003-77, section 69).There are other basic vaccines which are also highly recommended and are given yearly or every 3 years. These vaccines are all fairly inexpensive, plus they can prevent some of the most feared of diseases. Continue reading below for a list of recommended boosters, as well as the diseases in which they protect your pet from.
Vaccination in DOGS and PUPPIES:
Rabies is a deadly virus which attacks the central nervous system of mammals. It is spread through the saliva of infected animals through bites, open wounds or eyes/nose and mouth areas. This disease is fatal for both animals and humans if not treated promptly. Recommendations for puppies is to have one rabies vaccine and then to be boostered every 3 years (3-year rabies vaccine).
DHPP is another core vaccine that puppies and dogs should get. Starting from 6-8 weeks of age, every 4 weeks pups initially require 3 doses of DHPP . This vaccine will help prevent some very scary contagious diseases. After the puppy’s initial doses, they only require one dose of DAPP in the next year and every three years afterward. A brief description of each virus this vaccine covers is listed below:
Distemper: This is a highly contagious virus which causes fever, runny nose, lack of appetite, cough, diarrhea and vomiting as well as other symptoms.
Adenovirus: This disease can be spread from dog to dog and can cause hepatitis or respiratory disease (depending on the type of adenovirus)
Para influenza: A highly contagious respiratory virus which causes cough, fever, runny nose and loss of appetite.
Parvo Virus: This is a very serious viral disease that is most common in dogs under 1 year of age but can affect un-vaccinated dogs of any age. It is usually characterized by severe vomiting and diarrhea (sometimes bloody), and lethargy.
Additional vaccines for puppies and dogs may also be given, depending on their lifestyle:
If your dog loves the water and enjoys splashing in puddles regularly, they will require the lepto vaccine. Lepto is a bacterial infection spread by wild animals to your pet, and even to you! If acquired, it can cause severe kidney and liver problems as well as other symptoms. Prevention is key!
If your dog enjoys walks through the woods, or running through fields, you might want to consider the lyme disease vaccine. Lyme disease is spread through ticks and can cause symptoms such as: joint pain, swelling of joints, kidney disease, decreased appetite and lethargy. Vaccination is the most effective way to reassure yourself of your pet’s continued health.
On the other hand, if your dog frequents kennels throughout the year, socializes with other dogs in training classes or grooming stores, you would want him or her to receive a kennel cough vaccine. If your dog is infected with kennel cough (or bordetella), he may suffer from a hacking cough, wretching, nasal discharge and other uncomfortable symptoms. It is highly contagious and best kept under control by vaccinating and protecting your pet before it has a chance to spread to them.
Vaccination in CATS and KITTENS:
Rabies is a deadly virus which attacks the central nervous system of mammals. It is spread through saliva of affected animals through bites, open wounds and the eyes/nose and mouth area. This disease is fatal for both animals and humans if not treated promptly. Recommendations are for kittens to have a rabies vaccine once and then every year thereafter.
In addition to the legally required rabies vaccine, there is one other basic vaccine that both indoor and outdoor cats and kittens should receive. This core booster is called RCP and covers many contagious diseases that could be deadly to your pet. As a kitten he or she requires 3 boosters initially, then a dose one year later, and subsequently once every 3 years. This allows your cat to stay protected for life! There is a brief description of each of the diseases that this vaccine protects against listed below:
Rhinotracheitis: This is a contagious viral upper respiratory infection. It can become serious and causes sneezing, runny nose, lack of appetite and sometimes fever.
Calici Virus: This virus is another upper respiratory infection in cats. It can cause runny eyes and nose, sneezing, fever and ulcers in the mouth.
Panleukopenia: This is a virus which can sometimes be fatal and tends to cause a low white blood cell count , which in turn, compromises the immune system. Along with the low white blood cell count, bloody diarrhea, anemia and severe dehydration are most often present.
If you happen to have an outdoor cat, you will want to make sure that they receive some additional vaccines yearly. These vaccines are extremely important.
Feline Leukemia (or FeLV) is a contagious virus which carries a poor prognosis, most cats die within 3 years of being diagnosed. If the cat’s immune system doesn’t defeat this virus it can cause other lethal diseases, such as: lymphomas, leukemias and a serious form of anemia.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
is another virus which is contagious among cats and is usually transmitted during cat fights involving bite wounds. This disease also carries a poor prognosis and death usually occurs within 5 years of diagnoses. This disease attacks the immune system of the cat and can make them very susceptible to other infections.
Luckily, there are vaccines available to protect your cat from both of these potentially deadly communicable diseases.
In conclusion, being a pet owner brings great joys, as well as great responsibilities. You have the responsibility of providing continued health to your beloved pet, so that they can live comfortable and happy for years by your side. By following the above recommendations, your dog or cat can have the best possible chance of health and well being. Please ask the staff at the Lansdowne Animal Hospital to book you a vaccination appointment today or call us for further questions at: 613-730-2460. We would be more than happy to help you!