Protecting your best friend
One of the most important things you can do to give your dog a long and healthy life is to ensure that he or she is vaccinated against common canine diseases. Your dog's mother gave her puppy immunity from disease for the first few weeks of existence by providing disease-fighting antibodies in her milk. After that period it's up to you, with the help and advice of your veterinarian – to provide that protection.
How do vaccines work?
Vaccines contain small quantities of altered or "killed" viruses, bacteria or other disease-causing organisms. When administered, they stimulate your dog's immune system to produce disease-fighting cells and proteins – or antibodies – to protect against disease.
When should my dog be vaccinated?
The immunity that a puppy has at birth begins to diminish sometime between 6 and 12 weeks. It is then usually time to begin the initial vaccinations, which will be repeated once a month until the puppy is 4 months old. Thereafter, your dog will require repeat vaccination at regular intervals for the rest of his or her life. Above all, follow the vaccination schedule recommended by your veterinarian – if there is too long an interval between the first vaccination and the booster, your dog may have to undergo the series all over again.
Which vaccinations should my dog receive?
Most veterinarians believe that your pet should be protected against those diseases which are most common, highly contagious and which cause serious illness. Such diseases could include Canine Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Canine Parvovirus, Canine Tracheobronchitis and Rabies. Other vaccinations may be recommended, based on your veterinarian's evaluation of the risks posed by such factors as your dog's particular heredity, environment and lifestyle.
Vaccination against this often fatal, hard-to-treat disease is absolutely essential. Highly contagious, it is spread by discharges from the noses and eyes of infected dogs. Symptoms can include listlessness, fever, coughing, diarrhea 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.
Canine Tracheobronchitis (KENNEL COUGH)
Just as with the human common cold, this respiratory-tract infection is easily transmitted from one dog to another, so vaccination is imperative. Caused by various airborne bacteria and viruses, including Canine Parainfluenza virus, Canine Adenovirus Type II and Bordetella Bronchiseptica, Symptoms include severe coughing spells sometimes accompanied by vomiting and gagging, watery eyes and nasal discharge. Untreated it can progress into pneumonia. The vaccinations for this disease come in 2 forms, an injectable and an intranasal. We recommend one of each type alternating every 6 months to provide the best protection for our pets.
Canine Influenza (DOG FLU)
Canine influenza is highly contagious and easily transmitted by direct contact, cough or sneeze and via contaminated surfaces. Usually mild in 80% of the cases, some dogs exhibit more severe symptoms, and recently many dogs have died from a new strain of virus and complications associated with the disease. Unless a dog has already had the illness and recovered, virtually every dog exposed to the virus will become infected. The most common sign of canine influenza is a persistent cough – in some cases similar to that seen in dogs with canine cough. Protection from canine influenza is available with a new canine influenza vaccine.
Commonly shortened to parvo is again a highly contagious viral disease that causes bloody diarrhea and vomiting, and often leads to death. Although most common in puppies, dogs of any age can contract this disease. The highly resistant virus can be shed in their stool for up to 6 months after a pet recovers, and is often on their hair and feet. The virus can remain in the environment for many months. This virus is also contagious to people; causing similar GI symptoms, heart problems and even abortions in pregnant women. Vaccination is the only certain method of preventing this potentially fatal disease, which is most severe in young pups and elderly dogs.
Probably the most well known and feared disease. This incurable virus attacks 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. There are 2 forms: the well known crazed aggressive drooling kind and a fearful dumb kind; where the animal cowers in the corner until approached. 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. For this reason, many municipalities absolutely require that all dogs receive rabies vaccinations on a regular basis. Plus, you will definitely have to prove that your dog is vaccinated if you travel with him – whether across the United States or around the world.
Infectious Canine Hepatitis
Caused by Canine Adenovirus Type I or Type II, this disease is transmitted among dogs by contact with secretions, such as saliva, infected urine or feces. Its symptoms are similar to those of the early stages of distemper. Causing liver failure, eye damage and breathing problems. Severe cases can cause permanent kidney damage as well. The course of this disease can range from mild to fatal. Vaccination remains the best protection. It is not transmissible to humans.
After evaluating your dog's particular situation and risk factors, your veterinarian may also recommend vaccination against other infectious diseases. These might include:
- LEPTOSPIROSIS, is a bacterial infection carried by many animals, most wild. A dog can transmit this to humans as well. It is spread through the urine, although most dogs contract the disease by drinking contaminated water. Symptoms include fever, jaundice, hemorrhaging and blood in urine or stool. Recent advances have improved the safety of this vaccine and include more serotypes for greater protection. I will administer this vaccine only to those pets I believe to be at increased risk though because of its potential for reaction.
- CANINE CORONAVIRUS is similar to parvo in that it causes bloody diarrhea and vomiting because it attacks the intestinal system. Although the current recommendations are to not include this vaccination in normal vaccination protocols: It is not generally fatal and most serious in puppies.
- LYME DISEASE, transmitted by ticks to dogs, other animals and humans. Many dogs do not exhibit clinical signs, which could include arthritis and lameness. It can affect the heart as well in pets and humans. Antibiotics must be administered within 7 days of being bit by the tick and is the best treatment. I say that because my Golden Retriever was vaccinated every year, yet still contracted and suffered from severe arthritic joint pain due to lymes disease. Lyme disease if left untreated will have serious consequences to a dog's health. I should add no vaccine offers 100% protection.
How effective is vaccination?
Like any drug treatment or surgical procedure, vaccinations can not be 100% guaranteed. However, used in conjunction with proper nutrition and acceptable sanitary conditions, vaccination is clearly your pet's best defense against disease. Plus, when you consider what treating a serious illness can cost you and your beloved dog in terms of both money and distress, prevention through vaccination is extremely cost-effective.
Your cat counts on you for protection
One of the very best things you can do to give your cat a long and healthy life is to ensure that he or she is vaccinated against common feline diseases. Your cat's mother gave her kitten immunity from disease for the first few weeks of existence by providing disease – fighting antibodies in her milk. After that period it's up to you – with the help and advice of your veterinarian – to provide that protection.
How do vaccines work?
Vaccines contain small quantities of altered or "killed" viruses, bacteria or other disease – causing organisms. When administered, they stimulate your cat's immune system to produce disease fighting cells and proteins – or antibodies – to protect against disease.
When should my cat be vaccinated?
Generally, the immunity that a kitten has at birth begins to diminish after 9 weeks. It is then usually time to begin the initial vaccinations, with the booster following 3 to 4 weeks later. Thereafter, your cat will require repeat vaccinations for the rest of his or her life. Of course, these are only guidelines your veterinarian will be able to determine the exact schedule that's right for your pet.
Which vaccinations should my cat receive?
Most veterinarians believe that your pet should be protected against those diseases which are most common, highly contagious and which cause serious illness. Such diseases could include Feline Panleukopenia, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Feline Calicivirus, Feline Chlamydophila, Feline Leukemia and Rabies. Other vaccinations may be recommended, based on your veterinarian's evaluation of the risks posed by such factors as your cat's particular heredity, environment and lifestyle.
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
Just as with the human common cold, the virus that causes this upper respiratory-tract infection is easily transmitted from one cat to another, so vaccination is imperative if your pet will come in contact with other cats. 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.
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. Once again, 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, runny eyes, and severe gum disease. Vaccination is therefore tremendously important.
Sometimes known as feline distemper, this disease is caused by a virus so resistant, it can survive over one year outside a cat's body! Therefore, as most cats will be exposed to it during their lifetimes and infection rates in unprotected cats can run as high as 90% to 100%, vaccination against this usually fatal disease is absolutely essential. Symptoms can include listlessness, diarrhea, vomiting, severe dehydration and fever. Happily, the vaccine itself is very effective in preventing the disease, as treatment is very difficult and, even if recovery takes place for a period of time, a once-infected cat can spread the disease to other, unvaccinated animals.
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 cat 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. For this reason, many municipalities absolutely require that all cats receive rabies vaccinations on a regular basis. Plus, you will definitely have to prove that your cat is vaccinated if you ever have to travel with him – whether across the country or around the world.
Feline Leukemia (FeLV)
Infection with the Feline Leukemia Virus can result in a multitude of serious health problems for your cat – everything from cancerous conditions such as lymphoma to a wide range of secondary infections caused by the destruction of the immune system. In fact, it is the leading cause of death in North American cats. After initial exposure to the virus, a cat may show no symptoms of its presence for months, if not years, yet all the while infect others. Testing is available to determine the FeLV status of your cat. If he or she has not yet been infected, but is likely to come in contact with cats that are, vaccination against this fatal disease is highly recommended.
This bacterial disease is responsible for 5% of all feline respiratory diseases. It is 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. Chlamydophila can be transmitted to humans by direct contact. Vaccination is the preferred method for prevention.
After evaluating your cat's particular situation and risk factors, your veterinarian may also recommend vaccination against other infectious diseases. But that determination is made based on your cat's life style and potential of coming into contact with these rarer diseases.
How effective is vaccination?
Like any drug treatment or surgical procedure, vaccinations cannot be 100% guaranteed. However, used in conjunction with proper nutrition and acceptable sanitary conditions, vaccination is clearly your pet's best defense against disease. Plus, when you consider what treating a serious illness can cost you and your beloved cat in terms of both money and distress, prevention through vaccination is extremely cost-effective.