Vaccines help prevent many illnesses that can affect your pets.
The distemper vaccine, for instance, is given to puppies and kittens every 3-4 weeks until the reach 14- 16 weeks. That is when the maternal antibodies start to drop and we want to make sure the puppy or kitten is properly protected by the vaccine. In low exposure pets (not is contact with other unvaccinated animals) we recommend starting the distemper vaccine around 10-12 weeks. The vaccine in boostered in one year and then every three years there after.
Rabies is required by law in ALL cats and dogs even if they don’t go outside. Rabies can be passed on to humans through a bite and is always fatal. The first rabies vaccine is given anytime after 16 weeks and is boostered in one year. At that point the vaccine is boostered every three years.
Feline Leukemia and Feline Aids is a blood test preformed on kittens that do not have a history of parents that were tested. The test is also recommended on any new cat if vaccination history is unknown. There is a feline leukemia vaccine as well. The first vaccine is given anytime after 9 weeks and boostered in 3 to 4 weeks. It is then boostered annually.
About each of the vaccines:
Rabies: Any warm-blooded animal (including humans) can get rabies. Once symptoms appear rabies is always fatal. Rabies is an acute viral infection . Rabies is spread through exposure to an infected animal through a cut, scratch, or bite. Even pets that live strictly indoors are still at risk. This vaccine is required by law for cats and dogs.
Canine Distemper: Commonly known as just the distemper vaccine, it actually vaccinates for 4 different diseases, Adenovirus, Type 2-Parainfluenza, Parvo and of course Distemper. Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that can be fatal. It affects the a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems. Distemper is easily spread through the air or by contact with an infected animal, feces or urine. Parvo virus or Parvo can also be fatal and is a disease that attacks the gastrointestinal tract causing severe diarrhea and vomiting. Parvo is highly contagious and is spread by contact with an infected dog’s blood, feces, or vomit. Parainfluenza causes chronic respiratory disease and can damage the respiratory system. It is easily spread from dog to dog when kept in close quarters. Adenovirus or Hepatitis is also a viral disease that affects the liver, kidneys and cells lining the blood vessels. It is spread through contact with an infected animal, its feces, urine, or saliva.
Leptospirosis: Lepto is an extremely contagious bacterial disease that humans can get as well. It is spread though infected animal’s urine or saliva and can be found in slow moving or stagnant water. Wild animals and farm animals can also carry and spread lepto. Lepto affects the liver and kidneys and can be fatal.
Lyme: Lyme disease is a tick borne disease that is becoming more prevalent in our area. It is spread through a bite from a deer tick or a black-legged tick. Lyme disease damages joints and can cause kidney failure. There is still a lot unknown about Lyme disease.
Bordetella: Also known as kennel cough, it is an airbourne bacterial infection. Spread easily from dog to dog especially when kenneled, at shows, puppy classes, etc. It causes persistent coughing, retching and sneezing.
4DX Testing: Although not a vaccine it is an annual blood test performed to check for 3 tick-borne diseases (Lyme, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichiosis) and heartworm disease. Heartworm preventative should be given once a month, year round.
Feline Distemper: Also called panleukopenia, it is a highly contagious, potentially fatal viral disease in cats. The disease affects the intestinal tract and bone marrow. It can be spread through the air, contact with an infected animal or even where infected animals have been. The distemper vaccine also protects against Rhinotracheitis andCalicivirus . Rhinotracheitis andCalicivirus are upper respiratory viral infections that are also highly contagious. They are spread easily and can be fatal.
Leukemia: Feline leukemia is the number one cause of death in cats from infectious agents. It is a virus that inhibits the immune system. It causes cancer and other chronic diseases. Leukemia is easily spread from cat to cat by licking, biting, and sneezing. There is a simple blood test to check for leukemia and well as the vaccine.