Pet Immunization

August is National Vaccination Awareness Month, raising awareness about the importance and timely immunization of pets and the value of booster shots to keep pets safe from diseases such as Rabies, Canine Distemper, Parvovirus and Adenovirus (Canine Hepatitis). It is essential to vaccinate your pet and to know what basic vaccines and immunizations are necessary and when to have them administered.

Pet immunizations are divided into two basic groups, core and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are essential for your pet, whereas non-core vaccines are for diseases that only occur in certain circumstances or area of the country and depends on your pet’s lifestyle (i.e. if they often board at a kennel with other animals).

Core Vaccines for Dogs:

Rabies

Rabies is a usually fatal disease that attacks the central nervous system in pets.  There are two types of vaccines for dogs: the 1-year or 3-year vaccine. A puppy must be at least 12 weeks of age to receive a rabies shot, but is usually 16 to 19 weeks of age as rabies is the last shot a puppy receives. A rabies booster shot is given either one or three years after the date of the first puppy vaccine, depending on the initial vaccine given.

Canine Distemper (CDV)

Distemper is a contagious and often fatal disease and easily transmitted from dog to dog through urine, feces, using an infected dog’s water bowl or through infected nasal discharge. The distemper vaccine is administered in 3 doses, given when puppies are between 6 and 16 weeks old. Puppies should receive a booster after 1 year and followed up every three years thereafter.

Parvovirus (CPV-2)

“Parvo,” as it’s commonly called, is a serious, extremely contagious virus among dogs. The parvo vaccine is typically administered in 3 doses, given when the puppy is between 6 and 16 weeks old. Puppies should receive a booster one year later, and adult dogs at 3-year intervals thereafter. Adult dogs that have never been vaccinated should receive one initial dose followed by a booster every three years.

Adenovirus / Canine Hepatitis (CAV-2)

Viral hepatitis in dogs is a contagious illness spread when exposed to an infected dog’s urine, saliva or feces. If untreated, canine hepatitis can be fatal. Adenovirus vaccination follows the same protocol as parvovirus and distemper for both puppies and adult dogs.

It is common for veterinarians to administer vaccines for distemper, parvovirus and adenovirus as a three-in-one vaccine.

Non-Core Vaccines for Dogs:

Non-core vaccines such as bordetella (kennel cough), leptospirosis, lyme disease, measles and parainfluenza, are only given when the dog is at risk, i.e. if your pet goes to daycare, he could easily pick up bordetella. Discuss your dog’s situation with your veterinarian as many dogs won’t require non-core shots, depending on their breed, age, lifestyle habits and location.

Core vaccines for cats:

Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV)

The feline panleukopenia virus is a highly contagious disease and often fatal. Felines of all ages require vaccination as FPV can exist in the environment, in contaminated water and food bowls, and among feral cats. Start FPV vaccines as early as 6 weeks of age, then every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age. A FPV booster is given one year later, and repeated once every three years. Adult cats that have never been vaccinated should receive two doses, 3 to 4 weeks apart.

Feline Calicivirus (FCV)

FCV causes an upper respiratory tract infection in cats and characterized by sneezing and nasal discharge, and in more extreme cases mouth ulcers, pneumonia and joint disease. Vaccination is considered mandatory as felines can become chronic carriers of FCV. FCV vaccination follows the same protocol as FPV. It is common for veterinarians to give vaccines for FPV and FCV together.

Rabies

Rabies is also fatal in felines and can be passed on to humans (zoonotic). Cats with rabies experience the same symptoms as dogs. Kittens get a dose as early as 8 or 12 weeks of age, then revaccinate 1 year later. Adult cats that have never been vaccinated should receive two doses, 12 months apart.

Non-core vaccines for cats:

Non-core vaccines are feline leukemia (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), chlamydia, and bordetella. Discuss your cat’s situation with your veterinarian as these vaccinations are only given when there is an increased risk to your kitten or cat (i.e. if your cat roams outside and encounters other cats).

If you are concerned about over-vaccinating your pet, consult with your veterinarian about a titre test. A blood sample is taken from your pet and examined in the laboratory for evidence of an acceptable immune response to certain diseases. If satisfactory vaccine titres are present, vaccinations might not be necessary at that time.

Related Articles

What Yo Need To Know About Zoonotic Diseases Read Now

Advances In Vaccines For Cats Read Now

Protect Your Dog From Serious Diseases With Vaccines Read Now

What Are Pet Vaccines And Why Are They Important? Read Now

Rabies: How It Spreads, The Signs & Why Vaccination Is Vital Read Now

 

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