Vaccines for Your Dog and Cat

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Victoria Veterinary Clinic recommends Annual Wellness Examinations and Vaccinations for your pets. This helps to maintain optimal health and prevents illness in your pet. A routine wellness exam includes a comprehensive history where questions about your pet’s diet, appetite, water intake, exercise, behavior, bathroom routine, lifestyle, and general health are asked. A thorough physical examination of your dog or cat will then be performed. Based on your pet’s history and physical examination, specific recommendations may be made for preventive medicine treatments such as vaccination, deworming, supplements, nutrition, nail and coat care, dental hygiene and weight management.

Your veterinarian can determine a vaccination protocol that is best suited for the individual needs of your pet.

For dogs, the Rabies vaccine and combination DA2PP vaccine (distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus and parainfluenza) are considered to be core vaccines. For cats, the Rabies vaccine and the combination RCP vaccine (rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia) are considered to be core vaccinations. These vaccinations are given just below the skin (subcutaneously) to your pet.

For both puppies and kittens the recommended schedule is 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age. This is to ensure the puppy or kitten is vaccinated at a point when their level of maternal antibodies — the protection against infectious diseases passed on by their mother — is no longer high enough. Both dogs and cats will require a booster vaccination one year after their initial series. From there, some animals are placed on a one or three year vaccine cycle to protect them from getting the disease.

Core Vaccination Diseases in the dog and cat:

Canine Distemper

Distemper is a contagious and potentially fatal viral disease spread by coughing and contact with the urine and feces of infected animals. Symptoms vary from respiratory and gastrointestinal signs to neurological problems such as seizures.

Canine Adenovirus type 1 (Infectious Canine Hepatitis)

Infectious hepatitis is a contagious disease caused by a canine adenovirus. Symptoms from this disease vary but often lead to liver damage.

Canine Parvovirus

Parvo is a highly contagious and potentially fatal viral disease spread through the feces from infected dogs. This virus targets the gastrointestinal tract causing symptoms such as bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

Parainfluenza

The parainfluenza virus is spread through nasal secretions and targets the respiratory tract in puppies and older dogs.

Feline Rhinotracheitis (Feline Herpes Virus)

Feline Herpes Virus mainly affects the upper respiratory tract of cats and is spread by contact with discharge from a cat’s eyes, nose or mouth. It can cause fever, sneezing, runny eyes and nose. Some cats can become a carrier of the virus and have flare-ups throughout the rest of their life.

Feline Calicivirus

Feline Calicivirus is a contagious virus that affects the respiratory system similar to Herpes Virus but can also cause painful sores in your cat’s mouth.

Feline Panleukopenia

Feline Panleukopenia is a contagious virus that can be fatal, especially to kittens. It can cause vomiting, high fever and diarrhea. The virus can be spread through contact with feces or to kittens before they are born.

Rabies

Rabies is a fatal disease that affects all mammals, including people which makes it very serious. The virus is spread by a bite from an infected animal. Symptoms can vary but ultimately the virus infects the brain causing seizures and death.

Non-Core Vaccinations:

Elective vaccines are vaccinations that are not considered in the core protocol but may be beneficial to your pet depending on their risk and lifestyle. Your veterinarian would be happy to discuss these vaccines during your pet’s annual appointment.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)

This is a deadly viral infection in cats, spread through bites from an infected cat, sharing of litter boxes and food bowls and and through an infected cat’s milk. It causes anemia, cancer and suppresses the cat’s immune system leading to other infections. Outdoor cats are at the most risk for contracting feline leukemia. Testing for FeLV with a simple blood test is recommended prior to vaccination.

Canine Bordetella bronchiseptica

The bordetella vaccine can help control Kennel Cough. This vaccine is recommended for dogs that interact with other dogs in high-density situations such as daycare, kennels or the dog park. This vaccination can be given in the nose, the mouth or under the skin.