Just like with human diseases, vaccines have been developed to protect cats and dogs against some of the more common illnesses they may face. Keeping your pet up to date with the latest vaccines can help improve their immunity to these illnesses, and can reduce the disease’s ability to spread to other animals as well.
Bickford Park Animal Hospital offers vaccination services for cats and dogs.
What Is A Vaccine For Pets?
Vaccines for animals are based on the same scientific and medical principles that human vaccines are. The difference, of course, is in the illness the vaccine is used to combat.
A vaccine is a solution that contains part or all of an infectious disease in either a weakened or completely dead form. Once injected, your body develops the antibodies it needs to fight off this disease. Then, in the future, if you’re exposed to the same disease, your body will be better prepared to fight off the infection.
Why Get Your Animals Vaccinated?
The simple answer to this question is that vaccinations for your cat or dog can protect them against several life-threatening illnesses, as well as prevent them from spreading these illnesses to other animals in your area.
Below, you can read more about the common vaccinations offered to both dogs and cats, as well as the diseases they can protect your animal against.
Vaccinations For Cats
Here are the cat vaccinations your veterinarian may recommend for your cat.
The FVRCP vaccine is considered the core vaccine for cats because it protects against three different illnesses – feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia.
Panleukopenia is sometimes called feline distemper, though it has no relation to canine distemper. It’s usually found in either young kittens and stray or sheltered cats. It can lead to severe vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, protein loss, and a low white blood cell count, and is often deadly.
Rhinotracheitis is part of the herpes family of viruses that affects the upper respiratory tract. It causes fevers, sneezing, a runny nose, and runny eyes It isn’t generally lethal but can cause significant health issues, like oral and corneal ulcers, especially in kittens.
Calicivirus is also a virus of the upper respiratory tract with similar symptoms to rhinotracheitis.
Both rhinotracheitis and calicivirus are spread either through the sneezes of a sick cat, or through humans petting a sick cat and then petting an uninfected one.
Each of the three above viruses is preventable through the FVRCP vaccine.
Rabies Virus Vaccine
All mammals are susceptible to rabies, including humans. There are two forms of rabies – dumb rabies which manifests itself in weakness, lack of energy, and sometimes paralysis, and the furious rabies, which is the form most people are familiar with, and leads to high aggression.
Rabies is spread through the saliva of an infected animal, generally through a bite. The rabies vaccine can protect your cat from contracting rabies.
Feline Leukemia Vaccine
Unlike human leukemia, feline leukemia is not a form of cancer. It can, however, cause cancer. It can also cause tumours, low bone marrow, and proper leukemia.
Feline leukemia generally spreads through saliva, either via mutual grooming or bites from an infected cat. It can also be spread from a mother cat to her kittens via milk, or through shared food dishes or litter boxes.
The feline leukemia vaccine can protect your cat against contracting this disease.
Vaccinations For Dogs
There are a number of different vaccines available for dogs. Read on to find out about some of the more common ones.
The rabies virus that affects dogs is the same virus that affects cats and all other mammals, including humans. Dumb rabies is characterized by lethargy, weakness, and in extreme cases paralysis, while dogs infected with furious rabies will display extreme aggression.
The virus is spread through the saliva of infected animals. Because all mammals can be infected with rabies, it’s not uncommon for dogs to be infected by raccoons, skunks, squirrels, bats, or other urban wild mammals.
Sadly, there is currently no treatment for dogs infected with rabies. Because it’s such a significant risk to not only other dogs, but humans as well, dogs infected with rabies are generally euthanized.
The rabies vaccine can protect your dog from contracting the rabies virus
Canine distemper can affect your dog’s nervous, respiratory, and digestive systems, and is fatal in abut half of all unvaccinated cases. It’s usually spread through the discharges from the nose and eyes of infected dogs that is common with the disorder.
Those who survive canine distemper are often left with permanent damage to their nervous system.
The vaccine, like all vaccines, doesn’t guarantee full immunity, but unvaccinated dogs are at a 350% higher risk, according to data from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association .
The canine parvovirus can cause frequent vomiting and diarrhea, usually with blood in it. This is because the virus attacks the digestive tract lining. It can also cause bone marrow suppression and inflammation of the heart.
This virus may lead to the death of its host in as quick as 2-3 days. It’s spread via feces, and can survive outside of the body for a long period of time. As a result, if you step in the feces of an infected dog, for example, you may spread the virus to your own dog.
The canine parvovirus vaccine can increase your dog’s immunity to this terrible virus.
Infectious Canine Hepatitis
Infectious Canine Hepatitis can cause respiratory issues, eye damage, and liver failure, and is often fatal. If your dog is suffering from diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, this disease may be the cause.
It’s spread through the urine of other dogs. Treatments focus on helping your dog manage their symptoms and sometimes require blood transfusions.
The infectious canine hepatitis vaccine can help protect your dog from this disease.
Other Vaccines For Your Dog
The above vaccines are considered core vaccines, since they’re nearly universally recommended for dogs. However, there are other vaccines available for dogs depending on their risk factor and lifestyle. These include:
- Bordetellosis, a type of bacteria linked with kennel cough
- Canine parainfluenza virus
- Lyme disease
Your vet will discuss these options with you and recommend those your dog needs.
Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital
Is it time to have your cat or dog vaccinated? If so, contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital today to book an appointment.
Your vet will discuss your options with you and help you make an informed decision about the vaccines your pet needs.
Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital to book your appointment today.