Diseases & Vaccination

Vaccinating Your Dog- 



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 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 gains from its mother's milk begins to diminish sometime after 6 weeks of age. It is then time to begin the initial vaccinations, usually a course of 2 or 3 injections given 3 to 4 weeks apart. Thereafter, your dog will require repeat vaccination annually for the rest of his or her life. As vaccines vary in the duration of immunity they provide, above all, follow the vaccination schedule recommended by your veterinarian. 

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 and Canine Tracheobronchitis (Canine Cough). 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. 

Canine Distemper
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, diarrhoea 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 (CANINE COUGH)
Just as with the human common cold, this respiratory-tract infection is easily transmitted from one dog to another, so vaccination is imperative if your pet will come in contact with many other dogs in such situations as obedience training or boarding at a kennel. Caused by various airborne bacteria and viruses, including Canine Parainfluenza virus, Canine Adenovirus Type II and Bordetella bronchiseptica, you'll first notice its onset by your dog's dry, hacking cough.

 

Canine Parvovirus
Very contagious, debilitating and widespread, the disease caused by this virus emerged in many parts of the world only in 1978. Spread through infected faeces, the highly resistant virus can remain in the environment for many months. Symptoms include high fever, listlessness, vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. Vaccination is the only certain method of preventing this potentially fatal disease, which is most severe in young pups and elderly dogs.

 

Infectious Canine Hepatitis
Caused by Canine Adenovirus Type I, this disease is transmitted among dogs by contact with secretions, such as saliva, infected urine or faeces. Its symptoms are similar to those of the early stages of distemper. Causing liver failure, eye damage and breathing problems, the course of this disease can range from mild to fatal. Vaccination remains the best protection.

Other Vaccinations
After evaluating your dog's particular situation and risk factors, your veterinarian may also recommend vaccination against other infectious diseases. These might include: 


  • LEPTOSPIROSIS, a bacterial disease which attacks the kidneys and liver that potentially affects dogs in certain geographical areas and only for particular strains of the disease.

How effective is vaccination?
Like any drug treatment or surgical procedure, vaccinations cannot be 100% guaranteed. However, used in conjuction 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. 

 

Vaccinating Your Cat 

 


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 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.
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis ("Cat Flu")
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.


Feline Calicivirus ("Cat Flu")
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 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 and runny eyes. Vaccination is therefore tremendously important.


Feline Panleucopaenia
Sometimes known as feline infectious enteritis, this disease is caused by a virus so resistant, it can survive up to one year outside a cat’s body! Therefore, as most cats will be exposed to it during their lifetime and infection rates in unprotected cats can run as high as 90% to 100%, vaccination against this potentially fatal disease is absolutely essential. Symptoms can include listlessness, diarrhoea, 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.


Feline Leukaemia (FeLV)
Infection with the Feline Leukaemia Virus can result in a multitude of serious health problems for your cat – everything from cancerous conditions such as leukemia to a wide range of secondary infections caused by the destruction of the immune response system. 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 potentially fatal disease is highly recommended.


Feline Chlamydiosis
This bacterial disease is responsible for 15 to 20% of all feline respiratory diseases, and is mostly seen in multi-cat environments. 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. Chlamydiosis can rarely be transmitted to humans by direct contact. Vaccination is the preferred method for prevention.

Other Vaccinations
After evaluating your cat’s particular situation and risk factors, your veterinarian may also recommend vaccination against other infectious diseases. These might include:

FELINE IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS (FIV), is mainly transmitted in deep bite wounds and scratches by infected cats, and can cause debilitation of the immune system leading to disease in various organs and chronic infections. A decision to vaccinate should be made after discussion with a veterinarian and consideration of the risk of the disease versus the effectiveness of the vaccine

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.