Rabies vaccine is important for both indoor and outdoor cats as we discussed in our last post. Even indoor cats have a risk of being exposed to wildlife that finds their way indoors. As many know, some cats do not like being at the veterinary clinic. Others are very tolerant, but when they are painful or ill they may not appreciate our attempt to help. If your cat bites you or a member of the veterinary team while in the clinic we are required to report it to public health, whether your pet is vaccinated or not. Being vaccinated makes the incident less concerning to public health as it prevents the risk of people being exposed to rabies.
Rhinotracheitis and feline calicivirus
Feline rhinotracheitis or herpes virus and feline calicivirus are both upper respiratory system virus that often cause upper respiratory tract infections in cats and kittens. Symptoms include sneezing, eye and nose discharge, and can be severe in young kittens or unvaccinated animals that may develop a fever and become uninterested in food. These are viruses that we can’t cure, and cats will often have an outbreak if they become stressed. Most of the cat population is affected with upper respiratory tract infections, but vaccinating them helps to minimize their symptoms and their outbreaks.
Panleukopenia virus is a very similar virus to parvovirus in puppies. Panleukopenia virus causes very ill cats and kittens that develop vomiting and watery diarrhea, and small kittens will quickly become dehydrated. This virus can also be fatal, especially if left untreated, and it is highly contagious.
non-core vaccine - feline leukemia
In dogs, the core vaccines include rabies, distemper and parvovirus. All three of these viruses can be fatal to your pet.
Distemper is another often fatal virus that usually affects puppies or unvaccinated dogs. Distemper can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal system, and the nervous system causing severe symptoms including coughing, nasal discharge, vomiting and diarrhea, and seizures.
Adenovirus and Parainfluenza
Adenovirus and parainfluenza virus are also part of our distemper vaccine. Adenovirus can cause liver failure and bleeding problems that require supportive care and often blood transfusions, but can be fatal. Parainfluenza virus is one of the viruses that contributes to infectious tracheobronchitis and is transmitted in the air.
Rabies is not only fatal to pets, but also to humans. It is transmitted through saliva of infected animals often via a bite wound. Rabies is fatal to people which makes rabies virus and vaccination in pets very important. Recently there have been an increased number of wildlife testing positive to rabies in Ontario. Keeping your dog or cat up to date on their rabies vaccine is required by law, and is especially important in the occasion that your pet is in contact with a wild animal such as a bat or raccoon. The rabies vaccine is also important for indoor cats and small dogs since there are occasions of wildlife getting indoors and cats have been known to chase bats that have found their way inside homes.
Non-core vaccines or lifestyle vaccines will be recommended based on your pets lifestyle. These include bordetella, leptospirosis and Lyme vaccines.
Bordetella - Kennel Cough
For dogs that are boarded at a dog kennel or frequent areas that have large numbers of dogs, the bordetella or kennel cough vaccine is recommended. Bordetella bronchiseptica is involved in infectious tracheobronchitis or kennel cough. It is transmitted in the air and is highly contagious between dogs. It causes a dry, hacking cough. Since kennel cough affects the respiratory system, an oral or nasal vaccine is usually used as they provide better immunity. We recommend having the vaccine administered at least 1 week prior to your pet being boarded at a dog kennel to allow them time to respond to the vaccine and build immunity.
Leptospirosis is a bacteria that is transmitted in urine or contaminated water. Leptospirosis usually targets the kidneys, but can also cause liver disease. It is often carried by livestock and raccoons, so dogs who frequent farms, or are in areas that have raccoons around are recommended to have the leptospirosis vaccine.
The Lyme vaccine is also available – it protects against borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that is transmitted by deer ticks and causes Lyme disease. This vaccine is most often recommended only for dogs that have a lot of exposure to ticks, but is used less now that we have more effective tick medications.
Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s lifestyle so we can best determine which vaccines your dog needs. We use a rotating vaccine protocol to avoid over vaccinating your dog, and will only vaccinate for diseases that your dog is at risk for.
Weekends, Holidays and After-hours we are available 24 hours daily 365 days a year at our location for local service by your veterinary team. Please call our office in case of emergency.
Please note - Weekend, Holiday and After-hour service is offered only to current clientele who have not transferred their files to another facility and whose animals are a patient of our practice that has been examined by one of our doctors in the past 24 months.
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Egan Fife Animal Hospital