Animal Vaccinations has made a huge difference in controlling infectious disease in many species (including humans!).
Diseases that not long ago were widespread and often fatal have become much less common due to regular vaccination against these diseases. It is important that your pets receive regular vaccination to maintain their immunity against these serious diseases.
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The standard dog vaccine (“C3”) protects against canine parvovirus, canine distemper
and canine hepatitis.
Canine parvovirus is incredibly contagious and the disease is most serious in young pups.
The virus affects several body systems especially the bone marrow (meaning the dog can no longer fight infection) and the lining of the intestines, resulting in uncontrollable vomiting, bloody diarrhea and severe abdominal pain. Intensive treatment is required to combat the dehydration and infection but is unfortunately not always successful.
Canine distemper is also highly contagious. Infection causes fever, vomiting and diarrhoea which progresses to tremors, fits and paralysis resulting in brain damage and death.
Canine hepatitis is also highly contagious and often fatal. Dogs that survive hepatitis infection may end up with ongoing liver and kidney problems.
A C5 vaccine includes protection against canine cough in addition to the C3 vaccine.
Canine cough is easily spread between dogs wherever dogs congregate – parks, off leash areas, shows and boarding kennels (hence its former name – kennel cough). A number of infectious agents may contribute to the syndrome – in particular a bacterium known as Bordetella bronchisepta and parainfluenza virus. Dogs with canine cough have a harsh dry cough that may persist for several weeks.
Unlike the C3 vaccine, the canine cough component of the C5 vaccine is not completely protective but helps to reduce the seriousness of the canine cough infection.
A C7 vaccine includes protection against canine coronavirus and leptospirosis in addition to the C5 vaccine.
Canine coronavirus is another highly contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. On its own, it is unlikely to be fatal but it can complicate and delay recovery from other diseases.
Leptospirosis is spread by rats (especially in their urine or by bites) and can result in kidney failure and death in severely infected dogs. Humans can also contract leptospirosis from rats or dogs resulting in a chronic flu-like illness. It is more common in humid tropical areas.
Puppies are initially protected against many diseases by the antibodies in their mother’s milk but these maternal antibodies decline over time. When these antibodies are at high levels, they will actually neutralise the vaccines so we need to give puppies a series of three vaccinations to make sure their immunity levels reach the right levels. We recommend that these vaccinations are done at 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks and 14-16 weeks of age.
Adult dogs need an annual health check and booster vaccination to maintain their immunity levels.
The standard cat vaccine (“F3”) protects against feline herpes virus, feline calicivirus and feline panleucopenia virus (the feline equivalent of canine parvovirus).
Feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus are the causative agents behind “cat flu”, which is characterized by sneezing, coughing and runny eyes. It is rarely fatal (except in young kittens) but once a cat has had cat flu they are at risk of coming down with the flu again any time that they get stressed. They will also spread the disease to other cats.
Feline panleucopenia virus (also known as feline enteritis) affects several body systems especially the bone marrow and lining of the intestines. It causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea, often with blood. It is very contagious and has a high mortality rate.
Kittens are initially protected against many diseases by the antibodies in their mother’s milk but these maternal antibodies decline over time. When these antibodies are at high levels, they will actually neutralise the vaccines so we need to give kittens a series (of two or preferably three) vaccinations to make sure their immunity levels reach the right levels. We recommend that these vaccinations are done at 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks and 14-16 weeks of age.
Adult cats need an annual health check and booster vaccination to maintain their immunity levels.
Cats can also be vaccinated against feline AIDS (feline immunodeficiency virus or FIV). Similar to human AIDS, FIV is a long term disease caused by suppression of the immune system so the cat is no longer able to fight off infections. FIV is NOT transmissible from cats to humans.
If your cat is an outdoor cat or one who gets into fights, they are at increased risk of contracting FIV. FIV vaccination involves an initial course of three vaccinations done 2-4 weeks apart, followed by an annual booster, which can be done at the same time as the standard F3 vaccination.
Other Pet Vaccinations
Rabbits need to be vaccinated against calicivirus – once when young (10-12 weeks of age) then annually. There is no vaccine for myxomatosis.
Ferrets need to be vaccinated against distemper – once when young (10-12 weeks of age) then annually. Distemper is part of the standard dog vaccine.