Vaccinations for your pet animal. Why is it so important?
VACCINATIONS FOR DOGS
Puppies have natural protection against disease until they are weaned from their mother’s milk, at which point they need vaccinations. In the first 24 hours after birth, it is critical that a puppy nurse its mother in order to get the necessary colostrums or first milk. Colostrum contains the special proteins and antibodies to protect the young dog against infectious diseases to which the mother is immune. Feeding on this first milk will ensure the pups protection for as long as 14 to 16 weeks. Of course, if the mother is unhealthy, her colostrums will be effective for a much shorter period of time, or not at all. If you would like to reduce all risks of infection, begin shots for your puppy at 6 weeks old, and repeat them every 3-4 weeks until it is 16 weeks old. Until the full series of vaccinations is complete, be sure to keep your puppy isolated to reduce exposure to infection. From thereon, your pet will need revaccinations annually. Remember, these vaccinations are very important to the health and happiness of your dog in later life.
DISTEMPER Dogs with this disease will have the following symptoms : fever, conjunctivitis, rhinitis(nasal discharge), and may develop pneumonia, diarrhea & vomiting and seizures (change in behaviour (eg. pacing, circling), apparent loss of balance (ataxia), muscle twitches. This is a great killer of many dogs, if not vaccinated against. There is NO ANTIVIRAL TREATMENT for Distemper virus; therefore treatment is symptomatic. Prognosis is poor and euthanasia is often recommended for patients with progressive neurological signs.
HEPATITIS The canine version of this disease (known as canine adenovirus type I) usually causes only mild liver or blood-vessel disease in dogs. One of the side effects is an opaque, blue eye, which involves a hardening of the cornea that may result in temporary or permanent blindness. In some rare cases, the disease is severe and may be fatal. The vaccine is an effective preventive measure.
RESPIRATORY ILLNESSES Adenovirus type II infection produces a cough and bronchitis. It is also one of the causes of the contagious syndrome known as kennel or infectious bronchitis. The vaccine for type I protects against type II as well. Parainfluenza virus and another bacterial infections caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica also contribute to kennel cough. The Bordetella bacteria normally live in the air passages of the lungs. Stress can recipitate the disease.
CANINE LEPTOSPIROSIS This disease is caused by a spirochete, a bacterial organism, that affects the liver and kidneys. It is spread by the urine of infected dogs or rats. Symptoms are depression, lack of appetite, high fever, and abdominal or back pain, due to inflammation of the liver and kidneys. The vaccine is effective for 6 to 12 months.
CANINE PARVOVIRUS This is an acute, highly contagious enteritis of dogs. Dogs of any age are affected, but there is a higher incidence of clinical disease in puppies between weaning and 6 months of age. Certain breeds appear to be at higher risk and susceptible to a more severe form of the disease. These include Rottweilers, Dobermann Pinschers, and possible Pit Bull Terriers and black Labrador Retrievers. Infection occurs by the faeco-oral route (ingestion of infected faeces). During acute illness, and for about 1-2 weeks thereafter, massive amounts of parvovirus (over one billion virions per gram of faeces) are shed in faeces of infected dogs. Because the virus can survive and remain infectious for several months in the environment, environment contamination plays a major role in transmission. Symptoms of the infection are severe diarrhea(can be profuse and haemorrhagic), vomiting, fever, depression and rapidly progressive dehydration. Hypothermia, icterus (jaundice) may develop terminally. Death is usually attributable to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, endotoxic shock or overwhelming bacterial sepsis. If the disease is detected in your pet, be sure to disinfect bedding areas and food dishes with a solution of one part chlorine bleach and 30 parts water.
CORONAVIRUS Coronavirus invades and destroys cells in the intestine causing a syndrome known as CANINE CORONAVIRAL ENTERITIS. It is an acute and contagious disease that affects dogs of all ages. Dogs present with an acute onset anorexia and depression followed by vomiting and diarrhoea. The diarrhoea varies from soft to watery and sometimes contains mucus and fresh blood. Dehydration, weight loss and death is reported.
VACCINATIONS FOR CATS
FELINE DISTEMPER Feline distemper or Cat flu is caused by a number of virus affecting the upper respiratory tract, with symptoms of sneezing, running eyes and nose, and excessive salivation. Prompt veterinary treatment can usually cure feline influenza but cats frequently become carriers. This is one reason why vaccination is essential to protect your own and other cats. An annual booster will ensure your cat stays ‘flu-free’ â€“ as well as immunizing against FeLV(Feline Leukemia Virus).
WHAT IS FELINE LEUKEMIA? This is a serious disease in cats caused by a virus infection. It is also a complex disease, of which leukemia(cancer of the white blood cells) and cancerous tumors are only a small part. Various other related but non-tumorous diseases are also involved. This disease is spread by direct contact with infected cats. It is usually transmitted in the saliva, but now low levels of the virus can also be found in urine and feces. Licking, biting and sneezing are common means of transmission. Food and water dishes and litter boxes are likely sources of infections, if healthy cats share them with infected cats. Once a cat has been infected with leukemia virus, there are 3 possible outcomes:
- About 40% develop immunity and become resistant to future infections.
- About 30% become ‘latent carriers’ of the disease, neither fully recovered nor seriously affected. They may be susceptible to disease at some future time, and if reactivated, they can pass on the virus to their offspring.
- The remaining 30% of exposed cats are persistently infected and, of these, about 83% die within 3 years of the time of infection from leukemia and/or the associated diseases. Death can be sudden or lingering and painful.