Vaccination has revolutionised control of infectious disease in our pets. It is essential that all pets are adequately vaccinated to help protect the pet population as a whole. Responsible pet care requires kittens to be given their initial course of vaccinations, but this cannot protect them for the rest of their lives. Adult cats require regular vaccination to maintain immunity against disease.
Kittens are ‘temporarily’ protected against many diseases by antibodies received through their mother’s milk. These maternal antibodies decline in the first couple of months of their lives, however until they drop sufficiently they can also neutralise the effectiveness of the vaccines. This is why a series of vaccinations is necessary for a kitten. This practice routinely gives the 1st vaccination between 6 and 8 weeks of age and the 2nd between 11 and 12 weeks of age.
Adult Cat Vaccination
The immunity from kitten vaccination weakens over time and your pet can again become susceptible to disease. Annual health checks and booster vaccinations will provide the best protection for the life of your pet.
A Guide to Cat Vaccination
Initial vaccination programs should provide at least two vaccinations 3-4 weeks apart against the following:
• feline panleucopenia, calicivirus, rhinotracheitis, - known as a F3 Vaccine
• Vaccinations against Chlamydia and leukaemia virus at or after 8 weeks of age are an option.
• If vaccination against FIV is being considered then we use three vaccinations, 2-4 weeks apart, at or after 8 weeks of age.
After Vaccination Care
Following vaccination your cat may be slightly off-colour for a day or two and occasionally there may be some slight swelling or tenderness at the injection site. Access to food and water and a comfortable area to rest are usually all that is required for a quick recovery. However, if the response seems more severe, you should contact us for advice.
Please give us a call to discuss a suitable vaccination regime for your pet kitten or cat.
Infectious Diseases of cats that we can vaccinate against
Feline Enteritis (also known as Feline Panleucopenia)
It is very contagious viral disease and the death rate is high, especially in kittens. Pregnant cats may lose their young or give birth to kittens with abnormalities, quite often with brain damage. Symptoms of Feline Enteritis are depression, loss of appetite, uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhoea, often with blood and severe abdominal pain.
The virus spreads so easily that heavily contaminated areas may need cleaning with a special disinfectant. Cats that do recover may continue to carry the virus for some time and infect other cats.
Feline Respiratory Disease or Cat Flu
It is caused in 90% of cases by feline herpesvirus (feline rhinotracheitis) and/or the feline calicivirus. Feline respiratory disease affects cats of all ages, especially young kittens and some purebred cats. It is highly contagious and causes sneezing, coughing, runny eyes, nasal discharge, loss of appetite and tongue ulcers.
Fortunately, the death rate is low except in young kittens, but the disease is distressing and may persist for several weeks. Recovered cats can continue to carry and spread the infection for long periods, and can show signs of the disease again if they become stressed.
Feline Chlamydia can cause a severe persistent conjunctivitis in cats. Kittens are more severely affected by Chlamydia when also infected with “Cat Flu”, and Chlamydia can be shed for many months. Vaccination against Chlamydia (F4 vaccine) helps protects against clinical disease.
Feline Leukaemia (FeLV)
Feline Leukaemia is a serious disease of cats caused by feline leukaemia virus. The virus attacks the immune system and may be associated with lack of appetite, weight loss and apathy, pale or yellow mucous membranes, vomiting, diarrhoea, reproductive problems, increased susceptibility to other infections, leukaemia and tumours. Many cats may be infected and show no signs at all. About one third of infected cats remain chronically infected and may shed virus in their saliva, tears, nasal secretions and urine. The disease is then spread to uninfected cats by mutual grooming, fighting, sneezing or even flea bites. Fortunately the virus is quite uncommon in this area outside of a few infected breeding catteries.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
Feline AIDS is a disease caused by infection with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and affects the cat’s immune system. Their natural defence against attack by other diseases may be seriously affected, much in the same way as human AIDS. This disease is not transmissible to humans. FIV is almost always transmitted by bites from infected cats during cat fights. The virus that causes the disease is present in saliva. While some infected cats show no sign of disease, others may display initial symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, lethargy and swollen lymph nodes. As the disease progresses, symptoms may occur such as weight loss, sores in and around the mouth, eye lesions, poor coat and chronic infections. Eventually, the immune system becomes too weak to fight off other infections and diseases. As a result, the cat may die from one of these subsequent infections. Unfortunately in Australia, approximately 10% of cats are infected with this virus.
Vaccination has revolutionised control of infectious disease in our pets. It is essential that all pets are adequately vaccinated to help protect the pet population as a whole. Responsible pet care requires puppies to be given their initial course of vaccinations, but this cannot protect them for the rest of their lives. Adult dogs require regular vaccination to maintain immunity against disease.
Puppies are ‘temporarily’ protected against many diseases by antibodies received through their mother’s milk. These maternal antibodies decline in the first few months of their lives, however until they drop sufficiently they can also counter the effectiveness of the vaccines. This is why a series of vaccinations is necessary in a puppy.
A Guide to Puppy Vaccination
Initial vaccination programs should provide at least two vaccinations 3-6 weeks apart against the following:
• Canine parvovirus, Distemper, and Hepatitis, - known as a C3 Vaccine, usually given between between 6 and 12 weeks of age
• Vaccination against Kennel Cough is often recommended and should be given at or after 10 weeks of age.
Adult Dog Vaccination
The immunity from puppy vaccination weakens over time and your pet can again become susceptible to disease. Annual health checks and booster vaccinations, as required, will provide the best protection for the life of your pet. A 3 year vaccine is now available for Distemper, Parvo and Hepatitis (Adult C3) and this may be a suitable option for your dog. An annual booster is required to maintain appropriate protection against Kennel Cough.
After Vaccination Care
Following vaccination your dog may be off-colour for a day or so, or have some slight swelling or tenderness at the injection site. Access to food and water and a comfortable area to rest are usually all that is required for a quick recovery. However, if the response seems more severe, you should contact us for advice.
Please give us a call to discuss a suitable vaccination regime for your pet puppy or dog.
Infectious diseases of dogs that we vaccinate against
Canine parvovirus is a disease that affects dogs of all ages but is most serious in young pups. The virus attacks the intestines causing blood stained diarrhoea, uncontrollable vomiting and severe abdominal pain. Dogs often die from Parvovirus despite intensive veterinary care. The treatment for parvovirus can also be very expensive.
It is not necessary to have direct contact with other dogs for the disease to be spread. The virus is very hardy and can survive in the ground for up to 12 months. So the infected dog’s environment needs to be cleaned with a potent disinfectant to prevent spread to other dogs. Outbreaks occur regularly throughout Australia, especially in summer.
Canine distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that can affect dogs of any age with young puppies being at highest risk. Symptoms vary but can include fever, coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and depression. Muscle tremors, fits and paralysis usually occur later in the disease. Treatment is usually ineffective and the recovery rate very low. Dogs that do recover may have permanent brain damage. Fortunately Distemper is quite a rare disease now.
Canine hepatitis is a viral disease which, like distemper is extremely contagious and often fatal. Dogs of any age can become infected, however severe cases are rare in dogs over two years of age. Symptoms include high fever, depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea and acute abdominal pain. In severe cases death can occur within 24 to 36 hours. Dogs that recover may develop long term liver and kidney problems and can act as carriers spreading the disease to other dogs for many months. Like Distemper, Canine Hepatitis is a rare disease due to the effectiveness of the vaccination programs of the last 30-40 years.
Kennel Cough or more correctly, Canine cough is a condition produced by several highly infectious agents (both bacteria and viruses), which can be easily spread wherever dogs congregate, such as parks, shows, obedience schools and boarding kennels. Among the infectious agents associated with canine cough is the bacterium known as Bordetella bronchiseptica and the canine viruses parainfluenza, adenovirus type 2 and distemper.
Affected dogs have a dry hacking cough which can persist for several weeks. It is distressing for pet dogs and their owners. It is a major problem for working and sporting dogs. Pneumonia can also be a consequence of untreated infection.
We see outbreaks of Kennel Cough every year in Toowoomba
Canine coronavirus is another contagious virus and causes depression, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea especially in young dogs. Diarrhoea may last for several days in some cases. Although most dogs will recover well with treatment, coronavirus has the potential to be fatal, especially if other infectious agents such as parvovirus are present.
Canine leptospirosis is a serious disease risk in some areas and can cause high death rates. It is spread by the urine of rats and is usually transmitted to dogs by contaminated food and water, or by rat bites. There’s an increased risk where high rat populations exist such as rubbish dumps or green sugar cane cutting areas. Incidence can also increase after long periods of wet weather, when rat populations are forced to move or concentrate. Leptospirosis is an animal disease that can be passed to humans who may then suffer a persisting “flu like” illness.
Leptospirosis is virtually unknown in the Toowoomba area.