Just like humans, animals can be affected by infectious diseases, some of which can be transferred to humans. As responsible pet owners that want to keep your animals safe and healthy, we highly recommend that you vaccinate them in line with current guidelines.
Puppies and Kittens
Puppies and kittens receive initial protection against infectious diseases from their mother’s milk as long as she has been regularly vaccinated. However this protection only lasts for a few weeks and so your new addition will need to be vaccinated from an early age. Many puppies or kittens will go to their new homes having already received their first vaccinations, but check with their former owner when you collect them. If they have not yet been vaccinated, we recommend that get their first vaccinations done as soon as possible after taking ownership of them.
As a guideline:
Puppies should be vaccinated at 8, 12 and 16 weeks.
Kittens should be vaccinated at 8, 12 and 16 weeks.
Booster injections should then be given 12 months from the initial vaccinations, and annually to every three years thereafter (depending on the vaccine).
Your canine friend should be routinely vaccinated against the following:
- Canine distemper virus
Spread by bodily fluid contact, there is no specific treatment and dogs with severe symptoms often die. Those who survive commonly have neurological difficulties later in life. Symptoms include fever, coughing, diarrhea and vomiting.
- Canine parvovirus
Spread by contact with feces from infected dogs, it mainly affects puppies, but can also be seen in dogs that have not had regular booster vaccinations. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea and dehydration. Without treatment, 80% of dogs with parvovirus will die. Treatment has an approximately 85% success rate.
- Infectious canine hepatitis
Infection is passed via bodily fluid contamination, and the virus can survive in the environment for prolonged periods. There are two types of the virus, a kennel cough type infection and a liver infection (hepatitis). Symptoms are almost identical to parvovirus. The symptoms can be treated rather than the main disease, but most dogs will survive.
- If your dog is going to spending time in kennels they may also be vaccinated via the nostril against kennel cough, which is a combination of parainfluenza virus and bordetella bronchiseptica
Your feline friend should be routinely vaccinated against the following:
- Feline calicivirus
Commonly called ‘cat flu’ as its symptoms include sneezing, fever, discharge from the nose and eyes, and mouth ulcers. Spreads via cat to cat contact, airborne contact or contamination of the living environment. Vaccination prevents some strains but not all.
- Feline herpes virus
Spread by the saliva or discharge from the nose and eyes in infected cats, it can also survive in its environment. Like feline calicivirus it is a type of ‘cat flu’ as its symptoms include fever, sneezing, conjunctivitis and discharge from the eyes. Once a cat has had feline herpes it is infected for life and may suffer recurrent flare-ups that are treated with antibiotics and eye drops.
- Feline infectious enteritis
Spread by the feces and urine of infected cats, this virus attacks their immune system leaving the animal unable to fight infection. Pregnant cats can transmit the disease to their kittens while they are in the womb. Symptoms include fever, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration.
- Cats dubbed ‘at risk’ should also be vaccinated against feline leukemia virus
This disease is thought to require very close contact to infected cats to be spread, such as milk from mother to kitten or bite wounds. Much more common in city areas, and among un-neutered and stray cats. Multi-cat households also present a higher risk. The symptoms include poor body condition and coat, anorexia, diarrhea and jaundice. The virus attacks the bone marrow which results in leukemia and sometimes lymphoma.