If you have a new pet, or an old friend, chances are that they need vaccinations to keep them healthy. At Longview Animal Hospital, we care about your pets as much as you do, and want to help you keep them active and happy for as long as possible. We would like to take a moment to go over some standard vaccinations that your pets need, and why they benefit from them. These are referenced in dog and cat vaccinations, however, other animals have vaccination needs as well. Remember, a vaccine strengthens your pet’s immune system against a particular disease, which help prevent the disease, if encountered in real life, from affecting your pet. For example, if you haven’t given your puppy a Parvo vaccine, going to the dog park could expose them to the virus, which is very difficult to treat. If your puppy is vaccinated, the chances that they will become ill are far lower.
Vaccinations for your Pets
Everyone loves dogs! They are friendly and outgoing, and love to play. That means dogs are often outdoors and subject to exposure to a lot of things. Thankfully, there are vaccinations that can help protect them. We’ve broken this up between puppies and adults to make it easier, since puppies have a different vaccine schedule than adult dogs.
Vaccinations for Puppies
If you ask any new parent, it seems the first few months of a child’s life are spent getting vaccines. It’s no different with puppies. It’s a great big world, and there are lots of health hazards in it. Puppy vaccination schedules are designed to strengthen the immune system against the most commonly encountered or dangerous viruses while the puppy is young and has an immune system that is underdeveloped. The hope is that the puppy can live a long life free from disease through vaccination.
The American Animal Hospital Association recommends the following vaccines as core vaccines – vaccines every puppy should have, regardless of geographic region or lifestyle:
- Canine parvovirus – potentially deadly, the virus is contagious and causes lethargy, fever, vomiting and severe bloody diarrhea.
- Distemper – causes fever, coughing, neurological abnormalities, and death.
- Canine Hepatitis – spreads in urine, blood, saliva and nasal discharge, causes fever, congestion, depression, and coagulation (blood) disorders.
- Rabies – this disease inevitably causes death once symptoms appear and can be spread by bites, or in rare cases, saliva. You may not realize your dog has been bitten if you spend time outdoors and in a high bat population area. Rabies progresses from stiff joints, hydrophobia (fear of water) extreme irritability to seizures and death. Rabies can be transmitted to humans through an infected animal, and may take several weeks to show symptoms, so it’s vital all dogs be vaccinated.
Vaccines that are given in relation to your puppies exposure risk include:
- Bordetella Bronchiseptica – a contagious disease that has the ability to live in the environment for an extended period and is similar to whooping cough in humans.
- Leptospira Bacteria – causes leptospirosis, which can affect humans and animals causing fever, chills, muscle aches, thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice and potentially death.
- Canine Influenza – a contagious virus that typically causes lethargy, lack of appetite, fever, nasal discharge and a dry nonproductive cough but can be more serious in puppies, older dogs or any dog with a compromised immune system.
Vaccinations for Adult Dogs
Once puppies have had their vaccine series, they need boosters once yearly for distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, lepto and rabies. Bordetella for dogs in high risk environments needs to be boostered twice yearly.
We love our cats for their independant and loving natures. Many pet owners think if they keep their cat indoors, no vaccines are needed. However, this couldn’t be further than the truth. Cats can be exposed by people or other animals coming into the house. The following vaccines should be given to your cats to keep them protected.
Vaccinations for Kittens
Kittens need several vaccines in the first months of their lives to stay healthy.
- Panleukopenia – feline distemper, highly contagious and potentially life threatening.
- Feline Calicivirus – causes respiratory infections in cats and may sometimes cause ulcers to develop on the gums, hard palate, lips and nose that can make eating uncomfortable.
- Feline Herpesvirus Type 1 – various symptoms, eye discharge, fever, miscarriage.
- Rabies – same as in dogs.
Adult cats also need booster shots to keep the benefit of the vaccinations. Longview Animal Hospital can help you develop a schedule for your cat.
As you can see, not getting these vaccinations for your pets can cause serious illness not only to them, but to the members of your household. The best and easiest way to protect both your pets and your family members is ensuring that your pets are vaccinated and receive the proper booster shots throughout their lives. Contact our team at Longview Animal Hospital today and let us help you find out what vaccines your animal needs, or if it’s time for a booster. We look forward to seeing you and believe in friendly care, healthy pets, and happy families.