The core vaccines for dogs are
● hepatitis virus and
● distemper virus
Your puppy has these every three to four weeks starting at around six to eight weeks old, until he or she is older than twelve weeks and as close to 16 weeks as possible.
Then the ﬁrst annual booster is a year later and thereafter we recommend a booster every
Sometimes we may recommend to give booster vaccinations more or less frequently depending on your pet’s individual circumstances.
This is the most common disease of the three core viruses our mobile vets vaccinate your dog against. Parvovirus is very hardy and can survive in the environment for a very long time.
Disease usually only occurs in non-vaccinated puppies or adult dogs but is very rare in vaccinated animals as the vaccination is typically fully protective.
Parvovirus causes a life threatening bloody diarrhoea and vomiting and severe weakness
and inappetance. Parvovirus infection can result in death. If your pet recovers he or she will often need an extended hospital stay in intensive care and isolation are required.
Thankfully we only see distemper very rarely these days – generally in non-vaccinated dogs. If puppies get distemper the disease is often fatal but some animals recover with the virus becoming “latent” or hidden without any clinical signs. This can then develop into clinical disease again when they are geriatric and is usually fatal at this stage.
Distemper disease consists of a host of problems affecting the respiratory, neurological and gastrointestinal systems and typically seen as discharge from the nose and eyes, coughing, diarrhoea and vomiting, listlessness and inappetance.
Hepatitis infection and clinical disease is currently very rare in dogs mostly due to good vaccination policies. Clinical signs include depression and lethargy and often abdominal pain and discomfort.
Sometimes signs also include vomiting and diarrhoea, and also neurological signs such as seizures and strange behaviour. Severely affected dogs can die within a few hours of infection, but others can improve after a few days.
Non-core vaccines our mobile vets can offer include the “Canine Cough” vaccines more commonly known as “Kennel Cough”. Most dogs can get this as an intranasal (squirt into the nostril) but it can be injected as well if your dog won’t tolerate the intranasal or has any problem precluding this route.
The disease causes respiratory tract signs essentially manifesting as a deep throaty cough but often dogs appear otherwise unfazed. Sometimes the cough ends in a gag almost as if your dog is about to vomit. Kennel cough can sometimes make your dog systemically unwell putting them off their food and activity and very occasionally can also cause pneumonia and be life threatening.
Other non-core vaccines include Coronavirus and Leptospira but in the area’s covered by our Sydney mobile vet services these generally aren’t required.
Core cat vaccines:
● herpes virus (rhinotracheitis virus or “cat ﬂu”),
● calicivirus (also “cat ﬂu”) and
● parvovirus (panleucopaenia virus).
The initial course for kittens is similar to puppies – every three to four weeks starting at around six to eight weeks old, until your kitten is older than twelve weeks.
Currently there is no registered three yearly vaccine for cats but there is considerable supportive evidence that three yearly vaccination of the core vaccines is adequate.
Vetaround may consider a three yearly vaccination interval in cats considered lower risk for infection.
Herpes virus is highly contagious between cats causing signs of “upper respiratory-tract
infection”. These include runny eyes and nose, sneezing, conjunctivitis (inﬂamed red membranes around the eye) and corneal ulceration. In more severe cases your cat may become quite lethargic, stop eating and drinking and become dehydrated and quite sick.
Once your cat gets Herpes virus cats they have it for life and can show recurrent clinical signs when stressed or when ill. Herpes virus in cats is common and the risk is high if your cat is not vaccinated.
Cats at risk only include those that are outdoors and interacting with other cats, or living in a multicat household with an infected cat. These cats also must be microchipped so that they can be identiﬁed as being problems.
Feline Similarly to Herpes virus this causes signs of “upper respiratory-tract infection” and is highly contagious. Clinical signs can be similar to Herpes but also may include oral cavity ulceration and gingivitis, and other syndromes including limping and lameness.
Cats can shed calicivirus for many months even after clinical signs resolve and the cat seems normal, and so remain a possible source of infection for other cats.
This is also a highly contagious virus causing fatal disease. The virus can last for a long
time in the environment but fortunately the vaccination is typically fully protective. If your cat is vaccinated it is highly unlikely he or she will contract the disease.
Clinical signs include lethargy, inappetance, vomiting, diarrhoea and listlessness.
Non-core cat vaccines
Non-core cat vaccines include
● Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) and
● Feline Immunodeﬁciency Virus (FIV)
Chlamydophila (formerly known as Chlamydia) infection is usually restricted to conjunctivitis which is usually mild but in some cases can be quite severe.
Our mobile vets do not generally recommend vaccinating against Chlamydophila as the vaccine isn’t particularly effective and the disease caused (conjunctivitis) is not generally life threatening and readily treated with antibiotics.
FIV vaccination is a very controversial topic at the moment. Feline Immunodeﬁciency Virus (FIV) is quite prevalent in the stray cat population and so outdoor cats may well come into potential contact with this virus.
Infection in cats can cause severe illness especially as they get older but it differs to HIV infection in that cats can survive a long time with infection without clinical signs at all. In fact infection can sometimes be an incidental ﬁnding.
FIV is related to the HIV virus in humans but cross infection is not possible.
There is only little evidence about the efﬁcacy of the vaccine available and it isn’t quite
certain how effective the vaccine is against the types of FIV found in Australia. Also cats vaccinated with FIV vaccine test positive on FIV antibody tests which means that these tests cannot distinguish between cats that are vaccinated and cats that are truly infected with the FIV virus.
FeLV (Feline leukaemia virus) can cause leukaemia and other problems related to immune system compromise. Vaccination is likely to be most important in young kittens as the highest risk is in kittens under 16 weeks of age. As they get older they are much more resistant to illness and more likely to mount an effective immune response and get rid the virus from their system.
Some cats however show no signiﬁcant clinical signs and the infection becomes “latent” which means hidden and may cause clinical signs much later as an adult, usually fatally. As such vaccination is really only recommended for younger kittens or adults that are at genuine risk ie outdoor cats in contact and interacting with other cats, or cats living in a multicat household with an infected cat.
Our vets will chat to you at your cat’s annual health check about which vaccines are right for your cat.
Annual health checks
Your pet’s annual health check is much, much more than a vaccination. These annual health checks are still a very important part of maintaining your pet’s health and well being and so are still strongly recommended regardless of how often you choose to vaccinate your pet.
To learn more about our pet vaccinations contact us today
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