August is the National Immunization Awareness Month! So in honor of this we have decided to put together a blog that will share some information with pet owners about what vaccinations our facility gives and what each one is treated for. We know that most people understand the importance of vaccinations but unfortunately not many know exactly what each one is for. Although this may be one of our more lengthy blogs we want to make sure that you leave this feeling educated on immunizations. I will make sure to categorize them as either feline or canine so that way you may be able to focus only on the immunizations that pertain to your personal pet.
Canine Immunizations– Here at The Pet Doctor we regularly give the following vaccinations; DHLPP, Rabies (Which will be discussed at the bottom for both canines and felines), Bordetella and Lyme.
*DHLPP which is short for a combination of Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus. Distemper= is a disease that first attacks the mucous membranes which can cause pneumonia and gastrointestinal issues and then proceeds to attack the pets central nervous system. Pets can contract it through infected animals secretions (ie: coughed up mucous, urine, etc.) and are commonly picked up through the pets nose or mouth and then ingested. It is an extremely hard disease to treat and depending on severity of the disease and immune system of the pet recovery is slimly possible with long term neurological effects. Hepatitis=infectious canine hepatitis can be contracted through the nose or mouth after coming into contact with feces, urine, blood, saliva, or nasal discharge of an infected animal. It replicates in the tonsils and then attacks the liver and kidneys. It can also cause respiratory issues and eye infections. It can be treated if caught early enough. Leptospirosis=Can also be contracted through bodily fluids of an infected pet. It quickly spreads through the bloodstream and causes a fever as well as joint pain in the pet. It gets into the kidneys and quickly multiplies leading to kidney failure in your pet. It can also cause liver failure as well. This particular disease can also be contracted by humans as well. Treatment is possible through several antibiotics and fluids and in more severe cases hemodialysis may be needed. Even though there are some treatments it is still a very life threatening disease. Parainfluenza= Can be contracted by a pet inhaling secretions that an infected dog has coughed up. It effects the respiratory system; pharynx, trachea, generalized lymph nodes and large bronchi. It can cause rhinitis, conjunctivitis. It is most commonly seen after a pet has been to a kennel type atmosphere. (It is much like a human having the Flu) Parvovirus= Is breed specific, so a dog cannot infect a cat and vice versa. It most commonly effects puppies as their bodies are still growing and their immune systems are easily compromised and older non-vaccinated dogs are usually a large carriers of the disease. The disease looks for rapidly dividing groups of cells so it usually goes right for the lymph nodes of the throat and then releases into the bloodstream. From there it will go to the bone marrow as well as intestinal cells. It will cause the most damage in the intestinal tract where it commonly leads to vomiting & diarrhea causing severe dehydration and putting the pet into shock which can kill them. This is a very hard disease to treat, most puppies who contract parvo will die from it. Older dogs with a lot of hospitalization with antibiotics and plenty of fluids stand a better chance but can still lose their lives to this disease.
*Bordetella vaccines are given to help protect your pet from contracting kennel cough. Most commonly pets will pick up kennel cough after being exposed to a coughing/infected dog. This can be at not only a kennel, but also the dog park or even the front lobby of a veterinary office. Kennel cough can be caused by many different organisms hence why we also vaccinate for the parainfluenza which can also cause this. Depending on which organism your pet comes into contact with can also determine the severity of the cough and duration. By making sure that your pet is fully vaccinated you are able to cover all grounds and keep your pet healthy. Kennel cough if contracted by a non vaccinated pet will be treated by your veterinarian by putting your pet on a dog approved cough suppressant as well as an antibiotic. You will also have to contain your pet until cleared by your veterinarian so as to not contaminate other pets.
*Lyme vaccines are used to help with prevention of lyme disease. It is transmitted by ticks contaminated with lyme. They inject a bacteria into the pet. Unlike in humans, dogs do not show signs of disease for 2-5 months after the intial bite. So if you have found any ticks on your pet remember to let your veterinarian know as soon as possible and watch for symptoms! These bacteria make their way to the nearest joint which causes joint pain and inflammation as well as a high fever. In more severe cases the pet may have severe kidney failure. In order to test for the disease in your pet, your veterinarian will take a blood sample and run it through the 4DX test. They will also run more invasive blood panels as well as a urine screen to make sure that your pets kidneys are still functioning properly. Although this disease can be cleared by a regimen of strong antibiotics with a course being 30 days or longer in some pets it will never clear and/or they will have chronic joint issues due to the disease once it is clear. Some pets have also been know to relapse once the medication cycle has finished.
Feline Immunizations–Here at The Pet Doctor we regularly give the following vaccinations; FVRCP, Leukemia, and Rabies (which will be discussed at the bottom for both canines and felines)
*FVRCP which is short for a combination of FVR: Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia. Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus= It is spread through pets that are already infected with the disease through secretions of the nose and eyes most commonly. It is a respiratory disease that can leave long lasting effects in your feline. Treatment options to help combat this disease are strong antibiotics but in most cases it is life long and can cause upper respiratory infections as well as eye infections in the pet. Pets who are the most susceptible are unvaccinated pets, very young or very old pets. Calicivirus= is also an upper respiratory disease and in some serious cases pneumonia, it can be contracted by a contaminated cat as well as contaminated objects. It causes loss of appetite, high temps, lethargy, sneezing, painful oral sores and discharge from the eyes. This disease is resistant to most disinfectants and is very persistent in the environment. It can be treated in a week to ten days but in some cases of younger cats, elderly cats can have a rapid death. Panleukopenia= Is the feline version of parvovirus. This disease can affect cats of any age but more severely causes harm to young kittens. It is contracted by infected pets as well as the environment where a contaminated pet has been. It causes loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. A blood count is performed to test the pet for the disease and if found will be hospitalized for rigorous treatment of IV fluids as well as IV antibiotics. Unfortunately this disease has a very high and fast mortality rate.
*Leukemia= The disease is shed in infected pet and passed through their nasal and oral secretions. It can also be passed from mother cat to their newborns as well. Most commonly cats that are allowed outside, are born to infected mothers have a higher rate of susceptibility. It can cause cancers in pets, immune deficiencies, and blood disorders. Some signs are as follows but not limited to; loss of appetite, severe weight loss, enlarged lymph nodes, poor coat condition, diarrhea, seizures, or eye conditions. Although the vaccination itself has been used to help with the treatment of feline leukemia, there is no true treatment. This disease has a high mortality rate as well.
****Rabies= Which can be found in both Felines and Canines. It effects the brain and spinal cord of the animal. It is 100% fatal. It is most commonly spread through bites of infected animals but can also be spread through saliva into an open wound. Symptoms are not usually seen right away, they are commonly in the form of a change in aggression, loss of appetite, weakness, seizures, or sudden death. The disease can only be tested and confirmed after the death of the pet. There is no treatment for the disease at this time. Vaccinations are key in the prevention of this disease.
The information provided was not in complete detail as we wanted to make it a somewhat condensed version of what it could be. We hope that everyone reads this and understands the absolute importance of all pet vaccinations!!!! We understand that most people are not educated on a lot of the diseases as well as the preventions and therefore do not fully vaccinate their pets. We hope that this helps shed some light for those people. Sorry it was lengthy and you have any questions please feel free to message us any questions and we will be happy to answer any and all.