When you have a wonderful new dog or cat, it’s difficult to look down the road and envision what health problems might occur. However, just like people, pets can get sick, so they need pet vaccination against certain diseases. Some pet vaccinations are categorized as “core” because they are recommended for every pet. Others are “non-core” and are dependent upon your pet’s lifestyle. Puppies and kittens can receive their first vaccinations at the age of six weeks, following which they should go on a pet vaccination schedule. Here’s a helpful guide for first-year puppy vaccinations – and, a guide for kittens. The following discusses the primary diseases that dogs and cats receive vaccinations to prevent.
Rabies in Dogs and Cats
Because pets can get rabies by coming into contact with infected wild animals, rabies vaccinations are mandatory in some states. The occurrence of rabies in outdoor cats is the highest among domesticated animals because their owners don’t bother to get them vaccinated. Keep in mind that rabid bats and raccoons may get into your attic where your curious indoor cat can find them.
Distemper in Dogs and Cats
Distemper is a life-threatening, contagious, viral disease which impacts a pet’s nervous, digestive, gastrointestinal and respiratory systems. The condition is spread through sneezing/coughing by an infected animal or via shared food and water bowls. There’s no absolute cure for distemper, although infected animals can shed the virus for months. It’s vital that your dog or cat receives their shots for distemper.
Canine Parvovirus (Parvo)
Parvo is highly contagious among dogs and can be fatal to unvaccinated puppies and adult dogs with weak immune systems. Parvo easily jumps from one dog to another through sniffing infected feces and via food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and hands and clothing of people handling sick dogs.
Leptospirosis in Dogs
Bacteria called leptospires spread through an infected animal’s body. Dogs can become infected if their mucous membranes or cuts/scrapes in the skin make contact with infected urine, water, food, or bedding. Leptospires can also be transmitted through bites from infected animals or by eating infected tissues. Leptospires can also pass through the placenta from a mother dog to her puppies.
Respiratory Infections in Cats
Several different bacteria and viruses are responsible for respiratory disease in cats, the two most common being feline herpes 1 (rhinotracheitis) and calicivirus. Vaccinations can help reduce the severity of respiratory infections.
Feline Leukemia (FeLV)
FeLV is easily spread among cats. In spite of its name, feline leukemia is not a blood cancer; rather, it’s an incurable viral infection that can establish itself anywhere in a cat’s body. Vaccination is highly recommended by the American Association of Feline Practitioners for all kittens.
Keep Your Pet Safe and Healthy
Pet vaccination is part of being a responsible pet owner, and will help reduce the number of vet visits that may be needed during your pet’s lifetime. However, sometimes you might be faced with an emergency situation where it’s essential to get your pet to a vet as quickly as possible. If you live in or near Columbia, South Carolina, CVETS is here to provide emergency treatment for your pet – don’t hesitate to bring your pet to us – their life may depend on it.