Spring is in full swing and with that comes one of the happiest times of the year: BABIES! Puppies and kittens to be more specific. With puppy and kitten season comes some very important questions about care and preventative health and wellness for the new furry friend. Below is detailed common puppy and kitten problems, vaccine protocols and other tips we can offer.
Puppies are weaned from mom around 6 – 8 weeks of age. Once they are weaned from mother’s milk and are no longer receiving her antibodies to protect them from harmful disease it is time for first vaccines. Puppies who are at least 6 – 8 weeks old should receive a DHPP booster (Distemper/hepatitis/parainfluenza/parvovirus). All of these diseases if contracted by a dog can potentially be fatal.
Distemper Virus is a severe potentially fatal disease characterized by a fever, nasal and eye discharge, depression, anorexia, sometimes dogs may get seizures or other neurological effects if the virus moves into the brain, it can also affect the enamel of the teeth and cause hardened paw pads. Mortality rate is about 50%
Hepaitits is a virus that infects the liver and causes acute liver failure, fever, neurological signs, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, blue colored eyes and death in severe cases. The prognosis for hepatitis is poor. If the animal survives it will likely have permanent damage to the organ and require life long therapy.
Parainfluenza is a respiratory disease that causes coughing, gagging and retching at best. At its worst it can cause anorexia, lethargy difficulty breathing, pneumonia and death.
Parvovirus attacks the cells that line the gastrointestinal tract and cause severe lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea and death due to dehydration and the fact that the animal cannot absorb any of its nutrients.
Research and studies support that this vaccine is 90% protective against these diseases. That is an incredible reduction in the rate of disease. Therefore we recommend this vaccine for every dog as a core vaccine.
After the initial booster a puppy must receive a distemper booster (DHPP) every 2 – 4 weeks until he/she is 4 months of age. At that time the immune system is mature and will mount a long lasting immune response. Before the immune system is mature the protective length of a vaccine varies between 2 – 4 weeks before it wears off. This is why puppies must be boostered more frequently than adults.
If your puppy/dog is older and has never received any boosters, that’s ok, it’s never too late to start. Make an appointment today!
Kittens are weaned from mom around 6 – 8 weeks of age. Once they are weaned from mother’s milk and are no longer receiving her antibodies to protect them from harmful disease it is time for first vaccines. Kittens who are at least 6 – 8 weeks old should receive a FVRCP booster (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis/calicivirus/panleukopenia virus) aka: feline distemper vaccine.
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis is a severe upper respiratory infection that is difficult to cure since it is not bacterial in nature. Once contracted it is usually a life long struggle, the cats affected have nasal discharge, eye discharge, chronic severe coughing and sneezing and difficulty breathing.
Calicivirus is also an upper respiratory disease. It causes similar symptoms as rhinotracheitis except it also causes ulcerations in the mouth and on the tongue that can be very painful and cause the cat to have trouble eating.
Pnaleukopenia virus is the feline version of parvovirus. We also refer to it as fading kitten syndrome. Unlike their canine counterparts cats rarely vomit or have diarrhea, they just stop eating and waste away and eventually succumb to the illness
Due to the severe nature of these diseases we recommend this to every kitten/cat as a core vaccine. After the initial booster a kitten must receive a distemper booster (FVRCP) every 2 – 4 weeks until he/she is 4 months of age. Again, this is because the immune system is not fully matured until about 4 months of age thus a long lasting immune response cannot be mounted until that time.
If your kitten/cat is older and has never received any boosters, that’s ok, it’s never too late to start. Make an appointment today!
There is much controversy about the rabies vaccine today. Let us assure you that it is safe and it is necessary and it is the LAW. Rabies is fatal to any mammal that contracts the disease. There have been about 3 – 4 people in recorded history to have survived contracting the rabies virus and medical science currently does not know why those people survived. Despite popular belief rabies is not eradicated, there are still cases of rabies reported in the US. There are greater than 300 cases of feline rabies, 80 – 100 cases of canine rabies, and 1 – 3 cases of human rabies reported annually in the United States.
The most common rabies exposure to humans is through an infected dog. The most common rabies exposure to a dog is through wild life such as skunks, fox and raccoons.
There are other vaccines that we may or may not recommend depending on their life style, health and age but the previous vaccines are considered core and are recommended by most all veterinarians for most all puppies and kittens. If you have any further questions about vaccine protocols please call. If you have a new fur baby that needs vaccines please call to schedule an appointment today.