Facts About Vaccines

For Dogs:

D = Distemper—is a nasty virus that is highly contagious and was the leading cause of death in puppies. Young puppies are more susceptible to the virus then adult dogs. You may see signs of an upper respiratory infection with a high fever, or the dog may suffer neurological signs. This disease is often fatal.

H = Hepatitis or Adenovirus-2—This is spread by contact with the urine and feces of infected animals. The virus causes liver and kidney damage. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, anorexia, abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhea.

L = Leptospirosis—This disease affects the liver and kidneys and is deadly. Animals with this disease are contagious to other animals and humans. The disease is spread through contact with urine of infected animals. Dogs with leptospirosis may show signs of lethargy, dehydration, jaundice, and fever.

P = Parainfluenza—This is a virus that causes an upper respiratory infection. Dogs usually contract the disease through contact with nasal secretions of infected dogs.

P = Parvovirus—This virus attacks the intestinal tract and causes severe vomiting and diarrhea. Parvo is highly contagious, dogs contract the virus through contact with an infected animals stools. Without treatment, dogs become dehydrated and weak and often die.

C = Corona virus—This virus attacks the intestinal system similar to parvovirus. Infected dogs suffer from vomiting and diarrhea and dehydration.

Bordetella - Dog cough (similar to the common cold in humans) is the term that was commonly applied to the most prevalent upper respiratory problem in dogs in the United States. Recently, the condition has become known as tracheobronchitis, canine infectious tracheobronchitis, Bordetellosis, or Bordetella. It is highly contagious in dogs, is found worldwide, and will infect a very high percentage of dogs in their lifetime.

Rabies - The rabies vaccination protects your cat against rabies and is required by law in VA. Most common is the yearly rabies vaccination; however, some states offer multiple year rabies vaccinations (most commonly 3 years).

For Cats:

FVR stands for feline viral rhinotracheitis, which is a severe upper respiratory infection caused by a feline type 1, herpes-virus. Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis can cause sneezing, coughing, lethargy, nasal discharge and high temperature. Some cats develop pneumonia and occasionally eye lesions. Weight loss and dehydration are common since most cats infected with the virus don't want to eat or drink. This disease is chronic and it's possible for cats to suffer permanent damage to both the respiratory system and the eyes.

C stands for calicivirus infection. Calicivirus is also an upper respiratory infection. There are several strains of caliciviruses that can affect cats - from mild to life threatening. Many of these strains cause similar respiratory signs to that of feline viral rhinothracheitis.

These two diseases account for 95% of the upper respiratory infections found in cats. Some cats can be carriers without actually having signs of the disease.

P stands for panleukopenia. Panleukopenia is commonly known as feline distemper (and infectious feline enteritis). This virus causes loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and has a high mortality rate. Panleukopenia is caused by a parvovirus similar to the parvovirus that can affect dogs. The disease can affect cats of all ages, but is most severe and life threatening in young kittens.

Feline Leukemia (FeLV) - Feline Leukemia is a virus and can cause infections, immunosuppresion, cancer and tumors in cats. Feline leukemia is the most common viral disease in cats. The virus is contracted either through the uterus in unborn kittens, through grooming, the bite of another cat, or contact from saliva and urine from an infected cat. The symptoms of this disease vary greatly from fever to forms of cancer. It is difficult to diagnose leukemia on the symptoms alone. Blood tests are valuable as an aid in diagnosing the disease but sometimes the virus can hide in the bone marrow of an infected cat for years with a negative leukemia test. Testing before vaccination is recommended. Cats with leukemia will have lowered immune systems and can remain carriers for life. Positive cats are susceptible to other infections due to a depressed immune system.

How long does it take for a vaccine to become effective? It is important to note that vaccines do not stimulate immunity immediately after they are administered. Once a vaccine is administered, the antigens must be recognized, responded to, and remembered by the immune system. In most animals, disease protection does not begin until five days after vaccination. Full protection from a vaccine usually takes up to 14 days.