Vaccinations are an important part of ongoing preventive care, but how will you know which vaccines your pet will need and why are they so important? Here, our Greeley vets talk about the importance of cat and dog vaccinations and what vaccines your pet may need.
Dog and Cat Vaccinations
Vaccinations are made to help our pets live the healthiest and longest life possible. Our vets believe vaccinations are not only safe but extremely important for pets and that providing cats and dogs with their core vaccinations in Greeley can help to protect your furry friend against a number of very serious conditions that can be costly to treat and/or potentially deadly.
That said, it isn't necessary for all pets to receive every pet vaccination available. While Core Vaccinations are highly recommended for all pets to protect against serious yet preventable diseases, and the Rabies vaccination is required by law in many states, there are Lifestyle Vaccinations that may not be necessary for your pet depending on the things that you and your pet do.
Core Pet Vaccinations in Greeley
Core vaccinations are designed to help protect your pet by preventing diseases that are commonly found in your area, spread easily between animals (and in some cases from animals to people), and are known to likely be fatal for cats and dogs. Below are the core pet vaccinations recommended for most cats and dogs living in the United States.
- Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper or Feline Parvo)
Panleukopenia is an extremely contagious viral disease that is closely related to the canine parvovirus. Caused by the feline parvovirus this disease is life-threatening to cats. This virus attacks the rapidly dividing blood cells in the body, including the cells in the intestinal tract, bone marrow, skin or developing fetus. Panleukopenia is spread through the urine, stool, and nasal secretions of infected cats, or from the fleas of an infected cat.
- Feline Calicivirus
Feline calicivirus is a common respiratory disease in cats and kittens. This illness attacks the cat's respiratory tract including the nasal passages and lungs, as well as the mouth, intestines and the cat's musculoskeletal system. This illness is highly contagious in unvaccinated cats and is often found in multi-cat homes or shelters. This respiratory illness can be very difficult to get rid of once it has been contracted, and vaccinating your cat against feline calicivirus is strongly recommended.
- Feline Herpesvirus Type I (Rhinotracheitis)
Feline Herpesvirus (also known as feline viral rhinotracheitis -FVR) is a major cause of upper respiratory disease in cats, as well as inflammation of the tissues surrounding the cat's eyes. Once a cat has been infected with FVR it becomes a carrier of the virus. While most carriers will remain latent for long periods of time, stress and illness may cause the virus to become reactivated and infectious.
Rabies is typically transmitted through a bite from the infected animal and is one of the few diseases that can be transmitted to people from their pets. The rabies virus causes acute encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and will gradually infect the entire nervous system of the animal or person causing death. In many states, including North Carolina, rabies shots are mandatory for dogs, cats and ferrets, without exception.
- Canine Parvovirus
Canine parvovirus is an extremely contagious viral disease that can be life-threatening. Parvovirus can be transmitted by any person, animal or object that comes in contact with an infected dog’s feces. Dogs that are not vaccinated are at risk of contracting the virus. Vaccinating your puppy or dog against parvovirus could save their life.
Canine distemper is a virus that affects a dog’s respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, and central nervous system, as well as the conjunctival membranes of the eyes. Distemper is spread through contact with the fresh urine of an infected animal. This virus can travel to the brain, causing seizures, shaking and trembling. Protect your dog against distemper by having them vaccinated.
- Canine Hepatitis
Dogs suffering from canine hepatitis experience swelling and cell damage in the liver, which may result in hemorrhage and death. This virus is spread through contact with the feces and urine of infected dogs. Simply by having your dog vaccinated, you can protect your dog against canine hepatitis.
Rabies is typically transmitted through a bite from the infected animal and is one of the few diseases that can be transmitted to people from their pets. The rabies virus causes acute encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and will gradually infect the entire nervous system of the animal or person causing death.
In many states, including North Carolina, rabies shots are mandatory for dogs, cats and ferrets, without exception.
Lifestyle Pet Vaccinations in Greeley
These types of cat or dog vaccinations are for pets that spend time in social settings or spend time in the great outdoors. The following are lifestyle pet vaccinations in Greeley that you may want to speak with your vet about.
- Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)
Feline leukemia is spread by saliva and can be transmitted from cat to cat through mutual grooming, bite wounds, mother's milk to kittens or through shared litter box use.
This disease is the leading viral killer of cats and kittens. While it can hide undetected for long periods of time it weakens the cat's immune system, increases their susceptibility to other diseases, and is the most common cause of cancer in cats.
Kittens are at high risk for contracting this disease and should be vaccinated against Feline leukemia starting at 9 - 12 weeks of age. This cat vaccination requires booster shots to maintain its effectiveness. Cats that live in multi-cat households, or that spend time outdoors should be regularly vaccinated against this disease.
- Chlamydia (Chlamydophila felis)
Chlamydia can cause respiratory disease and conjunctivitis (eye infection) in cats and is easily spread between cats that are in close contact with each other. We recommend that all cats living in catteries, breeders and shelters be vaccinated against this illness. Speak to your vet to learn whether your cat is susceptible to this condition.
- Bordatella (Kennel Cough)
Bordatella bronchoseptica is the bacteria that can lead to the respiratory disease known as “kennel cough.” This respiratory illness earned the name kennel cough because it is easily transmitted when dogs share indoor space, such as kennels. That said, dogs that attend dog parks or doggie daycares may also be at risk of contracting this disease. As with the human flu vaccine, the Bordatella vaccination will not prevent your dog from getting sick, but it will help to decrease the severity and length of symptoms. If your dog frequents bonding facilities you should speak with your vet about vaccinating against Bordetella.
Leptospirosis is a bacteria that is spread when your dog ingests water that has been contaminated by infected birds and wildlife. While most cases of leptospirosis are mild and easily treated with antibiotics, some dogs get very sick and may even suffer kidney failure. Leptospirosis can also be transmitted from animals to people in some cases. If your dog is fond of drinking from puddles, ponds or rivers in your neighborhood, speak to your vet about vaccinating your canine companion against leptospirosis.
- Canine Influenza (Dog Flu)
Symptoms of the dog flu often begin as kennel cough then become increasingly more severe, and in some cases require hospitalization. There are two strains of dog flu that are widely spread throughout the country. Speak to your vet to find out if this vaccination is right for your pup. If your dog spends time with other dogs in daycares, kennels or dog parks you may wish to vaccinate them against dog flu. Short-faced dogs with an increased risk of respiratory illness should also be vaccinated against this condition.
- Lyme Disease (Borrelia burgdorferi)
The Lyme vaccine is considered a core dog vaccination in Greeley because of the high prevalence of the disease in that area. If you live in an area where the black-legged tick (deer tick) is present in large numbers, our vets may suggest tick preventive medications be given to your dog year-round, and the Lyme disease vaccination be given to pets who spend time in wooded areas, parks, or farmlands. Speak to your vet to learn whether the Lyme disease vaccination is right for your dog.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.