Vaccines are so important in maintaining health and keeping the spread of disease from occurring. What exactly are these vaccines covering? Here is an overview on the diseases that VMC carries vaccines for.
For our Canines:
Distemper is a highly contagious and severe systemic disease that may initially present as an upper respiratory disease but can progress to gastrointestinal issues and even attack the central nervous system. Signs are generally lethargy, ocular and nasal discharge, cough, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, ataxia, and seizures. This disease is mostly seen in young dogs between three and six months old that are unvaccinated. Treatment is often IV fluids, antibiotics, nebulization for congestion, and anticonvulsants for seizures if needed. Pets with this disease need to be quarantined and isolated from other dogs.
Parvovirus is also a highly contagious and extremely resistant virus. It lives in the environment for up to seven months or longer. Puppies and unvaccinated adult dogs should be kept away from areas known to have had parvovirus present until fully vaccinated. If contracted, puppies and unvaccinated adult dogs will show signs of lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea often seen with blood, and decreased appetite. Pets with this disease are quarantined and placed on IV fluids, antibiotics, anti-nausea medication, and in some cases blood transfusions are needed. This virus can cause a high likelihood of mortality if not caught soon enough.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that is not only contagious to other pets but is also zoonotic to humans. It is contracted via coming in contact with urine from an infected animal or swimming in contaminated waters. Many wild animals such as rabbits, mice, rats, squirrels, and deer among other wildlife are common carriers of the disease that can cause kidney or liver failure. Treatment is supportive with hospitalization and antibiotics if caught early enough.
Bordetella (covers parainfluenza virus as well as Bordetella bronchiseptica) also known as kennel cough is a common upper respiratory disease found in shelters, boarding and grooming facilities, as well as dog parks and doggy day care facilities. It is spread via close contact with infected dogs that show signs of coughing, ocular and nasal discharge, and decreased appetite. Treatment is antibiotics and isolation from other dogs until signs are resolved.
Hepatitis is caused by the canine adenovirus type 1 (CAV-1). It is easily transmissible from dog to dog via contaminated bodily fluids such as saliva, urine, and nasal discharge. Signs may initially look upper respiratory affecting the larynx and trachea, however can affect the liver and kidneys but shutting them down and causing a blue hue to the eyes. The disease affects any unvaccinated dogs however puppies are most susceptible.
Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi which is carried by ticks. Often most adult canines do not show signs of the disease but they can develop what is known as “lyme arthritis,” which is arthritis, decreased appetite, and fever. Antibiotics are used to help eliminate the carrier state. Dogs with a higher risk of tick exposure should be vaccinated on an annual basis.
For our Felines:
Panleukopenia is very similar to the parvovirus in dogs. It is a very contagious and resistant virus causing vomiting and/or diarrhea, anorexia, extreme lethargy/depression causing the kitten to hide, and some times sudden death. This virus is stable in the environment for up to one year. It is advised that all unvaccinated kittens and cats are kept away from areas that are known to have had the virus present. Intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and anti-nausea medications are used for treatment.
Feline Calici Virus is a common contagious upper respiratory virus often seen in conjunction with oral ulcerations and rarely arthritic pain. Felines that have contracted calici virus will often show signs of lethargy, decreased appetite, sneezing, nasal discharge, and occasionally joint pain. Supportive care is given by prescribing antibiotics, maintaining proper hydration and nutrition, or pain relief for oral ulcers and/or joint pain. Isolation of these cats is vital to preventing spread of the disease.
Rhinotracheitis is a very common contagious upper respiratory infection in cats caused by herpesvirus. Signs often include sneezing, nasal and ocular discharge, conjunctivitis, and poor appetite. Treatment varies depending on the severity of the case, but most cats can be treated with oral and/or ocular antibiotics. Some may benefit from environmental dehumidification or even hospitalization. These cats are highly contagious to other cats and must be kept separate. Felines become carriers of the virus once infected with the virus. The virus will remain inactive within the body until stress is caused bringing it back to active status causing all of the previously mentioned signs.
Leukemia is a retrovirus associated with immunosuppressive disease. The virus is found in salive, urine, tears, and milk of infected cats and is spread by direct contact via fighting, grooming, or exposure to contaminated food bowls, food, water, or litter pans. Clinical signs are anemia, a decrease in appetite, depression, weight loss, and secondary infections. The treatment for these felines is supportive to help maintain a good, strong immune system. Prior to vaccination, it is recommended that all felines be tested for the virus. Leukemia positive cats should be kept as indoor only pets in order to keep the spread of the disease.
For both our Felines and Canines:
Rabies is a highly contagious and extremely dangerous disease affecting the nervous system resulting in death. Rabies is spread via saliva usually through bites or any open wound that virus laden saliva has come in contact with. Signs most often include wobbliness, irritability, nervousness, any behavior changes, and hypersensitivity to light or sounds. There is no cure or treatment for this disease, so prevention is always important. It is so important, in fact, that this vaccine is required by law to be given to any domestic dog or cat as well as livestock.