1. Why does my puppy/kitten need a series of shots?
When a puppy or kitten is born, its immune system is not mature, leaving the baby vulnerable for infections. The mother produces specific milk in the first few days after giving birth. This milk; rich in antibodies, is called colostrum. As the baby drinks the milk he will be taking on his mothers immunity for a short period of time. After the first couple of days the mother will then begin to produce regular milk and the baby will no longer be able to take antibodies into their system.
Just how long the antibodies from the mother lasts varies and can depend on factors such as birth order or how well they nursed for example. These antibodies wear off at different times and once gone the baby must be able to depend on its own immune system.
While the mothers immunity is in the babys system, any vaccines given will be inactivated (until the antibodies have significantly dropped). Puppies and Kittens receive a series of vaccines beginning when the babys own immune system should be able to respond.
Why not just wait until the baby is old enough to accept the vaccination as what happens with the rabies vaccine? Because if the antibodies from the mother declines early, this leaves the young one with a large window of vulnerability for disease. Keeping the puppy/kitten on a regular vaccine schedule during their beginning months of life is the right step towards early protection and prevention.
2. What’s a DA2PV?
D represents Distemper. Symptoms of Distemper usually begin with gooey eye and nose discharge, poor appetite, coughing and the development of pneumonia, and a fever which can easy go unnoticed. The virus attacks the mucus membranes of the body and typically it begins with the respiratory tract. Untreated, the virus will lead into vomiting, diarrhea, callusing of the nose and foot pads, and seizures. Signs may progress to death.
A2 represents Adenovirus type 2, also known as Hepatitis. A disease of the liver, this virus is found worldwide and is spread by body fluids and including nasal discharge and urine. At first, the virus attacks the tonsils and larynx causing a sore throat, coughing and sometimes pneumonia. As it enters the blood stream it can then affect the eyes, liver and kidneys.
PV represents the Parvovirus. Parvo is predominately a disease found in young puppies. 80% of infected puppies will die without treatment. After exposure to infected feces, severe vomiting and diarrhea follow not too far behind. Causing extreme damage to the intestinal tract the diarrhea often turns bloody as the disease progresses rapidly; death usually follows not too far behind.
3. What’s a Leptovax 4/Cv?
Leptovax 4 represents 4 strands of Lepto. Spread through the urine of infected animals, this disease is a life-threatening illness with infections in the kidney, liver, brain, lung, and heart. After an incubation period of roughly 3 to 20 days early signs of Lepto include: depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, weakness, and generalized muscle pain. Swollen, red and painful looking eyes may also be observed. Since the signs of Lepto are non-specific a lot of dogs are treated at home by their owners with the assumption the symptoms will pass. Internal organs like the liver and kidneys are commonly damaged without some dogs ever showing any signs.
CV represents the Coronavirus. Spread through feces and saliva, this virus invades the small intestine and is highly contagious. Symptoms appear suddenly and usually include: diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and a decrease in appetite. Diarrhea often times may contain blood, mucus; have an orange tint and a foul odor.
4. What’s a FVRCP?
FVR represents the Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis which is another name for feline herpes which attacks the upper respiratory system. This virus, especially in kittens, is notorious for dragging out and the infection is more than likely to reoccur (like all other types of herpes infections). Symptoms include: sneezing, nasal discharge, runny eyes, cough, fever, hoarse voice or any combination thereof. Advanced cases; which may require hospitalization, may have symptoms such as: loss of appetite and/or drinking, congestion with open mouth breathing or high fever.
C represents Calicivirus, another virus which attacks the upper respiratory system and will typically carry the same symptoms as the rhinotracheitis. Both viruses are spread by the wet sneezes of infected or carrier individuals. The differences between the two viruses are the herpes virus can only survive 18 hours outside of its host while the calcivirus is much tougher, surviving up to 10 days. The herpes virus is activated a week or so after stressful events (surgery, boarding, introducing another cat into the family, etc.). The individual will remain contagious for a couple of weeks afterwards. Calcivirus may shed continually for several months; not just in times of stress, and it does not appear to reoccur like herpes virus.
P represents Panleukopena. The feline distemper is highly contagious and spreads from cat to cat by direct contact. The source of infection is usually present in the feces and may be present in other body secretions. The virus primarily attacks the gastrointestinal tract, symptoms may include: depression, loss of appetite, high fever, vomiting, dehydration and lethargy. It is possible for cat owners to think their cat had been poisoned. Signs may progress to death.
5. What is a killed virus and a live virus?
The killed vaccine is where large amounts of the dead virus are injected into the patient then filter inside immune system. An additional agent or “helper” is needed to stimulate a longer immunity.
By using a live vaccine, a more natural stimulation is acquired as the live virus follows the same steps of replication that the real virus would. A stronger immunity can be obtained by using a live virus.
6. Is it possible to have a vaccine reaction?
Yes, an allergic reaction is an inflammatory response to specific proteins entering the body. These proteins can be anything ranging from dust, pollen, food, medication and vaccinations to name a few. Reactions can occur immediately or within several hours. Symptoms include: nausea, facial swelling and hives. However, it is normal for pets to experience muscle soreness and lethargy a day or two after receiving vaccinations.
If you notice any reaction symptoms developing it is best to let your veterinarian know right away. If the incident occurs after hours one of our doctors will be on call until 9:00pm for telephone advice and questions. Please call the clinic and listen to the whole message to find out which doctor is on call.
7. Should indoor only cats receive a rabies vaccine?
Some people may be surprised that the rabies vaccination is considered important to indoor-only cats, but when you consider the consequences of rabies exposure as well as the legal consequences, its not hard to see why this vaccine is important.
But how can your indoor cat get rabies? For example, a bat can enter your home and cats have a hard time resisting that strong hunting instinct. Bats can be found in basements, crawl spaces, attics, porches, chimneys or actually flying around the inside of your house.
The vaccine is to protect you, your family, visitors and the pets in your home (people can get rabies too). If your cat bites anyone or captures a bat; what happens next to your cat depends on their vaccination status.