Vaccinations

Vaccinations can be a confusing subject with many  different vaccines available.  While we have our core vaccines for cats and for dogs, we assess each animal on an individual basis as to what is the most appropriate vaccination protocol in each situation. 

Why vaccinate? 

Many of the diseases we vaccinate agaisn't are still quite prevalent in the community at large, we still see a large number of cat flu cases every year, and Parvovirus is commonly seen during the summer.  For this reason the concept of "herd immunity", where you rely on the fact that if most of the population is vaccinated then the risk of you contracting that disease is very low.is not valid for pets in NZ.  It is for this reason we recomend vaccinating your pet with the core vaccines at the manufacturers reccomended intervals.

 

Cat Vaccinations

Felocell 4

Felocell 4 is a four in one vaccination aiding in the protection from feline panleukopenia and three respiratory diseases (Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Chlamydia).

Feline panleukopenia (a.k.a. feline enteritis) causes lethargy, incoordination, fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration. This disease is usually severe enough to result in death even with veterinary intervention. Feline enteritis is contracted through direct contact with infected animals and indirectly with contaminated objects. Fortunately with the introduction of vaccination the incidence of feline enteritis has plummeted.

Feline respiratory disease (a.k.a. snuffles) is very common due to the highly contagious nature of the pathogens involved (refer above). They are spread by direct contact with an infected cat or contact with airborne droplets of infectious agent from sneezing/ coughing. Signs of respiratory disease are characterised by sneezing and coughing, discharge from the eyes (conjunctivitis) and nose. As the disease progresses anorexia, lethargy and pneumonia can result. Pneumonia in kittens can be fatal. Cats who survive the Rhinotracheitis virus (a herpes virus) can become carriers. This means they can shed the virus intermittently without serious symptoms e.g. may have weepy eyes which resolve without medical attention. Severe Feline Rhinotraceitis can cause pregnant cats to abort. Feline Calicivirus can cause ulceration of the oral cavity and nose. Chlamydia primarily causes inflammation of the eyes.

Felocell 4 is given to kittens at 6, 9 and 12 weeks. An older cat with unknown vaccination history will require a series of two vaccinations 3-4 weeks apart. After the initial course vaccination becomes annual.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

Up until recently there has been no way of protecting your cat against FIV. Although there is no risk to people this disease has many similarities to HIV in humans. In cats it is generally spread by biting scratching and fighting. Stray cats are at risk of contracting this disease as they tend to fight more. Unfortunately the disease appears to be on the increase in Auckland, with up to 14% of cats testing positive for FIV. Here at Unitec Veterinary Hospital we would diagnose this disease once every one to two months. At present there is no treatment or cure for this disease and it will be ultimately fatal. If you are concerned your cat may have this disease we are able to test for this in house with a simple blood test.

A recent review of diagnosed cases of FIV in cats at this practice has shown a significant increase in the number of cases diagnosed.  This is inline with findings from other practices in Auckland (and elsewhere in NZ ).  For this reason we now reccomend vaccinating cats in the high risk catergory.  This includes most cats that go outside but in particular those cats that get into fights. Fel-O-Vax vaccine has been shown to be effective at preventing infection by FIV.  The initial course requires 3 vaccinations at 2-4 week intervals, with an annual booster reccomended.  This vaccine can be administered at the same time as the annual core vaccines. 

Feline Leukaemia Virus

Feline Leukaemia is a virus that can cause cancer , namely leukaemia or lymphoma.  Fortunately we do not see the same  incidence of this in NZ as they do overseas.  It is generally spread by close contact with other cats and can be spread from the mother to the foetus.  As a result we most commonly see this disease as a problem in the cattery  type situation.  For at risk animals we use Leucogen vaccine to provide protection.  Again if we have any concerns about this disease, we can easily  test for it in house with a blood test.

Dog Vaccinations

Vanguard Plus 5

Vanguard Plus 5 aids in the prevention of Canine distemper (CD), Infectious canine Hepatitis (Adenovirus type 1, CAV-1), Respiratory disease caused by Adenovirus Type 2 (CAV-2), Canine Parainfluenza (CPI) and Canine Parvoviral enteritis (CPV).  Initially a minimum of two vaccinations are required 3-4 weeks apart.  The first booster vaccination is given after one year and then every one to three years depending on your situation.  Some kennels require your dog to have been vaccinated within the previous 12 months.

Canine distemper presents in many different ways as the virus thrives in most parts of the body. Common signs are fever, respiratory disease, eye and nasal discharges, hard pads, nervous symptoms (muscular twitches, ataxia, seizures), vomiting and diarrhoea. There is a high rate of mortality as the symptoms tend to be severe. Fortunately it is uncommon in New Zealand  these days owing to vaccination.

Canine hepatitis is spread via infected saliva, faeces and urine. This virus also attacks many parts of the body and is therefore often fatal. Signs include fever, jaundice, inflammation/ clouding of the eyes, vomiting, diarrhoea and nervous signs (seizures and even coma).

Canine respiratory disease is not usually fatal unless pneumonia develops. When CAV-2 acts alone symptoms are usually mild. If other viruses (e.g. CPI) or bacteria (e.g. Bordetella bronchiseptica) are involved signs tend to be more severe. Symptoms are loss of appetite, lethargy, poor general appearance, coughing (a.k.a. kennel cough). Spread via infected airborne droplets created from coughing and contact discharges. Dogs kept in close contact with many other dogs are at higher risk.

Parvovirus is highly contagious & can survive in the environment for up to 12 months.  It is  spread via contact with the watery stool and vomit of the infected dog. As vomiting and diarrhoea is profuse the inability of the infected dog to ‘keep fluids up’ means it can be rapidly fatal. Mortality is greatest in puppies.  This disease is still commonly seen in New Zealand and localised "outbreaks" often occur every few years.

Initial vaccination involves administration at 6, 9 and 12 weeks or in older dogs two doses 3-4 weeks apart. Following this vaccination is given every three years.

Nobivac Kennel Cough

This vaccination assists in the prevention of respiratory disease caused by Canine parainfluenza (CPI) and Bordetella bronchiseptica (both mentioned previously, symptoms as above). Immunity is achieved as early as 72 hours after vaccination. Vaccinations are given annually or before a period of anticipated risk (e.g. before boarding in a kennel). This vaccination can be given more frequently if the chosen boarding facility requires it.  The vaccine is administered as drops into the nose.

Leptoguard

A vaccine developed to aid in the protection from Leptospira bacteria. The bacteria affects dogs of any age damaging many body systems, the kidneys and liver in particular. Syptoms are fever, anorexia and jaundice. Illness is severe and usually  fatal. Dogs that do recover can shed bacteria (in their urine) for months following recovery. Common sources of infection are rats and cows. Humans are also at risk of picking up Leptospirosis.  The strain that affects dogs is usually only found in the north half of the north island, so if your dog has moved to Auckland from elsewhere it would pay to check that it has been vaccinated agaisn't this disease.  We consider leptospirosis vaccination an essential component of our core vaccinations for dogs in Auckland

Vaccination involves two doses 3-4 weeks apart. It can be administered in combination with Vanguard Plus5 so only one injection is required.  An annual booster vaccination is required to maintain immunity.

 

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