One of the best ways to protect your dog or cat (and family) from diseases is with vaccines. Vaccines have proven important in preventing serious disease in dogs and cats. Other than for rabies, which is state-mandated, vaccination protocols vary from animal hospital to animal hospital. At the Integrative Animal Hospital of Central Florida, we seek a compromise between maximizing your pet’s immunity to disease and minimizing the possible short- and long-term side effects to pets from vaccines.
Vaccinating your pet begins right away. If you have a puppy or kitten, you will need to bring them in for an initial set of vaccinations when they first come into your home. We will follow up with immunizations during your pet’s life according to the schedule developed for your pet based on his age, health and expected risk of exposure to maintain your pet’s defenses to these specific health concerns.
Our current vaccine recommendations are based on up-to-date research, the incidence of disease in our area, and the risk of exposure of your pet to the infectious agents. Depending on your pet’s medical history and need for vaccinations, certain vaccines may be administered during your pet’s wellness exam to make sure your pet is up-to-date on all his or her vaccines. Our vaccine protocol includes the “core” vaccines and should not be interpreted to mean that other protocols recommended are not valid.
In addition to protecting your pet’s health, canine and feline vaccinations also prevent you and others in your household from getting diseases. Some diseases, like rabies, can be transmitted from pets to people, so equipping your pet’s immune system to handle infectious agents keeps you and your family healthy too.
Canine: Core Vaccines
- DAPP Vaccine: Distemper, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus.
- DHPP Vaccine: Otherwise known as the puppy vaccine, DHPP stands for Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus.
- Rabies Vaccine
Distemper: Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) can cause lethargy, fever, and many symptoms related to the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems; any body tissue may be affected. CDV can be fatal. Infection occurs by exposure of the air passages to airborne CDV particles.
Adenovirus (Hepatitis): Canine Adenovirus usually infects the liver, causing symptoms related to that organ; it can be fatal in severe cases. Infection occurs by exposure to infected urine, feces, and body secretions.
Parainfluenza: Upper respiratory virus that causes coughing, sneezing, snorting, gagging or vomiting.
Parvovirus: Canine Parvovirus (CPV) can cause diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss; dehydration is also a serious concern. CPV can be rapidly fatal. Infection occurs by oral exposure to infected feces, and CPV can live in the environment for extended periods.
Rabies: Rabies virus causes fatal disease in many mammals, both wild and domestic, including dogs and humans. The virus enters through a bite wound from a rabid animal, or via exposure of mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth) to infected blood or body secretions. The virus then spreads to the nervous system and the salivary glands (enabling transmission to bite victims). Anxiety, aggression, disorientation, incoordination, paralysis, seizures, hyper salivation, and difficulty swallowing are a few of the symptoms experienced after exposure to the virus. Due to the seriousness of the disease, vaccination is mandatory by Florida state law.
Canine: Non-Core Vaccines include:
Bordetella Vaccine: Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterium that colonizes the lining of the respiratory tract, often in conjunction with parainfluenza virus. Symptoms may include coughing, sneezing, and nasal/eye discharge. Several types of airborne bacteria and viruses can cause these “kennel cough” symptoms, so your dog can still get “kennel cough” despite receiving the Bordetella vaccine. Bordetella vaccine is usually reserved for those dogs at high risk for exposure in situations like puppy class, boarding kennels, shows, day-care, grooming, and hospitalization. Intranasal vaccine carries a small risk of transient coughing, sneezing or nasal/eye discharge.
Leptospirosis Vaccine: This bacterium infects many mammals, both wild and domestic, including dogs and humans. The liver and kidneys are the primary organs affected, and symptoms may include fever, lethargy, vomiting, abdominal pain, coughing, and urinary problems. It is potentially fatal. The bacterium is shed through the urine of infected animals. Several strains of Leptospirosis exist, so vaccines must be chosen to match the particular strains prevalent in your area.
Lyme Disease: Canine lyme disease is a bacterial disease transmitted by the bite of an infected tick harboring the bacterium. The disease is not passed directly from animal to animal or from dogs to people. This disease is preventable through vaccination.
Feline Core Vaccines:
- Feline Distemper (FVRCP): Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia (indoor-only cats).
- Rabies (indoor and outdoor cats)
- Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) (indoor and outdoor cats)
- Feline Herpesvirus (FVR and FHV-1)
Rhinotracheitis: Triggered by the common feline herpes virus, symptoms include sneezing, runny nose and drooling. If left untreated, this disease causes dehydration, starvation and can be fatal.
Calicivirus: Feline calcivirus, an upper respiratory disease, is shed in discharges from the eyes, nose, mouth, feces, and rarely urine. Symptoms include oral ulcers, fever, lethargy, stiffness, joint pain, muscle aches, neurologic symptoms, and rarely seizures. FCV has been associated with persistent gingivitis in chronic carriers. FVR and FCV vaccines lessen disease but do not prevent infection, viral shedding, or the carrier state.
Panleukopenia: Also known as distemper, this common disease is easily spread from one cat to another. Symptoms include fever, vomiting and bloody diarrhea. The disease progresses rapidly, requires immediate medical attention and can be fatal. It is common in kittens who have not yet been vaccinated.
Rabies: Rabies virus causes fatal disease in many mammals, both wild and domestic, including dogs, cats and humans. The virus enters through a bite wound from a rabid animal, or via exposure of mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth) to infected blood or body secretions. The virus then spreads to the nervous system (causing symptoms like anxiety, aggression, disorientation, incoordination, paralysis, seizures, hyper salivation, difficulty swallowing) and the salivary glands (enabling transmission to bite victims). Due to the seriousness of the disease, vaccination is mandatory by Florida state law.
Feline Leukemia (FeLV): FeLV can be transmitted between infected cats with the transfer of saliva or nasal secretions. The disease caused by this virus is in the form of cancer of the blood cells.
Feline Non-Core Vaccines include:
- Feline Immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
Feline Immunideficiency virus (FIV): FIV attacks the immune system of cats, much like the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can attack the immune system of human beings. FIV is transmitted primarily through saliva (bites) of an infected cat where the infected saliva enters the other cat’s bloodstream. Outdoor cats are more likely to be exposed to risk of acquiring FIV.
Feline Herpesvirus: Feline viral rhinopneumonitis (FVR) and feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1) are the most common causes of upper respiratory infections in cats. Symptoms include sneezing “attacks”, discharge from the eyes and nose, conjunctivitis (pink eye), and congestion. The most common cause of infection is through contact from an infected cat’s eyes, mouth or nose.
Titers: A blood test called a titer is available to measure your pet’s antibodies to vaccine viruses or other infectious agents. Based on titer tests results we can make vaccine and titer recommendations for the future. A high titer level does not guarantee protection, but is highly suggestive.
Have questions about vaccinations or want to make an appointment for your pet? Call us at 407-833-8868.