What are Vaccines?
The ASPCA describes vaccines as preparing the body's immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens, which look like the disease-causing organism to the immune system but don't actually cause disease. When the vaccine is introduced to the body, the immune stem is mildly stimulated. If a dog/cat is ever exposed to the real disease, their immune system is now prepared to recognize and fight it off entirely or reduce its severity.
Rabies is a virus that may affect the brain and spinal cord of all mammals, including dogs, cats, and humans. Rabies is responsible for more than 50,000 deaths in humans and millions in animals worldwide annually. Rabies is primarily passed through a bite from an infected animal. It can also be transmitted through a scratch or when infected saliva makes contact with an open, fresh wound. Some symptoms of rabies are extreme behavioral changes, hypersensitivity to tough, light or sound, paralysis of the throat and jaw muscles and, the most commonly recognized, foaming of the mouth.
Canine Distemper is a virus that affects a dog's gastrointestinal, respiratory and central nervous systems and the conjunctival membranes of the eye. Canine Distemper is often fatal and needs to be reported immediately. Canine Distemper is passed from dog to dog through direct contact with fresh urine, blood or saliva and/or sneezing, coughing and sharing food and water bowls. Some symptoms of distemper are sneezing, coughing, thick mucus coming from the eyes and nose, lethargy, and sudden vomiting and diarrhea. If you think your dog may have canine distemper please see a veterinarian as soon as possible because canine distemper spreads rapidly and must be aggressively treated as soon as it is discovered.
Canine hepatitis is a highly contagious viral infection that affects the liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, and eyes. It mostly affects young dogs under one year of age, though it can affect adults. Canine hepatitis can be transmitted through direct contact with infected saliva, urine, or feces. Some symptoms of canine hepatitis are a mild fever, moderate lethargy, and slight loss of appetite.
Canine parainfluenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease that is frequently confused with kennel cough. Canine parainfluenza is an acute inflammation of the upper airways. The disease can progress to pneumonia in puppies or chronic bronchitis in older dogs. The canine parainfluenza virus is transmitted through contact with the nasal secretions of dogs that are infected with the disease.
Parvovirus attacks the white blood cells and rapidly dividing cells in a dog's body, most severely affecting the intestinal tract. Parvovirus can damage the heart mussel and cause lifelong cardiac problems in young animals that are infected. This makes the parvovirus especially deadly in puppies. Parvovirus is extremely contagious and can be transmitted by any person, animal or object that comes in contact with an infected dog's feces. Parvovirus is highly resistant and can live in the environment for months and can survive on inanimate objects like bowls, shoes, and floors. Some symptoms of parvovirus are lethargy, severe vomiting, loss of appetite and bloody, foul smelling diarrhea.
Bordetella (Kennel Cough):
Kennel cough is both viral and bacterial and is a form of bronchitis that is similar to a chest cold in humans. A persistent cough with a "honking" sound is the main clue your dog has kennel cough. Kennel cough is passed from dog to dog from aerosols in the air or germs from contaminated objects. The most common way kennel cough is spread is in enclosed areas with poor air circulation like boarding kennels and animal shelters.
H3N2 Canine Flu Vaccine
Canine influenza is transmitted through droplets or aerosols containing respiratory secretions from coughing, barking and sneezing. Dogs in close contact with infected dogs in places such as kennels, groomers, daycare facilities and shelters are at increased risk of infection. CI can be spread indirectly through objects (e.g., kennels, food and water bowls, collars and leashes) or people that have been in contact with infected dogs.
The canine influenza vaccine is a "lifestyle" vaccine, and is not recommended for every dog. In general, the vaccine is intended to protect dogs at risk for exposure to the canine influenza virus, which includes those that participate in activities with many other dogs or are housed in communal facilities, particularly where the virus is prevalent. Dogs that may benefit from canine influenza vaccination include those that receive the kennel cough (Bordetella/parainfluenza) vaccine, because the risk groups are similar.
A heartworm is a parasitic worm that lives in the heart and pulmonary arteries. The worm(s) travel through the bloodstream, harming arteries and vital organs, ending their journey at the vessels of the lung and heart chamber. Heartworms are transmitted from animal to animal by mosquitoes. Some symptoms of heartworms include labored breathing, coughing, vomiting, weight loss and fatigue.
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR) is an infectious disease caused by the feline herpesvirus and is a major cause of upper respiratory disease in cats. It is the most common cause of conjunctivitis. Some symptoms of FVR are inflammation of the tissues that line the eyelids and surround the eyes, excessive blinking, and discharges from the eyes and nose. The virus can infect cats of all ages.
Feline Calicivirus is one of many upper respiratory infections that affect felines. While they rarely cause death in adult cats, they often cause serious illness and death in young kittens. Calicivirus is transmitted by direct contact with infected eye, mouth, or nose discharge.
Feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), also known as Feline distemper, is a viral infection. It is caused by the feline parvovirus and once contracted, is highly contagious and can be fatal to the affected feline. Panleukopenia is transmitted through contact with an infected animal's bodily fluids or feces, as well as by fleas. Some symptoms are bloody diarrhea, severe dehydration, anemia, and often death.
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)
Feline Leukemia Virus is is a transmittable RNA retrovirus that can severely inhibit a cat's immune system. It is one of the most commonly diagnosed causes of disease and death in domestic cat's. FeLV is transmitted through direct contact (bites and scratches), mutual grooming and through sharing litter boxes, food and water bowls. Some symptoms of FeLV are loss of appetite, weight loss, poor coat condition, abscesses and fever.
Roundworms: the most common internal parasites in cats. Resembling spaghetti, adult worms are three to four inches long. Roundworms are transmitted by cats ingesting an infected rodent or the feces of an infected cat.
Hookworms: similar to roundworms but smaller, are found in the small intestine of cats. Hookworms feed on blood and are more common in dogs than cats.
Tapeworms: segmented parasites that range from four to twenty-eight inches long. Tapeworms are transmitted by ingesting fleas. Some symptoms of tapeworms are vomiting and weight loss.
Lungworms: found in the lungs of cats. Lungworms are transmitted by ingesting an infected rodent. Most cats don't show any symptoms of lungworm but some may develop a cough.
Fleas feed on the blood of their host and can cause anemia. This is very problematic for young puppies because an inadequate number of red blood cells can be life threatening. A flea's life span can range from 16 days to 21 months and thrive at tempatures of 65-80 degrees. Signs a dog/cat has fleas are excessive scratching, licking or biting at the skin, hair loss, scabs and hot spots, and pale gums. Dog's and cat's most prone to fleas live in warm, humid climates and live outdoors.
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