You take good care of your pet, and want to protect them against infectious diseases. Wales Animal Clinic knows your pet, their risk factors, and the vaccinations they need for disease protection. Read on to learn about pet vaccination options, and how the vaccines protect your pet from dangerous diseases.

Rabies vaccinations for pets

Rabies is a virus that not only causes fatal neurological disease in animals but also threatens humans—in the early 1900s, rabies killed 100 people each year in the United States. Vaccination of animals has helped decrease this number to one or two human rabies fatalities per year. In Wisconsin, rabies vaccination is required for all cats and dogs, whether they live indoors or outdoors. Three-year pet rabies vaccines are permitted state-wide, but some city and county laws require yearly vaccinations, so check with our staff to ensure your pet is compliant and up to date.

Canine distemper virus and parvovirus vaccinations in pets

The second most crucial core vaccine for dogs is the canine distemper/parvo vaccine, often listed as DHPP or DA2PP, because the vaccine also protects against canine parainfluenza and adenovirus, which cause respiratory and liver infections, respectively. Canine distemper outbreaks once were common, particularly in puppies, whose first signs were a runny nose and respiratory infection, followed by neurological signs such as twitching and seizures, and often ending in death. Canine distemper has no cure, but supportive care, including fluid therapy and symptomatic treatment, sometimes helps. However, the few dogs who survive usually suffer permanent nervous system damage. Fortunately, vaccination has greatly reduced distemper incidence.

Parvovirus attacks the gastrointestinal (GI) system of unvaccinated puppies, whose first sign is depression, followed by vomiting, and then severe bloody diarrhea. Parvo is highly fatal—only about 50% of affected puppies, who are not fully protected until they have been vaccinated and boostered several weeks apart, survive with hospitalization and intensive supportive care. The canine parvovirus survives well in the environment, and the disease is highly contagious with no cure, so vaccination is crucial. 

Bordetella vaccination for dogs

Bordetella bacteria contribute to kennel cough, and annual vaccination helps protect dogs in boarding and grooming facilities, and group activities. Bordetella does not cause significant respiratory problems in cats.

Leptovirus vaccine for pets

Leptospirosis bacteria are present in the environment wherever infected animals, such as wildlife, may have urinated. Farm and city-dwelling dogs are equally at risk because of rodent populations. Leptospirosis infection, which results in serious kidney, liver, and eye problems, can be treated with aggressive fluid and antibiotic therapy, although affected pets often have long-term kidney damage. Unlike some canine vaccines that are required only every two to three years, lepto vaccination must be given annually to provide adequate protection. People can also contract lepto from the same sources as dogs.

Canine influenza vaccination for dogs

Yes—your pet can get a flu shot! If your dog is at risk of canine influenza exposure, vaccination is key, because infected dogs can spread the flu extremely quickly before they show any signs they are sick. Canine influenza vaccine protects dogs against the canine H3N2 and H3N8 flu strains.

Lyme vaccination for pets

Lyme vaccination protects dogs against infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, the organism that is spread through tick bites and causes Lyme disease. Lyme disease signs in dogs include lethargy, fever, loss of appetite, painful and swollen joints, intermittent limping, and enlarged lymph nodes, and infection can lead to kidney, brain, and heart damage. Lyme disease has not been seen in cats.

Feline viral rhinotracheitis and calicivirus vaccination for cats

Feline viral rhinotracheitis and calicivirus (FVRC) vaccination is an important core cat vaccination that protects them against viral upper respiratory infection. Unvaccinated kittens are often infected, and signs include eye and nose discharge—often severe—sneezing, coughing, and fever.

Panleukopenia vaccination for cats

Feline panleukopenia infection is sometimes referred to as feline distemper, since the signs are similar to canine distemper. This disease was once usually fatal, but is now far less common because of the vaccine. Feline panleukopenia infection signs include diarrhea, dehydration, and decreased white blood cells. The majority (i.e., about 90%) of infected kittens do not survive, and kittens born to an infected mother cat will have lifelong neurological problems.

Feline leukemia vaccination in cats

Feline leukemia virus is spread among cats through bite wounds and close contact. Infected cats, who are highly contagious, may not show signs at first. With time, however, cancers including leukemia and lymphoma may result. Infection may also lower a cat’s immune response, leaving them more vulnerable to other infections. Our veterinary team strongly recommends feline leukemia testing and vaccination for all cats at risk of this disease. 

Your pet’s wellness exams and vaccinations are their foundation for good health. Call Wales Animal Clinic for an appointment, and our caring team will create a vaccination plan tailored to your pet’s lifestyle and risk factors. Let’s all continue to stamp out once-common devastating diseases with regular pet vaccinations.