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Vaccines are a necessary part of preventative health care for your dog and cat. Puppies and kittens need to have a series of vaccines starting at 8 weeks of age until they are 4 months of age. Once the series is completed, they receive their next vaccines in one year. A comprehensive examination of your pet and the pet's life style help to determine which vaccinations are needed and at what interval for each pet.

Rabies Vaccine

The rabies vaccine is required by law for felines and canines. This is due to the risk of humans contracting the disease from their pets. Rabies is a virus which is shed in the saliva of infected animals. It causes neurologic disease in affected animals and is always fatal. All mammals are susceptible to rabies.

Feline Vaccines*

FVRCP: Distemper, Feline viral rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia. Given to adult cats annually.

    • Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis: A herpes virus which can cause recurrent eye infections and upper respiratory infections.
    • Calicivirus: A virus causing upper respiratory tract diseases in cats.
    • Panleukopenia or "Feline Distemper:" A virus found in the same family as the parvovirus found in dogs. It causes severe depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and death.

FeLV: Feline leukemia is a virus affecting cats only which suppresses the immune system. There is no cure, and it will eventually lead to death. The virus is highly contagious and is shed in the saliva. It can be spread from one cat to another through casual contact, grooming, and sharing food and/or water bowls. Clinical sign of disease can be very vague and a blood or bone marrow test is required for diagnosis. The vaccine is given annually.

Chlamydia: A bacteria which causes conjunctivitis (eye infections) and upper respiratory disease. The vaccine may be beneficial for multiple cat households.

FIP: Feline Infectious Peritonitis is a virus which causes vague signs and is usually fatal. It is a rare disease found most commonly in catteries and multiple (many) cat households. The vaccine is controversial and is not recommended at Wildwood Veterinary Hospital.

*Recently, certain vaccines have been implicated in causing a type of tumor, called fibrosarcoma. Fibrosarcomas are fast growing, aggressive tumors that are slow to spread to other organs. They appear initially as firm bumps under the skin at the site of injection. Much research has been done to find the cause of these tumors, but there is still a lot to learn. Although these tumors are serious, they occur rarely. The benefits of the vaccines far outweigh the risk of tumor in the vast majority of cases. Owners of strictly indoor cats are encouraged to discuss the risks versus benefits of vaccines with their veterinarians.

Canine Vaccines

DHLPP: Distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvovirus. Given to adult dogs annually.

    • Distemper: A virus usually infecting young, unvaccinated dogs. Early signs are respiratory (sneezing, discharge from the nose) which progresses to vomiting and neurologic signs (most commonly seizures). Distemper is almost always fatal.
    • Hepatitis: Infectious canine hepatitis = A virus (adenovirus) which causes signs of fever, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, discharge from the eyes, and bleeding. It is rarely seen in vaccinated dogs.
    • Leptospirosis: A bacteria carried by wild rodents, farm animals, and unvaccinated dogs and is passed in the urine. It can cause severe kidney disease.
    • Parainfluenza: A virus which causes signs of upper respiratory disease.
    • Parvo Enteritis: A virus which attacks the cells lining the gastrointestinal tract and suppresses the immune system. Early signs include vomiting and diarrhea, often with blood, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Without treatment, it is often deadly. Parvovirus is shed in the feces and is very resistant to environmental breakdown. The virus is stable in the environment for over year in direct sun light and over a year and half in the shade. It is commonly seen in puppies, with rottweilers and pit bulls being extremely susceptible.

Corona Virus: A virus which causes mild vomiting and diarrhea in young puppies.

Bordetella: Also known as "Kennel Cough" is a bacteria which causes a dry, hacking cough. It is very contagious from dog to dog and is spread by casual contact. Dogs that are boarded, groomed outside of the home or go to dog parks are at an increased risk for this disease. The vaccine can be given intra-nasally (as a spray into the nose) or as an injection, with the intra-nasal route giving the best protection. The vaccine is similar to the "flu shot" for humans - it does not always prevent disease, but will make it less severe if it is contracted. The vaccine should be given every six months to one year. Dogs boarded in our kennels are required to have this vaccine every six months. We also recommend that social dogs and dogs who go to groomers should be given this vaccine every six months.

Lyme Disease: A parasite carried by some species of ticks which can cause vague signs of illness in people and dogs. It is rare in California. A vaccine is available for dogs with high exposure to ticks.