Prevention Is Key to a Healthy Pet

puppy and kittenVaccines are critical in preventing canine distemper, parvovirus, bordetella, rabies, and other diseases in your dog; and feline leukemia, feline distemper, rabies, and upper respiratory infections in cats. There are even effective vaccinations that may reduce the risk of death in dogs bitten by rattlesnakes. The staff of Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital will assist you in deciding which preventive measures are necessary for your pet.

Up-to-date vaccinations play a large part in keeping your pet healthy and free from disease. However, not every pet requires the same series or frequency of vaccines. Our veterinarians will tailor a vaccine protocol that’s specific to your pet based on his or her lifestyle. Vaccine schedules are balanced to provide needed protection while not over-vaccinating your pet. We offer distemper/parvo vaccine titers in dogs as an alternative to vaccinating adult dogs after 2 years of age.

Dog Vaccinations

DHPP

This is a combination vaccine against distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus. These viruses can cause significant, life-threatening diseases in dogs. We recommend giving the DHPP vaccine every 3 years to all dogs over the age of 1 year, 4 months. Rather than vaccinate every 3 years automatically, you can determine your dog’s level of immunity by measuring antibody titers every year, which is a way to determine more precisely when a dog’s immunity has diminished to inadequate levels and when revaccination is required.

Rabies

This is an untreatable, lethal virus that can infect any mammal. Rabies is most often spread through bite wounds. Wild animals that most commonly carry rabies are skunks, bats, raccoons, foxes, and coyotes. Dogs are legally required to be vaccinated against rabies. We give this vaccine every 3 years to dogs above the age of 1 year, 4 months.

Bordetella

Bordetella is one of the main causes of kennel cough. Kennel cough actually describes a group of infections that cause a dry, hacking cough and are spread through respiratory secretions. Dogs that are vaccinated for bordetella are still at risk of catching one of the other infections that cause kennel cough, but often the infection is less severe. This vaccine can be given intranasally (as nose drops) or as an injection. We recommend giving bordetella once a year if your dog is boarded at a kennel, stays in a doggy daycare facility, or goes to an actual dog park. It is recommended that this vaccine be given at least five days before boarding in a kennel.

Canine Influenza

Canine Influenza (CIV) is a highly contagious virus that has been diagnosed in dogs since 2006. Until this year there was only one strain (H3N8) and its presence was in a few isolated areas of the United States with no major epidemics. This year there has been a new strain identified (H3N2) that first appeared in the Chicago area. CIV reached epidemic proportions in the spring of 2015. It has now been diagnosed in several other areas of the United States including Southern California. This strain is more virulent and dogs seem to be more severely affected by the virus. Clinical signs include fever, lethargy, not eating, coughing, sneezing and discharge from the eyes and nose. Until now there were no vaccines available for this highly contagious disease. We are happy to say that we now have a vaccine that is specific for the H3N2 strain. Dogs that are in environments such as dog parks boarding facilities, daycare and grooming facilities are at an increased risk of getting this CIV. For dogs that are exposed to these environments, Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital is recommending this vaccine and it is mandatory for any dog that is in our doggy daycare, boarding or grooming facilities.

Rattlesnake Vaccine

We recommend the rattlesnake vaccine only if your dog is at high risk of getting bit. This usually is a dog that has access to large amounts of open space that cannot be controlled on a leash. It is important to remember that this vaccine does not replace emergency treatment. This vaccine may or may not help in the event of a rattlesnake bite. Therefore, we always recommend immediate emergency treatment if your pet is bit by a rattlesnake.

We do not recommend Giardia, coronovirus, leptospirosis, or Lyme vaccines in dogs.

Cat Vaccinations

FVRCP

This is a combination vaccine against feline viral rhinotracheitis (herpes virus), calicivirus, and panleukopenia. These are all viruses that cause significant disease and even death in cats. The herpes virus and calicivirus cause upper respiratory infections, whereas panleukopenia causes vomiting, diarrhea, and severe immunosuppression. This vaccine is considered a “core” vaccine for both indoor and outdoor cats and is given every 3 years to cats above the age of 1 year, 4 months.

Rabies

We recommend vaccinating indoor and outdoor cats for rabies every 3 years after the age of 1 year, 4 months. This is based on recommendations of top veterinary schools and professional veterinary organizations. Also remember that if your cat does bite someone and is not vaccinated for rabies, he or she may be subject to strict and stressful quarantine procedures by animal control or health agencies.

FELV

Feline leukemia virus is a retrovirus that causes leukemia, lymphoma, and immunosuppression in cats. The virus is spread through saliva, blood, or across the placenta from mother to kitten during pregnancy. After testing negative for the virus, we recommend vaccinating outdoor cats for this virus annually after the age of 1 year, 4 months.

We do not recommend the FIP vaccine in cats.