Puppies, Kittens and Vaccines, Oh My!

So you just brought your new puppy or kitten home.  Within seconds you are in love and you already can’t imagine life without the new bundle of fur. You want to make sure that you do everything you can to keep them happy and healthy. You want to protect them from disease, but you heard that over vaccinating can be harmful to your pet.  What should you do?

 

At Full Circle Veterinary Alternatives we believe that considering each individual pet’s risk for infectious diseases is an important part of deciding what vaccines each puppy or kitten should receive. It shouldn’t be one protocol fits all!

Puppies and kittens receive some antibodies to the most common viruses through the colostrum/milk they receive the 1st few days after birth.  But these antibodies do not last through to adulthood.  Therefore vaccinations are very important for young puppies and kittens.

 

All Full Circle doctors perform a full physical exam at each vaccine appointment to ensure your puppy or kitten is growing well and is healthy enough to be vaccinated.  We will then discuss the viruses and bacteria against which we can vaccinate and what risk factors your puppy or kitten may have depending on their lifestyle.

 

In the Dartmouth/Halifax area, we do see parvovirus infections and less commonly distemper virus infections in unvaccinated puppies; therefore, we recommend that all puppies be vaccinated against both of these potentially deadly viruses. Rabies is uncommon in Nova Scotia, but the bat strain has been diagnosed in bats and some other wildlife.  Bordetella is the bacteria that can cause the symptoms that are commonly referred to as “kennel cough”.  This vaccine should be considered for any puppies attending daycares, puppy classes, or who may be boarded at a kennel.  Lyme disease and leptospirosis have been diagnosed in the Dartmouth/Halifax region; our doctors can discuss risk factors for these bacterial infections and help you decide if you need to consider these vaccines.

 

All kittens should be vaccinated against Feline Rhinotracheitis, Calici and Panleukopenia viruses. These viruses can become airborne therefore even indoor cats are at risk.  However Feline Leukemia virus requires very close contact between cats to spread the disease, so the risk to indoor cats is very low.

 

All of the veterinarians at Full Circle believe that pets should only be vaccinated against the pathogens that pose the greatest risk to that individual pet. We can’t wait to meet your furry bundle of energy, and answer all your questions regarding vaccination.  Come see us in downtown Dartmouth!

 

Dr. Janis Fisher

 

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