Vaccination has revolutionised control of infectious disease in our pets. It is essential that all pets are adequately vaccinated to help protect the pet population as a whole.
Responsible pet care requires kittens to be given their initial course of vaccinations, but this cannot protect them for the rest of their lives. Adult cats require regular vaccination to maintain immunity against disease.
Kittens are ‘temporarily’ protected against many diseases by antibodies received through their mother’s milk. These maternal antibodies decline in the first couple of months of their lives, however, until they drop sufficiently they can also neutralise vaccines. This is why a series of vaccinations is necessary for a kitten.
Adult Cat Vaccination
The immunity from kitten vaccination weakens over time and your pet can again become susceptible to disease. Annual health checks and booster vaccinations will provide the best protection for the life of your pet.
A Guide to Cat Vaccination
Initial vaccination programs should provide three vaccinations 3-4 weeks apart against some or all of the following; feline panleukopenia, calicivirus, rhinotracheitis, chlamydia and leukaemia virus at or after 8 weeks of age. Three vaccinations, 2-4 weeks apart, against feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are recommended at or after 8 weeks of age.
After Vaccination Care
Following vaccination your cat may be off-colour for a day or two or have some slight swelling or tenderness at the injection site. Access to food and water and a comfortable area to rest are usually all that is required for a quick recovery. However, if the response seems more severe, you should contact us for advice.
What cats are
Feline Enteritis (also known as
It is very contagious, and the death rate is high, especially under 12 months
of age. Pregnant cats may lose their young or give birth to kittens with
abnormalities, quite often with brain damage. Symptoms are depression, loss of
appetite, uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhoea, often with blood and
severe abdominal pain.
The virus spreads so easily that heavily contaminated areas may need cleaning
with a special disinfectant. Cats that do recover may continue to carry the
virus for some time and infect other cats.
Feline Respiratory Disease
Feline respiratory disease affects cats of all ages, especially young
kittens, Siamese and Burmese cats. It is highly contagious and causes sneezing,
coughing, runny eyes, nasal discharge, loss of appetite and tongue ulcers.
Fortunately, the death rate is low except in young kittens, but the disease is
distressing and may persist for several weeks. Recovered cats can continue to
carry and spread the infection for long periods, and can show signs of the
disease again if they become stressed.
(also known as Chlamydophila)
Feline Chlamydia causes a severe persistent conjunctivitis in up to 30% of
Kittens are more severely affected by Chlamydia when also infected with “Cat
Flu”, and Chlamydia can be shed for many months. Vaccination against cat flu
and Chlamydia helps protects against clinical disease.
Feline Leukaemia is a serious disease of cats caused by feline
The virus attacks the immune system and may be associated with lack of
appetite, weight loss and apathy, pale or yellow mucous membranes,
vomiting, diarrhoea, reproductive problems, increased susceptibility to
other infections, leukaemia and tumours. Many cats may be
infected and show no signs at all.
About one third of infected cats remain chronically infected and may
shed virus in their saliva, tears, nasal secretions and urine. The disease is
then spread to uninfected cats by mutual grooming, fighting, sneezing or even
Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
Feline AIDS is a disease caused by infection with feline immunodeficiency virus
(FIV) and affects the cat’s immune system. Their
natural defence against attack by other diseases may be seriously
affected, much in the same way as human AIDS. This disease is not transmissible
FIV is almost always transmitted by bites from infected cats. The virus that
causes the disease is present in saliva. While some infected cats show no sign
of disease, others may display initial symptoms such as fever, loss of
appetite, diarrhoea, lethargy and swollen lymph nodes.
As the disease progresses, symptoms may occur such as weight loss, sores in and
around the mouth, eye lesions, poor coat and chronic infections.
Eventually, the immune system becomes too weak to fight off other infections and
diseases. As a result, the cat may die from one of these subsequent
infections. Unfortunately, in Australia a lot of cats are
infected with this virus.
has revolutionised control of infectious disease in our pets. It is
essential that all pets are adequately vaccinated to help protect the pet
population as a whole. Responsible pet care requires puppies to be given their
initial course of vaccinations, but this cannot protect them for the rest of
their lives. Adult dogs require regular vaccination to maintain immunity
Puppies are ‘temporarily’ protected against many diseases by antibodies
received through their mother’s milk. These maternal antibodies decline in the
first few months of their lives, however until they drop sufficiently they
can also neutralise vaccines. This is why a series of
vaccinations is necessary in a puppy.
The immunity from puppy vaccination weakens over time and your pet can again
become susceptible to disease. Annual health checks and booster vaccinations,
as required, will provide the best protection for the life of your pet.
Following vaccination your dog may be off-colour for a day
or two, or have some slight swelling or tenderness at the injection
site. Access to food and water and a comfortable area to rest are usually all
that is required for a quick recovery. However, if the response seems more
severe, you should contact us for advice.
Canine parvovirus is a disease that affects dogs of all ages but is most
serious in young pups and older dogs. The virus attacks the intestines
causing blood-stained-diarrhoea, uncontrollable
vomiting and severe abdominal pain. Dogs often die from severe
dehydration despite intensive veterinary care.
It is not necessary to have direct contact with other dogs for the disease to
be spread. The virus is so persistent that the infected dog’s environment needs
to be cleaned with a potent disinfectant to prevent spread to other dogs
(bleach, F10). Outbreaks occur regularly throughout Australia, especially in
What dogs are
Canine distemper is a highly contagious viral
disease that can affect dogs of any age with young puppies being at highest
Symptoms vary but can include fever, coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge,
vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and depression. Muscle tremors, fits
and paralysis usually occur later in the disease. Treatment is usually
ineffective and the recovery rate very low. Dogs that do recover may have
permanent brain damage.
Canine hepatitis is a viral disease which, like distemper is extremely
contagious and often fatal. Dogs of any age can become infected, however severe
cases are rare in dogs over two years of age.
Symptoms include high fever, depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea and
acute abdominal pain. In severe cases death can occur within 24 to 36
hours. Dogs that recover may develop long term liver and kidney problems
and can act as carriers spreading the disease to other dogs for many months.
Canine cough is a condition produced by several highly infectious
diseases, which can be easily spread wherever dogs congregate, such as parks,
shows, obedience schools and boarding kennels. Among the infectious agents
associated with canine cough is the bacterium known as
Bordetella bronchiseptica and the canine virus’s parainfluenza,
adenovirus type 2 and distemper.
Affected dogs have a dry hacking cough which can persist for several weeks. It
is distressing for pet dogs and their owners. It is a major problem for working
and sporting dogs. Pneumonia can also be a consequence of infection.
Canine coronavirus is another contagious
virus and causes depression, loss of appetite,
vomiting and diarrhoea especially in young
dogs. Diarrhoea may last for several days in some cases. Although
most dogs will recover with treatment, coronavirus has the potential to be
fatal, especially if other infectious agents such as parvovirus are present.
Canine leptospirosis is a serious disease risk in some areas and can cause high
death rates. It is spread by the urine of rats and is usually transmitted to
dogs by contaminated food and water, or by rat bites.
There’s an increased risk where high rat populations exist such as rubbish dumps or green sugar cane cutting areas. Incidence can also increase after long periods of wet weather, when rat populations are forced to move or concentrate. Leptospirosis is an animal disease that can be passed to humans who may then suffer a persisting “flu-like” illness.