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Canine and Feline Vaccination Requirements and Education

Miss Emily’s Bed and Biscuit asks that all guests be vaccinated for the following:

  • Dogs must be current on Rabies, DHLPP and Bordetella.
  • Cats must be current on Rabies, FVRCP and one of the Feline Luekemia vaccines FeLV or FLVV.
  • Vaccines must be administered a minimum of 14 days prior to boarding.
  • All pets must have proof of required vaccines for boarding and daycare.
  • Cats must be tested for feline leukemia.
  • All dogs and cats are required to be covered by a flea and tick program.

While not a requirement, here are a few additional vaccinations we recommend for dogs who are socially active at doggy daycares, boarding facilities, dog parks, and pet friendly public areas:

  • Lepto, Parainfluenza (Doggy Flu) if not included in the distemper vaccination.

To better understand both viruses and their preventive vaccinations we have put together an educational piece to help pet owners recognize them and why we place such a high-standard on our vaccination requirements.

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Canine Vaccinations

Rabies is a contagious viral disease that can affect many mammals including both dogs and humans. It is almost always fatal for an infected animal or person.

Because rabies can infect people, the disease is a public health concern. As a result, most states and local communities have regulations pertaining to the vaccination requiring dog and cat owners to be vaccinated.

Question Answer
When should a dog first be vaccinated against rabies? Puppies can be vaccinated for rabies as early as 12 weeks of age. The vaccine should not be administered to dogs younger than 12 weeks. Dogs over the age of 12 weeks that are not yet vaccinated against rabies can be vaccinated at any time.
How often should a dog receive a rabies vaccine after the initial vaccination? The rabies vaccine should be boostered within one year following the initial rabies vaccination. Once this second rabies vaccine has been administered, dogs should receive rabies vaccines every three years unless regulations in the community demand otherwise. It’s also common for dogs to be vaccinated on an annual basis.

DHLPP is a yearly vaccine once your puppy reaches adulthood that is administered to immunize your dog against (D) distemper, (H) hepatitis, (L) leptospirosis, (P) parainfluenza and (P) parvovirus.

The first DHLPP vaccine is typically administered when a puppy is 6 weeks old or later, if the puppy has missed his vaccinations. Booster shots will be administered in the following months. After the first year of vaccines, the dog will only require a yearly booster shot, which will be helpful in preventing the above mentioned diseases in your pet. Some vets recommend administering boosters only once every 3 years.

Question Answer
Is the DHLPP a required vaccination to own a dog? Unlike Rabies, The DHLPP vaccine for dogs is not a mandated vaccine, but may help your dog prevent diseases that commonly affect canines.
If my dogs has had the DHLPP vaccine will it ensure my dog cannot contract the viruses it protects against? The DHLPP vaccine is not 100% effective, but will protect most dogs that receive the recommended shots.
The Canine Distemper The DHLPP vaccine prevents canine distemper, which is an infection caused by viruses. The infection can attack the intestinal tract, the respiratory tract and the central nervous system of the pet. The canine distemper is highly contagious and can be caught through the contact with bodily fluids such as nasal secretions. The virus may also be airborne and contracted in this way; dogs in kennels and animal shelters are more likely to catch the infection.
Canine Hepatitis The canine hepatitis is an infectious disease caused by the adenovirus type 1. The virus can be transmitted through bodily fluids. The disease can be fatal and may manifest through the hepatitis blue eye, which is the formation of a cloudy-bluish pellicle on the surface of the dog’s eye. Vaccination can prevent the contraction of the disease.
Leptospirosis Leptospirosis is a condition that may affect canines and humans alike. There are several types of leptospirosis and the DHLPP vaccine will prevent the occurrence of canicola and icterohaemorrhagiae. Other types of leptospirosis may be potentially dangerous for the dog, even if he receives the DHLPP vaccine. The infection manifests through elevated fever, chronic vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. Some canines may be allergic to the DHLPP due to the leptospirosis antibodies.
Dog Parvovirus The parvovirus causes a condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract and will affect most often puppies. The virus may be deadly, especially in immunocompromised pets or puppies that don’t have a fully developed immune system. The presence of the virus will cause diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss. The parvo can be transmitted through feces or direct contact with a contaminated area.
The Parainfluenza Parainfluenza is not a deadly disease, but it may cause a lot of discomfort and is a contagious condition. Parainflueza manifests through dry coughing and breathing problems. The condition will go away without treatment. However, it’s best if vaccines are administered to protect the dog.

Bordetella is a bacterium commonly connected to respiratory disease in dogs. It is one of several viral and bacterial agents linked to Kennel Cough Syndrome. Bordetella is highly contagious, easily transmitted through the air or direct contact, and resistant to destruction in the environment.

In healthy adult dogs, Bordetella typically causes no more than a mild illness. In puppies or dogs with underlying health issues, however, it can cause severe illness or even death. The same can be said for cats who suffer this infection.

A safe and effective vaccine for the upper-respiratory infection is available for dogs and cats.

Question Answer
Why is a Bordetella vaccination required for boarding? The Bordatella vaccine is considered a noncore vaccine. Noncore meaning it’s not required for all dogs. Rather, it’s best reserved for dogs who are socially active at dog parks, dog friendly restaurants, shops, doggy daycare’s and other scenarios in which dogs are interacting with other dogs and animals in which there is a possibility they come into contact with the bacterial organism
Is it possible for my dog to contract Kennel Cough Syndrome even though he/she has been vaccinated? In short, YES. It is possible for your dog to still contract Kennel Cough even if he or she is vaccinated. Vaccinating your dog with the Bordetella vaccine can help reduce their risk. There are many strains and mutations of the virus, making it a hit or miss whether the vaccine used on your dog will be the right one for the strain with which your dog comes in contact with. This is similar to the “flu shot” for people; each year a vaccine is developed based on which strain(s) are suspected to be most prevalent. Just as having the flu shot does not guarantee you won’t get the flu; when your dog has the Bordetella vaccination it doesn’t guaranteed he or she won’t get kennel cough. A strong immune system is best defense against viruses.

Feline Vaccinations

A kitten’s first rabies vaccine is usually given when around 7 weeks old. Veterinarians administer one or two follow-up injections, spaced a month apart, after the first one. Material antibodies diminish the effects of the vaccine in young cats, which is why kittens must receive multiple injections. Cats need another injection when they are around 1 year old, after which they need boosters only every two or three years.

The FELV vaccine is an annual vaccine to prevent the Feline leukemia Virus which is moderately contagious, generally transmitted when a cat comes into contact with saliva from an infected cat (via social behaviors, such as mutual grooming and sharing food or water bowls). In-utero, mother-to-kitten] transmission can also occur.

Because FeLV can affect almost any organ system in the body, clinical signs can vary significantly. In fact, some cats can seem perfectly healthy, but retain the ability to transmit the disease to others.

FVRCP stands for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR), Calicivirus ©, Panleukopenia (P). Cats are susceptible to many contagious diseases, most of which are caused by viruses. Fortunately, there are vaccines to prevent our feline friends from succumbing to several of the worst ones. A series of four FVRCP injections (three weeks apart) is given to kittens. The vaccine series is usually started at six to eight weeks of age. It is then given as an annual booster for the remainder of the cat’s life. There are three preventive agents in the FVRCP vaccine. The following is an explanation of each of those agents.

Rhinotracheitis is a severe upper respiratory infection caused by a feline type 1, herpes- virus. It is most severe in young kittens and older cats, and is one of the most serious upper respiratory diseases seen in the feline species. The virus is airborne and very contagious in susceptible animals.

Cats with this infection are lethargic, and show signs of respiratory involvement with much sneezing and coughing. There is usually a discharge from the nostrils and the eyes, and a high temperature may be present. Some cats develop pneumonia and occasionally ulcerations in the eyes. Infested cats do not want to eat or drink because the nostrils are plugged and the throat is sore. Dehydration and weight loss are common.

The disease is debilitating and chronic. Many cats require hospitalization, intravenous fluids and intensive care to help them get over the infection. Antibiotics are given to treat secondary bacterial infections. Some cats suffer permanent damage to the eyes and the respiratory system. Fortunately, the vaccine is an effective preventive agent.

There are several strains of caliciviruses that affect felines. They can cause a range of diseases, from a mild almost asymptomatic infection, to life-threatening pneumonia. Most cases show only evidence of problems in the mouth, nasal passages and the conjunctiva (mucus membranes) of the eyes.

Early signs are loss of appetite, elevated temperature and lethargy. Later, sneezing, oral ulcers and discharge from the eyes are seen. The course of the disease in uncomplicated cases is short, and recovery may be expected in seven to ten days. Some of the more virulent strains can cause severe symptoms. They may cause rapid death in young kittens and older cats.

The disease is transmitted by direct contact with an infected cat or object (bowl, cage, brush, blanket, etc.) that harbors the virus. The virus can survive eight to ten days in the environment. Carrier cats can pass the virus into the environment for up to one year.

Panleukopenia (also known as feline distemper and infectious feline enteritis) is a highly contagious disease characterized by a short course and high mortality rate. The disease is caused by a parvovirus similar to the parvovirus seen in dogs. It is very resistant and may remain infectious in the environment for up to a year.

The disease is most severe in young kittens, but can affect cats of all ages. The first symptom is loss of appetite, followed by vomiting and diarrhea. A blood count usually shows a lowered number of white blood cells, a fact which helps in diagnosing the infection.

Infected cats usually must be hospitalized with intensive treatment such as intravenous fluids, antibiotic and supportive care.

We at Miss Emily’s hope you have benefited from this educational piece and now have a better understanding of the common viruses that affects both our canine and feline family members. Your pet’s safety is our top concern once you place them in our care. Please let us know if you have any questions.