Vaccines are a very important part of your pets total preventive health care program. At Peterborough Pet Hospital we offer the standard "CORE" vaccines that all puppies and kittens should have, the mandatory RABIES vaccine and additionally, what we call Lifestyle vaccines which we Taylor individually for your pets risk.
CORE vaccines are those for Distemper, Hepatitis, Para influenza and Parovirus for dogs and Herpes, Calici, Chlamydia, Panleukopenia and Leukemia virus for cats. Colostrum that puppies and kittens nurse in the first few days of life contain antibodies from the mothers blood that offers "PASSIVE" immunity and protection in the first few weeks of life. This then wears off and pets must now develop "ACTIVE" immunity in order to maintain protection in years to follow. Vaccines are given at 6, 8, 12 and 16 weeks in order to stimulate their immune system to start production of antibodies and develop a memory in their immune system for these diseases. Without these CORE vaccines, passive immunity is gone and your pet becomes at risk for these deadly contagious diseases. Periodic booster vaccination throughout your pets life helps keep their immune system primed and ready to fight these diseases should your pet come into contact with these viruses. Starting in the 3rd year of your pets life we offer titer testing as an alternative to continual vaccination to ensure your pet remains protected. Vaccines will be given when your pets titer is not adequate for protection.
RABIES is an exposure disease and not a contagious disease. Local by-laws dictate Rabies vaccination. Rabies is a public health concern and falls under the Ministry of Health. Pets must be vaccinated for Rabies by a licensed veterinarian in Ontario. Pets are typically vaccinated at 16 weeks of age, then repeated at 1 year of age. At two years of age Dogs can be vaccinated using a 3 year vaccine. We recommend every other year vaccination for Rabies as research shows there becomes a risk in the third year - 12% of dogs may not sustain protective immunity. We do not recommend 3 year rabies vaccines for cats due to reports of some cats developing injection site tumors that can be related to the "adjuvant" in the multiyear vaccine. We use a recombinant rabies vaccine in cats that is given annually, no preservatives or adjuvant.
Lifestyle vaccines are those for Bordetella ( kennel cough ), Leptospirosis and Lyme disease. These are Bacterins not vaccines as these diseases are cause by bacteria, not a virus. Intranasal Bordetella vaccines provide topical immunity right in the upper respiratory tract of your pet, as it is transmitted through nasal ingestion. Leptospirosos is a bacteria found in puddles and stagnant water zones, spread by infected urine from a number of animal species. It attacks the kidneys and leads to severe kidney disease and even death. Immunity duration for this bacterin is 1 year and annual vaccination must be maintained for protection. Lyme disease is REAL. For years it was thought not to exsist in Ontario. There are growing numbers of positive cases and Peterborough is experiencing this. New York State is a hotspot for Lyme disease. The bacteria is carried by certain Ticks and they travel on migratory birds. This gets into the local wildlife population and spreads. Humans are at risk for contracting Lyme disease and it is now being diagnosed more in Ontario. The Bacterin is initially given to your pet and boosted 4 weeks later. Annual vaccination is required to maintain immunity, again because it is a bacteria and not a virus. There is no bacterin currently available for humans but this is being developed. There are preventive measures that pet owners can take to reduce the risk of exposure for them and their families. Oral medications that kill the ticks are now on the market for dogs. These can be given monthly or every 3 months depending on the product used. Many people have their pets on these medications as pets frequently sleep with their owners or children in the family and ticks can be brought into the house on pets. If your pet gets a tick, remove it and bring it into the hospital. We will examine the tick and see if it is the species that can carry Lyme disease at not cost to you. if it is the species of tick that can carry Lyme disease we can send the Tick out to a lab for analysis.
People worry about vaccines and health issues related to vaccination. Vaccines are safe and have been part of normal health care for many years. Some animals may have an "ADVERSE REACTION" when vaccinated. This is not the vaccine, this is a genetic predisposition that your pets immune system has. They are rare and certainly do not warrant people from shying away from immunizing their pets. Benefit greatly out-weighs any risk of adverse reactions. These reactions if they occur are usually mild and can be treated by the veterinarian. Vaccination is the most cost effective procedure that you can do for your pet to ensure it has a long healthy life.
We continually stay in the fore-front of change in vaccine protocols to ensure a long healthy life for your pets. Vaccine usage is dictated by Health Canada and Canadian licensed veterinarians must follow their guidelines and Product Monograms.