The Critical Role of Vaccinations

Vaccinations are of critical importance in your pet’s lifetime, by providing protection against highly contagious diseases, sometimes even fatal. This article explains why you should immunise your pet.

1. Puppies and kittens receive immunity from their mother. This protection is slowly lost between 4 to 12 weeks of age. Their own defences are gradually building up, resulting in an immunity gap in which the puppy and kittens are more vulnerable to diseases. Vaccination help to develop antibodies that give protection against specific diseases.

2. Puppies should be vaccinated at 6, 9, 12 and 16 weeks of age. Kittens should be vaccinated at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age. Since maternal immunity can interfere with the effectiveness of vaccines, the vaccinations are repeated to ensure the body can produce their own antibodies. The animals should then be vaccinated yearly.

3. Vaccinations are divided into core and non-core vaccinations. Core or essential vaccines should be given to all pets to protect against widespread diseases that have serious effects. Non-core vaccines are given strategically when circumstances predispose the animals to contract the disease or when the disease is prevalent in an area.

4. Core vaccinations in dogs are Canine Distemper virus (attacks respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems), Canine adenovirus (Canine hepatitis and respiratory disease), Canine Parainfluenza virus (Dog Flu), Canine Parvovirus (attacks gastrointestinal, immune system and heart), and Rabies (attacks the nervous system)

5. Core vaccinations in cats are Feline Panleukopenia (feline infectious enteritis, feline parvoviral enteritis, feline distemper, feline ataxia), Feline Herpesvirus (Feline viral rhinotracheitis), Feline Calicivirus (Respiratory disease) and Rabies.

6. In South Africa, all dogs and cats are required by law to be vaccinated against Rabies. Rabies is a deathly disease that poses a risk to humans.

7. Non-Core vaccinations in dogs are Kennel cough (Infectious tracheobronchitis), Leptospirosis (cause flu-like symptoms and can cause liver or kidney disease), Canine Coronavirus (Attack intestinal system) and Canine Herpesvirus (Fading puppy syndrome).

8. Non-Core vaccinations in cats are Feline Leukaemia (cause anaemia or lymphoma), Chlamydiosis (Chronic respiratory infection).

9. During the vaccination visit your pet will also receive a clinical examination so health problems can quickly be detected and treated. Furthermore, you can ask your veterinarian a variety of questions.

Please contact us to book a vaccination appointment.


Sources: World Small Animal Veterinary Association, 2015, Day M.J., M.C Horzinek, R.D. Schultz and R. A. Squares,
Guidelines for the vaccination of dogs and cats. Source
South African Veterinary Associated, 2015, Vaccinations, Source

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