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vACCINATIONS

Ensuring your pet stays up-to-date on their vaccines helps prevent them from contracting preventable (and sometimes deadly) diseases. But, vaccines help more than just your pet. Some of the illnesses that our pets are susceptible to can infect humans (zoonotic diseases). By preventing your pet from contracting zoonotic diseases, you keep your human family safe as well!

Getting your pet vaccinated may seem like an unnecessary expense especially if you know you keep a close eye on them. However, annual vaccinations cost far less than treatment for easily preventable illnesses that could impact your pet if they aren’t protected. Here at Guyton Animal Hospital, we believe every pet deserves a long and happy life, which is why we offer safe, effective vaccines for a lifetime of protection.

TYPES OF VACCINES

As defined by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), vaccines are separated into two categories: core and noncore. The AAHA recommends to give vaccines when they are overdue, when an animal has no vaccine history, or when an animal has an unknown vaccine history. The benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks in cases of cats or dogs with unknown immune status or unknown vaccination history. A good rule of thumb is: when in doubt, vaccinate.

All vaccines work by exposing an animal's body to a small amount of inactivated pathogens. This allows the animal's immune system to safely recognize and respond to those pathogens, training it to effectively fight off a real infection. Like human vaccines, no vaccine is 100% effective (vaccines were created to greatly reduce the chances of getting an infection and to help the body quickly fight off an illness if infected). However, if a vaccinated animal does have a breakthrough infection, it's body will have an easier time fighting off the pathogens. Vaccines allow your pet's body to have the proper antibodies to attack an illness, and encourage a quicker recovery.

What are Core Vaccines?

Core vaccines are recommended (and in many states, legally required) for all companion pets irrespective of lifestyle, unless there is a specific medical reason not to vaccinate. These vaccines vary between species. Core vaccines protect your pet from severe, life threatening diseases (communicable between animals) and from zoonotic diseases (communicable between animals and humans).

 

For dogs, the 2 Core vaccines are:

  1. Rabies

  2. DA2PP (a.k.a. DHPP) (Distemper, Adenovirus (Hepatitis), Parvovirus, Parainfluenza ),

For cats, the 2 Core vaccines are: 

  1. Rabies

  2. FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (feline herpes), Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia (feline distemper).

What are NON-Core Vaccines?

Non-core vaccines are vaccines that are recommended for an animal based on lifestyle, geographic location, and risk of exposure. 

 

For dogs, non-core vaccines are:

  1. Leptospirosis

  2. Bordetella (a.k.a. Kennel Cough)

  3. Lyme 

  4. Canine influenza (H3N8/H3N2)

  5. Western diamondback rattlesnake toxoid

For cats, non-core vaccines are: 

  1. FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus)

2 Sleeping Dogs

Canine Core vaccines

Rabies - Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. This disease is zoonotic, meaning it can spread from animals to humans and vice versa. The virus is secreted in saliva and is usually transmitted to people and animals by a bite from an infected animal, such as a fox or raccoon.

 

Rabies starts with flu-like symptoms and then progresses to cerebral dysfunction, confusion, and unprovoked aggression in animals. Rabies is 100% fatal in wild and domestic animals and it is 99% fatal in humans within 1–2 weeks of symptom onset.  There is no treatment once signs or symptoms of the disease begin.

This vaccine has one initial administration that protects your dog for 1 yearAfterwards, the vaccine should be boostered again once every 3 years.

DA2PP (a.k.a. DHPP) - This 5 way vaccine protects against 5 serious and deadly illnesses. 

Distemper

Canine distemper is a virus that is spread between dogs by air, through contact with a contaminated surface (such as toys, bedding or bowls) or by direct contact with an infected animal. The distemper virus attacks many of your dog's systems including respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems leading to symptoms that can range from high fever and coughing to vomiting, diarrhea, and watery discharge from the nose and eyes. There’s no specific cure, just supportive care. Many dogs require hospitalization. Unfortunately, the virus is often fatal even with veterinary care, especially in puppies and younger dogs.

Adenovirus (or Hepatitis) Type 1 and 2

Type 1 infectious canine hepatitis is a highly contagious virus that can affect your dog's liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, and eyes. Symptoms commonly include fever, lethargy, inappetence, a painful abdomen, or jaundice. It can quickly become fatal.

 

Type 2 Canine adenovirus is a respiratory disease, which may contribute to kennel cough and cause coughing, a sore throat, nasal discharge, and a fever. Thankfully, most dogs recover. But complications (such as pneumonia) are possible with any respiratory infection. Like distemper, there’s no specific cure for either type, just supportive care.

Parvovirus

Canine Parvovirus is one of the scariest diseases a dog can catch. Unfortunately, it’s also extremely common. Young puppies are especially susceptible. But even adults can be affected—especially if they’re not fully vaccinated and boostered. Parvo attacks your dog's gastrointestinal tract leading to vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and rapid loss of fluid and protein. This condition prevents your pup's GI tract from properly absorbing the nutrients.

 

Infection always requires immediate hospitalization and intensive care as life-saving treatment. Even with the best intensive care, a dog can still pass away. Parvo can live on surfaces (including soil) for up to a year and has been shown to be particularly resistant to most common disinfectants and cleaning solutions. Which means that even just taking your unvaccinated dog out for a walk around the block could develop into a very serious emergency. 

Parainfluenza 

Canine Parainfluenza is yet another highly contagious disease that is transmitted by air and can spread very quickly between dogs. It can be picked up at any place that dogs frequent: dog parks, regular parks, kennels, boarding facilities, groomer locations, or even just in multi-dog homes. 

 

It is a respiratory virus, which may contribute to kennel cough and cause symptoms like coughing, nasal discharge, and a fever. Although most dogs recover, complications (including pneumonia) are possible with any respiratory infection. 

This vaccine has one initial administration and is boostered 3 more times (each booster is set 3 weeks apart). After the final booster, the vaccine should be administered again once a year.

Canine non-core vaccines

Leptospirosis - The leptospirosis vaccine is an annual immunization shot that can effectively prevent leptospirosis (lepto) in dogs. Lepto is a disease caused by Leptospira bacteria that can affect both animals and humans. It is currently the most common zoonotic disease in the world, that can be transmitted from animals to people (rabies is the 2nd most common). It's commonly found in rural areas and in urban settings. Leptospirosis can be fatal to BOTH dogs and humans.

 

Leptospirosis is carried by other dogs or wildlife (such as squirrels or deer) and is found in places where they may urinate (lakes, streams, puddles, or soil in your backyard). Dogs that swim in lakes or lick up puddles aren't the only dogs that can be exposed. Any dog that goes outside (even "just to use the bathroom") is potentially at risk of contracting this disease.

 

Symptoms can include fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, refusal to eat, lethargy, or severe muscle pain. It is treated with antibiotics, but sometimes may require intensive care.

 

This vaccine is recommended for any dog that:

  • May drink from ponds, lakes, rivers, or streams

  • Lives in a rural area or on a property with farm animals

  • Has access to a backyard where wild animals — such as raccoons, opossums, skunks, squirrels, and deer — visit/roam

  • May come into contact with rodents like mice or rats

  • Goes to places that other dogs frequent (dog parks, regular parks, daycares, grooming facilities, boarding facilities, vet clinics, pet stores, etc.

  • Interacts with other dogs with unknown vaccine statuses

Like with any vaccine, it is important to understand that even if your dog is vaccinated, there is not a 100% guarantee that they will not contract leptospirosis. However, having your dog vaccinated significantly decreases their risk of becoming sick.

 

The lepto vaccine is one that we automatically include in our puppy booster schedule and in senior and adult wellness packages. Due to the geographic region and climate that we (and many of our clients are located in), dogs are at higher risks of contracting lepto. Unless an owner specifically requests no lepto, we include lepto in our DA2PP Vaccines for routine/annual vaccinations. This vaccine has one initial administration and is boostered 3 more times (each booster set 3 weeks apart). After the final booster, the vaccine should be administered again once a year.

Bordetella (a.k.a. Kennel Cough) - The Bordetella vaccine is a noncore vaccine usually given to dogs that are frequently exposed to other dogs in boarding or social settings. Bordetella bronchiseptica causes inflammation of your dog’s upper respiratory system. This inflammation can expose your dog to secondary infections. This bacteria is responsible for Kennel Cough.

What Is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is a term used to describe several different highly contagious respiratory illnesses. It is usually spread in areas where large numbers of dogs gather (like in kennels, which is how the disease got its name). Kennel cough itself is not fatal, but the disease can lead to fatal pneumonia in puppies and chronic bronchitis in senior or immunocompromised dogs. Symptoms can include a distinct, honking cough or retch. Other symptoms are runny nose, eye discharge, and sneezing. In severe cases, kennel cough can cause decreased appetite, lethargy, and fever.

Dogs most at risk for this disease are ones that frequent: 

  • dog daycare centers

  • boarding kennels

  • dog shows

  • dog parks

  • training classes

  • grooming facilities

  • pet stores

  • veterinary clinics

  • or any place where dogs gather and/or interact

Other dogs at risk are ones with weakened immune systems (young puppies and senior dogs).

The Bordetella/Kennel Cough vaccine is one that we automatically include in our puppy booster schedule and in senior + adult wellness packages. We follow AVMA recommendations for vaccine protocols, and they recommend that a dog gets a bordetella vaccine if it visits places where dogs gather. This vaccine is included in our in our puppy and adult/senior packages. This vaccine has one initial administration and is boostered once more 3 weeks later. After the final booster, the vaccine should be administered again every 6 months to 1 year.

Lyme - Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) that is spread through the bite of infected ticks. The type of ticks that are more likely to carry Lyme disease are found in grass, thick brush, marshes, and woods. Once in the bloodstream, the bacteria can cause problems in your dog's joints and kidneys. Other symptoms can be lameness, swollen lymph nodes, joint swelling, fatigue, and loss of appetite. If the disease is caught early and treated in enough time, dogs can live long lives with Lyme disease.

 

Luckily though, the infection prevalence of Lyme disease in Georgia is low. This specific tick-borne disease is more common in the midwest and northeastern areas of the US. Even though Lyme disease isn't common in our geographical area, other tick-borne diseases (like Canine Ehrlichiosis) are. Given the seriousness of Lyme disease (and other common tick-borne diseases), it’s important to keep your dog on monthly flea/tick prevention.

This vaccine has one initial administration and is boostered once more 3 weeks later. After the final booster, the vaccine should be administered again once a year.

Canine influenza (H3N8/H3N2) - Canine influenza is a contagious respiratory infection that is spread amongst dogs. Canine flu is airborne and spreads when infected dogs cough, bark, or sneeze. It also spreads through contaminated objects like bowls, collars, and kennel surfaces. Nearly all dogs that come into contact with the disease will contract it, but only 20-25% of are asymptomatic. These dogs can still spread the disease as dogs are most contagious during the incubation period before they start exhibiting symptoms.

Symptoms are similar to those of Kennel Cough and can include:

  • Coughing

  • Sneezing

  • Nasal discharge

  • Runny eyes

  • Fever

  • Lethargy

  • Difficulty breathing

Canine flu can range from mild to severe and, unlike human influenzas, are not seasonal and are present year-round.

The vaccine has one initial administration that needs to be boostered 2-3 weeks after. After the last booster, the vaccine should be administered again once a year. 

Western diamondback rattlesnake toxoid The rattlesnake vaccine is specifically designed to produce antibodies against the venom of the western diamondback rattlesnake. The vaccine may also be effective against other snakes with similar venom, such as the sidewinder, timber rattlesnake, and copperhead. The vaccine will not protect against coral snakes, cottonmouth snakes, water moccasins, or the Mojave rattlesnake. It has limited protection against the eastern diamondback rattlesnake and does not work against all species of rattlesnakes.

The vaccine works by creating protective antibodies that help neutralize venom, so dogs experience less pain and swelling after a snake bite. Dogs that are bitten may also require less antivenin, which can be fairly costly and may produce side effects. Things like the species of snake, the size of the dog, location of the bite, and number of times bitten can greatly affect the effectiveness of this vaccine. 

The vaccine has one initial administration that needs to be boostered 4 weeks after. After the last booster, the vaccine should be administered again once every 6 months. 

Cat Napping

feline Core vaccines

Rabies - Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. This disease is zoonotic, meaning it can spread from animals to humans and vice versa. The virus is secreted in saliva and is usually transmitted to people and animals by a bite from an infected animal, such as a fox or raccoon.

 

Rabies starts with flu-like symptoms and then progresses to cerebral dysfunction, confusion, and unprovoked aggression in animals. Rabies is 100% fatal in wild and domestic animals and it is 99% fatal in humans within 1–2 weeks of symptom onset.  There is no treatment once signs or symptoms of the disease begin.

This vaccine has one initial administration that protects your cat for 1 yearAfterwards, the vaccine should be boostered again once every 3 years.

FVRCP - This 3 way vaccine protects against 3 highly contagious and deadly illnesses. This vaccine is recommended for all cats regardless if they are indoor or outdoor, as the viruses can live on surfaces for up to a year.

Feline

Viral

Rhinotracheitis (feline herpes)

Feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1) is a virus that targets the upper respiratory tract and eyes. It is spread by direct contact with infected saliva, nasal, or eye secretions and through contact with objects/surfaces that have viral particles (food/water dishes, litter boxes, toys, bedding, etc.). Feline herpes is a major cause of upper respiratory disease in cats and is the most common cause of conjunctivitis.

Symptoms are:

  • sneezing

  • nasal congestion

  • conjunctivitis

  • excessive blinking

  • eye discharge (ranges from clear and watery to thick and pus filled)

  • corneal ulcers

  • chronic dry eye

  • fever

  • lethargy

  • enlarged lymph nodes

Even after a cat recovers, they become carriers of the virus. Stress and illness can cause the virus to become reactivated and the cat will again be sick and infectious. 

Calicivirus

Calicivirus is a highly contagious virus that causes respiratory infections and oral disease in cats. The virus spreads when a cat sneezes, or by direct contact with the saliva, nasal, and eye secretions of infected cats. Calicivirus can survive on surfaces for up to a month, and humans that handle infected cats can inadvertently spread the virus to healthy cats. Bowls, litter boxes, bedding, toys, etc. can also can also be a source of infection.

 

Symptoms can include:

  • ulcers in the mouth, tongue, gums, lips, and nose

  • sneezing

  • nasal congestion

  • conjunctivitis

  • nasal and eye discharge

  • excessive drooling 

  • fever

Panleukopenia (feline distemper)

Feline Panleukopenia Virus, a.k.a. Feline Distemper, is a highly contagious, life-threatening disease in cats. It is one of the deadliest cat diseases in the unvaccinated cat population. Feline distemper is found everywhere in the environment and can survive on surfaces for up to a year. It can be carried on shoes, paws, bedding, bowls, litter boxes, etc. It can survive at freezing temperatures and room temperatures, and it can also survive the use of common disinfectants.

 

It can enter a cat's body through the nose or the mouth. The virus kills growing and dividing cells in the body. It targets cells in the bone marrow, intestines, and skin, and suppresses the production of white blood cells used to fight infections. Infected cells in the intestines eventually lead to:

  • diarrhea

  • decreased appetite

  • vomiting

  • severe dehydration

 

Other symptoms include:

  • Lethargy

  • Painful, distended abdomen

  • Weight loss

  • Rough hair coat

  • Fever

  • Collapse (in severe cases)

  • Bruising of the skin or gums (in severe cases)

 

As the body breaks down, secondary bacterial infections can infect the cat and lead to a quicker decline. The virus spreads very quickly and is fatal if left untreated. 

This vaccine has one initial administration and is boostered 3 more times (each booster is set 3 weeks apart). After the final booster, your cat is protected for 1 yearAfterwards, the vaccine should be boostered again once every 1 or 3 years..

Feline non-core vaccines

FELV - The FeLV vaccine prevents a cat from contracting Feline Leukemia Virus. It is a virus that can cause a permanent infection that leads to suppression of the immune system and various bone marrow disorders (anemia, leukemia, or cancer). The virus has to make it into a cat's bloodstream to begin infection. It is spread through bite wounds from an infected cat, through saliva that makes it into an open wound (mutual grooming), or from mother to her kittens through the milk. Additionally, it can be spread by equipment that is contaminated with infected blood/body fluids. It is shed in saliva, tears, urine, feces, and milk. The virus does not survive well in the environment and is easily killed by disinfectants. However, it can sometimes persist long enough in shared food and water bowls, litter boxes, and on other items to be transmitted to other cats.

Symptoms can include: 

  • immune deficiency (getting sick often)

  • loss of appetite

  • weight loss

  • poor coat condition

  • enlarged lymph nodes

  • fever

  • pale gums

  • inflamed mouth and gums

  • diarrhea

  • seizures and other neurological disorders

There is no cure for FeLV and veterinarians will treat the cat symptomatically if/when symptoms or secondary illnesses arise. A healthy FeLV-positive cat does not need to be euthanized. However, it is important to keep the cat inside, isolated from other cats, and vaccinated.

This vaccine has one initial administration and is boostered 1 more time 3 weeks later. After the final booster, the vaccine should be administered again once a year.

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61 Central Blvd, Guyton GA 31312

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