Vaccinations are vital to protect your pet from potentially life threatening diseases. However, our policy at Wilston Vet is to recommend the minimal number of vaccines as possible to safely protect your pet whilst also sparing them from the potential side effects from vaccines. If we believe a vaccination is not necessary, we will not recommend this to you.
Reactions to vaccines are not common. Sometimes there may be pain and swelling at the site or your pet may feel off colour for 24 hours. However, other possible reactions include-failure to immunise, allergic reactions, immunosuppression, autoimmune disorders, transient infections and or long term viral carrier states.
We do not recommend vaccinating bitches during pregnancy or lactation, or vaccinating during times of stress such as surgery, travel, illness or infection. Animals that have a fever should not be vaccinated. Animals with chronic skin disease, allergies or on cortisone also should not be vaccinated. Sometimes a killed or inactivated vaccine, rather than a live vaccine, will be used in these cases.
Since 1991 it was discovered that life threatening tumours can form at previous vaccination sites in cats. Estimated to occur in about 1 in 10000 cats, and mostly in the USA or UK, these fatal tumours have been mostly linked to FELV vaccines. Hence we do NOT recommend routine vaccination with FELV as we feel the risk in Brisbane of contracting the disease is lower than the risk associated with developing a severe vaccine reaction.
Our core canine vaccines are as follows-
Distemper – a potentially fatal disease with a range of symptoms including fever, cold like symptoms, convulsions and muscle twitching. The virus is transmitted from discharges from the nose and eyes and puppies are most at risk.
Infectious Canine Hepatitis – causes liver damage, depression, lethargy abdominal pain, cloudy eyes and death. The virus is passed on in the urine of infected dogs and again puppies are most at risk.
Parvovirus – a severe often fatal disease that causes sudden depression, fever vomiting and diarrhoea. Parvovirus is very hardy and can survive in the environment for up to 12months. It is highly contagious.
Canine Cough – (Parainfluenza and Bordetella)-this is a highly contagious harsh continual cough which can be severely debilitating although not often fatal. It can easily be transmitted at the dog park, dog training, grooming parlour, kennels or even through the neighbours fence. Canine cough is very prevalent in the inner Brisbane area and we strongly recommend vaccinating against this disease.
Most of these diseases, except for Canine Cough, are becoming less and less frequent due to rigorous vaccination by pet owners. However, there is becoming a new trend, as with human medicine, for owners to opt not to vaccinate as these diseases seem a distant memory and owners are concerned about the potential vaccine risks. However, with more people not vaccinating, there will likely be a resurgence of these diseases not only putting your pet at risk, but the general pet population as a whole. Until these diseases have actually been eradicated, we recommend vaccinating with these core vaccines. We believe the risk of contracting one of these potentially life threatening diseases is far greater than the risk of a vaccination reaction.
Presently we recommend a vaccine schedule for puppies at 8 weeks 12 weeks and 16 weeks of age, then one year later. The DHP component (distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus) is a trienniel vaccine which means this can then be given every 3 years after that. The Canine Cough vaccine is still required to be given every year.
C7- Leptospirosis and Coronavirus – We do NOT recommend a routine vaccination for Leptospirosis. It is very prevalent in northern Queensland. It is extremely uncommon in the Brisbane area. It can be a problem where there are large numbers of wild rats and dogs consuming the same food or water contaminated with rat urine.
Coronavirus is combined with the Leptovirus vaccine and it is not possible just to have coronavirus vaccine on its own. Coronavirus generally causes mild diarrhoea and vomiting and the mortality rate is low, unlike with parvovirus. It tends to be more of a problem in puppies that are concurrently infected with parvovirus, which has lowered their immune system making them more susceptible to coronavirus.
Cats seem as a species to be more susceptible to vaccine reactions. Again we recommend the minimum vaccine to safely protect your pet from the common viruses.
We recommend a F3 as our core vaccine plus a FIV vaccine if your cat ventures outside..This F3 vaccine is recommended to be given as an annual vaccine as per the manufacturers directions. Hopefully in the near future a vaccine will become available in Australia that will allow triennial (3 yearly) vaccinating of cats, much like the canine vaccine allows. Currently kittens are vaccinated at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age followed by once a year.
Feline Panleukopenia – a severe and often fatal gastroenteritis with fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Feline Herpes Virus – causes cat flu- sneezing, nasal discharge, conjunctivitis and in severe cases dehydration and death. This is a very common disease which is highly transmissible in the sneeze droplets of infected cats and often can cause long term problems. Cats infected with cat flu often remain carriers for life with symptoms flaring up during times of stress.
Feline Calicivirus – another virus contributing to the cat flu syndrome
FIV – Feline aids is a disease caused by fighting with an infected cat. Hence indoor cats do not require vaccinating. The disease causes the same symptoms as HIV in people but you cannot contract the disease from your cat (or vice versa). It suppresses the immune system so your cat becomes prone to infections which lead to debilitation and death. There is estimated to be as high as 18% prevalence of the disease in the cat population in Brisbane so we definitely recommend this vaccination.
Feline Leukaemia Virus – (not recommended)-As already mentioned due to the possibility of fatal side effects of this vaccine and the low prevalence in the Brisbane area we do not recommend this vaccine routinely.
Feline Chlamydia (F4) – (not recommended)-This is actually a bacterium, not a virus, which can cause conjunctivitis and symptoms of mild flu. The bacterium doesn’t survive well in the environment and is easily killed by routine disinfection. Cats become infected via direct contact with another infected cat. It is often seen in cats in overcrowded stressful environments such as animal shelters and breeding colonies. The disease can be readily treated with antibiotics. We do not recommend vaccination routinely for this disease unless you have a multicat household or are a breeder. The vaccination can reduce the severity of the symptoms but doesn’t, prevent infection in the first place. Due to the possible side effects of the vaccine-(lethargy, lameness, depression, anorexia and fever) we only recommend it in high risk situations.
Vaccines cannot guarantee that your pet will not become infected by a virus. However, they do reduce the chance of infection, the severity of infection, and make for a quicker recovery time.
These are our recommendations to keep your pet healthy and happy whilst keeping the risk of vaccine reactions to a minimum. If you would still like to have any of the non-core vaccinations please discuss this with one of our veterinarians.