All dogs should be vaccinated in order to prevent several deadly and debilitating infectious diseases. Vaccination is very safe and not only protects your dog, but also helps to reduce the prevalence of infectious diseases in the animal community. Every vaccination appointment is also a consultation so we perform a thorough physical examination to check your dog's health and we can look at any problems you may have noticed.
C3 Vaccine - Canine 3 - protects against Parvovirus (an awful gastroenteritis that is almost invariably fatal in young pups), Infectious Hepatitis Virus (a liver disease) and Distemper Virus (a neurological disease).
C5 Vaccine - Canine 5 - protects against the above 3 viruses and also the 2 pathogens involved in Canine Cough (aka Kennel Cough, a very debilitating and painful upper respiratory infection).
Pups should be vaccinated at 8 and 12 weeks of age then receive an annual booster vaccination 12 months later. We recommend a C3 vaccine at 8 weeks and a C5 at 12 weeks to provide protection against as many diseases as possible.
Adult dogs should either be vaccinated once a year or once every 3 years, depending on the type of C3 vaccine used. Canine cough vaccination must be repeated every 12 months to maintain protection. There is a new C3 vaccine that will now protect your dog for 3 years. We recommend this new vaccine at the second annual booster, but will discuss your dog's specific needs with you during the appointment. Regardless of the C3 vaccine used we strongly recommend an annual health examination to monitor your dog's health and discuss any problems you may have. At this visit your dog may also have its annual heartworm preventative and canine cough vaccine.
If your dog is over 12 weeks of age and you are unsure of its vaccination status it is best to have it vaccinated. Any dog over 12 weeks of age only requires 1 dose of vaccine for it to be protective for at least 12 months.
We recommend vaccination against Canine Cough because it is a debilitating disease that can be spread by any nose to nose contact, not just at the boarding kennel. The extra cost is minimal (less than $25 a year) and your dog will have added protection as well as being ready to go to the kennels if this is ever necessary.
All cats should be vaccinated, especially if they are going to spend some of their time outdoors where they will no doubt mix with other cats. Vaccination is safe and virtually painless, and will provide protection for your cat against several debilitating and potentially deadly disease. Every vaccination is also a health check for your pet where we thoroughly examine them and discuss any problems you may have noticed.
F3 Vaccine - Feline 3 - Protects against Feline Parvovirus (a disease of the bone marrow) and 2 pathogens involved in the respiratory disease complex "Cat Flu" (feline herpes virus 1 and feline calicivirus).
Kittens need to be given an F3 at 8 and 12 weeks of age. Following this they require a booster vaccination every 12 months.
Cats over 12 weeks of age that are not vaccinated will still need to have 2 F3 doses spaced 4 weeks apart. This is due to the way the vaccination works. Following these primary doses they will require a booster vaccination every 12 months.
We recommend the F3 vaccination as a minimum for cats. From experience we have found that the F4 vaccine (which adds a vaccination against feline chlamydia, another part of the "Cat Flu" complex) often causes side effects and that these can often be worse than the disease caused by feline chlamydia. Therefore we recommend the F3 over the F4.
There are 2 other vaccines for your cat that should be considered, especially if it will spend a lot of time outdoors.
Feline Leukemia Virus - A disease of the immune system. It is usually spread through saliva, such as shared water bowls and especially mothers grooming their kittens. It should be a serious consideration in multi cat households and in breeding cats. It requires 2 doses 4 weeks apart and can be incorporated with the primary vaccinations.
Feline "AIDS" - Another immune system disease. This disease is a progressive failure of the immune system leading to recurrent infections and eventually death. It is primarily spread by cat fights. The vaccination process requires 3 doses 2 weeks apart. It can be given to kittens and adults, however cats over 6 months old require a test for the disease prior to vaccination.
There is not currently a vaccination available for cats in Australia that the manufacturer recommends anything other than 12 monthly dosing. As a result we recommend annual health examinations and annual vaccination in cats. If this situation changes as research and vaccination technology develop we will ammend our protocols.
Horses are particularly sensitive to Tetanus and given the horse's tendency to cut itself on fences and various other objects (tetanus infects from the environment through cuts), Tetanus vaccination is essential. It is also recommended to vaccinate against Strangles (a respiratory disease) as it is a highly infectious disease that rapidly spreads through an unprotected population. Both Tetanus and Strangles are often fatal. Horse vaccines are relatively cheap compared to those for dogs and cats. They can be administered by the owner and are definitely cheaper than the costs of attempted treatment for Tetanus or Strangles.
Foals should begin their vaccination program at 12 weeks of age. They require 3 doses of Strangles vaccine 2 weeks apart and 2 doses of Tetanus vaccine 4 weeks apart. The program is basically a combined Tetanus/Strangles at 12 weeks, a Strangles alone at 14 weeks and a combined Tetanus/Strangles at 16 weeks of age. This is the full primary course.
Strangles vaccine requires a booster every 12 months thereafter to maintain immunity. If the Tetanus vaccine is given as above to a foal and then boosted 12 months after there is usually longer lasting protection (around 5 years) and following the first annual booster Tetanus can be given once every 5 years. However, Strangles vaccine still needs to be given annually.
Mares should be up to date with their vaccination and be vaccinated about 6 weeks prior to foaling so they can pass immunity on to the foal for the first 12 weeks of its life.
Adult horses that have not been vaccinated need to follow the same protocol as foals. That is a Tetanus/Strangles vaccine followed 2 weeks later by a Strangles vaccine and then 2 weeks after this another Tetanus/Strangles combined vaccination. Strangles boosters should be given every 12 months thereafter. A Tetanus booster should be given a year after the primary course and can then be spaced out to once every 5 years.
Injuries/Cuts and Tetanus
The bacteria that causes tetanus is widespread and lives for a long time in the environment. It enters the body through wounds and grows in the infected tissue where it produces a toxin that causes tetanic (spasmic) contractions and paralysis in the nervous system. Any time your horse sustains a laceration, cut or penetrating injury they are potentially at risk.
If your horse is cut you or the vet should administer a tetanus anti-toxin injection (this neutralises any toxin in the body for up to 3 weeks) and also give a booster Tetanus vaccination. This is especially important if your horse is unvaccinated or if it is not up to date with its vaccinations. If your horse is unvaccinated this vaccine should be the first in the primary course of tetanus vaccination and an ongoing vaccination program.
After the EI outbreak in 2007 the waters regarding EI vaccination are fairly murky. Please contact us and speak to a vet if you would like the most up to date information.