Vaccine Information

We have gathered the answers to some frequently asked questions about vaccinations below.

Questions and Answers About Pet Vaccinations

At the Animal Hospital of Tiffin, we love educating our clients about vaccines. Below are some common FAQs about vaccines that might help answer any questions or concerns. Please feel free to call us at 419-455-0470 for any other concerns you might have about your pet.

Are vaccinations really necessary?

Yes! Vaccinations help protect your pet from a number of potentially serious and even fatal diseases, such as Rabies. Vaccines cost considerably less than the treatments available for the diseases that pets are normally vaccinated against. Even indoor dogs and cats should be vaccinated. In Ohio, it is a state law that these pets are to be vaccinated against Rabies.

How do vaccinations work?
Vaccines contain viruses or bacteria that have been modified so they don’t cause the disease. When an animal is vaccinated, it stimulates two parts of the animal’s immune system. One is the production of antibodies, the other is the stimulation of cell-mediated immunity, which, in combination, mount a response against the disease in question. If your pet is exposed to that disease, the two parts of the immune system will react quickly to stop the disease.
Are vaccinations 100% safe and effective?

Although we cannot guarantee that a vaccine will fully protect an animal against a given disease, vaccines have proven to be the simplest and most effective method of preventing numerous diseases in our pets. Despite everyone’s efforts to design a safe vaccination protocol for your pet, vaccine reactions can and do occur. This is not common. Some of these reactions are mild (some discomfort at the injection site, lethargy, or loss of appetite for a day or so). Some have more severe reactions such as an allergic reaction or immunologic reaction. If your pet has reacted to a vaccine in the past please inform us.

It is important to administer vaccines only to healthy animals. If the animal is already suffering from an illness or receiving certain medications, its immune system may not be able to respond to the vaccine. That is why it is so important to have your pet vaccinated by a veterinarian after a thorough wellness examination.

How often does my pet need vaccinated?
Puppies and kittens require a series of vaccinations during their first 4 months of life. As they nurse, they receive antibodies from their mother’s milk which protect them from disease in the first months of life. As maternal antibodies decrease, your veterinarian will give your puppy or kitten a series of vaccines spread over a period of 6 to 16 weeks of age to provide them with the best possible protection. It is important to follow the schedule given to you by your veterinarian. Your puppy or kitten is not fully protected until they have completed the series.

Puppies or kittens should not be exposed to unvaccinated dogs or cats, sick dogs and cats, or taken to places where they can be exposed until they have completed their puppy or kitten series of vaccinations.

Our pets should have their vaccines boostered yearly. The rabies vaccine lasts for 1 year the first time it is given, after the booster it is only required every 3 years due to its long action. By boostering your pet’s vaccines yearly, we can ensure they stay healthy. This also gives us the opportunity to examine your pet on a regular basis and monitor for any changes in attitude, weight and body shape, masses, appetite, and other indicators of disease. We can’t help your pet if we don’t examine them!

What are the common canine vaccinations?

Canine Distemper

Distemper is a serious viral disease affecting primarily young, unvaccinated dogs that can be fatal. Clinical signs include yellowish or greenish discharge from the eyes or nose, coughing, difficulty breathing, increased body temperature, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and nervous system disorders such as seizures, or twitching of a limb. This disease is highly contagious so prevention is the key. Vaccination has been shown to prevent the disease.

Canine Adenovirus type-1 and type-2

These viruses cause infectious hepatitis and respiratory infections respectively. Hepatitis is a viral disease that is most common in young unvaccinated dogs. Clinical signs may include respiratory tract abnormalities such as discharge from the nose or eyes, coughing, or evidence of liver and/or kidney disease such as jaundice, loss of appetite, vomiting, to name a few. Adenovirus type 2 is an important factor in kennel cough. Vaccination is crucial as hepatitis can be fatal.

Canine Bordetella/Kennel Cough

This bacterial infection can occur alone or in combination with distemper, adenovirus type-2 infection, parainfluenza, and other respiratory problems. Kennel cough is highly contagious and is spread through coughing, sneezing, and contact with infected nasal secretions. It is transmitted when dogs are put in close proximity to one another such as dog parks or if boarding or grooming. It is a requirement for boarding and grooming at Animal Hospital of Tiffin. We offer both an oral and an injectable form of this vaccine and will choose which is most appropriate at the time of your appointment.

Canine Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that may lead to permanent kidney damage. Clinical signs may include loss of appetite, lethargy, jaundice, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. Wild and domestic animals may act as reservoirs for infection. This disease is easily spread to other pets and humans, which makes vaccination key to keeping your pets and your family healthy.

Canine Parainfluenza

This is another cause of kennel cough. Although parainfluenza is often a mild respiratory infection in otherwise healthy dogs, it can be severe in puppies or debilitated dogs.

Canine Parvovirus

Parvo is a serious disease affecting primarily young dogs (6 weeks to 6 months) although any age can be affected. Parvovirus is a hardy virus, able to withstand extreme temperature changes and exposure to most disinfectants. Dogs contract the disease through exposure to infected dogs or infected stool. Clinical signs include loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea. The diarrhea is often bloody and has a foul odor. Some dogs develop a fever. If left untreated, parvo can be fatal. It is very important to complete your entire series of puppy shots to prevent this disease.

Rabies

Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system of all warm-blooded animals, including humans. Rabies is transmitted by saliva which is generally transferred from a bite. This disease is often found in wild animals such as skunks, raccoons, and bats. Once infected the disease is always fatal. As the virus can be transmitted to humans, no stray dog, cat, or wild animal should be approached. Vaccination is vital in protecting your pet from this disease. In Ohio, it is a state law that your pets be vaccinated against rabies. Once vaccinated, you will receive a rabies tag to place on your pet’s collar and a rabies vaccination certificate to keep for future reference.

Canine Coronavirus

This is a highly contagious intestinal disease causing vomiting and diarrhea in dogs of all ages. Especially in young puppies, dehydration from coronavirus infection can be life-threatening. Coronavirus is often seen in conjunction with or leading to parvovirus infections.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete and spread by ticks. It is a serious disease in pets and people. Clinical signs in dogs include lameness, joint swelling, fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy. The heart, brain, and kidney may also be affected. We have seen some new Lyme disease cases in recent years and are recommending vaccination of at-risk pets (any pet that can be exposed to ticks). The tick that carries Lyme Disease is called the Deer Tick and is so small, it is very difficult to see with the naked eye. Just because you don’t see a tick, doesn’t mean your pet can’t be bitten by one.

Canine Influenza

Canine Influenza is a relatively recent disease. Typically it is seen in outbreaks in larger cities. Most recently it was seen in Toledo and Columbus in Fall 2017. Because of our close proximity to these cities and the number of pets that travel with their owners, we now offer this vaccination. The disease typically causes coughing, sneezing, nasal and eye discharge, fever, inappetence, and lethargy. In severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia and be fatal. The vaccine is a killed vaccine, which means it will not cause flu-like symptoms in dogs like it does humans, but it does require a booster shot.

What are the common feline vaccinations?

Feline Calicivirus

Calicivirus is a common disease, especially in outdoor cats and shelter animals. It often causes an upper respiratory infection (coughing, sneezing, nasal and ocular discharge), but signs can become more severe depending on the strain of the virus and the immune status of the affected cat. This disease is commonly spread through cat-to-cat contact but can be spread in the air as well, making it important to vaccinate all cats, even cats that only live indoors. Even if a cat is not showing signs, it can carry the virus for many months or years and continue to spread it to other cats.

Feline Panleukopenia

Feline Panleukopenia is a very serious disease caused by the Feline Parvovirus and is often fatal. It causes severe lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and a severe decrease in white blood cells in the body, which does not allow the immune system to work properly. It lives a long time in the environment and can be passed easily between cats.

Feline Herpesvirus

Feline Herpesvirus is a common issue, causing upper respiratory disease in cats, especially young kittens. It can cause severe swelling around the eyes and corneal ulcers, coughing, sneezing, and nasal discharge as well. It spreads quickly between animals and many outdoor cats become infected. Vaccination is effective in controlling the disease.

Feline Leukemia

While Feline Leukemia (FeLV) is only found in 2-3% of the cat population in the US, once infected a cat can never be cured of the disease. A cat is often infected very early in life, which is why we recommend testing all new kittens before vaccination. It is transmissible between cats through close contact with a cat that is shedding the virus. This virus eventually shuts down the body, leading to lymphoma, anemia, or other infections due to a nonfunctional immune system. This significantly shortens the cat’s life span.

Rabies

Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system of all warm-blooded animals, including humans. Rabies is transmitted by saliva which is generally transferred from a bite. This disease is often found in wild animals such as skunks, raccoons, and bats. Once infected the disease is always fatal. As the virus can be transmitted to humans, no stray dog, cat, or wild animal should be approached. Vaccination is vital in protecting your pet from this disease. In Ohio, it is a state law that your pets be vaccinated against rabies. Once vaccinated, you will receive a rabies tag to place on your pet’s collar and a rabies vaccination certificate to keep for future reference.

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