Not all vaccines are created equal! You might think that a dead virus is a dead virus that should be that. But it isn’t quite that simple. You really need to be careful when and where you get your vaccines but let’s get to the basics.
Why do you need to vaccinate in the first place?
Vaccines help keep your dog safe. Simple as that. Just as humans have completely removed the chances of newcomer to planet earth getting smallpox, veterinary medicine has removed the chance of some diseases occurring in your dog if properly vaccines. One such example is parvovirus. While we still see some at our Fairhaven, Massachusetts clinic, almost all dogs are vaccinated. This is a big deal!
Parvo causes diarrhea and vomiting in dogs and has a very high mortality rate. But before you start getting too worried about diarrhea, know that parvo occurs primarily in young dogs (puppies) and that most older dogs (>2 years) have either been exposed and survived or have had a solid vaccination history against the disease. Make sure your dog has received the da2p vaccine and the required boosters.
For cats, you want to use the FVRCP vaccine. This prevents panleukopenia which is basically parvovirus in felines. However, the mortality rate for feline parvovirus is much higher than in canines. The symptoms are the same but by the time we see something it is typically too late.
While you can buy vaccines online at some cheaper vendor we don’t recommend you do so. If they’re not properly administered the side effects can be pretty significant. Sarcomas can develop at the injection site and grow into masses that must be surgically removed. If the injection is not done at the right location, you can end up with a major mass in a majorly bad spot.
Feline Upper Respiratory Infection or URI as it often simply known is the most common ailment of cats in high-density environments like shelters, catteries or hoarding situations. URI is a broad term that describes a variety of issues that are actually quite different. The best way to understand URI, however, is to simply break it down into two types: bacteria and viral.
Just as the disease progression often does, let’s start with viral URI. Viral URI causes clear nasal discharge and mild congestion. What you will often see is a lot of sneezing, some sniffling but otherwise, your cat is likely acting fine. Additionally, you will see an increase in temperature. This is the place that you are most likely to see an increase in temperature.
There is no reliable treatment at this point, besides supportive care. That means fluids and tasty food. If your cat is significantly congested you can also offer some simply steam treatment by placing your cat in the bathroom with the shower on.
This will either stop here, or it will get worse. Most often worse means a bacterial component. This means that you will green nasal discharge and more congestion. Unfortunately, this means that you may see anorexia as your cat can no longer smell their food and thus loose a lot of their appetite.
At this point, antibiotics are effective and can help decrease the effects of the disease and a shorter the overall time.
The most important thing to do here is to make sure your cat is still eating. If your cat stops eating try the following:
If you normally feed dry, try feeding stinkier wet food.