Home Features Pet Care: VACCINATION SCHEDULES FOR DOGS AND CATS
Now that we have spent some valuable time on describing those canine and feline diseases against which vaccines are available for vets to prevent those specific ailments on companion animals, we can now turn to the protocols associated with the inoculation of our pets.
Quickly, before I embark on documenting the actual vaccination schedule, allow me to make some important comments pertaining to the acquisition, the administering, and the efficiency of the vaccines:
1. The law does not permit Veterinary Technicians/Animal Health Assistants to perform vaccinations and/or, for that matter, to administer any injection – unless the treatment is being carried out under veterinary supervision. Of course the immediate question arises: What is the definition of the word “supervision”. The law may not be precise on this issue. Also, with widely accessible video conferencing technology, the vet may be able to oversee (supervise) the injection preparation and delivery. Would this be permissible? The current Veterinary Board of Guyana will have to tackle this problem.
2. Where are these “Vet Techs” getting vaccines from? Who is selling them the vaccines? Have the vaccines been stored correctly?
3. Should there be a reaction to the injection, can the vet tech introduce medication to counteract the allergic reaction or, worse, if the patient goes into an anaphylactic shock immediately after the delivery of the vaccination.
4. Very often, pet caregivers mix up the words “injection” and “vaccination”. Whereas a vaccination is very specific relative to a specific disease, and is given to the animal by injection, an injection is most often not a vaccination. Your veterinarian can administer several injections (to an ailing animal) none of which is a vaccination.
One may find in textbooks and in search engines that vaccinations can be administered by the inhalation route. No vet, that I know, uses this methodology, not lastly because it is relatively difficult to administer.
5. Many Vet Techs are actually issuing “Vaccination Certificates” – quite illegally of course. I have in my possession literally dozens of such illegal documents – some Vet Techs are actually touting themselves as “Veterinary Consultants” on the “certificates”.
My compilation of these are available to the Veterinary Board of Guyana.
6. Whenever a Vaccination Certificate (VC) is issued, the caregiver must ensure that all the labels associated with that particular set of ailments (which have been vaccinated against) are stuck on to the VC, so that the owner/caregiver knows exactly what the animal has been vaccinated against.
I have noticed, for example, that the legend on the VC may have one ticked off square for Leptospira. However, that is not accurate. There are scores (hundreds?) of serovars associated with Leptospirosis, and they do not cross-immunize. For example, if the dog is vaccinated against Leptospira Pomona, the dog will not be protected against L.Canicola. Luckily, the vaccine manufacturers have prepared a vaccine which offers the defence against the four types of these Leptospira germs which are most prevalent in this part of the world.
The point I am making in all this is: THE VACCINATION CERTIFICATE MUST EXACTLY IDENTIFY WHAT DISEASE THE DOG OR CAT HAS BEEN PROTECTED AGAINST.
7. Please note that the currently most common vaccines available (not including Rabies) offer prevention against Canine Coronavirus, Canine Distemper, Canine Parvovirus, Canine Adenovirus, Canine Parainfluenza and four types of the most prevalent Leptospira germs (viz: Grippotyphosa, Canicola, Icterohaemorrhragiae and Pomona), which can be lethal to dogs.
Please note that the one manufacturer which offers Canine Corona Virus as part of the Polyvalent Vaccine only includes two types of Lepto, namely L.Canicola and L.Icterchaemorragiae.
Similarly, the cat vaccines available protect cats against Feline Panleukopenia, Feline Rhinotracheitis, Feline Calici Virus and Chlamydia Psittaci.
8. If the mother dog or cat dies during delivery, or soon thereafter, the pups/kittens would not have been able to receive that most important “first milk” (colostrum). This means that those neonates (newborns) are especially fragile will need extra special undertakings; and that includes different vaccination schedules than the ones proposed below. Under such circumstances, the caregiver and the Vet will work out together that specific relevant schedule.
9. Do not vaccinate mother dogs/cats during pregnancy. Females, which have not been vaccinated within a year after the Primary Course (see below) has been completed, must be vaccinated before being mated.
10. If there are ‘waves’ of those diseases mentioned above and expanded upon over the last few weeks in the “Pet Care” columns, or if there are known endemic areas where the diseases are prevalent, your vet may alter the vaccination schedules proposed below.
11. If, for whatever special reason, your vet allows the caregiver to carry home vaccines, they must be stored at 2°C – 7°(35°F – 45°F). Never freeze the vaccines. Do not mix with other vaccines.
12. Vaccines are biological products and can produce (hyper) sensitivity reactions. Inform your vet immediately if the freshly vaccinated animal reacts abnormally (swollen face, intense scratching of face and body, sneezing and coughing, etc.).
13. An ailing animal should never be vaccinated. Pups and kittens must preferably be dewormed prior to the introduction of the vaccine.
14. Sometimes lumps develop at the vaccination site (especially in cats); on occasion the vaccination could be followed by an opacity (cloudiness) of the lens. If such an episode emerges, contact your vet immediately. Do not panic. Such eventualities can be treated with relative ease.