Immunizations & Vaccine FAQ’s



This is another highly contagious, systemic viral disease often ending tragically. While distemper is reasonably unstable outside its host, it is contagious via air-born droplet secretions. Infected pets can shed the virus for up to several months after contact. The lymph system, the respiratory system, the gastrointestinal system the urogenital epithelium and the central nervous system are all affected.

Symptoms include, but are not limited to eye and nasal discharge, fever, and anorexia. Neurological signs are often observed as the disease spreads. Twitching muscles, hind limb paralysis, and convulsions are trademarks of neurological trauma. The course of the disease varies from 10 days to several, successive months.


puppy on newspaper

Vomiting, anorexia, weakness and a fever are a few of the non-specific signs seen with Leptospirosis. The incubation time is generally 5-15 days after exposure. Eventually, breathing becomes labored, the abdomen becomes painful and the pet is reluctant to rise from a sitting position.

Abrasions are observable in the mouth and thirst is increased. Swallowing becomes difficult and in advanced stages of the disease, bloody vomit and feces indicate internal hemorrhagic problems. Renal disease follows closely and usually the pet dies from renal failure if not treated.

* Leptospirosis vaccines are important in pets because Leptospirosis is contagious to humans


Parvovirus is a viral disease of dogs. It affects puppies much more frequently than it affects adult dogs. The virus likes to grow in rapidly dividing cells. The intestinal lining has the largest concentration of rapidly dividing cells in a puppy’s body. The virus attacks and kills these cells, causing diarrhea (often bloody), depression and suppression of white blood cells — which come from another group of rapidly dividing cells. In very young puppies it can infect the heart muscle and lead to “sudden” death.


This viral malady used to be a very prevalent problem until an effective vaccine started being used tenaciously to fight off occurrences. Not until recently has rabies been an almost completely subdued virus in the domestic animals of America. However, rabies still turns up every now and then.

Rabies is contracted mainly through bites, due to the rich virus population present in saliva. It can also be transmitted though broken skin or mucous membranes. The incubation of rabies is variable. Most cases in dogs occur within 21-80 days after exposure. Once exposed, the virus travels through the nerves right to the spinal cord and then up to the brain. Once the virus hits the brain, it is then transferred to the salivary glands via their nerve supply.

Three phases typically occur in dogs: The prodromal (1-3 days), the excitative, and the paralytic phases. Animals may exhibit symptoms such as isolative behavior, anorexia and/or frequent urination. Following these signs, animals usually become either vicious or paralyzed. Death usually follows within 10 days of the first symptoms.

During the vicious stage, pets usually roam a lot and bite most anything that moves. Rabid dogs tend to chew and swallow foreign objects such as feces, bones, straw, sticks and stones, oftentimes breaking their teeth. Rabid cats bite and scratch willingly at anything moving as well. Eventually, incoordination and paralysis set in followed closely by death.

Bordetella (kennel cough)

This is the most common bacterial agent associated with tracheobronchitis in dogs and can cause pneumonia. It inhabits the upper respiratory tract and is extremely contagious via airborne secretions.


cat in blanket

Feline Leukemia virus is a commonly diagnosed disease of cats. It can be very destructive to any type of quality life the pet may have enjoyed. Frequently, the affected cat undergoes chronic wasting, marked by anemia, lethargy and anorexia. It is present in the saliva of the cat and is transmittable between cats through contact or congenitally. The disease manifests itself in various ways.

Sometimes, the thorax becomes engorged with fluid, making breathing difficult. Another route leukemia may take is to involve the liver in which case anemia and jaundice may occur. Also, sometimes the malignancy spreads to the spinal canal, eye or skin of the pet. In addition to that, Feline Leukemia virus is prone to cause immunosuppression, making the pet even more vulnerable to other infectious diseases. So far, there is no known cure for Feline Leukemia virus.