Dog vaccine

Your cats and dogs can contract these infectious diseases. Vaccination helps

By Dr Pawan Kumar

Several infectious diseases can affect your pet and can be protected by vaccination. While most of these diseases are under control thanks to the high rate of vaccination, others are still regularly encountered.

Infectious diseases are caused by organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. There are a few diseases in animals that can also be transmitted to humans. Infectious diseases that are transmitted between species from animals to humans or from humans to animals are called zoonotic diseases – leptospirosis, rabies and brucellosis, for example. A zoonotic disease may arise as a result of increased human contact with the host animal(s), animal tissues, vectors, or environmental sources of the pathogens.

Some of the more common infections that tend to occur in dogs and cats are:

Infectious diseases in dogs

  • Canine parvoviral infection: The Parvo virus is highly contagious and attacks the gastrointestinal system, causing fever, vomiting and severe diarrhea. It is transmitted through direct contact between dogs as well as through contaminated stools, surfaces, bowls, collars, leashes, equipment, hands and clothing. It can also survive in soil for years, making the virus difficult to kill. Fortunately, there is a parvo vaccine. It is considered a “core” vaccine and is recommended for all dogs. Along with vaccination, a correct electrolyte balance in the animal must be maintained.
  • Cervical dementia: Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that affects the whole body of dogs and cats. It is a fatal multisystem disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous system of the animal. Distemper is caused by the distemper virus (CDV). the treatment usually consists of supportive care and attempts to prevent secondary infections; control vomiting, diarrhea and combat dehydration by administering fluids. Pets infected with distemper should be separated from other dogs to minimize the risk of further infection.
  • Canine leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that mainly affects the liver or kidneys. High fever, sallow skin, lethargy, vomiting, polyuria, and polydipsia are common signs of canine leptospirosis.. It can be transmitted by ingesting infected urine or contaminated rodents.
  • kennel cough: It refers to any infectious disease associated with coughing. Several viruses and bacteria can cause kennel cough, including adenovirus type 2 parainfluenza virus, canine coronavirus, and Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria. Veterinarians have recommended vaccination programs that include adenovirus and parainfluenza.
  • Canine infectious hepatitis: It is a contagious disease in dogs with signs ranging from mild fever and congestion of the mucous membranes to severe depression, marked leukopenia and bleeding disorders. It is transmitted by direct contact or orally. Treatment includes intensive care with hospitalization.
  • Tick-borne disease: Ticks are parasites that attach themselves to animals, feed on blood and transmit disease directly to the host system. Babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis are the most common tick-borne diseases in dogs. The most effective thing will be a regular tick and flea control program which can help prevent tick-borne diseases.

Infectious diseases in cats

  • Feline Panleukopenia/ Distemper: Feline Panleukopenia/Distemper is a highly contagious fatal disease affecting kittens with signs such as lethargy, lack of appetite, weight loss and fluctuating fever. Feline distemper infects and kills rapidly growing and dividing cells, such as those in the cat’s bone marrow, intestines, and developing fetus.
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis: Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a viral disease of cats caused by certain strains of a virus called feline coronavirus. Cats infected with FECV usually show no symptoms upon initial viral infection, but may occasionally exhibit brief episodes of diarrhea and/or mild upper respiratory signs from which they recover naturally.
  • Feline Calicivirus: This is the virus responsible for upper respiratory tract infections and oral diseases, the most common signs of which include sneezing and mouth ulcers.
  • Feline viral rhinotracheitis/herpes virus (FVR): RVF is a major cause of upper respiratory tract disease in cats and is the most common cause of conjunctivitis. It is spread by direct contact, saliva and fomites.
  • Feline mycoplasmosis: Feline Mycoplasmosis is caused by Mycoplasma Haemofelis and affects red blood cells in cats by a microscopic blood bacterial parasite that destroys red blood cells, resulting in anemia
  • Parasitic and fungal infections: Fungal infections such as dermatophytes and fungal dermatitis are common infections in cats. Parasites including ticks and fleas, mites, roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms will cause infections in cats.

Preventative measures

Certain precautions can be taken to prevent infectious diseases in your pet such as-

  • Keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date. Vaccination protects against a variety of infectious diseases that can affect your pet. A number of these diseases depend on high levels of vaccination in the pet population to keep them healthy.
  • Regularly take your pet to a veterinarian for a check-up
  • Make sure your pet’s bedding and living room are clean
  • Provide a balanced diet to your pets, keep clean and fresh water available
  • Cat litter boxes should be cleaned daily

The author is the Cessna Lifeline Hospitals Chief Medical Officer

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