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Tierarztpraxis Franz

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Tierarztpraxis Franz

Finally you are allowed to take a new little roommate to your common home. Now that you have the responsibility for puppys or kittens, you should think about the health of your darlings. As humans go to the pediatrician with their children, a visit at the vet is one of the most important first health care steps. In addition to a first general health check, you also should inform yourself about first vaccination for cats and dogs. 

Vaccinations are intended to protect your treasure from life-threatening infectious diseases. Vaccinations can also reduce the severity and frequency of the disease. In addition, vaccinations should reduce the risk of infection for your darling and his animal friends.

First vaccination for cats and dogs

The first vaccination should be given no earlier than 8 weeks of age. Before that, a young pet is still protected by the so-called maternal antibodies (of her mother). As long as these maternal antibodies are present, the body will not react to the vaccination. How long maternal antibodies stay present in the immune system varies. It is assumed that they vanish between the 8th and 16th week of life.

Depending on the manufacturer of the vaccination and the individual vaccination schedule, the basic immunisation is usually given twice at intervals of 3-4 weeks and a subsequent booster after one year.
Most vaccinations demonstrate favourable tolerability but you should ask your vet about possible vaccination reactions and side effects. 

Vaccinations for cats

The first thing you should do is to think about your pet’s future living conditions and include them in your final decision.

  • Should your sweetheart become a indoor cat or an outdoor cat? 
  • Will your darling live in a future multi-cat household?
  • Will your little friend have regular contact with other conspecifics (e.g. in the stairwell, on the terrace, during visits, at exhibitions)? 
  • Do you want to take your treasure with you on holiday, etc.?
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Protection for house cats

If your velvet paw shall become a pure house cat, a “core” vaccine is recommended to protect your sweetheart against cat cold and cat epidemic. The viral pathogens could take an epidemic course and damage your darling seriously. In this case the sources of infection are not solely other cats, the germs can also be brought home through cloth for instance.  Indoor cats come into contact with pathogens much less often than outdoor cats. This means their immune system knows fewer pathogens and is therefore less well prepared. 

Security for outdoor cats

So-called “add-on” vaccines are recommended when several cats live together. This includes especially a vaccination against the FeLV or feline leukosis virus, which is a disease of the immune system that can only be transmitted from animal to animal by direct contact. Important: BEFORE the vaccination, a blood test is necessary to check if those antibodies are already existing. If the test is positive, your pet has had contact with these viruses and his body has fought against them. In this case your cat must not be vaccinated ever again!

Also offered as an “add-on” is the vaccination against FIP or feline infectious peritonitis. However, the protection provided by vaccination is considered to be rather low in comparison and should therefore be decided carefully. These two vaccinations are also given twice every 4 weeks for basic immunisation.

Furthermore, there is the possibility of a rabies vaccination for cats. This vaccination is primarily intended for trips abroad and is one of the legal requirements for international travels. For sufficient protection, however, your darling should only be vaccinated during the fourth and the fifth month of life.

Vaccinations for dogs

As with cats, sufficient protection for dogs can only be guaranteed by a good basic immunisation.  Infectiologists recommend especially a combination vaccine for dogs against the so-called “dog epidemics”. These Vaccinations protect against distemper, HCC (hepatitis), parvovirosis, parainfluenza and leptospirosis. For small breeds, this vaccination is mostly split up to grant better tolerance. 

The rabies vaccination for dogs has also a legal background in most cases and is one of the basic requirements for travelling abroad. If your dog is involved in a bite incident, a valid rabies vaccination must proceed. This vaccination is recommended in the fourth to sixth month of life in general.

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You should always take good care of your four-legged friend and his health. Decide to the best of your knowledge what is best for your puppy or kitten. Consider also that vaccinations can cause adverse reactions and side effects. Let your veterinarian advise you on which protective measures are necessary to take and which are useful to your sweetheart. Much happiness and good health to you and your darling.