Pet Care Advice 》 Vaccinations for your pet

Vaccinating your pet ensures that they are protected from infection, allowing them to live a long, happy, and healthy life. It’s important that you keep up to date with your pet’s vaccinations and also conform with local laws that require certain vaccinations to be administered.

cat vaccination Pet vaccination intervals

The immunity response provided by a vaccination lasts longer than one year and if a pet is over-vaccinated, this can lead to certain conditions such as skin cancer or immune-medicated disorders.

Kittens and puppies should be vaccinated three times at 3-4 week intervals starting with their first vaccination when they are eight weeks old. The last vaccination is typically administered between 14 and 16 weeks, and rabies vaccinations in particular are either given at the same time or between 20 and 24 weeks old.

Repeat vaccinations are necessary because the antibodies that the kitten or puppy may have gained from their mother can limit the immunity produced by the vaccinations. However, it’s essential that the kitten or puppy are immunized as quickly as possible.

For adult pets, one vaccination will provide sufficient immunity. If your pet has missed a couple of years of vaccination, then a course of vaccination is not required- one injection for each vaccination is sufficient. 

dog vaccination Yearly health checks

Regardless of vaccinations, we always recommend yearly health checks as a minimum to ensure that your pet is in good health. Pet Health Club members receive complete health checks twice a year and essential vaccinations as part of their membership and is a cost-effective way to ensure your pet has access to everything they need throughout the year. Find out more here.

cat vaccination Cat vaccinations

The routine injection contains protection against 3 infections:

FVR = Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
This is a horrible upper respiratory infection that is airborne and highly contagious among cats. It causes sneezing and coughing with discharge from the eyes and nose. Infected cats will have loss of appetite and a fever. Young kittens and senior cats are more susceptible to this infection and many require hospitalization to recover.

C = Calicivirus
This is another upper respiratory infection with symptoms similar to feline viral rhinotracheitis. These infections account for 95% of upper respiratory infections in cats. The disease is spread through direct contact with an infected cat or objects, for example a food dish or toy.

P = Panleukopenia
This is also known as feline distemper. It is highly contagious and deadly among cats. It is similar to the parvovirus seen in dogs. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, weakness, dehydration, tremors, and loss of coordination. A low white blood cell count is also common. Cats with feline distemper need to be hospitalized and have intensive care. Mortality rate is high.

 Dog vaccinations

The routine injection contains protection against 6 infections annotated by DHPPi/L.

D = Distemper
Distemper is a nasty virus that is highly contagious, occurs world wide, and at one time was the leading cause of death in puppies. Young puppies are more susceptible to the virus than adult dogs. You may see signs of an upper respiratory infection with a high fever. The dog may also have neurological signs. This disease is usually fatal.

H = Hepatitis, Adenovirus-1 or -2
Vaccines usually contain Adenovirus-2. Vaccination against Adenovirus-2 will protect against Adenovirus-1.

Adenovirus-1 causes Infectious Canine Hepatitis. This is spread by contact with the urine and feces of infected animals. The virus causes liver and kidney damage. Animals that survive may have chronic illness. Symptoms include but are not limited to: fever, lethargy, anorexia, abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhea.

P = Parvovirus
This virus attacks the intestinal tract and causes severe vomiting and diarrhea. Parvovirus is highly contagious and dogs contract the virus through contact with an infected animal’s stool. Without treatment dogs become dehydrated, weak, and often die. This virus is very common and puppies who are not properly vaccinated are often afflicted.

P (or Pi) = Parainfluenza
This is a virus that causes an upper respiratory infection. Dogs usually contract the disease through contact with the nasal secretions of infected dogs.

L = Leptospirosis
This disease affects the liver and kidneys and is deadly. Animals with this disease are contagious to other animals and humans.
The disease can be caught from still water and spread through contact with the urine of infected animals. Dogs with leptospirosis may show signs of lethargy, dehydration, jaundice, and fever.

The vaccine is a non-core vaccine and severe allergic reactions have been noted in dogs with short noses and in small dogs under 8kg. Please discuss your pet’s risk with one of our vets.

Bordetella or Kennel Cough
This is an upper respiratory infection also known as kennel cough. This infection is usually not fatal but is difficult to get rid of. The infection can spread quickly through boarding and grooming facilities and any place dogs congregate. The vaccination can be in the form of a nasal spray or injection.

The vaccine against Bordetella is not licensed for use in China and as such is not widely available.

Rabies is a fatal disease that can infect humans. The classic symptoms include apprehension, anxiety, biting or snapping at random, and frothing at the mouth. The virus is passed in saliva typically acquired through a bite wound or by eating an infected animal. Cats and dogs show clinical signs but many other mammals can carry the virus without showing clinical signs.

Heartworm is a worm of the heart. Typical dog heartworm symptoms are exercise intolerance, cough, breathing difficulties, enlargement of the liver, temporary loss of consciousness due to poor blood flow to the brain, fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity, weight loss, loss of stamina and death.

The signs are far less severe in cats and the treatment simpler.

Whilst there is a yearly injection against Heartworm it is not actually a vaccination. The injection is a large dose of parasiticide that lasts for a year. In this case the “vaccination” has to be given yearly to maintain protection.

There are monthly treatments that also prevent both heartworm and other parasites.

Heartworm is not prevalent in Beijing as the winter period is too cold for the infectious parasite to survive. However the infection is seen in southern China, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Vaccinations for Exotic Species

Generally vaccines are not required in the other commonly kept exotic species e.g. hamsters or chinchillas, excepting rabbits.

There are 3 vaccines that maybe used in rabbits; Myxomatosis, Hemorrhagic Gastro-enteritis and Rabies.

Both Myxomatosis and Hemorrhagic Gastro-enteritis are man made viruses not seen in China; neither are the vaccinations available.

However it is a reasonable precaution to vaccinate your rabbit against rabies if the rabbit stays outside, though please note that the rabies vaccine is not licensed for use in rabbits.

Please contact us for further information concerning vaccinations and preventative health care for your pet.