CANINE DISTEMPER

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					CANINE DISTEMPER
Distemper is a serious viral disease affecting primarily young, unvaccinated dogs. Clinical signs may
include a yellowish or greenish discharge from the eyes or nose, coughing, difficulty breathing,
increased body temperature, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nervous system
disorder (twitching of a limb, seizures, etc.), and hardening of the foot pads.

Distemper is a highly contagious disease. All body excretions and secretions (discharges from the
eyes or nose, vomitus, diarrhea, urine) may carry the infection. The virus can also be carried by air
currents, and on inanimate objects such as food bowls.

Prevention of this disease is extremely important, as distemper is often fatal. Even if a dog survives
the disease, distemper can permanently damage the dog's nervous system, sense of smell, sight
and sound. Vaccination has been shown to prevent the disease.

CANINE PARVOVIRUS
Parvovirus is a serious disease affecting primarily young dogs (6 weeks to 6 months of age)
although any age can be affected. The breeds at highest risk include the Rottweiler, Doberman
Pinscher, German Shepherd and Pit Bull.

Parvovirus is a hardy virus, able to withstand extreme temperature changes, and exposure to most
disinfectants. Dogs contract Parvovirus through exposure to infected dogs or infected stools.

Parvovirus attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing affected dogs to lose their appetite, become
lethargic and show evidence of vomiting, diarrhea or both. The diarrhea is often bloody and has a
foul odour (that of digested blood). Some dogs develop fevers. Left untreated, Parvovirus can be
fatal.

This disease is very serious and can be very expensive to treat. Vaccination against this highly
contagious viral disease has proven to be very successful in preventing this disease (or lessening its
severity).

CANINE KENNEL COUGH
Clinical signs of kennel cough include a dry, hacking cough and, in some dogs, nasal discharge, loss
of appetite and difficulty breathing.

Kennel cough is highly contagious and is spread through sneezing, coughing and contact with
infected nasal secretions. Kennel cough is most commonly transmitted when dogs are put in close
proximity to one another, for example, at dog shows, in kennels, etc. In most cases, kennel cough
lasts 7 to 10 days and dogs recover fully from it. In some cases, antibiotics are necessary.

If your dog is on the show circuit or spends time in a boarding facility, vaccination may be
recommended. Speak to your veterinarian about your dog's risk of exposure and need for this
vaccine.

INFECTIOUS CANINE HEPATITIS
Hepatitis is a viral disease that is most common in young, unvaccinated dogs (9-12 weeks). Clinical
signs may include respiratory tract abnormalities (discharge from the nose or eyes, coughing) or
evidence of liver and/or kidney disease (jaundice, loss of appetite, vomiting, change in drinking and
urinating behaviour). Occasionally, an affected dog develops a "blue eye" (corneal edema).

Hepatitis is spread by contact with urine from an infected dog. Prevention by vaccination is the key
as canine hepatitis is often fatal. Infectious canine hepatitis is not contagious to people.
GIARDIA
Vaccination is considered optional by most veterinarians. Giardia is a parasite that can cause
chronic gastrointestinal upset (primarily diarrhea) in dogs. This parasite can spread to humans. The
vaccine for Giardia is new. Ask your veterinarian about the incidence of this disease in your area,
and whether you need to have your pet vaccinated against this disease.

RABIES
Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system of all warm blooded animals,
including humans. Rabies is transmitted by saliva, which is usually transferred by a bite from an
infected animal. The disease is frequently found in wild animals such as skunks, foxes, raccoons
and bats.

Once infected, the disease is fatal. Prior to death, clinical signs may include a change in behaviour
(e.g. increased aggressiveness or increased shyness), dilation of the pupils, excess salivation,
snapping at the air, a shifting gait, and facial twitching.

As the virus can be transmitted to humans, no stray dog, cat or wild animal should ever be
approached. Wild animals should never be kept as pets. Your pet should be kept on its own property
or leashed when off its property. To help prevent raccoon rabies, it is recommended that you cap
chimneys, close up any holes in attics or outbuildings, and make sure that stored garbage does not
act as a food source.

Vaccination is important to safeguard your dog from rabies. Some veterinarians recommend
vaccinating every year, while others recommend a three-year vaccine. Talk to your veterinarian
about the degree of risk for Rabies in your area, and about which vaccine will provide your pet with
the protection it requires.

CANINE LEPTOSPIROSIS
Leptospirosis is a disease that impairs kidney function and may cause kidney failure. Liver disease
is also common. Clinical signs may include loss of appetite, lethargy, jaundice, vomiting, diarrhea,
and seizures.

There are a number of different types of leptospira that may cause the disease. Wild and domestic
animals (cattle, pigs, dogs) may act as reservoirs for infection. The disease is transmitted by contact
with the urine of infected animals. Stagnant or slow-moving water may provide a suitable habitat for
the organism to thrive.

Leptospirosis is not common in most areas of Ontario. As the available vaccines do not protect
against all forms of leptospirosis, and because this vaccine can cause some significant side effects,
talk to your veterinarian about the advantages and disadvantages of vaccinating your dog against
this disease.

CANINE CORONA VIRUS
Canine corona virus infects one of the layers of the intestinal tract and may lead to vomiting and
diarrhea. Infected dogs can shed the virus to other dogs. The overall prevalence of corona virus is
thought to be low, and most infections are mild and self-limiting. Vaccination against this virus is
available, but not all veterinarians recommend it. Speak to your veterinarian about your dog's risk for
developing this viral disease.

LYME DISEASE
Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete (Borrelia burgdorferi) and spread by ticks. It is a serious
disease in people. Clinical signs in dogs, if they occur, are thought to include lameness, joint
swelling, fever, loss of appetite and lethargy. The heart, brain and kidney may also be affected.
Dogs do not generally show the classic red lesion that a human exhibits at the site of a tick bite.

The diagnosis of Lyme disease is not black and white. If the disease is suspected, your veterinarian
may request a blood test to detect antibodies to Borrelia. If this test is positive and your dog has
clinical signs suggestive of Lyme disease and a history of travel to a high risk area, antibiotics may
be recommended.

Vaccinating for Lyme disease is considered optional by most veterinarians. To assist in the
prevention of Lyme disease, use flea and tick sprays, and remove any ticks from the animal
promptly, if found. The risk of tick exposure can be reduced by keeping your dog on a leash, on
trails, and out of woodlands and fields. Brushing the pet's coat as soon as the walk is complete is
important.

                                     Vaccinations for Cats

FELINE RESPIRATORY DISEASE (Feline rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus, Chlamydia)
Feline rhinotracheitis (FVR) and feline calicivirus (FCV) are the two main causes of upper respiratory
tract infections in cats. Although cats of any age can be infected, the young appear to be at greater
risk. Clinical signs of infection include sneezing, nasal discharge and discharge from the eyes. Some
cats with FVR cough, and some develop a severe eye condition called ulcerative keratitis. Cats with
FCV can develop ulcers in the mouth, pneumonia, diarrhea and joint disease. Although most cats
recover within 2 to 4 weeks, it is quite common for cats to become chronic carriers of these viruses,
putting other cats at risk. Because these viruses are common in many areas, vaccination is highly
recommended.

Chlamydia psittici is a parasite that is thought to be responsible for some upper respiratory tract
infections in cats. It can lead to a severe form of lung disease if left untreated. Chlamydia more
commonly causes a chronic conjunctivitis in cats. Outbreaks of Chlamydia are common when cats
are housed together. Most veterinarians consider this an optional vaccination depending on your
cat's risk of exposure.

FELINE PANLEUKOPENIA
Feline panleukopenia is a hardy virus, able to survive up to a year in the environment. Clinical signs
include fever, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. It most often occurs in unvaccinated 3 to 5
month old kittens. If the virus attacks an unborn fetus, it may cause early death or cerebellar
hypoplasia ("spastic kitten"). Most older cats exposed to this virus do not show clinical signs. An
infected cat may be infertile. A cat may also abort her litter if infected during pregnancy.

This virus is spread via contact with an infected kitten or by contaminated premises, food or water
bowls. Most veterinarians consider vaccination for panleukopenia mandatory. Thanks to vaccination,
this disease is now uncommon.

RABIES
Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system of all warm blooded animals,
including humans. Rabies is transmitted by saliva, which is usually transferred by a bite from an
infected animal. The virus can also be transmitted via air (bat caves) and tissue (corneal
transplants). The disease is frequently found in wild animals such as skunks, foxes, raccoons and
bats.

Once infected, the disease is fatal. Prior to death, clinical signs may include a change in behaviour
(e.g. increased aggressiveness or increased shyness), dilation of the pupils, excess salivation,
snapping at the air, a shifting gait, and facial twitching.
As the virus can be transmitted to humans, no stray dog, cat or any wild animal should ever be
approached. Wild animals, including raccoons, should never be kept as pets. The family pet should
be kept on its own property or be leashed when off its property. To help prevent raccoon rabies, it is
recommended that you cap chimneys, close up any holes in attics or outbuildings, and make sure
that stored garbage does not act as a food source.

Vaccination is important in safeguarding your cat from infection with this virus. Some veterinarians
recommend vaccinating every year, while others recommend a three-year vaccine. Talk to your
veterinarian about the degree of risk for Rabies in your area, and about which vaccination protocol
will provide your pet with the protection it requires.

FELINE LEUKEMIA VIRUS (FeLV)
Feline leukemia virus is capable of causing a number of diseases in cats. Lymphoma
(lymphosarcoma) is the most common form of cancer caused by this virus. Although a number of
forms of this cancer are possible, the most common ones involve the intestines or the chest. Clinical
signs may include vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss (if the intestines are involved) or breathing
difficulties (if the chest is involved). Any organ in the body can be affected.

Feline leukemia virus can also cause anemia, and can make a cat more susceptible to other viral
and bacterial diseases. Any cat with a history of fever of undetermined origin, or an illness that
comes and goes, should be tested for this virus.

The incidence of FeLV is highest in multi-cat households (lots of contact between cats) as the virus
is spread via saliva and other body secretions (tears, blood, urine). Cats that mutually groom, share
food and water bowls, litter pans, etc. are at higher risk. "Social" outdoor cats that meet and greet
other cats, mutually groom or fight are also at risk.

A blood test is available to test for infection with this virus. Not all "positive" cats will become sick
with the disease. Some cats are able to mount a good immune response and overcome the virus.
Others are not and will develop FeLV associated disease or cancer, usually within 3 years.

If your cat tests positive for FeLV, it is important that your cat not roam free, as the virus is highly
contagious. Such a cat is prone to developing serious complications from other viral or bacterial
diseases, so any time the cat does not appear well (has a fever, doesn't eat), you should see your
veterinarian.

If a cat in your household dies of Feline Leukemia, the household should be thoroughly disinfected
(especially the litter boxes, food and water bowls, bedding, toys). It is best to wait at least one month
before introducing another cat to the household.

Many cats are at high risk for exposure to this virus. If you own more than one cat, if you have a cat
that roams outdoors or is very sociable and likely to contact other cats, or if the background of your
cat is unknown (adopted from the shelter, etc.) speak to your veterinarian about testing your cat's
blood for this virus. Your veterinarian can help you assess the need for vaccinating your cat(s)
against FeLV.

FELINE INFECTIOUS PERITONITIS (FIP)
Feline infectious peritonitis is a Coronavirus. The disease is not common. It occurs most often in
cats that are:

       6 months to 2 years of age and in those that are older than 11 years of age
       in multi-cat households (especially catteries)
       in cats that are infected with Feline Leukemia or Feline Immunodeficiency Viruses
       in cats whose immune system is compromised

The virus is spread by contact with an infected cat (feces, saliva, blood, urine). Prolonged exposure
to an infected cat is usually necessary for transmittal of the disease.

Clinical signs of FIP take time to develop. There are two forms of the disease. One, the wet form,
results in fluid build-up in the abdomen or chest. The other, the dry form, results in granulomas
(lumps of inflammatory tissue) in multiple organs of the body. Infected cats will often exhibit weight
loss, fever and loss of appetite.

Although treatment is available to make infected cats more comfortable, the disease is inevitably
fatal. An intranasal vaccine is available. Please speak to your veterinarian about your cat's risk of
exposure and the need for a vaccination.

				
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