caring for an elderly dog
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caring for an elderly dog

When your dog doesn't seem interested in eating his food, do you know what to do? When your dog vomits often, could there be something serious wrong with him? If he struggles to get up the stairs, does he need to see a vet? Having never owned an older dog, I knew nothing about the things that can begin to go wrong when dogs age. I adopted this guy when my neighbor moved into a nursing home and had to learn a lot about how to care for an older dog. My blog is filled with the many things that I have learned over the last year through the help of my vet.


caring for an elderly dog

Importance Of Vaccinating Your Cat

Lucy Grant

Many pet parents have a general notion that vaccinating their cat is important. Vaccines prevent or at least lessen the severity of diseases. It's not a guarantee that an unvaccinated cat will develop a disease. It is, however, a distinct possibility. All cats need core vaccines, and some felines should receive non-core vaccines as well.

Core Vaccines against Serious Diseases

Vaccines in general contain antigens that cause the immune system to develop defense against target diseases. According to Pet Education, the American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends vaccinating against feline distemper, feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1), rabies and feline calicivirus (FCV).

Feline panleukopenia, or distemper, causes lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. The disease is often fatal. Distemper is usually spread through fecal matter, and it can remain in a cat's environment for up to a year.

FHV-1 causes cats to develop serious upper respiratory tract issues, including sneezing and conjunctivitis. They can also develop pneumonia and mouth ulcers. Cats transmit FHV-1 via secretions, though environments can also become infected.

Rabies is another fatal disease that causes anxiety followed by irritability and viciousness. The disease finishes with excess salivation, labored breathing and eventual death. Rabies is transmitted through bites.

FCV is similar to FHV-1 in that it causes upper respiratory tract distress. FCV can also cause infection, gingivitis and stomach issues. The disease can be fatal. FCV is also transmitted via secretions.

These diseases have serious implications for cats, making vaccination against them paramount.

Vaccination Schedule

Cat diseases such as distemper and FHV-1 are terrible – and preventable. The AAFP recommends the following schedule for vaccinations, as outlined on Pet Education.

Kittens should receive vaccination against FHV-1, distemper and FCV between the ages of six and sixteen weeks. They receive shots every three to four weeks. Older unvaccinated cats should receive two vaccinations four weeks apart. After that, vets administer a single booster one year after the last vaccination. Cats should receive subsequent boosters no more frequently than every three years.

Concerning rabies, kittens need a single vaccination as early as eight weeks of age. They need an additional vaccination one year later. Older unvaccinated cats should also receive two doses 12 months apart. Booster shots should be administered every one to three years. Some states have ordinances related to rabies booster shots.

Non-Core Vaccines

Your veterinarian may suggest vaccinating against diseases considered non-core by the AAFP. These diseases include feline leukemia, Bordetella, feline infectious peritonitis and Chlamydophilia. Vets base their recommendations for non-core vaccines on your cat's general health, environmental conditions and the prevalence of the disease in your area.

Pet parents want their cats to be happy – and an important aspect of happiness is being healthy. Vaccinate your cat against the diseases that can make her very unhappy indeed. 

To learn more, contact an animal hospital like Edinburgh Animal Hospital