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Dog Vaccinations

At Toowong Family Vet we use a triennial C3 vaccine (Nobivac DHP) and annual intranasal KC vaccine (Nobivac KC).

What does this mean?
From one year of age, adult dogs receive their C3 vaccination every three years, as the vaccine provides longer duration of immunity than traditional annual vaccines.
The KC vaccine covers canine respiratory infections, or “kennel cough.” This still needs to be given annually, but it is given as 0.4ml up your dog's nostril. For dogs that are too wriggly to receive the intranasal vaccine, we can give them the traditional annual injectable KC vaccination.


Adult Dog Vaccination Protocol at Toowong Family Vet:

At one year of age – Nobivac DHP (C3) + Nobivac KC intranasal
Thereafter the Nobivac DHP is given every three years and the Nobivac KC vaccination is given every year.


Puppy Vaccination Protocol at Toowong Family Vet:

6-8 weeks – Nobivac DHP (or other C3 vaccination)

10 weeks or older – Nobivac DHP + KC intranasal vaccination

Wait 10 days then before allowing puppy to go out into public*.

Then one year later – Nobivac DHP+KC

Thereafter the Nobivac DHP is given every three years and the Nobivac KC is given every year.

*Note that the 10 week puppy vaccination protocol does not apply to all vaccines. The Nobivac DHP is a multivalent modified live vaccine that has undergone rigorous testing to demonstrate that when given to puppies older than 10 weeks, it provides sufficient immunity to not require a third puppy vaccination. If you are visiting another veterinarian, please do not automatically presume that your puppy can have its final vaccinaton at 10 weeks as they may use a different vaccine.

At Toowong Family Vet, we believe that the earlier a puppy can socialise and be exposed to different environments, the better for their social and behavioural development. Therefore, we use the Nobivac DHP vaccine to allow us to give puppies their final vaccination at 10 weeks of age. They can then socialise in public ten days after that final puppy vaccination.

Puppies are given a series of vaccinations not to “boost” the vaccine, but to ensure that a puppy's Maternally Derived Antibodies (MDAs) do not override the vaccine. A puppy's mother will have antibodies against a variety of diseases that she would have been exposed to or have been vaccinated against. She passes these antibodies onto her puppy, but over a period of weeks these antibody levels drop and the puppy is no longer protected. We do not know when these antibody levels drop, and so we give a series of vaccinations to ensure that at some point the MDAs will be low enough to not destroy the vaccine, and the vaccine will take effect.

Studies have shown that the Nobivac DHP vaccine is able to override the MDAs by the time the puppy is 10 weeks of age, providing the puppy with protection against Canine Parvovirus, Canine Distemper Virus and Canine Infectious Hepatitis within 10 days after the administration of this vaccine.

The Nobivac KC intranasal vaccine that is given at the same time, provides immunity against canine tracheobronchitis, or “kennel cough,” within 72 hours.

What do these vaccines cover and why is it important?

Nobivac DHP

The Nobivac DHP vaccine, or C3, is a multivalent modified live vaccine, which gives three years of protection against Canine Parvovirus, Canine Distemper Virus and Canine Adenovirus-2. 

Canine Parvovirus (CPV)

Canine Parvovirus causes a life-threatening diarrhoea. The virus destroys the lining of the intestinal tract, which leads to blood loss. The damage to the lining of the gastrointestinal tract also allows bacteria from the gastrointestinal tract to enter the general bloodstream, causing sepsis. Many dogs who contract CPV will die.
CPV is HIGHLY contagious. It is spread by exposure to contaminated faeces or grass and footpaths on which contaminated faeces have been deposited. It survives in the environment for months.
Vaccination is critical for the prevention of CPV.
CPV is still present in many areas of Southeast Queensland, and large outbreaks are common.


Canine Distemper Virus (CDV)

Canine Distemper Virus is contracted through contact with the respiratory secretions of infected animals.
The virus spreads through the respiratory tract epithelium, then through the bloodstream and to the central nervous system. This results in neurologic abnormalities such as problems with movement and balance, twitching, and ultimately seizures, blindness and often death.
While CDV was common in Australian domestic dogs in the 1960s and 1970s, rates of infection have dropped significantly due to effective vaccination programs. It is still, however, a serious threat to our domestic dogs because the disease persists in the wild canids such as foxes, wild dogs and dingoes, many of which still live in the Mt Coot-tha area. In recent years foxes and wild dogs have been seen as far in as Milton Rd.


Canine Adenovirus Type-2 (CAV-2)

While Canine Adenovirus Type-2 is a respiratory infection that contributes to canine cough (or “kennel” cough), vaccinating against CAV-2 cross-protects for CAV-1, or Canine Adenovirus Type-1. This is otherwise known as Canine Infectious Hepatitis.
The virus is contracted from respiratory secretions from infected dogs. It localises in the tonsils from where it enters the bloodstream and travels to the liver, kidneys and eyes. The virus then replicates in the liver causing necrosis, which basically means that the liver tissue dies.
Like Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Infectious Hepatitis has been almost eliminated from domestic dog populations through effective vaccination programs, but the virus is very resistant in the environment and may still be present in local wild dog populations.

**Foxes and wild dog populations are still present in the inner west of Brisbane and often come down from Mt Coot-tha. They are thought to travel up to 10kg in the night. Dr Kirsty recently attended to a wild dog hit by a car on Milton Rd. Hence, spread of these diseases is still a real threat.

Nobivac KC

This is an intranasal vaccine, where 0.4ml of vaccine is administered to your dog's nostril (we have an injectable vaccine also for dogs that do not tolerate an intranasal vaccine, but most dogs are pretty good).

The Nobivac KC covers the two main infectious organisms responsible for Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD), Bordetella bronchiseptica and Canine Parainfluenza Virus. These organisms are responsible for what is commonly referred to as “kennel cough."

Bordetella bronchiseptica

This is a bacterial respiratory infection responsible for most of the clinical signs associated with “kennel cough.” It is caught the same way that we catch a cold, through airborne respiratory secretions. Dogs will pass it to each other at the dog parks when they sniff and lick each other. It really should be called “dog park cough” rather than “kennel cough.”

Bordetella bronchiseptica is not life threatening, but it will cause a persistent honking cough, which many pet parents will confuse with choking. It also produces a mucus in the trachea which will be coughed up as a liquid froth, often giving the appearance of vomiting.

Vaccinated dogs can still become infected with Bordetella bronchiseptica, but the clinical signs will be milder than in unvaccinated dogs, and your dog should still be bright and alert despite the presence of a cough. Unvaccinated dogs who become infected with Bordetella are susceptible to infection with secondary bacteria that can lead to serious pneumonia.

Canine Parainfluenze Virus
Like BordetelIa bronchiseptica, Parainfluenza is caught via airborne respiratory secretions. The virus replicates in the lining of the nasal passages, the pharynx, trachea and large bronchi, causing a persistent cough similar to that in patients with bronchitis.
Infection is generally not life-threatening, but vaccination is essential for dogs who socialise as they often touch noses or lick each other. Without the vaccination, “doggy cold” would spread around the dog parks like wild fire!


Cat Vaccinations

Adult Cat Vaccination Protocol:

Nobivac Tricat F3 every three years
Nobivac Ducat F2 for the two intervening years

*Toowong Family Vet tracks which vaccines are due with our automated reminder system.
*Please see below for the explanation for these vaccines and the diseases against which they protect.


Kitten Vaccination Protocol

Kittens can undergo a 2 or 3 vaccination protocol. The final vaccination must be at or after 12 weeks of age when using the Nobivac Tricat F3 vaccine, so whether the kitten gets 2 or 3 vaccinations in the protocol depends on when the first vaccine is given:

Option 1 – Nobivac Tricat F3 at 6 weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks

Option 2 – Nobivac Tricat F3 at 8 weeks and 12 weeks

Normally the protocol selected will depend on the age of the kitten when the breeder or shelter organised the first vaccination. 

What do these vaccines cover and why is it important?

Nobivac Tricat F3, given every 3 years, covers Feline Panleukopaenia, Feline Calicivirus and Feline Herpesvirus-1. Nobivac Ducat F2 covers only Feline Calicivirus and Feline Herpesvirus-1 and must be given the two intervening years when the Nobivac Tricat F3 is not given.

Feline Panleukopaenia

Feline Panleukopaenia is a disease caused by infection with Feline Parvovirus and it is highly contagious.
The virus is transmitted through contaminated faeces and can survive in the environment for up to a year. Therefore, if your cat is unvaccinated and chews on a blade of grass that had been contaminated with faeces from an infected cat even several months prior, your cat can develop Panleukopaenia.
The disease affects the internal lining of the intestinal tract, leading to severe malabsorptive diarrhoea. The damage to the wall of the intestinal tract allows bacteria to enter the bloodstream, causing sepsis.
Adult cats may survive the disease, but kittens can often die.
The Feline Panleukopaenia vaccine is very effective and provides complete protection against the disease. Vaccination with a live modified vaccine (Nobivac Tricat F3) provides three years of immunity against the disease after the final kitten vaccination. Hence, at Toowong Family Vet after the final kitten vaccination, we vaccinate with the Nobivac Tricat F3 only every three years, while we use the Nobivac Ducat F2 for the two intervening years to cover Feline Calicivirus and Feline Herpesvirus-1 (see below).


Feline Calicivirus

Feline Calicivirus is shed through secretions from the eyes, nose and mouth. Infection occurs from contact with droplets of the secretions or fomite transmission* (see below under “What is Fomite Transmission?”).
The virus replicates in the oral and respiratory tissue, but also in the synovial membranes in the joints. Hence, the virus may cause lameness as well as fever and flu signs. Most infected cats also develop mouth ulcers.
Cats that have been infected with Calicivirus can recover from the disease, but many become lifelong carriers of the virus. Cats that are carriers can become sick again when stressed.
Calicivirus spreads very easily and rapidly, so vaccination is required to control it. Cats that have had Calicivirus and are also vaccinated, will produce reduced shedding of the virus (if they are chronic carriers) and hence limit its spread.


Feline Herpesvirus-1

Feline Herpesvirus is the main culprit in causing cat flu. It is spread between cats by contact with respiratory droplets, the same way our cold and flu is spread. It is also spread by fomite transmission* (see below under “What is Fomite Transmission?”).
Infection causes sneezing, nasal discharge and sore watery eyes. Infected cats are also at risk of secondary bacterial infections leading to pneumonia.
Cats that recover from this disease can still become lifelong carriers of the virus and become sick again when stressed or immune-compromised.
As with Calicivirus, vaccination is required to control the spread of Feline Herpesvirus-1, and it will also reduce shedding of the infection from cats who are chronic carriers.


What is Fomite Transmission?

Fomite transmission means that the infectious organism can be carried on your clothing to your cat. People often ask if indoor cats should be vaccinated and, due to fomite transmission, we usually recommend it even though these cats may not have regular contact with other cats. For example, you could be at your friend's place cuddling their super cute cat, who happens to be shedding Feline Calicivirus or Feline Herpesvirus-1. Then you go home and cuddle your cat and transmit the virus to them. If they are not vaccinated, they might become sick.

Written by Dr Kirsty Fridemanis BVSc

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