Annual wellness checks and vaccinations are a vital part of keeping your pet healthy. When you book in for your pet's yearly vaccination, we also do an annual wellness check which includes looking at your pet's eyes, ears, skin, teeth, gums, listening to their heart and lung sounds and getting their weight. We can apply flea or worm treatment for you if needed. We will ask you how your pet has been, if you have noticed any difference in them or their behaviour, what you are feeding them and so forth. Of course, if you have any concerns we will investigate further.
Annual wellness checks are great because they can catch things early such as diseases, infections, arthritis and weight issues just to name a few.
Vaccinations are very important to keep up-to-date with in dogs, cats and rabbits. They are very effective at preventing severe illness or even death due to contagious diseases. Having your animal vaccinated has helped to contain and even in some cases nearly eradicate potentially fatal diseases. If the number of people who get their animal's vaccinated drops, this would mean that there could be an outbreak of these horrible diseases.
For dogs we vaccinate against distemper, parvovirus, infectious canine hepatitis, leptospirosis and canine cough. Below is a brief rundown of the diseases and viruses:
Distemper - No significant outbreaks in NZ at present but it is still around. The first signs are a discharge from the eye and nose and coughing. There may also be vomiting and diarrhoea, loss of appetite and lethargy. It is usually a fatal viral disease that attacks mucous membranes and nerves. After several weeks it leads on to muscle twitching and ultimately convulsions.
Parvovirus - It is widespread throughout NZ and symptoms include depression, severe vomiting, refusal of food and water, abdominal pain, smelly and bloody diarrhoea and rapid, severe dehydration leading to death. It is more commonly seen in young puppies. Signs appear between 4-7 days after exposure.
Infectious canine hepatitis - It is uncommon in NZ but still present. Early signs include discomfort and lack of appetite, very high temperature, pale gums, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Jaundice and/or clouding of the eye may occur later on. This viral disease has the worst outcome of death.
Leptospirosis - Is more common in the central and northern parts of the North Island of NZ. Symptoms include a high temperature, lethargy, severe thirst, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and jaundice. This is a serious and possibly fatal disease, affecting the liver and kidneys. It is caught from rats, rat urine or potentially from areas with cattle. If your dog frequents places inhabited by rats - the bush, creeks, streams, farms and parks - or if you know there are rats around your home, your dog should be vaccinated, especially if it is a breed (such as a terrier) that enjoys hunting rodents. Leptospirosis is also a zoonosis i.e. it can be passed on to humans.
Canine Cough - Widespread throughout NZ. Symptoms include a persistent dry, hacking cough, retching, mild lethargy, loss of appetite and a raised temperature. Occasionally the disease can progress to pneumonia. Recovery can take up to several weeks. Dogs can pick this up just by passing another dog on the beach that has it, not just in confined places like boarding kennels, dog shows or groomers (like the common name 'kennel cough' suggests).
For cats, we vaccinate against feline panleucopaenia virus, feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus. The last two are commonly known as viruses that contribute to 'cat flu'. Below is a brief rundown of these viruses:
Feline Panleucopaenia Virus (FPLV) - It is widespread throughout NZ. Symptoms include severe dehydration, depression, bloody diarrhoea, lethargy, fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, self biting of the back end of the cat and can lead to death in severe cases.
Feline Herpes Virus (FHV) - It is widespread throughout NZ. Symptoms include mouth ulcers, sneezing with nasal discharge, fever, loss of appetite, conjunctivitis, eye ulcers and depression. This virus is highly contagious, particularly in young kittens who are the worst affected. Most cats who catch this disease become lifelong carriers and they will suffer from flare-ups after stressful events such as a cat fight, moving house, introducing new family members etc.
Feline Calicivirus (FCV) - It is widespread throughout NZ. Symptoms are the same as FHV above and it is also highly contagious. Severe cases can cause lameness and once a cat has caught it, they become lifelong carriers who can spread the virus.
For rabbits, we vaccinate against the rabbit calicivirus (RCD), also known as haemoragic viral disease (RHVD), which is widespread throughout NZ. Symptoms include depression, anxiety, not eating, difficulty breathing, shaking and may also include bloody or foamy discharge from the mouth and nostrils. This disease is very serious and almost 80% of rabbits that contract it will die. Some can also have sudden death with no symptoms. Insects can also carry this virus, so we always recommend vaccination as they can still contract it whether they come into contact with other rabbits or not.