Keeping your pet healthy and safe keeps your family healthy too. By taking some important preemptive steps, you will save yourself a lot in vet’s bills in the long run, as well as the emotional trauma of a sick or missing pet.
Distemper, rabies and parvovirus are extremely contagious among animals, and without proper protection, these are often fatal to your pets. Some diseases, such as rabies, can be transmitted to humans.
Therefore, you should start a proper vaccination programme while your puppy or kitten is still very young. The South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) recommends the following:
First vaccination at eight or nine weeks
Second vaccination at 11–12 weeks (includes the first rabies shot)
Revaccinate at 14–16 weeks (includes the second rabies shot)
Revaccinate at one year of age and then every three years, including rabies shot
First vaccination at eight weeks
Revaccinate at 12 weeks (includes rabies shot)
Revaccinate at 16 weeks in environments where there is a high-infection rate. If not, only give the second rabies vaccination
Revaccinate at one year of age
Repeat every three years, including rabies
It’s important to remember that there are window periods when your young pet will not be fully immune to the disease they have been vaccinated against. Disease protection only kicks in about five days after the shot, and full protection usually takes up to 14 days. During this time, they should be kept away from other animals.
By just doing what he does naturally, your pet is exposed to intestinal parasites (hookworm, roundworm and tapeworm), which can also pose a health risk to your family.
Your pet’s instinct to hunt or scavenge can give him worms. As can licking the ground, drinking contaminated water, or swallowing infected fleas. Pups and kittens can pick up worms from their mom through the placenta, or through her milk.
So, to protect your pet and yourself, deworm your adult cats and dogs every three to four months, and puppies and kittens every three months.
Just think of the heartache and distress if your beloved pet gets lost or strays away. Investing in a microchip is a far more efficient method of keeping track of Fido or Tabby than the old-faithful collar and tag – which can come off during his escapade.
The small transponder – with a unique code linked to the manufacturer’s database – is implanted in the scruff of the neck with a syringe. If your pet does go AWOL and is taken to a local vet, animal shelter or rescue group, it will be scanned. If your pet has a chip, the rescuer will be able to contact you and reunite you with your furry friend. Far less traumatic than roaming the streets putting up lost pet signs on every lamppost. Just remember to update the information on the chip if your contact details change.
By Nicci Botha
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.