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  • Why Dog Vaccines Are Important

    The visits to the vet for vaccinations and boosters or titers throughout his/her life may seem like an inconvenience, but the deadly diseases that vaccinations will shield your pet from are LIFE SAVING! Thankfully, many are preventable. To understand why we vaccinate pets and how this will help your pet in the long run, here is a list of the diseases you can help prevent by taking your pet in for vaccinations:

    Bordetella Bronchiseptica:

    The highly contagious and infectious bacterium Bordetella causes racking coughs, whooping, vomiting, and, in rare cases, seizures and death. Bordetella bronchiseptica is one of the leading bacterial causes of "kennel cough" in dogs. It is spread through direct contact and airborne transmission.

    There are injectable and nasal spray vaccines against it. To best protect your dog against kennel cough, make sure you keep it up-to-date on its vaccinations and don't board your dog anywhere or take it anywhere where there are other dogs without getting the Bordatella bronchiseptica vaccine first.

    You may be asked to provide proof of your dog's vaccination if you plan to board them, attend group training classes, or use dog daycare services.

    Canine Distemper:

    Canine distemper is an extremely, highly contagious virus that can infect dogs, cats, ferrets, and other animals. It is one of the most contagious animal diseases. In dogs, canine distemper can be deadly. The virus attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems of dogs. Distemper is spread through the air and direct contact with an infected dog. The virus can also survive in the environment for a long time.

    Distemper is most common in unvaccinated puppies and young adult dogs that haven't been vaccinated or never developed immunity to the virus. Dogs with distemper may show symptoms such as:

    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Discharge from eyes and nose
    • Lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea
    • Hardening of footpads and nose (dog becomes less sensitive to touch) twitching muscles seizures

    Information according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that there is no known cure for canine distemper. Treatment options can consist of supportive care, control symptoms of vomiting, efforts to prevent secondary infections and seizure. If your pet fortunately survives the symptoms, it is hoped that the dog's immune system will have a chance to fight. Infected dogs can shed and spread this virus for months.

    Canine Hepatitis:

    Infectious Canine Hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver, is caused by the canine adenovirus that is unrelated to the human form of hepatitis. Highly contagious, it can be spread from dog to dog through contact with urine, saliva, or nasal discharge of an infected animal. The disease affects the liver and kidneys, often causing damage in other organs (spleen, lungs, eyes) as well. There are two known forms of the disease: acute, which is more severe and can be fatal, and chronic, which is less severe and dogs can recover from it.

    The severity will depend on the age and health of the dog at the time he is infected. Many dogs will show only mild symptoms such as slight fever and congestion of mucous membranes (eyes, nose).

    More severe cases will include:

    • Vomiting.
    • Pain around the liver area (upper belly).
    • Jaundice (which is yellowing of skin or whites of eyes).
    • Enlargement of the stomach. Diarrhea (sometimes bloody).
    • There may also be swelling under the jaw or in the front legs.

    There is no cure for infectious canine hepatitis. Treatment consists primarily of supportive care to relieve symptoms and make your dog comfortable while their immune system valiantly tries to fight off the infection. Occasionally a blood transfusion might be needed in severe cases.

    Canine Parainfluenza:

    The parainfluenza virus (also known as canine cough) is one of several viruses that can contribute to kennel cough. It's another very highly contagious respiratory disease that can cause an annoying, dry hacking cough in dogs. Since there are multiple causes of kennel cough, it's not unusual for a dog to test positive for parainfluenza even if the dog does not show any symptoms of the disease.

    Most dogs will recover from parainfluenza infection without medical treatment; however, the virus may cause more severe illness in puppies and immunocompromised dogs, and therefore, should be checked out to be on the safe side. Dogs infected with canine parainfluenza usually develop the following symptoms:

    • A dry hacking cough that could sound like a goose honk
    • Sneezing
    • Low-grade fever
    • Rhinitis
    • Laryngitis
    • Tracheobronchitis

    Kennel Cough:

    Kennel cough, which also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious lung disease seen in dogs. It's caused by various viruses, including the parainfluenza virus, the adenovirus, and the herpes virus and can affect both puppies and adult dogs.

    This disease spreads when an infected dog exhales in the air or through direct contact with another dog's mouth, nose, or eyes. It can also be quickly spread through contaminated food bowls, bedding, and grooming tools. This disease spreads quickly among dogs kept close together for an extended period of time, which is why it's so common among dogs in kennels.

    While it isn't fatal, it can be very painful for your dog. What are the symptoms of kennel cough?

    • Itching or irritation in the throat
    • Sneezing
    • Coughing
    • Discharge from the nose or eyes that is clear to yellowish in color
    • Wet, gurgling noises when breathing, especially when inhaling (known as inspiratory stridor)

    If your dog contracts kennel cough, they can get better just by resting and taking some medicines. However, if your dog has caught the influenza virus along with the kennel cough virus, then other treatments may be necessary before they get better. Antibiotics are usually not required unless the cough becomes chronic or severe. If your dog does have kennel cough, cough suppressants may make them more comfortable. You should keep him at home so he doesn't infect other animals. This will help him heal more quickly too.

    To prevent your dog from getting kennel cough, you can do things like washing their bedding frequently and keeping their environment clean while they recover from any sicknesses.


    Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that's caused by Leptospira bacteria. It can be found worldwide in soil and water. It is typically found in animals like cattle, pigs, dogs, and rodents. Leptospirosis is a pretty scary disease, but it isn't exactly common. In fact, only about 20% of dogs who are infected with Leptospirosis will develop any symptoms. It is a zoonotic disease and this means it can be spread from animals to people. Usually, dogs with Leptospirosis don't show any symptoms at all. Dogs can even carry the bacteria in their urine without ever showing signs of illness.

    So if your dog is acting strangely and you're wondering whether they might have it, watch out for these signs:

    • Fever
    • Vomiting
    • Abdominal Pain
    • Diarrhea
    • Loss of Appetite
    • Severe Weakness and Lethargy Stiffness in the Limbs Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
    • Muscle Pain
    • 1%-10% of Leptospirosis infections can be fatal and can cause kidney failure and/or liver failure.

    While there are some treatments for Leptospirosis that are administered by a vet, if you can catch it early enough and get your dog to the vet immediately, there's a good chance your pup will make a full recovery!

    Simple ways that you can protect you and your furbaby include:

    • Keep your dog away from puddles and flood water
    • Wash your hands after playing with your dogs or cleaning their cages
    • Don't let them drink from ponds or rivers in the wild
    • Get regular veterinary checkups and screen for this disease


    Canine parvovirus is an extremely serious and highly contagious virus that dogs of all ages can contract, but puppies younger than four months old are in the greatest danger. It is a common disease of dogs that causes acute enteritis (inflammation of the intestines). It's spread by direct dog-to-dog contact, contact with contaminated feces or environments, or person-to-dog contact. The virus can survive on kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars, leashes, and people's hands and clothing.

    It resists heat, cold, and humidity and remains viable for long periods of time in the environment. Even a tiny amount of feces from an infected dog may harbor the virus and infect other dogs. The virus is readily transmitted to other dogs by contact with an infected dog's hair or feet or through contaminated cages, shoes, or other objects.

    Some signs and symptoms of parvo include:

    • Lethargy Loss of appetite
    • Fever or low body temperature (hypothermia)
    • Abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, and severe, often bloody, diarrhea.
    • Persistent vomiting and diarrhea cause rapid dehydration, damage to the intestines and immune system and can cause septic shock.
    • Deaths can occur within 48 to 72 hours following the onset of symptoms. You should bring your dog in immediately should you notice any signs of parvo. It is a severe dog killer.


    Rabies is a virus caused by a lyssavirus and is a zoonotic disease that affects both humans and animals. It's transmitted through bites from infected animals (typically dogs or bats) but can also be transmitted by exposure to infected saliva through an open wound. Symptoms of rabies in an animal include:

    • Inappropriate aggression
    • Unusual behavior
    • Anxiety
    • Paralysis
    • Excessive drooling
    • Hallucinations
    • A quick death.

    The disease is almost always definitely fatal once symptoms appear. Hence, treatment is essential within hours of contracting the disease. i

    In Kenya, it is reported that there are 2,000 annual human deaths from rabies (nearly six people each day) and many International, Local Government and many other agencies have launched extensive campaigns (for example, TNR Trust Nairobi ) to vaccinate dogs to eradicate human deaths from rabies by the year 2030 by mass vaccination of dogs and creating awareness.

    Also, legally, every dog needs to be vaccinated against rabies annually in Kenya. You will find that and more information here in this article by the KSPCA. Another point to should keep in mind is that the rabies vaccination tells the body how to recognize the rabies virus and also how to create an immune system response that will attack and kill the virus. Over time, the vaccine's effectiveness starts to wear off, which is why booster vaccines are required for your dog to stay protected.  

  • Our Recommended Puppy & Dog Vaccination Guide

    FACT: There is not just one standard vaccination schedule for every dog. Factors such as age, medical history, environment, travel habits, and lifestyle can all play a part which MUST be discussed so additional vaccines can be administered accordingly. 


    These are puppy and dog vaccinations are considered vital to all canines based on a universal risk of exposure. These include Distempter, Hepatitis (adenovirus), Leptospirosis, Parvovirus and Rabies.


    Although these vaccines are not considered Core, they are significant for most dogs who may be exposed to these infectious diseases and MUST BE DISCUSSED with your vet. These include Bordetella and Canine Influenza (dog flu).


    4-6 WEEKS - PARVO

    8-10 WEEKS - DHLP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvo)



    ANNUAL BOOSTER DHLPR (Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvo)

  • Why Cat Vaccines Are Important

    Like dog or human vaccines, cat vaccines can prevent many cat diseases. We have listed some below so you can gain a better understanding of these diseases and how they can affect your furry pal.

    Cat Flu:

    Also known as Feline Upper Respiratory Infection or “Snuffles .” This upper respiratory tract infection primarily affects the nose and throat. It can affect all types of cats but is more severe in kittens and purebreds. It is not contagious to humans.

    The most common causes (90% of infections) of cat flu are caused by Feline calicivirus (FCV) and Feline herpesvirus (FHV-1), but in minor cases (less than 10%) include Bordatella, Mycoplasma, and Feline chlamydiosis. Cat flu is very contagious and is spread by eye, mouth, or nasal discharge. It can also be spread by contaminated food or water bowls, bedding, or litter boxes.

    The virus can survive viable in the environment for up to a week, so your cat does not even need to be around another cat to catch it. Cats or kittens with underlying health issues can be at a significant risk for developing severe complications such as lasting eye damage or even total sight loss.

    Signs and symptoms to watch out for:

    • Symptoms can appear after two to ten days.
    • Fever.
    • Lethargy.
    • Difficulty breathing.
    • Sneezing, Runny nose.
    • Discharge from the eyes, eye ulcers.
    • Mouth ulcers.
    • Loss of appetite.
    • Coughing

    Please bring in your kitten or cat if you notice these symptoms. If left untreated, they can develop secondary bacterial infections, pneumonia, eye damage, or other complications.


    It is regrettable that there is no treatment for cats with rabies, and humane euthanasia is recommended. Once a cat displays symptoms of rabies, death occurs within about a week. Although rabies is not as common in cats as dogs, it is essential to watch out for it. Your cat can contract rabies through the saliva from a bite from another cat or rabid animal.

    Here are some important symptoms:

    • First 2-4 days of infection, the cat will develop a fever, have less energy, and decreased appetite.
    • Symptoms progress quickly to weakness, difficulty breathing, paralysis of the legs, hypersalivation, difficulty swallowing.
    • There is a paralytic and furious phase, and cats can display symptoms of both.
    • In the paralytic phase, there is paralysis of various muscular systems and the inability to swallow.
    • In the furious phase, cats become delusional, aggressive, and seem to attack without any triggers.
    • Coma and death can occur within a week.

    Please watch out for these symptoms and bring in your cat immediately should you notice any.


    Feline panleukopenia (feline distemper), is an extremely contagious and life-threatening disease and is the leading cause of death among cats. It is caused by the single-stranded DNVA virus called feline parvovirus (FPV), which is lethal.

    This disease is hazardous to young kittens, and it is important to vaccinate them early against this. The infection can be quickly spread by direct contact, contaminated water, food bowls, shoes, or clothing, and is present in the feces of all infected cats.

    Signs and Symptoms may include:

    • Dehydration.
    • Increased hiding.
    • High fever.
    • Weight loss.
    • Diarrhea.
    • Nausea and vomiting.
    • Depression

    Cats who become sick with this virus have a low chance of survival. However, immediate veterinary care will increase your cat’s chance of fighting this disease.


    Calicivirus, also known as Feline calicivirus (FCV), is highly contagious and one of the major causes of cat flu is an upper respiratory infection. It is transmitted in a variety of ways:

    • Direct contact through saliva, eye, or nasal secretions.
    • Food and water bowls and littler trays.
    • Contaminated bedding.

    Possible signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for, include but are not limited to:

    • Anorexia.
    • Lethargy.
    • Fever.
    • Enlarged lymph nodes.
    • Squinting.
    • Sneezing.
    • Nasal congestion.
    • Conjunctivitis – inflammation of the membranes on the eyelids.
    • Discharge from the nose or eyes – clear or yellow-green in color.
    • Ulcers on the tongue, hard palate, gums, lips, or nose.
    • Excessive drooling due to painful ulcers.
    • Some severe strains may cause painful lameness in one or more joints, often seen more frequently in kittens

    Herpesvirus Type I:

    Herpesvirus Type 1, also known as Feline herpesvirus (FHV, FHV-1), is yet another very contagious virus that is one of the major contributors to Cat Flu. It also causes rhinotracheitis, which simply is an inflammation of the nose and windpipe, and/or trachea. This virus is spread much like calicivirus:

    • Direct contact through saliva, eye, or nasal secretions.
    • Food and water bowls and littler trays.
    • Contaminated bedding and grooming equipment.
    • Transmission from mother to kittens in their first weeks of life.
    • Inhalation of sneeze droplets.

    Some signs and symptoms include:

    • Coughing.
    • Sneezing.
    • Eye Discharge.
    • Pink eye.
    • Fever.
    • Loss of appetite.
    • Nasal Discharge.
    • Drooling.
    • Exhaustion.
    • Pain or irritation in the throat.
    • Keratitis – Inflammation in the front of the eyes caused by long-term feline herpes.
    • FHV-Associated Dermatitis – A rare infection that infects the skin, causing inflammation and ulcers around the mouth and nose and other areas on the front of the legs.
    • A cat with underlying health issues and stress will show more severe signs of the infection

    Please do not put your beloved pet at risk. At Westlands Veterinary Clinic, we are here to help you protect your cat from these diseases and get them vaccinated correctly and on time.

  • Our Recommended Kitten & Cat Vaccination Guide

    FACT: There is not just one standard vaccination schedule for every cat. Factors such as age, medical history, environment, travel habits, and lifestyle can all play a part which MUST be discussed so additional vaccines can be administered accordingly.


    Core vaccines are necessary that all cats should get, including, Cat Flu (this vaccine includes calicivirus, Bordetella, and rhinotracheitis) and Rabies


    Non-core vaccines are those that we'll talk with you about based on your cat's health, lifestyle, and exposure to feline diseases. These include Feline Leukemia, Feline Infectious Peritonitis, and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.


    6-8 WEEKS: CAT FLU


    14-16 weeks: RABIES