Puppies and kittens should be vaccinated from 8 weeks of age onwards.
- Puppies should complete three doses of DHPPiL (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza, Leptospirosis) vaccines. They can also be vaccinated against rabies at 5 months of age.
- Kittens should complete three doses of FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia) vaccines. Your kitten should be isolated until he/she has completed all three doses.
Dogs: It is recommended that puppies are neutered at sexual maturity. This should be done before sexual maturity (i.e. at about 7-10 months of age) for males and at 6-8 months of age for females. Large dogs are relatively slow to reach sexual maturity and can be neutered when they are older. Your veterinarian will recommend the best time to desex your dog.
Cats: It is recommended that kittens are neutered at sexual maturity, usually between 6-12 months of age for males. Desexing can be done as early as 3 months of age. Female cats normally come into heat at around 6 months of age, so they can be neutered at 6-7 months of age. Your veterinarian will recommend the best time to desex your cat.
Distemper is a highly infectious, highly fatal viral disease. It is transmitted by airborne droplets (e.g. cough) from an infected animal. It is very common among puppies with a fatality rate of up to 50%. In some cases, dogs may even suffer from fatal pneumonia or paralysis.
The virus starts in the nose, throat and lungs, and spreads to the stomach and intestines, and then to the nerves and the brain.
Dogs infected with distemper can show a range of symptoms:
- High body temperature
- Coughing, sneezing and respiratory problems
- Gastrointestinal and digestive problems
- Loss of appetite
- Eye and skin problems
- Neurological issues
Vaccinations are the best way to prevent distemper infection. Begin vaccinations early.
Canine parvovirus (CPV) infection is a highly-contagious disease that occurs more frequently in puppies under 6 months of age. The main source of the virus is the faeces of infected dogs, transmitted to the body through the mouth. It is recommended that puppies with weak immunity are kept indoors until they have received 3 vaccinations to avoid infection.
Dogs with parvovirus infection may suffer from severe vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, irregular stools, frequent bowel movements, diarrhoea or bloody diarrhoea.
Heartworm is a parasitic roundworm transmitted by mosquitoes. Heartworm disease in dogs is very common in Hong Kong, while it is less common in cats. Heartworms are found in the heart and large adjacent vessels of infected dogs.
The initial symptoms of heartworm disease are mild and often difficult to detect. By the time symptoms become noticeable, the disease has been severe, which can be divided into 3 stages.
- Stage 1: No symptoms or cough.
- Stage 2: Decline in activity, cough, shortness of breath, listlessness, loss of appetite.
- Stage 3: Cough, loss of stamina, difficulty breathing, enlarged liver, fainting, abdominal effusion and even death.