Pet Vaccinations: Vaccinations for Your Cat or Dog (cont.)

Is there consensus about the major diseases pets face?

Yes, Creevy says. For dogs, they are:

  • parvovirus, a life-threatening illness that causes vomiting, diarrhea, and white blood cell destruction
  • distemper, also a life-threatening illness that causes vomiting, diarrhea, pneumonia, and seizures
  • adenovirus, a life-threatening illness that causes hepatitis
  • eptospirosis, which causes kidney and liver failure
  • parainfluenza and Bordetella, which cause kennel cough and are highly contagious, with generally non-life-threatening symptoms that include coughing and runny nose
  • rabies, a fatal central nervous system disease that can put owners at risk of exposure. There is no cure for rabies and pets diagnosed with it are euthanized.

Major diseases for cats include:

  • panleukopenia (also known as feline distemper), which is life threatening, causing vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and low white blood cell count
  • feline leukemia virus, causing chronic immune suppression that can lead to cancer
  • herpesvirus and calicivirus which are both highly contagious but rarely life threatening, causing runny eyes, runny nose, fever, and malaise
  • eline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), a retroviral disease that causes chronic immune suppression

Cats infected with FIV may appear normal for years. But eventually FIV will hinder their ability to fight off diseases.