Vaccination is essential for your pet to keep it safe from some fatal diseases. It will protect your dog from diseases such as distemper, lepto and parvovirus and hepatitis. A vaccine to prevent cat flu ( herpes and calici virus) and enteritis (feline panleukopaenia) in kittens, as well an additional vaccine to prevent the frequently fatal immune disease Feline leukaemia Virus (FeLV) are available.
As always, prevention is better than cure. Choosing to vaccinate your pet is a responsible decision to make – many of the diseases we vaccinate for are extremely serious, and in some cases very difficult or impossible to cure. By vaccinating your pet, and keeping up to date with their yearly boosters, you are giving your pet the best chance of a happy and healthy life.
When should I bring my cat or dog to be vaccinated?
To effectively start protecting your pet against disease, your pet must first have a ‘primary course’ of vaccinations. This simply means that we give your pet 2 injections two weeks apart. The first injection is to challenge the immune system to build up its defences, the second is to test out and strenghten this defence so that the body is primed and ready to respond quickly to a real infection should it be unlucky enough to meet it.
For both puppies and kittens, the first vaccination of the primary vaccination course should ideally be given at 8 weeks of age and the second at 12 weeks.
If you have an older dog, and are not sure whether they have been vaccinated before, or in the last year, we can still carry out these vaccinations as for young puppies to protect them from these infections.
What about booster vaccinations?
After this, you will need to top-up your pets’ immunity every year with a booster vaccine to ensure that he or she is still protected from these serious diseases.
It is important to do this within a year of the last vaccination, as if the vaccination is done late (more than a year after the last injection), we cannot guarantee that the booster will work and keep your pet protected. In this case, we must restart the vaccination course with 2 injections 2 weeks apart (the same as when your pet was young) to ensure that they are properly protected from these diseases.
We understand that sometimes it may be difficult to remember to keep up with the yearly booster. Because we feel it is important to keep your pet protected from these fatal diseases, we will send you a vaccination reminder approximately 1 month before your pets booster is due. You can then ring the surgery to arrange an appointment for your pet’s yearly booster at a time convenient to you.
Why can’t my puppy or kitten be vaccinated earlier than 8 weeks?
The vaccination cannot be given earlier that this as the puppy’s or kitten’s immune system is not developed enough for the vaccine to work effectively.
But the person I bought the puppy from said that my puppy has already been vaccinated?
When you first get your puppy, you may be told that they have already been vaccinated – however, it is very important that you check what diseases they have actually been immunised against by checking their vaccination card – we can do this for you at the first puppy check, which should ideally take place in the first few days that you get your new puppy. Most often, puppies have only been vaccinated for ‘Parvovirus’ whilst being with the breeder – this is good practice to prevent against this fatal disease early in the puppy’s life. However, it does not provide full immunity to the disease, and gives your puppy no immunity to many other serious diseases that are covered for in the full primary course of vaccinations. Because of this IT IS ALWAYS NECESSARY to follow this with a full course of primary vaccinations.
FeLV is an extra vaccination for my cat? But why do I need to do that?
FeLV is not part of the ‘core’ vaccination for influenza and enteritis that is normally given to cats. You can choose to give your cat the core vaccination only, but this leaves them unprotected against the Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV)– a common disease which causes various cancers (leukaemia and lymphoma) as well as suppression of the immune system and anaemia (a low number of oxygen carrying red blood cells in the body). Cats who spend time outdoors are more at risk that indoor cats, as it is spread by contact with other cats or their waste. However, it is still possible for indoor cats to contract the disease. We recommend that all cats who spend any time outdoors receive the FeLV vaccination. For indoor cats, your vet can assess your cat’s risk of contracting the diseases and can vaccinate them against FeLV for you if required.
Routine health checks
Routine health checks are an integral part of ensuring you pet stays happy and healthy. These routine checks are part of the vaccination consultation and include a full thorough clinical examination along with asking you some questions about your pet’s daily life and activities to help us assess their current health. This allows us to spot any potential problems in the early stages so that as a team, you and your vet can manage your pet’s lifestyle to keep him healthy and to investigate any problems further if required.