Dogs: are commonly vaccinated against Distemper, Hepatitis, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza and 4 varients of Leptospirosis. These are often called the “core disease vaccines”. It is also possible to vaccinate against Kennel cough (drops up the nose) and Rabies. We also can vaccinate pregnant females against a Herpes Virus that occasionally causes problems)
Cats: are commonly vaccinated again Cat Flu, Feline Enteritis and Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV). It is also possible to vaccinate cats against Chlamydia and Rabies.
Rabbits: are often vaccinated again Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease of Rabbits (VHD).
We also vaccinate other animals - including ferrets, chickens! We will be able to discuss the disease risks of these more “unusual” animals with you and help you decide what/if a vaccine is needed.
Dogs: We recommend that all dogs should be vaccinated against the “core diseases” as described above. These diseases are serious and either life-threatening or potentially severely debilitating. This is also the minimum usually needed for dogs to be accepted into kennels. However many kennels insist that dogs are also vaccinated again Kennel-Cough before they can be allowed to stay. The risk of your dog catching kennel cough outside of kennels is low, so unless there is a local outbreak, it usually isn't necessary to vaccinate against kennel cough unless your dog is actually going into kennels.
Cats: We recommend that all cats should have a vaccination against Cat Flu and Enteritis. This is also the minimum usually needed for cats to be accepted into a cattery. It is also advisable to vaccinate cats against the Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) which is a nasty viral disease that can suppress the cat's immune system and often allows certain types of tumours to develop. This disease can infect cats at any time, although the particularly young or old are most at risk Once infected, the virus may remain dormant in the animal for several years without showing any clinical signs, but sooner or later the cat becomes very poorly. Although the incidence of FeLV in the whole cat population is relatively low, it is transmitted by saliva and so multi-cat households and cats that are allowed outside are all potentially at risk. Cats that are purely indoor animals (ie never go outside) are very unlikely to come in contact with an FeLV positive cat and therefore don't necessarily require vaccination against FeLV.
Rabbits: we currently recommend that rabbits should all be vaccinated yearly against both Myxomatosis and VHD. The new vaccines last for a full 12 months.
Britain remains a "Rabies-free" country and so you will only need to vaccinate your dog or cat against Rabies if you are planning to export the animal (dogs and cats) or take your dog or cat on holiday to Europe under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS).
Thankfully these days, because of a high uptake in pet vaccination, we do not see the diseases anywhere near as much as we used to. However they are still around and potentially any unvaccinated animal is susceptible to these illnesses.
They are spread by a variety of factors and can also be picked up from the environment too. The fact that “my dog doesn’t mix with other dogs” or “my cat doesn’t go outside much” does not mean that your pet may not be exposed to the diseases.
It is always very sad when we are presented with a poorly animal that is suffering from any of these very preventable diseases.
Vaccination involves exposing the body to an inactivated or altered form of a virus or bacteria which can cause disease. This results in the body creating anti-bodies to a specific disease without becoming ill or suffering from the effects of the disease itself. Once the body has made these anti-bodies, the immune system is ready to act immediately should it become exposed to the real disease.
Often an animal will need an initial vaccination course of two injections followed by further intermittent jabs for the rest of the animals life. This means that a high level of anti-bodies are created in the first instances, which are then "topped-up" by the "booster".
Dogs usually start their vaccinations at 8 weeks old, and have their second injection at 12 weeks old. This is so that they are protected fully by the time they can start going out and about at 13 weeks of age. This early vaccination is very important as it allows the dog to start being socialised with the "big-wide-world" at an age when they are most open minded.
Cats usually start their vaccinations at 9 weeks old, and have their second injection at 12 weeks old too. Again this is so that they are fully protected at a young age - often when they are at their most inquisitive!
Rabbits can now be vaccinated with the new Nobivac Myxo-RHD vaccine which covers both Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease in a single injection which lasts for 12m. Rabbits can be vaccinated from as young as 5 weeks old.
The vaccines used in general practice are very safe. Your pet may get some transient discomfort or itching around the site of the injection, but this is usually very short lived. However - a very small proportion of animals may suffer a type of allergic reaction to the vaccine; often after their very first injection. With cats, there is thought to be a slight link between the Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV vaccine) and the incidence of a type of skin cancer called fibrosarcomas. At the moment this risk is thought to be very low, around 1 in 10,000. Therefore it is important to discuss your animal's vaccination protocol with one of our vets.
The cost of the vaccination doesn't just include the injection itself. For puppies, kittens and rabbits starting their vaccination course, the price includes a thorough health check and examination to make sure that he or she is absolutely healthy before entering the "big-wide-world". We also provide puppy and kitten packs which are crammed full of information about general health care, flea and worming treatment and training (for puppies), and the vets are happy to discuss any aspect of your pets requirements.
For puppies and kittens we also give you:
For those animals coming in for their annual booster - the same applies. We like to give each animal a thorough "MOT" and health check, and it can be a good time for people to bring up any concerns that they may have been having during the past year. This annual health check gets more important as your pet gets older as the examining vet may be able to pick up problems with the animal that owners may not yet be aware of.
This is a good question - as humans don’t get their vaccines done as frequently. It is quite a complicated subject and one that feelings can often run quite high about!
To try and simplify the science - it is to do with “immune memory”. After a vaccine the animal produces a strong response and produces a lot of the required anti-bodies (or specific cells to actually produce the antibodies). Over time - particularly if the disease itself is not encountered, the numbers of these anti-bodies start to drop. After a while (usually around 12-15 months) the levels of these anti-bodies may have dropped to such a level where they may no longer protect against the disease itself.
This rate of decline will obviously vary between individuals. We are able to actually blood test animals at booster time to check antibody levels to see if vaccination is required. More often than not, the results show that booster vaccination is indeed required - not necessarily for all the diseases but often 1 or more. This is particularly the case with Leptospirosis antibodies. The difficulty is the variation between individuals and the fact that you cannot “guess” which ones are still protected after a year - and those that are vulnerable.
Currently we suggest that dogs have a full vaccine as a puppy and at their first booster vaccine when they are one year old. After this we suggest a “Full booster” only every 3 years (for the Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus) and only use the Leptospirosis Vaccine yearly.
For cats, the Cat Flu part of the vaccine has to be given every year, along with the FeLV vaccine if applicable. The Feline Enteritis part of the vaccine is done as a kitten and the first booster vaccine at a year old. After this, it only needs to be done every three years.
Our vets have considerable experience in tailoring the vaccine plan to individual animals so please talk through any concerns that you have, with us!
The price of vaccination will vary depending on what each animals requirements are. Please telephone the surgery for accurate pricing information or visit our Fees page here.
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