Pet vaccination is something that as vets we have been recommending for decades for all animals we see and continue to do so.
Why Vaccinate Your Pet?
Pet vaccinations against infectious diseases save lives and assists in their quality of life. Viruses, bacteria, and parasites can be passed from animal to animal. These infectious diseases pose dangerous risks, and some diseases can be passed to humans, too. Some of these infectious diseases cannot be treated effectively. Prevention via pet vaccinations is the most effective way to keep both our pets and us safe from the risk of infectious diseases.
Kitten and Puppy Vaccinations
Both dogs and cats are usually protected from diseases for the first few weeks of their lives by the immunity passed onto them in their mother’s milk (colostrum). Immunity is the body’s natural way of fighting infections. However, this disappears quickly, leaving puppies and kittens more at risk of infectious diseases around the time they’re being weaned and going to new homes. This is where vaccination comes in. Vaccines provide protection where your pet’s mother’s immunity levels have faded. Vaccines work by stimulating the natural immunity against the infectious diseases they protect against.
When a kitten or puppy needs vaccinations for the first time, a primary course of 2 injections is usually provided. For puppies, these can start from 10 weeks of age with a second course required 4 weeks later. For kittens, the vaccination course is also 2 injections but three weeks apart and they can start from 9 weeks old.
If your puppy or kitten has received any vaccinations, this will be supported with a vaccination certificate provided by your vet. Don’t worry if your new arrival hasn’t had any vaccinations before coming to you, it’s something that your veterinary team will soon catch up with.
Immunity takes several days to mature so your veterinary team will advise you when and how you can expose your kitten or puppy to other animals. It’s very important that young pups interact and socialise as much as possible, as well as being exposed to lots of positive experiences as it improves their behaviour in later years. Your veterinary team will also advise you how best to introduce your kitten to the great outdoors too.
Records of Vaccination
This will be provided by your veterinary team. It will explain when your pet has been vaccinated and when he/she is due again. Keep it in a safe place. If your pet goes to a kennel or cattery, they will ask to see it. Likewise, at puppy training classes. Replacements are always available from your vet if needed.
Immunity levels do fade over time and your veterinary team will advise when your pet is due for a booster vaccination again. This can vary from 1 to every 3 years, depending on the disease being vaccinated against. Annual visits to the vet with your cat or dog are ideal. This allows your vet to give your pet a health check and injection with the necessary booster cat or dog vaccines. This is a great opportunity for you to ask questions and/or raise any concerns you have about your pet, especially as they grow older. Always remember to take your pet’s record of vaccination for updating.
What do we vaccinate against?
Vaccinations for Dogs
Canine Parvovirus – Usually fatal, a tough virus that can exist in the environment for long periods. Historically this disease was far spread in the 1970s but still remains in widespread areas of the UK.
Canine Distemper (Hard Pad) – Another severe, and again, another usually fatal disease. Thankfully rare here in the UK mainly due to vaccination but outbreaks occur in Europe.
Infectious Hepatitis – Again rare, due to vaccination, but still exists in the UK and is often fatal.
Leptospirosis – This is the disease your dog is most at risk of. It’s far spread throughout this country and can be passed on to you from your dog. Watercourses can be contaminated. Such as river and canals. It can be picked up from the urine of rats and/or other dogs too. In humans, it’s referred to as Weil’s disease.
Kennel Cough – Extremely unpleasant, similar to our human whooping cough. This is an airborne infection so can be picked up where dogs congregate – kennels, parks, shows. This means your dog doesn’t need to meet the infected dog. All that needs to happen is you passing where the infected dog has been. Multiple weeks of treatment is usually required, and even then, some dogs may be left with weakened immune systems and prone to repeat infections.
Vaccinations for Cats
Cat Flu (Feline Upper Respiratory Tract Disease) – Sadly this is still too common within the UK and can be most serious for young kittens. Spread by direct contact between cats or by sneezes. Symptoms include runny eyes and PR nose, extreme lethargy, and high temperature. Regular vaccination is the best prevention.
Infectious Enteritis (Feline Panleukopenia) – An unpleasant and often fatal disease. Fortunately, vaccination here in the UK has been very successful at controlling the disease so occurs rarely.
Feline Leukaemia – This is a viral disease and transmitted from cat to cat. So, by fighting or grooming each other. It can be months before a cat develops an infection after contact, subduing their immune system. Secondary tumours can occur, and it can be fatal. Vaccination is bringing this under control but there are still local pockets of the problem.
A fatal disease not found in the UK. Vaccination against this is compulsory should you wish to travel abroad with your cat or dog. Seek advice from your veterinary team about this as it depends on which country your pet is travelling to as the requirements may vary. It’s always best to plan ahead, so liaise with your veterinary team when you first start to plan.
Contact Us Today
If you have any other questions, please feel free to fill in the enquiry form on our contact page for more information or give us a call on 01789 299455.