Puppies and Dogs
It is essential that all dogs are regularly vaccinated. Puppies should begin vaccinations between 8 and 10 weeks of age. A second injection completes the course. This is given from 12 weeks of age and must be at least 3 weeks after the first injection. Older dogs can be vaccinated at any age with 2 injections 3 weeks apart. It would be very unwise to let your unvaccinated puppy have access to areas visited by other dogs who might not be vaccinated, so keep him in the house or an enclosed garden. Thereafter annual vaccinations are nearly always essential to maintain immunity (discussed below).
We recommend that all dogs have a vaccination which includes protection against the following life threatening diseases:
Of all these diseases, Parvovirus constitutes the main threat, causing an often fatal gastroenteritis. The virus can live on pavements and in soil for several years. We regularly need to treat unvaccinated dogs suffering from this disease. The cost of treatment is high (min £200) and a proportion of dogs die despite the best treatment.
Distemper is less common and causes a range of symptoms including respiratory and nervous system disease. Severe vomiting and diarrhoea progress to pneumonia and finally seizures which usually lead to death. As with Parvovirus treatment is expensive and often unsuccessful.
Infectious Canine Hepatitis
This virus causes liver inflammation which can lead to irreversible liver failure
This bacterial organism can be contracted from the environment, especially around waterways and areas exposed to rat urine. Leptospiral infection can cause acute kidney failure.
Certain Respiratory Diseases
Several infectious organisms are capable of causing respiratory disease in the dog. This can vary from relatively minor cold-like symptoms to more serious airway or lung disease. Our vaccination offers protection against two viral respiratory pathogens, Canine Parainfluenza Virus and Canine Adenovirus 2.
Coronavirus is one cause of infectious diarrhoea in dogs. This infection is prevalent in the canine population and can cause serious illness especially in puppies.
Intra-nasal Kennel Cough vaccination confers immunity to one of the organisms responsible for ‘Kennel Cough’, the bacterium Bordatella Bronchiseptica. Vaccination is recommended at least a week prior to entering kennels. Immunity wanes relatively quickly and 6 monthly vaccination is recommended for at risk individuals.
There is a reduced fee if you have your dog vaccinated against ‘Kennel Cough’ at the same time as your annual booster.
Kittens and Cats
It is essential that all cats are regularly vaccinated. Kittens should begin vaccinations from 9 weeks of age, with a second injection 3 to 4 weeks later completing the initial course. Older cats can be vaccinated at any age with 2 injections 3 weeks apart. Thereafter annual vaccinations are essential to maintain immunity.
We recommend all cats have the vaccination which includes protection against:
A viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. Another cause of cat ‘flu.
A viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. A third cause of cat ‘flu.
Feline Infectious Enteritis Virus (Panleucopaenia).
An aggressive viral infection causing severe immunosuppression and gastroenteritis. Usually fatal.
FeLV (The Feline Leukaemia Virus)
FeLV is very common and is usually fatal to affected cats, often after a prolonged period of illness. FeLV is currently the second biggest cause of premature death of cats in the UK (after road accidents), and 10% of the UK feline population is infected. The FeLV virus is very contagious, spreading between cats by direct contact (mutual grooming, bites, sexual contact) and by indirect contact (food bowls, litter trays). In addition infected mothers usually infect all their kittens before or after birth. Only one contact with an infected cat is necessary and a large percentage of cats who contract the virus will develop the disease. This deadly disease can take various forms mostly immunosuppression (hence death due to other infections) but also lymphosarcoma (a glandular cancer), leukaemia (a blood cell cancer), anaemia, kidney failure or enteritis. Regular use of the vaccination will prevent your cat from acquiring FeLV and will reduce the level of virus in the local cat population, making it a safer area for all cats.
It is possible to vaccinate cats against just Cat Flu and Feline Infectious Enteritis Virus, without the inclusion of FeLV. This will satisfy a cattery but obviously leaves cats vulnerable to FeLV, thus this can only be recommended for cats that are kept isolated and never go outdoors.
It is important to emphasize that FeLV can exist in apparently healthy ‘carrier’ cats which have been infected but are not showing signs of disease. We can check that your cat is virus free only by performing a blood test. Whilst this may be ideal, it does increase the overall cost and some owners have asked if ‘blind’ vaccination is acceptable. Vaccination of previously infected cats will not accelerate the disease, but does not cure or prevent progression of the disease. ‘Blind’ vaccination may therefore be acceptable as long as we can estimate that your cat has not been in a high risk category. Vaccinated cats in this category can still be tested for FeLV if symptoms consistent with FeLV should later develop.
Separate vaccines are available for use in rabbits to prevent contraction of both Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD).
Myxomatosis vaccination can be started from 6 weeks of age. Normally annual vaccinations are sufficient, although 6 monthly vaccinations may be advised during local outbreaks or if there is known contact with wild rabbits amongst whom the disease is endemic. Affected rabbits develop swollen eyes and lips with a thick white discharge. Skin tumours and respiratory signs lead to death. Myxomatosis is transmitted by direct contact with carrier rabbits but also by biting insects especially fleas andmosquitoes, thus physical separation from wild rabbits e.g. within a fenced garden does not guarantee safety.
Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD)
VHD vaccination is usually started at 10-12 weeks of age. Annual vaccination is necessary. Affected rabbits are often found dead or very ill with multiple organ failures including blood, liver and gut. VHD is transmitted by direct contact with carrier rabbits, but is also capable of surviving on hay, bedding, food bowls, shoes etc. It is therefore very difficult in practice to eliminate the risk of virus introduction and vaccination is the best policy.
Unfortunately it is inadvisable to give both vaccinations at the same time, therefore we recommend two visits to the surgery a week apart in order to fully protect you rabbit.