Vaccinations have been very effective in reducing the incidence of many life-threatening infectious diseases, but these diseases do still exist.
Dogs, cats and rabbits should be vaccinated from a young age to protect against the most serious and potentially fatal infectious diseases. A vaccination does not last for a pet's life and top ups are required to maintain protection.
We understand that every patient is unique and the veterinary surgeons are always happy to discuss the vaccine protocols offered and tailor them to you and your pet.
At the time of vaccination a full clinical examination is also performed. It is not uncommon to discover problems in their early stages at these checks. Early awareness and diagnosis increases the likelihood of successful treatment. This is also a good opportunity to discuss any other worries you may have about your pet.
Vaccinating your puppy
Puppy vaccinations usually start at eight weeks of age and protect against Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus (DHP) and Leptospirosis. Our protocol involves a second DHP vaccine two weeks later which must be given at a minimum age of ten weeks. A
third vaccination is required two weeks after this to complete the Leptospirosis course. Your puppy will be protected against DHP from a week after the second vaccine. However full cover for Leptospirosis doesn’t occur until three weeks after the last part of the vaccine. The first annual booster of both DHP and Lepto is essential to provide ongoing immunity.
Leptospirosis immunity is relatively short-lived so annual boosters are needed for life whereas DHP lasts three years so we only give this vaccination every three years.
Vaccinating your kitten
Kitten vaccinations start from eight weeks of age and protect against influenza (flu), enteritis and feline leukaemia virus. A second vaccine is required three to four weeks later. Onset of immunity is three to four weeks after the second vaccination. A first full booster after a year is an important part of the initial vaccine protocol.
Adult cats should then be re-vaccinated annually against flu and enteritis to maintain immunity. The leukaemia vaccine provides immunity for three years.
Vaccinating your rabbit
Rabbits should be vaccinated against myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD) of which there are two strains. The combined vaccine contains myxo and one strain of VHD. It can be given from five weeks of age and lasts one year. The second strain of VHD can be
given from ten weeks of age and also lasts one year. It must be given two weeks apart from the combined vaccine.
Rabies vaccination is required if you wish to leave the UK with your pet. Please see the section on Passports for more information.
Kennel cough (infectious tracheobronchitis) is a respiratory infection in dogs caused by a combination of a bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica and the Parainfluenza virus. It is highly contagious and causes a harsh, hacking cough commonly described as sounding like the dog has something stuck in their throat.
The vaccine is a live intra-nasal vaccine given by squirting a small amount of fluid into the dog’s nostril. This vaccine will reduce the chance of your dog contracting kennel cough and reduce the severity if they do but it cannot provide 100% protection due to the variety of strains involved. Due to the vaccine being live, dogs can exhibit mild symptoms of the disease temporarily after the vaccine.
Dogs must also not come into contact with severely immunocompromised people for six weeks after the vaccine. The vaccine is not effective if antibiotics are given within one week. Vaccination can be given from three weeks of age. Onset of immunity is 72hours for Bordetella and three weeks for Parainfluenza and the vaccine lasts for one year.
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