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Vaccinations & Health Checks

 

Vaccinating your pet throughout their life is one of the most effective ways you can help keep your pet, and others around you, safe from serious and often life-threatening infectious diseases. 

For many of you, a vaccination is the only time your pet will see a vet, therefore, our vets will also examine your pet from nose to tail, weigh them and answer any questions you may have. 

How do vaccines work?

Vaccines work by training the white blood cells in your pet's body to recognise and attack the viruses or bacteria contained within the vaccine. This should prevent infection with that particular organism if your pet comes into contact with it again.

When to vaccinate

For the first few weeks of life, puppies and kittens are usually protected against disease from the immunity they receive in their mother's milk. However, this maternal immunity may also neutralise any vaccine given at this time. Gradually this protection decreases to a point where your puppy or kitten is no longer protected. At this level, vaccination of your pet will be most effective.

Your veterinary surgeon will suggest a programme of vaccinations to fit in with your pet´s particular needs and the local disease pattern.

We advise vaccinating puppies at 8 and 10 weeks old and kittens at 9 and 12 weeks old.

Annual Vaccination

Many people believe that if they have their pet vaccinated when they are young the immunity they receive will protect them for the rest of their lives.

Unfortunately this is not the case.

After the last injection, the immune level reaches a peak and then begins to decline. After a year, the level of protection offered to your pet may no longer be sufficient.

Revaccination stimulates the immune response so that protection is maintained for another year. Without these yearly vaccinations, your pet's immune system may not be able to protect them from serious, often fatal disease

What to vaccinate against

Dogs

Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus (DHP): a combination vaccine that last 3 years.

Distemper: Canine distemper, sometimes referred to as "hard pad disease", is caused by a virus very similar to the measles virus, although it is not a risk to humans. Transmission of the virus is by inhalation and direct contact. 

The distemper virus attacks most parts of the body, including the spleen and bone marrow. This makes it easier to catch secondary infections. As the disease progresses, the virus spreads to the lungs, gut, eyes, skin and brain.

Typical clinical signs include high temperature, discharge from the eyes and nose, cough, vomiting and diarrhoea. Hardening of the skin may occur, in particular the nose and pads, hence the term "hard pad". The virus can reach the brain causing permanent damage, ranging from involuntary twitches to fits. Dogs that recover may be left with some permanent disability such as cracked pads and nose, epilepsy and damage to teeth enamel.

Treatment is lengthy, expensive and most importantly, often unsuccessful. As the incubation period is long - often about three weeks - it is usually too late to vaccinate when an outbreak occurs.

Hepatitis:  As the name suggests, canine hepatitis attacks the liver. Some dogs may become infected but show no obvious signs. In acute cases, death can occur within 24-36 hours. The disease is spread by direct contact and from faeces, saliva and urine of infected dogs. The virus is carried to the liver and blood vessels where the major signs of the disease appear. The symptoms are variable ranging from a slight temperature to extreme cases of sudden death. Intermediate signs include fever, vomiting, pale gums, jaundice, abdominal pain and internal bleeding. 

Parvovirus: Parvovirus is perhaps the most common canine infectious disease. Parvovirus was first recognised in the late 1970s and rapidly became an epidemic. Sadly, this disease remains a major problem. Outbreaks still occur regularly across the country. The disease is characterised by bloody diarrhoea in young animals, with a distinctive offensive odour and severe dehydration. Many will die within hours from onset of symptoms. Once a dog becomes infected by parvovirus, the virus invades the intestines and bone marrow. This leads to sudden and severe bleeding into the gut, resulting in dehydration, shock and damage to the immune system. Death is common and frequently rapid unless emergency veterinary treatment is received.

 

Leptospirosis (Lepto2): we routinely vaccinate against the two strains of leptospirosis known to be present in the U.K. We can vaccinate against all four strains of leptospirosis but due to a number of adverse reaction reports, we only advise this if you were to travel outside the UK with your pet. 

Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria that is spread in the urine of infected animals. Two major forms of the disease exist in dogs. One (L.icterohaemorrhagiae) causes acute illness and jaundice and is usually transmitted by rats - either by a rat bite or coming into contact with rat urine. L. icterohaemorrhagiae infection usually produces a sudden disease with fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, thirst, bleeding and jaundice. The outcome is usually fatal and death can occur within a few hours. 

The other type (L. canicola) can also cause acute disease but frequently takes a more prolonged form. This leads to the slow destruction of the kidneys and renal failure can occur many years after the original infection. Even animals that show no signs of illness may still go on to develop chronic disease.

 

Rabies: if you are travelling anywhere outside of the UK it is a requirement by law to vaccinate your dog against rabies. Please see our "Pet Passport" page for more information.  

 

Kennel Cough: provides a local defence against catching kennel cough. This is required by some kennels so please check in advance.

 

Cats

Feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and feline panleukopaenia virus (RCP): a combination vaccine against two major causes of "cat flu" and feline infectious enteritis, recommended for both indoor and outdoor cats that lasts one year.

Feline viral rhinotracheitis (Feline herpesvirus): cats become infected through close contact with infected cats that shed the virus in their oral, nasal and eye secretions. Clinical signs include fever, nasal discharge, sneezing and eye ulcers. Young kittens may develop pneumonia. Feline herpesvirus remains dormant after recovery, and most cats become lifelong carriers. The virus may be reactivated when carrier cats become stressed or ill, causing repeated bouts of illness

Calicivirus: is a highly infectious virus, spread via direct contact with oral and nasal secretions from infected cats. The virus can survive up to one month on dry surfaces at room temperature therefore indoor cats are susceptible to the virus. Infection is generally less severe than herpesvirus; causing sneezing, fever, painful ulcers of the mouth and tongue

Feline Panleukopaenia Virus: Also known as feline infectious enteritis. A severe disease that has become much less common due to highly effective vaccines. It is very infectious - the virus can be transmitted on contaminated equipment, shoes and clothing, so even indoor cats which don’t have direct contact with other cats are potentially at risk. Clinical signs are typically bloody diarrhoea in young animals, with a characteristic offensive smell and severe dehydration. Death can occur so quickly that no clinical signs are observed. The virus attacks the bone marrow causing the cat to become susceptible to other diseases

Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV): necessary for outdoor cats and highly recommended for indoor cats to help maintain a healthy cat population.  Infected animals may not show any signs for months or even years. It is easily spread in saliva, so cats are infected when grooming each other, sharing food bowls and litter trays and when fighting. Animals are usually infected in the first months of life but adults and unborn kittens may become infected. The virus attacks the white blood cells and bone marrow increasing the cat's vulnerability to secondary infections. Infection causes anaemia, cancer of the blood, intestines and other parts of the body. One in three cats that catch the virus will develop the disease. Most persistently infected cats die within 2-3 years. Only early vaccination and regular boosters can help to protect your cat from the virus. 

Rabbits

Myxomatosis

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease