Vaccinations- when, what and how often? 

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Vaccinating against many common, dangerous diseases is an essential part of pet ownership. The most crucial vaccines are the initial course, given at an early age to provide protection as soon as their maternal antibody protections fades. They will only be protected if their mum's colostrum (first milk) was rich in antibodies, so always make sure mum was up to date with her vaccinations. 

Dogs

We vaccinate puppies at 8 weeks and again at 10-12 weeks old. We advocate an early finish in order to allow them safely outside as soon as possibly (1-2 weeks after their 2nd vaccination), as early socialisation is vital to their well-being.  They are vaccinated against Distemper, Hepatitis (adenovirus), Parvovirus & Leptospirosis and the low incidence of these diseases nowadays is thanks to this vaccination programme. Following the most up to date vaccination guidelines issued in 2015 by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, we now also recommend a 3rd dose of parvovirus at 16 weeks old for dogs in high risk areas or black and tan dogs such as Dobermans and Rottweilers, who have been proven to be more susceptible to parvo. This extra dose is available to all puppies.

Dogs will then need to be vaccinated again 12 months later. We then vaccinate against Leptospirosis annually as the immunity provided by this vaccine is quite short lived and against Distemper, Adenovirus & Parvovirus every 3 years. 

We are keen to avoid over-vaccination and choose our vaccine brands carefully. We can offer a blood test to check antibody levels so that pets are only vaccinated when these fall below protective levels.

We are aware of concerns regarding the L4 vaccines and are currently opting to stick to L2 except where a dog has already started a course that includes L4. We may recommend it if your dog travels abroad where the risk of some Leptospirosis strains is higher. Please ask one of the Vets for advice on this controversial issue.

Cats

Kittens are vaccinated from 9 weeks of age and a 2nd dose is given 3-4 weeks later.  Core vaccination protects against cat flu and feline enteritis but for any cat that will be going outdoors or used for breeding, Feline Leukaemia Virus is also included. Most kittens aren't allowed outdoors until they are a bit older and have been neutered, so there is not the same urgency to complete their vaccine course.

Adult cats are vaccinated annually. 

Rabbits

We vaccinate bunnies against myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Diarrhoea. This is a single injection from 5 weeks old and repeated annually. We also use the new VHD2 vaccine, that protects against the newest strain of VHD. This is a separate injection, given at least 2 weeks apart from the combined vaccine. 

 

All vaccinations have the potential to cause adverse reactions but we strongly believe that the protection they provide against some potentially fatal infectious diseases far outweighs any risk. We do not believe that homeopathic vaccination is a viable alternative, a fact endorsed by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate and the WSAVA.

For further and more personalised advice, please call us and we can tailor a vaccination programme to suit your pet's lifestyle.

 

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