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Vaccinations

Vaccinations

Vaccinations protect against diseases which are life threatening. Vaccinations have helped ensure that these diseases are much less common than they used to be. However, some are present in Leighton Buzzard and surrounding areas.

We see Cat Flu frequently and have seen cases of Canine Parvovirus recently both in puppies and older dogs whose vaccinations were out of date.

We advise vaccinating cats against cat flu, feline panleucopaenia and feline leukaemia virus.An inital course at 8 and 12 weeks old followed by annual boosters is recommended.

Dogs should be vaccinated against parvovirus, leptospirosis, distemper, hepatitis and parainfluenza.

An initial course of injections 4 weeks apart (usually at 7 or 8 and 11 or 12 weeks old) followed by a final dose at 16 weeks old is recommended. We should see your dog annually to repeat the vaccines needed to keep them protected.

In addition we would recommend all dogs have a Kennel Cough vaccine up the nose annually.

Rabbits should be vaccinated against Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease annually.

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Why should I vaccinate?

Diseases that affect dogs

Parvovirus is a severe and contagious disease that’s often fatal. Parvo is the most serious infectious disease threat facing British dogs today. Spread by a virus which survives for many months in the environment, it causes severe vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. Once the cause of major epidemics, in recent years parvo has made an unpleasant comeback in many areas including the Leighton/Linslade area.

Leptospirosis is caused by a relatively common bacterium found in ponds, rivers, waterways and damp environments, spread through the urine of infected rats as well as dogs. It attacks both liver and kidneys and causes Weil’s disease which can be fatal in humans as well as dogs.

Infectious hepatitis is a severe and typically fatal disease that affects the liver. Now fairly uncommon in the UK thanks to vaccination.

Distemper is a highly infectious viral disease, debilitating and often fatal. Causes diarrhoea, respiratory problems and severe neurological signs. Now well controlled by vaccination, the main threat comes from abroad where the disease continues to occur.

Kennel cough – caused by more than one infection this is the UK’s most common infectious disease of dogs, being contracted anywhere that dogs are in contact – not just kennels. Some 65,000 cases of Kennel Cough were seen in UK surgeries last year. The disease causes a hacking cough that can persist for weeks. One form of the disease is protected against in the vaccination course and boosters. We also recommend the kennel cough vaccine up the nose annually to protect against Bordetella,one of the other causes of KC.

Diseases that affect cats

Feline leukaemia – causes tumours, anaemia and weakening of the immune system. It is spread from cat to cat in the saliva and other bodily fluids during grooming, feeding and fighting. We recommend vaccination for all cats except those truly indoor cats that never meet another cat and do not visit catteries. Annual boosters are recommended.

Feline panleucopaenia – causes severe vomiting, anorexia and fever with a high risk of death. Spread in the faeces, the virus can persist in the environment for many years and can also be contracted from dogs. Vaccination should be included in the primary (kitten) vaccinations and first booster and thereafter every 3 years.

Cat ‘flu – is a widespread and common disease, causing sneezing, nasal discharge and ‘weeping’ eyes. Fever and an unwillingness to eat are common but a variety of other unpleasant signs can also occur. Spreading easily between cats, infection can persist for the rest of a cat’s life and a significant proportion will become carriers. Annual vaccination is recommended.

Diseases that affect rabbits

Myxomatosis is almost always fatal and causes much suffering. Common throughout the UK, it spreads from the wild rabbit population, usually via blood-sucking insects such as the common rabbit flea. The disease is widespread and is seen year round, although the biggest risk period is late summer and autumn. Rabbits should be vaccinated annually.

Viral Haemorrhagic Disease is a viral disease which is also fatal to rabbits.  We have been able to vaccinate against the Classic form (1) for many years in a combined vaccine with myxomatosis. Recently a new Variant RHD (2) has emerged for which annual vaccination is recommended for most rabbits. Rabbits in high risk environments should be revaccinated every 6 months. The two vaccines must be given 2 weeks apart.

Why not combine your health check and vaccine visit with a Well Pets blood test?

Coming in for a booster is a great opportunity to have a Well Pets routine blood screen done to check for early signs of disease. We recommend all pets have a screen done to check for early disease and to establish a baseline to compare blood test with in the future. Contact us for further information.