Vaccinations

Puppies and Dogs

It is essential that all dogs are regularly vaccinated. Puppies should begin vaccinations between 6 and 10 weeks of age. A second injection completes the course. This is given from 10 weeks of age and must be at least 2 weeks after the first injection. Older dogs can be vaccinated at any age with 2 injections 2 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 the Nobivac vaccination which includes protection against the following life threatening diseases:

  • Parvovirus -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 - 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.

  • Leptospirosis -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. Nobivac offers protection against two viral respiratory pathogens, Canine Parainfluenza Virus and Canine Adenovirus 2.

  • 'Kennel Cough’ (Infectious tracheobronchitis): This is a highly contagious disease and a single dog can cause an outbreak.  Affected dogs develop an unpleasant honking cough, much like the human Whooping cough, which can last for weeks. Vaccination is intended to reduce the severity and spread of the disease. The intra-nasal vaccination (Nobivac) is recommended for dogs going into high-risk situations. These are places where dogs are mixing with other dogs such as boarding kennels, parks, classes, shows etc. Vaccination is recommended 2 weeks prior to entering kennels, however it is advisable to check with the individual kennels as their requirements vary. Annual vaccination is recommended for at risk individuals to maintain immunity.

  • Rabies: Vaccination against rabies is required for cats, dogs and even ferrets traveling abroad. Click here to find out more about the Pet Passports.

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 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 Nobivac Vaccination which includes protection against  -

  • 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 local use of the Pentofel vaccine 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.

  • Calicivirus

    • A viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. Another cause of cat 'flu.

  • Herpes Virus

    • 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.

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.

Rabbits

Rabbits should be routinely vaccinated against both Viral Haemorrhagic disease (VHD) and myxomatosis. Both viruses are widespread and endemic in wild rabbits in the UK and are likely to prove fatal in unprotected rabbits. There is no effective treatment.

Fortunately, a combined vaccination for rabbits is now available which protects against Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD) and can be given from 5 weeks of age. Thereafter, annual vaccination is essential to maintain immunity.

Myxomatosis -Affected rabbits classically develop swollen eyes, nose and genitals. This rapidly progresses to excessive amounts of thick white discharge from the nose and eyes, accompanied by swellings on the head and lumps on the body, ultimately leading to death. Myxomatosis is transmitted by direct contact with carrier rabbits but also by biting insects especially fleas and mosquitoes, thus physical separation from wild rabbits e.g. within a fenced garden does not guarantee safety.

Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD) -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, biting insects 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.