Our vaccination policy explained

The routine use of companion animal vaccinations has saved many pets from suffering preventable and often fatal contagious diseases.

Vaccination against contagious disease in our pets has greatly contributed to their health over the past few decades and we have seen a large reduction in the number of deaths attributed to these diseases. However we must not be complacent. We still regularly see clinical cases of cat flu, myxomatosis in rabbits and canine leptospirosis which can all be prevented by regular vaccination.

The canine vaccination we use is manufactured by Intervet who have done much research and development on the interval of booster vaccinations. It has been proven that the Leptospirosis and Parainfluenza components need to be given every year but the Distemper, Parvovirus and Hepatitis can be given every third year. We have been following this recommendation since it was published. See www.f-o-v.co.uk for more information.

In cats we tailor the vaccinations given according to their individual circumstances. Some house cats can be vaccinated against Cat Flu and Enteritis only. Whereas cats who go outside must be vaccinated against Feline Leukaemia Virus too. There is no data available to support longer intervals than 12 months for booster vaccination. It is not uncommon for us to see Cat Flu in cats whose booster has only just lapsed and this supports the annual booster interval recommendation in the product’s licence.

We always aim to provide the highest standard of veterinary care to all pets entrusted to us. We therefore follow the best scientific advice and recommend a health check and booster vaccination every year. We follow the recommendations in the data sheets published by the manufacturers. The vaccines are licensed by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate only after satisfactory testing to ensure their efficacy and safety. The Veterinary Products Committee, an independent, expert advisory group (advising and reporting to both the Government and the licensing authority) has emphasised the safety and value of vaccination, and presented data on the extremely low prevalence of adverse reactions to these products in dogs and cats.

We fully endorse the recent joint statement from the British Small Animal Veterinary Association and British Veterinary Association regarding the recommendation for annual vaccination. Read it in full at www.bsava.com and also check out the most recent independent study regarding vaccination safety.

As veterinary surgeons, we have a duty of care to animals under our care and we must ensure that as many pets as possible are fully protected against killer diseases such as: parvovirus, hepatitis, distemper leptospirosis in dogs; cat flu, feline enteritis, feline leukaemia virus in cats; myxomatosis and haemorrhagic viral disease in rabbits; and that this protection is maintained throughout their life.

Just about every cat and dog will come into contact with the odd flea or two from time to time. And not even the most powerful insecticides that we can apply to our cats and dogs will stop that happening.

Luckily, your pet won’t usually notice a couple of fleas. Even with a fine toothcomb, you’d be hard pushed to find them yourself. In any event, they’ll usually die of natural causes in three days. So why do we spend so much time and money trying to exterminate them? Well, the problem comes when those two fleas on your pet really are ‘a couple’, because the one thing that a flea does, with greater efficiency than almost any other species, is reproduce. Indeed, once two fleas have joined together, the female can lay up to 40 eggs a day. Even that wouldn’t matter, except that most cats and dogs live in our homes. This means that all those eggs are merrily falling into your carpets. Very quickly, what started as two fleas becomes a crowd of thousands, all hanging around the house waiting to be fed. And if poor old Fido isn’t eaten alive, then chances are that you’ll be the target!

The good news is that by using regular preventative treatment you can keep your home flea free. We have the latest and most effective treatments available and can advise what is the best treatment for your pets. There is a large range to choose from and getting it right will ensure your home does not become infested. There is an injectable product for cats, which lasts a full 6 months, or a similar product can be given monthly by mouth to cats and dogs. We are now all familiar with spot-on treatments for fleas. These have a proven safety record and the newer ones even stop the larvae developing in your home saving the hassle of using a household flea spray. Beware! Not all flea spot on’s are the same. Some cheaper brands (not sold through ourselves) are merely repellents and do little or nothing for an active infestation. Just ask us for advice.

We advise all dogs are protected by vaccination against the following major contagious diseases:

  • Distemper (Hardpad)
  • Parvovirus
  • Leptospirosis–four types
  • Infectious canine hepatitis

The primary course of vaccination involves two or three injections. They can be started from six weeks of age, with the final injection of the course being given at a minimum age of ten weeks and four weeks after the first.

Your dog should be fully protected three weeks after the last injection. It is important to keep your puppy in your house or garden until protected but we will advise on a managed socialisation program for your puppy.

It is essential a booster vaccination is given every 12 months to maintain your dog’s immunity to these diseases.

Additional Vaccination

This is available against:

Kennel cough Vaccination is of great help in reducing the incidence of this disease and is given by nasal drops. It is best given a few weeks prior to periods of high risk. e.g. boarding or every spring. The vaccine lasts for 12 months.

Rabies We can vaccinate your pet against rabies. This is required if you wish to take your pet abroad using the PET travel scheme.

Which diseases will my cat be protected against?

We use the most up to date and safe vaccination regime against the following four diseases as standard:

  • Cat Flu-Calicivirus
  • Cat Flu-Herpes virus
  • Feline Enteritis
  • Feline Leukaemia Virus

Vaccination Course

The primary course of vaccination involves two injections. They can be started from nine weeks of age, with the second one being given three to four weeks after the first.

Your cat should be fully protected seven days after the second injection and should be isolated until this time.

If necessary we can blood sample your cat for the leukaemia virus before starting the vaccination course. Cats & kittens from an unknown source or those living near a feral cat population are at higher risk of carrying the virus. The vaccination can only prevent your cat becoming infected, so would be ineffective if the virus had already taken hold.

Annual revaccination is essential to maintain your cat’s immunity to disease.

Basic Vaccination Regime

We also offer a more basic vaccination regime if your cat does not require the more comprehensive protection for any reason. This will protect you cat against:

  • Cat Flu-Calicivirus
  • Cat Flu-Herpes virus
  • Feline Enteritis