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Vaccinations

Keep your pet vaccinated in order to maintain their optimum level of health

We at Whitehouse Veterinary Clinics recommend that your pet dog, cat and rabbit is kept vaccinated in order to maintain its optimum level of health. Vaccinations are a simple procedure that are carried out whilst you wait for your pet. Most are in an injection form, in the fold of the skin at the back of our pet’s neck. Pets generally will not feel this procedure.

Dog & puppy vaccinations

Dogs and puppies are susceptible to a range of dangerous infectious diseases, such as distemper, parvo, hepatitis, lepto etc. Fortunately, we can immunise against most of these diseases by means of a simple vaccination.

Primary vaccinations

When puppies are born, they receive antibodies from their mothers at birth. However, these antibodies begin to wear off as the pup gets older. Thus, the pup becomes unprotected against disease and must receive protection in the form of vaccinations.

The pup needs two initial vaccinations in order to be fully immunised. At eight weeks of age (and when your puppy has be living in your house for at least one week), he/ she is old enough to start its vaccination course and receive its first vaccination. The puppy must receive its second vaccination two-four weeks after the date of the first. You must not allow this time frame to lapse.

Remember, a pup is not fully vaccinated until one week after its second vaccination and should not be walked or permitted to be around other dogs until this stage.

Booster

A vaccination expires after one year and as a result, the immunisation gained by last year's vaccinations begins to wear. A single booster vaccination acts as a "top up protection" against infectious diseases. Boosters should be done no more than one year apart. If your dog misses its annual booster the vet may decide it is a safer option to start its primary vaccination course over again.

Cat & kitten vaccinations

Primary vaccinations

Vaccinations for kittens in general start at 8 weeks old with a second injection 3-4 weeks later. Two injections are given as the second vaccination adds to the protection from the first and together they push the immunisation levels as high as possible.

Like in puppies, when kittens are born they receive antibodies from their mothers own immune system against certain viruses. It is important to wait until 8 weeks of age before vaccinating kittens as before this time the level antibodies will still be high, and may destroy the vaccination before it has chance to work. About 1-2 weeks after the second vaccination the levels of protection in the blood will be high enough to protect the kitten from feline viruses.

Boosters

It is important to have your cat vaccinated every year, as the protection from the vaccines starts to wear off after this time. All the diseases that we vaccinate cats against are included in the vaccines every year.

Other vaccinations

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is an infectious disease causing a severe cough and is easily transmitted between dogs with relatively close contact, or sharing the same airspace. It can however be treated with antibiotics but often a long course may be needed to shift it fully. It is possible to vaccinate dogs against Kennel Cough. The vaccine is in the form of liquid which is inserted into the dog's nostril.

Kennel owners request that dogs are immunised with annual boosters and kennel cough vaccinations before they take them in. This is to reduce the chance of a dog bringing kennel cough into their kennels, and it to reduce the chance of him picking it up if exposed while in there. Ideally, a dog should be vaccinated for 5 days before staying in boarding kennels. Owners usually insist that they are vaccinated from at least 3 days before boarding.

FAQ - Dogs Vaccinations

F1: When should my puppy receive his first vaccination?

Primary Vaccination: For the first few weeks of life, puppies are usually protected against disease by the immunity they receive in their mother´s milk. Gradually this protection decreases until the animal is no longer protected.

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

F2: People are not vaccinated every year, so why does my dog need annual boosters?

Annual Booster Vaccination: People in the UK are not vaccinated every year because the risk of disease is relatively low, and because large numbers of people are vaccinated at the same time, e.g. at school. Unfortunately, only about 50% of dogs and cats are properly vaccinated, and therefore the risk of disease outbreaks in pets is much higher. Dogs can also become infected from the urine and faeces of rats and foxes.

In some countries of the world where killer diseases are still common, human vaccinations are given much more frequently than in the UK.

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 it from serious, often fatal disease.

In addition, an annual health check is an important opportunity to have your pet thoroughly examined, and to discuss any concerns and questions with your vet. In this way any emerging problems can be identified early, and often treated more effectively.

F3: What is in the vaccine?

There are several major infectious diseases affecting dogs today. All are highly contagious and difficult and expensive to treat.

Canine Parvovirus

Parvovirus is perhaps the most common canine infectious disease. Outbreaks still occur regularly across the country. The disease is usually seen as bloody diarrhoea in young animals, with a characteristic offensive odour and severe dehydration. Many will die within hours of the onset of symptoms.

Canine Distemper

Distemper virus attacks most parts of the body, including the spleen and bone marrow. As the disease progresses, the virus spreads to the lungs and gut, the eyes, skin and brain. As the incubation period is long - often about three weeks - it is usually too late to vaccinate when an outbreak occurs.

Canine Hepatitis

As the name suggests, canine hepatitis attacks the liver. Some dogs may become infected but show no obvious signs, but in severe cases the death of your pet can occur within 24-36 hours.

Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria that spread in the urine of infected animals. The disease may be caught from rats or other dogs. The disease can either cause severe liver damage and death in just a few days, or slow destruction of the kidneys over months or years.

Canine Parainfluenza

This virus is one of the organisms responsible for the disease known as ‘kennel cough´. Dogs with this disease suffer from a harsh, dry cough that can last for many weeks, causing distress for both the dog and owner.

F4: Is vaccination safe?

In a word, YES: a number of scare stories have been written about pets developing problems such as anaemia following vaccination. Several large and independent surveys have been conducted in the last few years, and all have shown that vaccinated animals are at no greater risk of developing such diseases than unvaccinated animals. As with any product, including food, a tiny proportion of animals may have a reaction to the vaccine, but this must always be balanced against the much greater risk of fatal disease.

Even as we enter the new millennium children in Europe are dying of measles, a disease that should have been eradicated long ago, because parents have been put off routine vaccinations. Protect your pets as you would your children.

FAQ - Cats Vaccinations

F1: When should my kitten receive his first vaccination?

Primary Vaccination: For the first few weeks of life, kittens are usually protected against disease by the immunity they receive in their mother´s milk. Gradually this protection decreases until the animal is no longer protected. Your veterinary surgeon will suggest a programme of vaccinations to fit in with your pet´s particular needs and the local disease pattern.

F2: People are not vaccinated every year, so why does my cat need annual boosters?

Annual Booster Vaccination: People in the UK are not vaccinated every year because the risk of disease is relatively low, and because large numbers of people are vaccinated at the same time, e.g. at school. Unfortunately, only about 50% of dogs and cats are properly vaccinated, and therefore the risk of disease outbreaks in pets is much higher. Dogs can also become infected from the urine and faeces of rats and foxes.

In some countries of the world where killer diseases are still common, human vaccinations are given much more frequently than in the UK. 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 it from serious, often fatal disease.

In addition, an annual health check is an important opportunity to have your pet thoroughly examined, and to discuss any concerns and questions with your vet. In this way any emerging problems can be identified early, and often treated more effectively.

F3: What is in the vaccine?

There are four important viruses of cats for which vaccines are available.

Feline Leukaemia Virus

Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) is the biggest killer of cats in the UK apart from car accidents. It is easily spread in saliva and blood, so cats are infected when grooming each other, sharing food bowls and litter trays and when fighting. Infected animals may not show any signs for months or even years, so many more cats may be infected before the warning signs are seen.

One in three cats that catch the virus will develop the disease. Early vaccination and regular boosters can help protect your cat from the virus.

Feline Infectious Enteritis

Feline infectious enteritis (also known as panleucopaenia or parvovirus) is usually seen as bloody diarrhoea in young animals, with a characteristic offensive odour and severe dehydration. Many will die within hours of the onset of signs.

Feline Upper Respiratory Disease

This is caused by two important viruses and may be complicated by secondary bacteria. The two viruses are called feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus, and together they form the disease commonly called "cat ‘flu".

F4: Is vaccination safe?

In a word, YES: a number of scare stories have been written about pets developing problems such as anaemia following vaccination. Several large and independent surveys have been conducted in the last few years, and all have shown that vaccinated animals are at no greater risk of developing such diseases than unvaccinated animals. As with any product, including food, a tiny proportion of animals may have a reaction to the vaccine, but this must always be balanced against the much greater risk of fatal disease.

Even as we enter the new millennium children in Europe are dying of measles, a disease that should have been eradicated long ago, because parents have been put off routine vaccinations. Protect your pets as you would your children.

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