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Vaccinations

Vaccinations

We believe in giving your pet the best chance to stay healthy. Vaccinating your pet against the most common diseases regularly is an important part of keeping your pet healthy and gives us a chance to perform a nose-to-tail health check as well.


Cat vaccinations

Cats can and do become seriously ill or die from infectious diseases that could have been prevented by yearly vaccination.

Regular vaccination can protect your cat from infectious diseases such as cat flu, feline leukaemia virus and feline infectious enteritis.


Feline panleucopaenia

Feline panleucopaenia is a severe and often fatal disease caused by feline parvovirus. The virus is very resistant and can survive for long periods in the environment.

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.

Once a cat becomes infected by parvovirus, the virus invades the intestines and bone marrow. This leads to sudden and severe bleeding into the gut, resulting in dehydration, shock and damage to the immune system.


Death is common and frequently rapid unless emergency veterinary treatment is received. Kittens born to infected mothers are weak, prone to infections and may have permanent brain damage.

Although feline parvovirus is still a prevalent virus, vaccination confers a high level of protection against infection and subsequent disease.


Cat flu

This is caused by two viruses, feline herpes virus and feline calici virus, and is often complicated by secondary bacterial infections.

Feline Herpes virus is a very contagious virus that affects the upper respiratory tract and eyes of cats. Many affected cats will become lifelong carriers of the disease and severe disease can result in permanent damage to the nose or eyes.

They may excrete the virus when they become stressed or ill, causing repeated bouts of illness.


The virus attacks the eyes, mouth and lungs, causing severe symptoms such as fever, eye ulcers and pneumonia. The infection is often made worse by secondary bacterial infections. Infected mothers give birth to small, weak kittens.

Regular vaccination protects cats from this disease.

Feline calici virus is also very common. It is generally less severe, but causes fever and painful ulcers of the mouth and tongue, and may again be complicated by bacterial infections.

Vaccination is highly effective at protecting cats from disease, but regular boosters are required.


Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV)

Infection with FeLV frequently results in persistent, life-long infection.

Cats that remain infected with the virus generally develop fatal disease. Most will die within three years of being diagnosed with the infection.

Persistent FeLV infection causes disease through a variety of different means, but most cats die due to immunsuppression caused by the persistent infection, progressive anaemia, or through the development of tumours or leukaemia.


Transmission of the virus is mainly via saliva, for example through sharing food and water bowls, or biting.

If your cat is not protected and you are concerned that it may be infected then a blood test can easily be performed to check its FeLV status.

An annual vaccination is required to maintain protection against this disease.


Rabies

Rabies vaccination is usually only given for cats that may need to travel out of the UK. A single dose of vaccine protects for three years.


Dog vaccinations

We usually vaccinate puppies in two doses, one at six to eight weeks and again at 10 weeks, once the maternal antibodies are likely to have declined sufficiently.

It is possible to vaccinate earlier and there are potential advantages and disadvantages of this that we can discuss with you.

After the first course they require an annual booster vaccination to maintain protection. This appointment also gives us a chance to give your dog a thorough health check.


Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria that is spread in the urine of infected animals. and the most common source of infection is from ponds, puddles and rivers.

Two major forms of the disease exist in dogs. One causes acute illness and jaundice and is usually caught from rats, either by the animal being bitten or coming into contact with rat urine. It usually produces a sudden disease with fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, thirst, bleeding, and jaundice. The outcome is usually fatal and death can occur within a few hours.

The other type can also cause acute disease but frequently takes a more prolonged form. This leads to the slow destruction of the kidneys and renal failure can occur many years after the original infection. Even animals that show no signs of illness may still go on to develop chronic disease.


Canine parvovirus

Parvovirus was first recognised in the late 1970s and rapidly became an epidemic. Many hundreds of dogs died before an effective vaccine could be produced.

Sadly, this disease remains a major problem. Outbreaks still occur regularly across the country. Parvovius is highly contagious and transmitted by contact with infected faeces or places where infected faeces has been. The virus can survive outside for six months or more.


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.

Once a dog becomes infected by parvovirus, the virus invades the intestines and bone marrow. This leads to sudden and severe bleeding into the gut, resulting in dehydration and shock and damage to the immune system.

Death is common and frequently rapid unless emergency veterinary treatment is received.


Canine distemper

Canine distemper is caused by a virus very similar to the measles virus, although it is not a risk to humans.

Although less common than it was 20 or 30 years ago, outbreaks still occur, mainly in urban areas where a large unvaccinated population of dogs and foxes exists. Distemper can cause death or permanent brain damage and transmission of the virus is by inhalation and direct contact.


The distemper virus attacks most parts of the body, including the spleen and bone marrow. This makes it easier to catch secondary infections. As the disease progresses, the virus spreads to the lungs and gut, the eyes, skin and brain.

The classical signs are of a dog with a high temperature, a discharge from the eyes and nose, a cough, vomiting and diarrhoea. Hardening of the skin may occur, in particular the nose and pads.


The virus can reach the brain causing permanent damage, ranging from involuntary twitches to fits. Dogs that recover may be left with some permanent disability such as cracked pads and nose, epilepsy, and damage to teeth enamel.

Once again, treatment is lengthy, expensive and most importantly, often unsuccessful. As the incubation period is long – often about three weeks – it is usually too late to vaccinate when an outbreak occurs.


Infectious canine hepatitis

Infectious canine hepatitis attacks the liver but can also cause eye damage. Some dogs may become infected but show no obvious signs, but in acute cases the death of your pet can occur within 24-36 hours.

The disease is caused by an adenovirus and is spread by direct contact and from faeces, saliva and urine from infected dogs. The virus is carried to the liver and the blood vessels where the major signs of the disease appear.


The symptoms are very variable depending on the severity of the infection. Some animals may show a slight temperature and at the other extreme may die suddenly. Intermediate cases exhibit fever, vomiting, pale gums, jaundice, abdominal pain and internal bleeding.

The less severe form of the disease has been associated with fading puppy syndrome.


Kennel Cough

Canine flu and bordatella are both referred to as kennel cough, but are in fact different illnesses.

Dogs with canine flu suffer from a harsh, dry cough that can last for many weeks, causing distress for both the dog and owner.

We can vaccinate against this and bordatella with a nasal vaccine in the form of some drops in your dog’s nose and recommend doing this once per year.

Reputable kennels will require this vaccination before you dog can stay with them.


Rabies

Rabies vaccination is usually only given for dogs that may need to travel out of the UK. A single dose of vaccine protects for three years.


Vaccinating pet rabbits

Your rabbit should be vaccinated routinely against viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD) and myxomatosis.

Both these viral diseases can be rapidly fatal in an unvaccinated rabbit and there are no cures once infected. The only protection you can give your rabbit is by vaccination.

VHD is spread by direct contact between rabbits, both wild and domesticated, and via indirect contact such as from people, clothing, on shoes, other objects, fleas and other parasites.


Myxomatosis is spread mainly by fleas or other biting insects and is transmitted in this way from wild to pet rabbits but can sometimes also spread via direct contact with other infected individuals.

A combined myxomatosis and VHD vaccination can be given from as early as six weeks of age. Boosters are given every 12 months and cover both diseases. At the time of vaccination the vet will give your rabbit a thorough health check as well.