All dogs and cats need to be vaccinated to prevent them contracting many disease which make them sick or can even kill them.
How do vaccinations work?
Vaccines contain a harmless form of the virus or bacterium that causes the disease we trying to prevent. Vaccines stimulate the body’s immune system to produce antibodies. If the animal is then exposed to the disease, the immune system recognises the disease and is ready to protect the animal.
Core vaccines are given to all pets in all regions because they protect against diseases that are widespread and have serious effects.
Non-core vaccines are only given strategically when a particular disease is prevalent in an area or when there is a disease outbreak.
When should I get my pet vaccinated?
The first ‘primary’ vaccination is given between 6-8 weeks old and this is followed by a ‘booster’ 2-4 weeks later.
Your pet will then require an annual ‘booster’ every year to maintain their immunity against disease.
IT IS ADVISABLE THAT PUPPYS RECEIVE THEIR FULL VACNATIONS BEFORE SOCIALISING.
Which diseases do vaccines protect against?
- Parvovirus – a highly contagious viral infection of the intestines. This disease causes vomiting and bloody diarrhoea which can result in death.
- Distemper – a highly contagious viral disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord as well as other organs of the body. Treatment is often ineffective once a dog gets this disease.
- Hepatitis – a viral disease that can cause sudden death in puppies. In adult dogs it attacks the liver leading to weakness, fever, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and bleeding.
- Respiratory Disease – a complex disease caused by bacteria and a virus that attacks the lungs and throat. Dogs will develop a cough.
- In puppies and old dogs the disease is especially contagious.
- Rabies – a viral disease that attacks the brain. it is usually fatal once symptoms become evident (both in dogs and in humans).
Non Core vaccines
- Leptospirosis – this bacterium is shed by wildlife (especially rodents) in their urine. Leptospira spread rapidly through the pet’s blood stream damaging the liver and kidneys, usually causing high fevers, depression and joint pain. Leptospirosis can also infect people
- Kennel Cough. A viral disease that attacks the upper respiratory system. It is often associated with areas where multiple dogs come into contact with one another e.g. the kennels and puppy classes.
- Canine coronavirus
- Canine herpesvirus
Basic vaccination programme for dogs
- First vaccination at 8–9 weeks
- Second vaccination at 11–12 weeks; includes the first RABIES vaccination
- Re-vaccinate at 14–16 weeks; includes the second RABIES vaccination
- Re-vaccinate at one year of age
- Re-vaccinate every 3 years, including RABIES
- Panleukopaenia – symptoms include fever, cats stop eating and become depressed and weak and this is often associated with vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Feline viral respiratory disease – the vaccine protects against Calici Virus and Herpes Virus. These viruses can be passed from mother to kitten as well as between cats; symptoms include runny eyes, sneezing, fever and once cats are infected they can become lifelong carriers of these viruses.
Basic vaccination programme for cats
- First vaccination at 8 weeks of age
- Re-vaccinate at 12 weeks of age; includes RABIES vaccination
- Re-vaccinate at 16 weeks in environments with high infection pressure or in breeding catteries. If not applicable, only give the second RABIES vaccination
- Re-vaccinate at one year of age
- Repeat every three years, including RABIES