Vaccines are given to both animals and people to try and prevent diseases.

Depending on the disease and the vaccine type, vaccines vary in the way that they need to be given, often needing what is called a 'primary course' and then annual 'boosters'. Most are given by injection, a few may be given differently (such as kennel cough- which is given up the nose).

Puppies and kittens may also have 'MDA' ('maternally derived antibodies) – where antibodies from their mum may interfere with vaccine response. This is the reason we have minimum ages for vaccine courses to start.

Another important thing to recognise that not EVERY individual will respond the same way to a vaccine.  This is the same in human medicine.

In dogs we protect against 3 main viral diseases. They are distemper, infectious canine hepatitis and parvovirus. The bacterial vaccine we give is against Leptospirosis. The last disease is known as Weil's disease in people. Leptospirosis in particular (due the type of vaccine it is) needs to have a yearly booster and is often the reason a 'restart' course is advised if vaccines have lapsed. Additional vaccines we may give to dogs include Kennel cough (not always picked up at kennels!) , rabies, leishmaniosis and Lyme disease. We start the standard vaccines in dogs from 6-8 weeks. The earliest age they can complete the course is 10 weeks. We have a standard time between primary vaccines of 4 weeks. Kennel cough can be given from 3 weeks, however we tend to only do this on 'at risk' basis as potential side effects are slightly more likely at a younger age.

The absolute timings we recommend may vary slightly depending on the local risk at the time.

In cats we tend to protect against Cat flu (respiratory disease), enteritis (intestinal disease) and usually feline leukaemia (a virus spread directly from cat to cat). Others vaccines are also available but given infrequently. Vaccines are not available for all diseases (such as FIV), and we recommend neutering to try and reduce the spread of diseases such as this. We recommend starting standard cat vaccines at 9 weeks, with the second of the primary course 3-4 weeks later.

Rabbits have 2 diseases we vaccinate against; myxomatosis and RHDV (Rabbit haemorrhagic diarrhoea virus). There is also an additional vaccine available against RHDV2 (another strain) which has recently started to causes problems across the country. We generally recommend that the standard double vaccine is given from 6 weeks. The additional vaccine is from 10 weeks of age, with a 4 week gap between vaccines recommended. Generally speaking we would use these vaccines annually. Ferrets can have distemper vaccine given (off licence).

Poultry can be vaccinated but this is aimed at commercial birds so we are unable to keep these in stock due to the quantities they are made in (these are aimed at flocks rather than individuals).

So book an appointment today If you have any questions or concerns.