Routine vaccinations help protect your best friends from a number of serious diseases.
For dogs these are…
- Distemper – causes severe respiratory infections and convulsions
- Hepatitis – leads to jaundice and damage to the liver and kidneys
- Parvovirus – a cause of very severe gastroenteritis
- Leptospirosis – leads to jaundice and internal bleeding
Why do we insist on vaccinations?
These diseases are life threatening and frequently cause the animal’s death. All are highly infectious and are easily passed from pet to pet. Leptospirosis can also be passed from dogs to humans. We insist that all dogs and cats staying with us are fully vaccinated with up to date boosters against these diseases. The one vaccination we do not insist upon is the Kennel Cough Vaccine (see below).
What is a Booster Vaccination?
Puppies and kittens have some immunity against diseases passed to them from their mother, but this declines as they are weaned. Your vet will give a first vaccination when your pet is around 8 weeks of age, followed by another some 2-4 weeks later. This gives immunity against all of these diseases for one year or more. But, for continued immunity against some of the diseases an annual top up or ‘booster’ is required. .
For cats these are…
- Feline infectious enteritis – a cause of very severe gastroenteritis
- Feline leukaemia virus – damages the immune system with long term effects such as cancers or leukaemia
- Feline herpes virus and feline calici virus – both causes of ‘cat flu’
- Chlamydophila – leads to conjunctivitis
Why don’t we insist that dogs are vaccinated against kennel cough?
Kennel cough, more correctly called infectious bronchitis, has several viral and bacterial causes. Only two of these – bordatella bronchiseptica and parainfluenza – are controlled by the kennel cough vaccines.
The vaccine is given by squirting liquid up the dogs nose, which most find very distressing – we know of cases where dogs have been sedated before the vaccine can be given. Although infectious bronchitis is highly infectious it is a troublesome but not usually life threatening disease, hence we leave the decision on its use to the owners’ discretion.
We do strongly recommend that the kennel cough vaccine is given to puppies, elderly dogs and those dogs with medical problems such as diabetes who are more susceptible to medical complications.