Here at Blythwood Vets we believe that vaccinations are an important part of protecting your pets from severely harmful, yet preventable diseases and are an essential part of responsible pet care. Dogs, cats and rabbits are susceptible to a number of life-threatening diseases, but scientific advances and the introduction of immunisation has been very effective in reducing the number of cases dramatically. It is tempting to assume that they are no longer a threat to our pets as we hear little about them, but they still do remain a constant danger, meaning the correct vaccination programme is the best way to keep your pet safe.
How do vaccines work?
Vaccines contain harmless (either weakened or dead) variants of the viruses and other infectious agents. When an animal is vaccinated the immune system in the body responds by generating a protective mechanism through the formation of antibodies. If the animal then becomes exposed to the actual disease at a later date, those antibodies will prevent the disease from developing. The type of vaccines Blythwood Vets we recommend will be based on your pet’s lifestyle, risk factors and current guidance. Modern vaccines give protection to multiple diseases with just one or two injections. It is important to remember though that vaccines don’t give lifelong immunity and that is why regular booster vaccinations are recommended. It is also an excellent opportunity for your pet to have a full health check. We send out reminders for all vaccinations; please contact us to book an appointment.
By getting your dog vaccinations from a puppy, you will be saving them from various preventable diseases. It is far better to prevent these illnesses than a treatment regimen that may not always work.
What diseases do dog vaccinations protect dogs against?
Although you can decide to immunise against a various number of illnesses, these are the five most common diseases that we recommend vaccinating against:
- Kennel Cough (Infectious Tracheobronchitis)
- Infectious Canine Hepatitis
Kennel Cough (Infectious Tracheobronchitis) - Infectious tracheobronchitis is like the canine equivalent of the human common cold. It is a respiratory tract infection that's easily transmitted from one dog to another. It results in a dry, hacking cough. So, if your dog's going to come into contact with other dogs, whether it's through the use of boarding kennels, or even through simply playing with other dogs in the park, we strongly recommend that you get your dog’s vaccinations.
Parvovirus - This highly resistant virus is spread through infected faeces and can remain in the environment for many months. Symptoms include high fever, listlessness, vomiting, and blood-stained diarrhoea. Vaccination is the only certain method of preventing this potentially fatal disease, which is most severe in young puppies and elderly dogs.
Leptospirosis - Dogs infected with this disease can suffer liver and kidney damage, and they will need a long course of treatment if they're to fully recover. This disease can also be passed on humans!
Distemper - Distemper is spread through discharges from the nose and eyes of dogs. Symptoms can include listlessness, fever, coughing, diarrhoea, and vomiting. The canine distemper virus attacks many major organs - including the nervous system - and may cause permanent damage, even if your dog recovers.
Infectious Canine Hepatitis - Canine Hepatitis is transmitted among dogs by contact with secretions such as saliva, infected urine, and faeces, resulting in similar symptoms to those of canine distemper. If left untreated, canine hepatitis can result in liver failure, eye damage, and breathing problems, while the course of the disease can range from mild to fatal.
Just like dogs, your cats and kittens need vaccinations against several ailments that can impact the wellbeing of your pet.
What diseases do cat vaccinations protect cats against?
You can immunise against various feline illnesses by scheduling your cat vaccinations; these are the four most common diseases that we recommend vaccinating against:
- Feline Leukaemia (FeLV)
- Feline Calicivirus (FCV)
- Feline Panleucopenia
- Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
Feline Leukaemia (FeLV) - Kittens tend to be more susceptible to FeLV infection. Cats are commonly infected orally, by ingestion of the virus. The virus replicates locally in tissues and rapidly spreads to local lymphoid tissue. It can cause cancerous conditions such as leukaemia to a wide range of secondary infections caused by the destruction of the immune system. Several cat vaccinations are available, and these generally appear to provide a valuable level of protection against infection.
Feline Calicivirus (FCV) - Feline calicivirus (FCV) is a highly contagious virus that is one of the common causes of upper respiratory infections or cat flu in cats. Cat Vaccination for FCV is important for all cats. Vaccinations are recommended in kittens, starting at an early age. Cats should receive a booster at a year of age, and after that should receive further booster vaccines.
Feline Panleucopenia - Most cats will be exposed to this virus during their lifetimes and infection rates in unprotected cats can run as high as 90%, vaccination against this potentially fatal disease is absolutely essential. Symptoms can include listlessness, diarrhoea, vomiting, severe dehydration, and fever. A cat vaccination is very effective in preventing the disease and is an absolute must!
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis – The symptoms of this disease may take the form of fever, loss of appetite, eye and nasal discharges and coughing. Kittens are particularly affected, but this disease can be dangerous in any unprotected cat, as effective treatment is limited. Even if a cat recovers, it can remain a carrier for life.
We recommend that rabbits are vaccinated against myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD). Previously this would have been administered through two separate injections, however, our new rabbit vaccine means that your pet can be protected against myxomatosis and both strains of VHD with just a single injection.
Save money on pet vaccinations by joining our Pet Health Club
Blythwood Vets offers Pet Health for Life, which is comprehensive care and great value for money healthcare plan offering benefits throughout your pet’s life. By joining Pet Health for Life you can spread the cost of essential preventative treatments and make savings on your regular pet care, including a full vaccination course or annual booster vaccination.
Pet Vaccinations FAQ
Why do you need to vaccinate Your Pet?
Cats and dogs need regular vaccinations to prevent diseases that can shorten or impact their quality of life. Regularly scheduling your pet’s vaccination routinely helps lessen the spread of infectious diseases throughout the UK pet populations. Vaccinating against zoonotic diseases such as Leptospirosis not only protects your pet but you as well. A little prevention can save you money in treatment and extend the life of your pet. Every pet should be vaccinated — even indoor dogs and cats can be exposed.
When is the best time to get your pet vaccinations?
Your vet will advise you on the vaccinations that are best for your pet, which depend on many factors including the environment in which you live and how many other pets are in your home. Many of the pet vaccines are recommended at a very early age, therefore if you have a kitten and puppy, please reach out to us so we can give you guidance on the vaccination schedule for your pet.
Why does my pet need to have vaccinations every 12 months?
Depending on the disease that your pet is being vaccinated against, the period of time that they are protected will differ. Certain diseases, such as leptospirosis in dogs and flu in cats only carry around 12 months of protection, which is why a yearly booster is recommended. Even though you pet might be being vaccinated every 12 months, it is not always against the same diseases – your vaccination card will show you which diseases they are getting boosters for each visit. Visiting us every 12 months for vaccinations also means your pet gets a full annual health check, which is equally important!
Does my pet need to be vaccinated if they live inside?
Although your pet may not go outside, it is still possible for diseases to be brought into the house. This could be via soil on a dirty boot or via other wildlife that could enter the home. Therefore, having full vaccination can provide the protection needed for all circumstances, meaning you don’t have to take the risk.
I have heard that vaccines are risky and to avoid them – is that true?
Any veterinary procedure that is performed can carry some sort of risk, however in the case of vaccinations, it is important to remember that for the majority of pets the benefits of being vaccinated greatly outweigh the risks. Vaccination reactions are rare and where they do occur, they are mostly short-term and mild. Reactions of this nature show that the vaccine is effectively stimulating the immune system. The team at Blythwood Vets are always happy to talk to you about the benefits and risks associated with vaccinating your pet to help identify the most suitable strategy as part of their wider preventative healthcare programme.
With the current COVID restrictions, are you accepting appointments for vaccinations?
For up-to-date information regarding our guidelines please click here.
Are there any schemes/offers to help with covering the cost of my pets’ vaccinations?
Our Pet Health for Life plan offers the best value way to vaccinate your pet to ensure they have the preventative health protection they need over the course of their lifetime. Being a member allows you the opportunity to spread the cost over 12 months whilst also receiving discounts on other services at Blythwood Vets such as neutering. If you would like further information on vaccination programmes for your pet, or our Pet Health Club, please contact us.