Vaccinations protect your pets against dangerous diseases, some of which can be fatal. Vaccines usually contain small quantities of altered or "killed" viruses that stimulate the immune system to produce disease-fighting cells and proteins, known as antibodies. These antibodies fight the disease if your pet encounters it and so they will not become unwell.
How do we vaccinate?
Most pet vaccinations are given as an injection under the skin. This is not painful, though vaccines are kept refrigerated and some animals react to the cold sensation. The exception is the kennel cough vaccine in dogs, which is given into the nose by spraying it up the nostril.
Vaccinations must be given by a veterinary surgeon or a veterinary nurse (RVN) under the vets’ instruction. Vaccination appointments always include a physical examination to ensure your pet is healthy, as any other problems (such as illness or infections) may prevent the immune system from responding properly. To arrange a vaccination appointment please call your practice directly.
Essential annual vaccinations are included in The Healthy Pet Club membership!
When should we vaccinate?
Ideally vaccines should be given when a pet is young, before they have had chance to come in to contact with diseases. It is never too late to start a vaccination course though!
The minimum age for vaccinations are:
- Puppies: 6-8 weeks old
- Kittens: 9 weeks old
- Rabbits: 5 weeks old
The first time a cat or dog is vaccinated we give two vaccines a few weeks apart to provide maximum protection, known as a primary course. Rabbits usually only need a single dose.
All pets need a booster injection every year to remain fully protected. Vaccinations only provide immunity for 1-3 years depending on the disease, and each part of the vaccine is only given when needed. Your vet will keep track of which injection your pet needs each year.
If your pet does not receive their booster on time, they may need to have another primary course.
What do we vaccinate against?
Different pets need vaccinating against different diseases. Core vaccinations protect against the most serious diseases and are considered essential. These are:
- Feline herpesvirus
- Feline calicivirus
- Viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD)
Other vaccinations are considered non-essential, meaning they may not be needed for every pet. This includes kennel cough vaccine in dogs, feline leukaemia vaccine in cats, and rabies vaccination for both cats and dogs.
Essential annual vaccinations are included in The Healthy Pet Club membership.