By running a successful doggy day care and dog walking business in London, we are often asked about which vaccinations are important to have, which are necessary and which are not necessary. We always recommend having your dog or cat vaccinated and given a once over by a vet at least once a year for the best chance of a long and healthy life.
Thankfully most responsible pet owners consider vaccinations a routine part of looking after their pet and they do make sure they’re properly protected which can mean having certain extra vaccinations depending on your pets lifestyle and the surroundings in which they live.
But looking after an animal’s health can be time-consuming and expensive at times and not everyone realises just how important it is. We hope to answer a few of the most common questions about dog and cat vaccines below.
(Image source http://www.bendveterinary.com)
1. What do the vaccines protect against?
Dogs and cats can be protected from many diseases, which can cause very serious symptoms or be fatal. These include cat leukaemia and distemper in dogs.
Dogs should be routinely vaccinated against:
Canine distemper virus
Infectious canine hepatitis
If your dog will be spending some time in kennels or are often in close company with different dogs, they may also be given a kennel cough vaccine (this is an essential requirement for our doggy day care clients). The Kennel Cough vaccine is usually given intra-nasally (into a nostril) and protects against parainfluenza virus and bordetella bronchiseptica.
If you want to take your dog travelling abroad, you will most likely be required to give your dog a rabies vaccination.
Different types of canine diseases to look out for and protect against:
(Image source: http://pitbullmixed.com)
Cats should be routinely vaccinated against:
Feline infectious enteritis
Feline herpes virus
Feline leukaemia virus*
*Current recommendations are that only at risk cats are given vaccine against feline leukemia virus.
Different types of feline diseases to look our for and protect against:
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2. How often do I need to vaccinate my pet?
When puppies and kittens are born they are usually protected from infections by the nutrients in their mother’s milk, providing she has been regularly vaccinated. However, this natural protection only lasts a few weeks so you will need to vaccinate your pet from an early age.
Cats need to be vaccinated by the time they are eight weeks old, and then again at 12 weeks old. A further vaccination may be required at 16 weeks depending on the cat but please consult your vet about this. Please remember that a kitten needs to be kept indoors until 10 days after its last injection and you will need to give your adult cat a booster injection every year.
Puppies need to be vaccinated when they are between six and eight weeks old, followed by another one at 12 weeks. The first vaccination is often covered by the breeder as a puppy should not be taken away from its litter and mother until around 8 weeks of age. Only after the second vaccination will your puppy be allowed to run around outdoors and meet other dogs. Until your puppy is fully vaccinated, it is reccomended that they stay indoors.
3. How should I keep track of my pets vaccination history?
Keeping accurate records of the vaccinations your pet has been given is important for many reasons. If you decide to take your pet travelling with you, you will need to show a copy of your pets vaccination history. Also, if your pet ever has to change ownership, you will need to give the new owner a copy of the vaccination history. Your pets vaccination history should be stored on computer at your vets, so the information is easily accessible. It is quite common for owners to obtain a pet passport for their pet which will also hold a copy of their vaccination history. If you have a pet passport, please remember to take it with you every time you visit the vets so they can update it and stamp it as necessary.
4. How much do pet vaccinations cost?
This can vary but an initial course of vaccinations for a puppy or kitten typically costs from around £20 to £40, with boosters from £10 to £20.