Vaccinating (sometimes called shots, jags or inoculations) your pet is essential to prevent serious disease. The diseases we vaccinate against are still common, often fatal and are at best difficult and expensive to treat.
For dogs we recommend vaccination against -
- Parvovirus - this is a relatively common, highly contagious vomiting and diarrhoea virus which is often fatal, especially in puppies and old dogs. The virus can even be spread on the soles of your shoes so you can potentially carry it into your household even if your pet is mainly a house dog. It is picked up mainly in areas which are commonly used by dogs such as town footpaths, greens and country parks.
- Distemper - this disease can cause seizures, pneumonia, severe gastroenteritis and thickening of the skin of the paws and nose (hence the name "hardpad". It can be spread by foxes so dogs in rural environments, hunting dogs and dogs that are exercised in wooded areas are particularly vulnerable. Distemper is usually fatal.
- Infectious hepatitis - this is a severe and deadly viral liver infection.
- Leptospirosis. This is a serious bacterial infection which can cause liver or kidney failure. It is spread by rats and mice in their urine and dogs that are exercised along river banks or streams, dogs that swim in ponds, rivers and lakes or simply have access to dirty water such as drains and puddles are most at risk. Cattle can also carry it in their urine so farm dogs and dogs that exercise in fields can be at risk. People can also pick up leptospirosis. Update on leptospirosis in Limavady - 2 new strains of leptospirosis have recently been identified in Ireland. If you normally get your pet vaccinated at All Creatures, ask about how we can upgrade your pet's vaccination protection to include these two new strains AT NO EXTRA COST.
- Parainfluenza - this is a severe viral flu which causes severe coughing, sneezing, runny eyes and general distress to your dog.
- Canine Cough - this is usually caused by a bacterial infection called Bordetella which is very similar to whooping cough in babies. It can be picked up in dog boarding kennels, at dog shows, in pet shops, at the vets, at the grooming parlour and often simply just by touching noses with another infected dog out on a walk. It causes a severe, hacking, choking cough which causes major distress to the dog but it is not usually fatal unless it progresses into pneumonia. It is now the most common infectious disease in dogs in the UK and Ireland. At All Creatures we recommend vaccinating against canine cough at the time of your dog's booster vaccine - the vaccine is administered as an intranasal spray.
Vaccinating your new puppy.
At All Creatures, Limavady, we recommend vaccinating your new puppy at 8 weeks and again at 12 weeks. (some vets finish the injections at 10 weeks but this can be risky). If you have a Doberman or Rottweiler puppy then an additional parvovirus vaccination is recommended also at 4 months of age. In some higher risk situations we recommend an early Parvovirus vaccination at 6 weeks of age.
If you have bought a puppy and the breeder says it has been vaccinated, it is important that you ask them for the vaccination certificate - this should be a printed booklet from a veterinary clinic with the correct vaccination stickers applied and signed and stamped by a veterinary surgeon. Since your puppy's initial vaccines are the most important medicines they may ever receive, please do not purchase your vaccines from irregular sources - these vaccines are often illegal,counterfeit and may not have been stored properly or at the correct temperature. All dog vaccines in Northern Ireland come under the legal prescription category POM-V, meaning they are only allowed to be administered by a veterinary surgeon who has examined that dog. Please report all suspected illegal vaccine sources to your local vet.
Since the initial puppy vaccinations do not protect your dog for life, your dog's first booster vaccine is given at around 15 months of age. Vaccinations are then given once a year thereafter although we do not need to vaccinate against every disease every year - immunity to some of the diseases can last for three years. Please discuss your pet's vaccine requirements with one of our vets - what we vaccinate against each year depends on your pet's age, where you live and on your pet's life style.
Don't want to vaccinate? We still strongly recommend that you bring your pet in for a full health check up at least once a year as we often are able to pick up problems much earlier resulting in earlier treatment and a better prognosis for your pet.
New at All Creatures - we now have a simple blood test which immediately and rapidly checks your pet's immunity against the main diseases. This can be done periodically to check when your pet's immunity has fallen to a suboptimal or dangerously low level.
Did you know? Some pet insurer's may not cover your pet's illness if your pet's vaccinations are not up to date!
Vaccinating your new kitten.
Cats are vaccinated against -
- Feline panleucopenia / enteritis - this virus destroys your cat's white blood cells and often causes a fatal diarrhoea.
- Cat flu - the vaccine protects against two strains of cat flu, calicivirus and herpesvirus. Cat flu causes severe sneezing, coughing, infected eyes and mouth ulcers. Some cats which have had cat flu sadly never fully recover and are prone to periodic relapses and chronic nasal infections.
- Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) - this virus causes cancers in the body and bone marrow. It can be spread by cat bites. if your cat is an outdoor cat we strongly recommend vaccinating against FeLV.
Your kitten is normally vaccinated at 9 weeks and 12 weeks of age. The first booster cat is given a year later around 15 months of age.
Rabbits are vaccinated against myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease. Myxomatosis can be spread by biting insects such as fleas and midges in the summer time. Rabbits are vaccinated from 6 weeks of age and then once each year.
Keeping your vaccine costs down at All Creatures....
Join the All Creatures Healthy Pet Club and spread the cost of your pet's vaccines over one year in a simple direct debit scheme. This is the cheapest way to pay for your pet's vaccines and has lots of other discounts.
Ask about our Vaccine for Life Deal.... After your pet's first booster vaccine you can pre purchase the rest of your pet's vaccines for life for only £99 + VAT. This could represent a saving over £200- 300 over the life time of your pet.
Ask about our PDSA vaccine deal, multipet vaccine deals and breeder club vaccine deals! Save ££££ at All Creatures, Limavady.
Be a responsible owner and vaccinate your pet - there is little sadder for an owner or vet than seeing a dog or cat die from a disease that could have been prevented.