Do you ever wonder why your pet needs an annual booster vaccination?
You’re probably aware that getting a new puppy or kitten means a few trips to the vets for vaccinations, parasite control, and other preventative treatments. However, to maintain your pet’s health and wellbeing, regular trips to the vets are recommended. Annual vaccinations (boosters) are important to protect your pet against preventable diseases. Here we explore some of the common questions and myths surrounding vaccinations…
My pet only had a primary vaccine course, is that okay?
Your pet’s primary vaccination course protects your pet against many diseases but this immunity doesn’t last for life. Over time, protection against these diseases wanes so regular boosters are needed to make sure your pet is always protected.
Our priority is your pet’s health so we recommend annual vaccinations for that reason alone. We don’t advocate annual boosters for commercial gain or because of pressure from pharmaceutical companies.
How do vaccines work?
Did you know, vaccines don’t actually fight diseases themselves?
Vaccines stimulate your pet’s immune system to recognise specific disease-causing viruses and bacteria. If your pet comes into contact with these diseases, antibodies (disease-fighting cells) are produced. These antibodies send chemical signals to the disease-fighting cells of your pet’s body and an immune response (attack against the disease) is activated.
Our pets produce different levels of immunity to different diseases. For example, the leptospirosis vaccine protects dogs for a year whereas the distemper vaccine protects dogs for three years.
We follow a vaccination protocol that ensures your pets only receive the elements of the vaccine they need that year; this means we never give vaccinations that your pet doesn’t need.
Which diseases do vaccinations protect my pet from?
We vaccinate dogs against:
- Canine distemper
- Infectious canine hepatitis
- Canine parainfluenza virus
We vaccinate cats against:
- Feline viral rhinotracheitis (cat flu)
- Feline calicivirus
- Feline panleucopaenia
- Feline leukemia virus
It may take up to a few weeks after vaccination before your pet is fully protected against disease; we can advise you on this during your appointment.
Is my pet protected for life?
Just like us humans, the very young and elderly are more vulnerable to disease and illness. Regular vaccinations help protect your pet throughout their life, even when their immune system doesn’t function as well as it used to.
Helping the wider pet community
By vaccinating your pet you’re also helping to protect all pets in your local community. The more vaccinated animals there are, the less likely it is for disease outbreaks to occur. Most boarding kennels, batteries, and dog walkers insist that your pet is vaccinated when accessing their services.
In the UK, pets have been part of vaccination programs for many years so outbreaks of serious diseases occur less often. These disease outbreaks are only controlled because we continue to vaccinate our pets yearly.