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Pet vaccinations are an important part of protecting your pets from harmful forms of bacteria and infections. Vaccinations stimulates the animal’s immune system to respond and generate a memory of this response. This memory protects your pet as it enables the animal to be better prepared in killing the infectious agent if/when it is exposed in the future.

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Dog Vaccinations

Most dog vaccinations are started 6-8 weeks old. Following this, a second dog vaccination is needed after 10 weeks of age. This second dog vaccination is very important to overcome the natural antibodies given by the mum and is the main provider of long-term immunity. 

A yearly booster is recommended to keep immunity up to date. There are various other dog vaccinations available which include:

  • Parvovirus
  • Leptospirosis
  • Distemper
  • Canine Infectious Hepatitis
  • Kennel Cough (Bordetella)
  • Rabies
  • Leishmaniosis
  • Herpes vaccination

Do dogs need to be vaccinated?

Vaccinations are essential for providing your dog with adequate protection from life-threatening and debilitating diseases. There is the option of Titre testing, which involves blood samples to determine your dog's immunity. Unfortunately, this is not always 100% reliable, it is costly to perform and leptospirosis would still need to be vaccinated against.

Is it OK to not vaccinate my dog?

As veterinary professionals, we would always recommend vaccinations; the risk is not worth taking when it comes to the harmful diseases.

What vaccines do dogs legally need?

It is not a legal requirement to have a dog vaccinated, but it is highly advisable. Some kennels, dog trainers and day-care require vaccinations for all dogs to use their services. Insurance can also be invalidated if dogs are not vaccinated.


At what age do you stop vaccinating your dog?

Dogs require annual booster vaccines throughout their lives; this is to ensure maximum protection against life-threatening diseases. We base our choice of vaccines on the lifestyle of the dog rather than age.


Can I vaccinate my dog myself?

Under UK law, only veterinary surgeons can prescribe medications; vaccinations fall into this category. Your vet is required to health assess a pet before prescribing and administering the vaccine. Like many drugs, vaccines can have mild side effects, which is why a health check prior is essential to ensure your pet will be fit and well after the vaccine is administered. Veterinary professionals are trained at administering these vaccines; this wouldn't be advised for a member of the public to administer themselves. Also, the vaccination bottles, needles and syringes require correct disposal. Some diseases such as diabetes require owners to inject their animal at home, but correct monitoring, training and equipment is essential. 

Which dog vaccinations are given?

Annual boosters usually cover leptospirosis and kennel cough (can be given every six months). However, distemper, parvovirus and canine hepatitis are usually needed every three years. Therefore, a dog would need a vaccine every year to have maximum protection against diseases. 

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Cat Vaccinations

 

A first cat vaccinations are given at 9 weeks of age and a second at 12 weeks. A booster is recommended yearly. We walk you through the range of cat vaccinations they may require, which include prevention against:

  • Cat ‘flu’
  • Cat enteritis
  • Feline Leukaemia Virus
  • Chlamydia
  • Rabies

Why are cat vaccinations necessary?

Vaccinations are essential for providing your cat with adequate protection from life-threatening and debilitating diseases. There is the option of Titre testing, which involves blood samples to determine your cat’s immunity. Unfortunately, this is not always 100% reliable and can be costly to perform. Cats also staying in boarding or cattery facilities are often required to be vaccinated if you're planning to go on holiday.

Do indoor cats need vaccinations?   

Indoor cats still require vaccines, but this may be a reduced course that only includes cat flu and enteritis. However, many indoor cat owners still have a full vaccination course each year just in case their cat decides to go out exploring! 

What happens if you don't vaccinate your cat?

Deciding not to vaccinate runs the risk of your cat contracting various harmful diseases. If you also want to travel with your cat or need them to stay in boarding facilities or catteries, most sites require up to date vaccination status and will not accept unvaccinated animals. A simple yearly vaccination course can help to protect your cat so they can live a happy and healthy life. 

Should older cats have cat vaccinations?

As long as your cat is fit and healthy, we would always recommend vaccinations for your cat. These vaccinations provide protection from harmful diseases.

Can a vet tell if a cat has been vaccinated?

There is no way to tell if a cat has been vaccinated physically; however, if your cat has a vaccination card, previous vet records or microchip details, our team can look into your cat's history where possible. 

 

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Rabbit Vaccinations

Rabbits can be vaccinated from 5 weeks of age against VHD and myxomatosis. We now also offer the VHD-2 which vaccinates against the most recent strain.

Do house rabbits need to be vaccinated?

Vaccinations are essential for implementing your rabbit with sufficient defence from life-threatening and disabling diseases such as viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD 1 and 2) and myxomatosis.

How often do rabbits need to be vaccinated?

We recommend that rabbits are vaccinated every 12 months to prevent them from contracting potentially deadly diseases.

Do rabbits need to go to the vet?

To ensure your rabbit is kept happy and healthy, we recommend annual check-ups, as well as consults if you’re worried about your rabbit’s health. There are numerous diseases and illnesses that can infect rabbits, including dental disease, which can result in a variety of problems for your rabbit. We provide advice on vaccinations that are essential as well as internal and external parasite prevention including worms and fleas.

For more information about our pet vaccinations or to book an appointment, please contact us today. 

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General Pet Vaccinations FAQ

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 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 outweighs 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 Gower 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.

Are there any schemes/offers to help with covering the cost of my pets’ vaccinations?

At Gower Veterinary Surgery, our Pet Care Plan, is a convenient and affordable way to protect against preventable diseases and discomfort by ensuring your pet’s essential routine treatments and vaccinations are all up to date from as little as £5.25 per month, with plans for dogs, cats and rabbits.