Why do we give cats and dogs vaccinations?

Vaccinating our pet dogs, cats, rabbits and ferrets is an important tool in protecting them against serious infectious diseases.

Vaccines form part of our preventative healthcare programme alongside flea treatment, parasite treatment and neutering. Vaccines can be given as injection into the skin or in some cases drops into the nose.

Vaccines are safe formulations which provide protection against infectious diseases by generative an immune response. Vaccines may contain live or killed organisms or in some cases parts of an organism.

All vaccines are tested for safety and efficacy before they can be administered to pets to provide safe and important protection.

Homeopathic vaccines have become increasingly popular, however these should not be used. They have not been tested for safety and there is no evidence they can provide protection against diseases. The only vaccines that should be used are the ones recommended by a vet.

Core vaccinations are those which are recommended to every animal, non-core vaccinations are those that depend on circumstance.

Core vaccinations for cats include:

– Feline herpes virus
– Feline calicivirus
– Feline panleukopenia

Non-core vaccinations for cats include:

– Rabies virus
– Feline leukaemia virus.

Core dog vaccinations include:

– Distemper
– Hepatitis
-Parvovirus
– Leptospira

Non-core dog vaccinations include:

– Bordetella
– Rabies
Lymes disease
Leishmania

Core rabbit vaccines include:

– Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease Type 1
Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease Type 2
Myxomatosis

Core Ferret vaccines include:

– Distemper

Non-Core Ferret vaccines include;

– Rabies.

All young animals should receive core vaccinations and evaluate the non-core vaccines on a case by case basis. Some vaccines need repeating at regular intervals and this varies with the vaccine used. Animals going into boarding or traveling may require additional vaccinations.

Titre testing

In some cases titre testing may be used. A titre test is a blood test which measures antibody levels in the blood. This may be used to assess for vaccination failure, reduce over vaccination or part of travel requirements. In the event an animal already has a protective immunity repeat vaccination may not be required. If an animal has an inadequate protective immunity then they would require repeat vaccination. Titre testing is available as a quick and affordable option to check core vaccine status.

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Seb Griffin

I graduated from The Royal Veterinary College in 2015 with honours and started work in small animal practice. In my first job I spent time working with charities including the RSPCA, The Blue Cross and Cats Protection League. I have two cats myself and my passion in practice is feline medicine.
Seb Griffin

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