Vaccinations

Vaccinations are an essential part of ongoing pet care.

Protect your pet from a number of serious illnesses by making sure their vaccinations are all up to date.

What are vaccinations and why do our pets need them?

In simple terms, vaccinations protect pets from a number of potentially dangerous diseases. By injecting them with a very weak or man-made version of the disease, your pet’s body produces antibodies to fight and defeat it. This means that if they catch the same disease in the future, their immune system is able to efficiently recognise and resist it.

Pets need to be vaccinated early to ensure they stay safe from disease. Young pets are at a much higher risk of catching serious illnesses, and if they do fall ill, these diseases are more likely to be fatal or cause lifelong health issues. This means it’s vital your young pet is vaccinated at the right time and that you follow all of the instructions given by your vet.

Are there any side effects?

It’s incredibly rare for a vaccination to be associated with a severe side effects.

There are unsubstantiated claims that they cause a hard lump known as injection site sarcomas. However, there is no absolutely scientific evidence to support this.

While your pet may seem quiet, under the weather, or off their food for a day or two after their injections, this is short-lived and they should be back to their normal selves quickly.

Your vet will be able to assess the individual needs of your pet based on their age, overall health and lifestyle to ensure they receive the right vaccinations.

We advise that your dog is vaccinated against:

  • canine parvovirus (a.k.a. parvo)
  • canine infectious hepatitis
  • distemper
  • leptospirosis
  • kennel cough
  • rabies (if you plan to travel abroad with your pet).

Your vet will assess your dog’s individual lifestyle and environment to decide which vaccines are essential to keeping them safe and healthy.

Vaccinating your puppy

Puppies are vulnerable to serious diseases like parvovirus and canine distemper, so it’s vital to get them vaccinated at the correct times:

  • Puppies should receive their first vaccinations at eight weeks’ old.
  • They then require a second set of injections at 12 weeks, followed by a third set at 16 weeks.
  • Your puppy shouldn’t mix with unvaccinated dogs until they’ve had all their injections and are fully protected. This is usually two weeks after their second injection.
  • It’s fairly common for puppies to have already received their first set of injections before they go to their new home. Check your pet’s vaccination history before you take them home.

Booster vaccinations for dogs

Your pet will need regular booster injections throughout their lifetime to maintain their level of protection. Some boosters for dogs are needed every year and others are needed every three years; this is because the protection they offer becomes less effective over time.

Dogs require:

  • boosters for distemper, parvovirus and canine hepatitis every three years
  • boosters for leptospirosis and kennel cough every year.

We advise that your cat is vaccinated against:

  • feline viral infectious respiratory diseases (cat flu)
  • feline panleucopaenia (enteritis)
  • feline leukaemia
  • rabies  (if you plan to travel abroad with your pet).

Your vet will assess your cat’s individual lifestyle and environment to decide which vaccines are essential to keeping them safe and healthy.

Vaccinating your kitten

Diseases like cat flu may affect cats of any age but kittens are especially vulnerable. It’s important to get them vaccinated early to ensure their protection.

  • Kittens receive their first round of vaccinations at eight weeks’ old.
  • They’ll need a second round of injections at 12 weeks, followed by a third at 16 weeks.
  • Your kitten won’t be full protected until two weeks after their second jabs, so keep them indoors and away from any unvaccinated cats.

Booster vaccinations for cats

Your cat will need regular booster vaccinations throughout their life to ensure they remain protected. Your vet will be able to advise you on how often your cat will need booster injections.

We advise that your rabbit is vaccinated against:

  • myxomatosis
  • rabbit haemorrhagic disease type 1 and 2 (RHD1 and RHD2).

Vaccinating your baby rabbit

Young rabbits are more vulnerable to illnesses, therefore it’s important to get them vaccinated early. They need to be over five weeks’ old to receive vaccinations for the fatal myxomatosis disease and both RHD types.

In general, rabbits are susceptible to infection spread by insects such as flies, mosquitoes and fleas. Ensure your home and any pets you have are treated for fleas, as advised by your pet.

Booster vaccinations for rabbits

Your rabbits will need annual booster vaccinations throughout their life to maintain protection. Speak to your vet for advice on regular boosters for rabbits.

 

We advise that your ferret is vaccinated against distemper, with annual booster vaccinations to maintain their protection. Ferrets should receive their first vaccination at 12 weeks’ old.

For bespoke advice about ferret vaccinations, please speak to your vet.

Pet Advice

UK pet passports

Travelling with your pet can be a great experience, but if you’re going abroad, be aware your pet will need a passport. Just like our own passports, a pet passport allows registered dogs, cats and ferrets to travel abroad legally.

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