Vaccinations protect an animal against specific diseases, mostly viral, some bacterial. The mother passes some immunity to the offspring. When these antibodies go down it's a dangerous time for the young. That's why vets recommend starting courses of vaccinations early. The second vaccination is given a few weeks later, depending on the species of your pet. Let's look at this in detail:
Puppy vaccinations are against a range of diseases. Parvovirus causes severe illness with vomiting and bloody diarrhoea that often has a fatal outcome. We don't often see distemper these days, but if fewer dogs were vaccinated it would certainly resurge. The same is true for infectious canine hepatitis. Leptospirosis is caused by a bacterium that can be transmitted to humans (Weil's disease) and is often contracted around water and whereever rats live. All these vaccinations come in a single injection, in puppies typically given at 8 and 10 weeks, or at any time in later life.
Kennel cough is slightly misnamed because it can occur when dogs meet other dogs, including training, shows or even meetings of canine friends in the park. Most kennels in our area ask for boarders to have been given the vaccine, and well before the stay. As an intranasal application (up the nose), it gives local immunity, but can sometimes lead to a mild cough for a few days.
Cats had parvovirus long before it became a dog disease. Also called 'feline enteritis' it brings severe vomiting, anorexia and diarrhoea. Cat 'flu' is very contagious and can be caused by more than one virus. Affected cats sneeze, cough, have eye and nose discharge and often are unwilling to eat. While most cats survive the acute illness many can be carriers of the virus for life.
Feline leukaemia (FeLV) can take years to manifest itself in tumours, anaemia and general decline of health. There is no cure. Vaccinations against these diseases can be started in kittens from 9 weeks of age, but also at any age in adults.
Rabbits vaccinations are available against VHD and Myxomatosis. The latter disease is common in wild rabbits and spread through rabbit fleas. As it is rife in Telford we recommend a booster every 6 months.
Ferrets are susceptible to distemper and can receive injections with a dog vaccine.
All these vaccines need regular boosters to keep up immunity. A lapsed booster means having to restart a course of vaccinations.
Please ring the surgery if you have any other questions or would like to make an appointment.