Vaccinations are a vital component of preventative healthcare for our pets, as they are for ourselves. Vaccinations work by encouraging the immune system to produce antibodies and immune cells against a disease which help fight off infection. Without vaccination, our pets are vulnerable to infection with serious and often life-threatening illnesses. This is becoming even more important in recent times due to a proportion of pet owners choosing not to vaccinate their pets, which is having a detrimental effect on the herd immunity of the pet population.
What is Herd Immunity?
If a sufficient proportion of individuals within a population are immune to a disease, the spread of the disease is reduced and the non-immune members of the population are protected from infection. This is the principle of herd immunity. Widespread vaccination enables us to achieve this by creating a high proportion of immune individuals within the pet population.
The same concept applies to human preventative medicine, and insufficient uptake of vaccinations in children has resulted in breakdowns of this herd immunity in humans. This has been well-publicised recently due to an increase in the number of cases of measles in the UK.
It is important for us as pet owners to keep our pets up to date with their vaccinations in order to avoid a similar situation with outbreaks of dangerous infectious diseases affecting our cats and dogs. One way in which we are helping our clients to do this is through a vaccination amnesty.
What is a Vaccination Amnesty?
Pets which are overdue for their annual booster vaccination may need to start from scratch with their vaccination program, meaning that they require a course of two vaccinations, rather than just the usual single booster.
For March only, we are offering a vaccination amnesty which makes it more affordable to get back on track, by offering this course of two vaccinations at a reduced cost*, if your pet’s vaccinations have lapsed.
If your pet is only overdue their booster by a short time, this may not be necessary – we can help check this with you when you book your appointment.
*Amnesty cost: £30 for the course of two injections (Usual cost: £63.30 for dogs; £71.95 for cats)
Vaccinations for cats
The core vaccinations we recommend for all pet cats are:
- Feline Herpes Virus (FHV)
- Feline Calicivirus (FCV)
- Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV)
These are the viruses responsible for causing ‘cat flu’ and infectious enteritis, and are widespread in the UK cat population.
We also advise that cats are vaccinated against Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) which can cause cancer in cats. This is especially important for cats that have access to the outdoors and cats that are able to mix with other cats, as this virus is mostly transmitted by cats sharing food or water bowls, sharing litter trays, mutual grooming or fighting.
In addition to these vaccinations, we also offer optional vaccination against:
- Feline Chlamydia (Chlamydophila felis), a bacterial infection which causes conjunctivitis and respiratory disease, particularly in colonies of cats or breeding groups.
- Rabies, for cats that require a pet passport and/or are travelling outside of the UK.
Vaccinations for dogs
Our recommended core vaccinations for dogs include:
- Canine Parvovirus
- Infectious Canine Hepatitis
These diseases are all life-threatening to our dogs. Widespread vaccination has significantly reduced the number of cases of these diseases that we see in practice, however recent years have seen a reduction in uptake of vaccination by pet owners, which is allowing these diseases to become more prevalent again. All four diseases are frequently fatal, and Leptospirosis can spread and cause disease to humans as well. This means that it is currently even more important to protect your dog using vaccinations.
We also advise vaccination against ‘Kennel Cough’, an upper respiratory infection which can be caused by several different bacteria and viruses. The vaccination protects against the most common and most severe strains of the disease, meaning that if a vaccinated pet is exposed to the infection, they are likely to experience a much milder illness or no illness at all. This vaccination is especially important for dogs which are regularly exposed to groups of other dogs, such as at kennels, training classes, dog shows or walking groups.
Rabies vaccination is offered for dogs which will be travelling outside of the UK and/or require a Pet Passport.
Call us now to book an appointment for your cat or dog to update their core vaccinations and take advantage of our vaccination amnesty offer available for March only.