The importance of vaccinating your dog, cat and rabbit.

Vaccinating your pets is one of the most important things that you can do as an owner. By giving your pets their first course of vaccinations when they are younger, along with annual booster vaccinations, you are giving them  cover against potentially fatal diseases.

Let’s take a look at the different types of vaccinations that we offer, along with what different diseases that we can vaccinate them against.

How do vaccines work?

Vaccines are either given as an injection underneath the skin, or sometimes given up your pet’s nose. They work by exposing your pet to a small amount of the disease   to trigger their immune response.

This way, if the disease were to enter the body for real, their bodies would be prepared and have the antibodies ready to fight the disease, r .

Can humans catch diseases from animals?

Yes, humans can catch diseases from animals. There are many different diseases or infections that we can catch from our pets, and these are known as zoonotic diseases. This makes vaccinating your pets even more important in order to protect you and your family.

One of the main diseases that we vaccinate dogs against is a disease called leptospirosis. This disease can be transmitted from dogs to humans and vice versa. In dogs, the disease can be fatal. In humans, leptospirosis can be a serious medical condition that can also be fatal in severe cases.

What diseases do we vaccinate dogs against?

There are a number of different diseases that we vaccinate dogs against at Woolton Vets. These include:

Leptospirosis: This is a life-threatening and serious disease that is spread through the urine of infected animals. Leptospirosis is often spread through rat urine, with the bacteria being able to survive in water or soil for several weeks. Leptospirosis can unfortunately be fatal, as it attacks the liver and kidneys.

Distemper: This is a virus that is either spread through the air or through items that infected dogs have come into contact with, such as food and water bowls. Distemper virus infection can start in the lymph nodes before progressing to other parts of the body such as the respiratory and gastro-intestinal systems. Distemper can be a fatal disease in dogs, but is fortunately rare in the UK due to widespread vaccination .

Infectious Hepatitis: This disease is potentially life threatening in dogs. It is contracted by dogs coming into contact with urine that contains the infection. It attacks both the kidneys and the liver and is usually seen  in both unvaccinated puppies and adult dogs.

Parvovirus: Parvovirus is most common in puppies but can also occur in unvaccinated adult dogs. This is highly contagious and causes haemorrhagic diarrhoea (diarrhoea containing blood). Unfortunately, parvovirus has a high death rate due to the gastro-intestinal tract being unable to absorb nutrients. It’s one of the most common fatal infections in the UK, and vaccination is the only effective defence for puppies .

Kennel cough: As the name suggests, kennel cough causes dogs to cough and hack. Kennel cough is a respiratory infection and, in severe cases, can result in pneumonia. This is where fluid accumulates in the lungs.

Contrary to its name, kennel cough is not only passed between dogs that are staying in kennels. Any dog can catch kennel cough, whether it is at doggy daycare, the park or from socialising with other dogs that are infected and  . The vaccine may not prevent infection, but is effective at reducing the severity and spread of the infection.

What do we vaccinate cats against?

Cats can be vaccinated against different types of diseases and infections. The diseases that we vaccinate cats against include:

Feline Leukaemia: This is an incurable viral infection that can be quickly spread between unvaccinated cats. Once a cat is infected, their  lifespan will be considerably decreased. The infection weakens the immune system, making them unable to fight common diseases.

After diagnosis of feline leukaemia, depending on how advanced the condition is, cats can have as little as 4 years of life left.

Cat Flu (feline herpes and feline calicivirus): Cat flu is common in our feline friends and affects a cat’s upper respiratory system. In severe cases, especially in kittens, the viral disease can unfortunately be fatal. Even mild cases of cat flu can cause harm to our cats, so it is essential to get them vaccinated to minimise the severity, and prevent them becoming life-long carriers.

Feline infectious enteritis: An infection called feline parvovirus causes feline enteritis (inflammation of the small intestine) which is often fatal in cats. The infection can also be referred to as feline panleukopenia and can cause haemorrhagic vomiting and diarrhoea. It is often spread through direct contact or if a cat comes into contact with an item, such as a food bowl, that an infected cat has used.

Do rabbits need vaccinations?

Yes, rabbits need a course of vaccinations. It’s not just cats and dogs that need protection from infection and diseases. We commonly vaccinate rabbits against:

Myxomatosis: This is a very common disease in rabbits, especially wild rabbits. If your rabbit is an outdoor bunny, it is essential to vaccinate them against myxomatosis. It is spread either by mosquitos or contact between an infected rabbit and an unvaccinated rabbit. The disease is nearly always fatal in unvaccinated bunnies , as there is no specific treatment or cure.

Viral haemorrhagic disease 1 & 2: This is another disease that is common in wild British rabbits and can be easily transmitted to their domesticated cousins. VHD causes severe internal bleeding and liver disease. It can be spread either through direct contact with an infected rabbit or through a contaminated object. There are two strains of the disease, with both usually being fatal.

Vaccinating your pet is essential in order to protect them from fatal diseases. It is also important to remember that some pet insurance policies may become void if you do not vaccinate your pet. If you are planning on travelling abroad with your pet, there may be additional vaccinations that are required.

Speak to us directly for more information on pet vaccinations.