Vaccinations in both humans and animals have been shown to significantly reduce the occurrence of many life-threatening infectious diseases. These diseases are still prevalent and can, unfortunately, be fatal to our pets.
Dogs, cats and rabbits should all receive the benefit of solid protective immunity by being vaccinated from an early age, normally when their immunity passed on from their mother starts to wane. Vaccinations do not currently last a lifetime, and ongoing immunity is generally provided by an annual booster vaccine.
Puppy vaccinations start from 6-8 weeks of age for Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, and Parvovirus. At The Barn Animal Hospital, we opt to give the second Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus vaccination at 10 weeks old to allow your puppy to socialize sooner. The final Leptospirosis vaccination is given 4 weeks after the initial vaccination. The sooner your puppy is vaccinated the sooner he/she will be able to begin socialization with other dogs. Adult dogs are advised to have an annual booster.
- Kennel Cough
If your dog needs to go into kennels or day-care, they will need a kennel cough vaccination. Please ensure you seek advice to ensure they are covered before booking them in, most kennels request animals are vaccinated at least two weeks prior to boarding. The kennel cough vaccination protects against Bordetella and Parainfluenza and lasts for a year, so it may be given at the same time as your annual vaccinations. The vaccine can be given from 3 weeks of age.
This a live vaccine which is given by placing a small amount of fluid into your dog’s nostril. It will reduce the chance of your dog contracting kennel cough and the severity of the disease, but it cannot provide full immunity due to the variety of strains involved. This vaccine will reduce the chance of your dog contracting kennel cough and reduce the severity if they do but it cannot provide 100% protection due to the variety of strains involved. Due to the vaccine being live, dogs can exhibit mild symptoms of the disease temporarily after the vaccine.
If you plan to travel abroad with your pet, please contact us to discuss rabies vaccinations. Plenty of time before travelling will be needed depending on where you are travelling to. Please see current guidelines on government website.
Kitten vaccinations start from nine weeks of age for Cat Flu, Enteritis and Feline Leukaemia. A second vaccination is required three to four weeks later. We then suggest an annual vaccination.
Rabbits are vaccinated against two deadly infectious diseases, Myxomatosis which is spread by blood-sucking insects such as rabbit fleas, and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD) which is spread between rabbits, or via contaminated hutches, bedding etc. There is now a new strain of VHD, called VHD-2 which is also potentially fatal. We administer a combined annual vaccination for Myxomatosis and VHD, and a second twice-yearly vaccination for VHD-2.
Antibody Titre testing
The veterinary industry is in agreement that vaccines are necessary but there is some debate regarding the frequency at which they are administered. At The Barn Animal Hospital, we offer our canine patients the option to have antibody titre testing. This allows us to see if an animal is protected against Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus. There is currently no method of checking antibody titres for leptospirosis, so we still recommend this is given yearly.
Antibody titre testing is performed by taking a blood sample from your dog and being sent to an external laboratory for a VacciCheck test. This is a rapid and affordable option to check the titre levels for the core diseases that are vaccinated against. It provides easy to interpret results which determine whether the animal has a protective level of the immune response or whether they need revaccination.
With high sensitivity and specificity, VacciCheck is designed to ensure that animals are protected whilst avoiding unnecessary medical intervention. This is supported by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Guidelines, which state that an animal that returns a positive titre has a protective level of immunity and therefore does not require revaccination.