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.
The Barn Animal Hospital can vaccinate your cat against the following diseases:
- Cat Flu
- Feline Enteritis
- Feline Leukaemia Virus
- Feline Chlamydophila
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.
Why does my pet need to have vaccinations every 12 months?
Depending on the disease that your pet is being vaccinated against, the period of time that they are protected will differ. Certain diseases, such as leptospirosis in dogs and flu in cats only carry around 12 months protection, which is why a yearly booster is recommended. Even though you pet might be being vaccinated every 12 months, it is not always against the same diseases – your vaccination card will show you which diseases they are getting boosters for each visit. Visiting us every 12 months for vaccinations also means your pet gets a full annual health check, which is equally important!
Does my pet need to be vaccinated if they live inside?
Although your pet may not go outside, it is still possible for diseases to be brought into the house. This could be via soil on a dirty boot or via other wildlife that could enter the home. Therefore, having full vaccination can provide the protection needed for all circumstances, meaning you don’t have to take the risk.
I have heard that vaccines are risky and to avoid them – is that true?
Any veterinary procedure that is performed can carry some sort of risk, however in the case of vaccinations, it is important to remember that for the majority of pets the benefits of being vaccinated greatly outweighs the risks. Vaccination reactions are rare and where they do occur, they are mostly short-term and mild. Reactions of this nature show that the vaccine is effectively stimulating the immune system. The Barn Animal Hospital team are always happy to talk to you about the benefits and risks associated with vaccinating your pet to help identify the most suitable strategy as part of their wider preventative healthcare programme.
With the current COVID restrictions, are you accepting appointments for vaccinations?
Read our COVID guidelines for the latest information about visiting The Barn Animal Hospital.
Are there any schemes/offers to help with covering the cost of my pets’ vaccinations?
Promoting the wellbeing of Pet healthcare is what The Barn Animal Hospital’s team is passionate about! Our Pet Health For Life plan has been set up to help achieve just that.. for as little as £16 per month, your Pet’s health will be protected via essential treatments and services provided by the expert team at The Barn. Join online today.