Dog Vaccinations

Puppies are routinely vaccinated against Distemper, Leptospirosis, Parvovirus, Viral Hepatitis and Parainfluenza. The initial course is two injections two weeks apart, although the second vaccination must be given after 10 weeks of age. It is important not to take your puppy outside of your own garden or introduce it to a dog who may not be vaccinated until several days after the second vaccination. If your puppy has had its first vaccination elsewhere, please call us so we can advise you when to book the second one.

3 lab pups

Annual booster vaccinations are given along with a complete health check examination. We send out reminders to help you remember these important check-ups.

Dogs can also be given a vaccination against kennel cough (Bordetella bronchiseptica). Ideally it should be given at least two weeks before going into a “high-risk” situation – most often kennels, but also pet-shows, training classes, etc. This vaccination lasts for a year. The vaccination is in the form of some drops into the nose.

More information on the diseases we vaccinate against:

  1. Canine Parvovirus – an acute, usually fatal, disease causing extreme bloody vomiting and diarrhoea. More commonly seen in puppies but can affect any age of dog. Route of infection is ingestion of contaminated material. Puppies which survive the acute infection may die of heart related problems within 2 years.
  2. Canine Distemper Virus – an acute, usually fatal disease causing initial nasal and ocular discharge, coughing and vomiting. After 3-4 weeks of infection cornified skin begins to appear on the foot pads (hence the name “Hard Pad”) followed by neurological symptoms which progress to fitting and death. Route of infection is inhalation during direct, dog to dog contact.
  3. Canine Hepatitis Virus – usually fatal, acute onset abdominal pain, high temperature, vomiting and tiny bleeding areas on the gums and in the eye. Route of infection is via ingestion of infected material by urine, saliva or faeces from an infected dog.
  4. Canine Leptospirosis Bacteria – There are 2 strains of the bacteria, one affecting the kidney and the other affecting the liver. Infected dogs present with acute onset jaundice, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea and high temperature. It is usually fatal even if diagnosed early and treated with antibiotics. Route of infection is either by ingestion or inhalation of infected material, especially urine, from either rats or infected dogs. Leptospirosis in humans is called Weils Disease.
  5. Canine Bordetella Bacteria – This is the primary cause of Kennel Cough in dogs. It is an inhaled bacterial infection causing varying degrees of coughing and nasal discharge. It is highly contagious and dogs do not need to be in kennels to contract the disease. The vaccine is intranasal and given 7-10 prior to entry into kennels. The vaccine lasts 12 months.
  6. Canine Parainfuenza Virus – a virus which is also implicated in the Kennel Cough syndrome. Route of infection – inhalation.
  7. Rabies – only required if travelling abroad.

Commonly asked questions regarding vaccination

Why is it important to keep our pets vaccinated? As with all species, specific disease incidence within the general population is kept very low simply because, as caring pet owners, we keep our animals up to date with their vaccinations. If we all suddenly stopped vaccinating the disease incidence would increase dramatically.

Are vaccines safe?

Serious side effects are very, very rare following administration of a vaccine. All veterinary vaccines undergo a rigorous, thorough and independent evaluation of their safety and efficacy.

Are booster vaccinations really needed, after all people do not get booster every year?

Immunity is not lifelong to all diseases therefore booster vaccinations are required at appropriate intervals to maintain high antibody status. For instance, in dogs the Leptospirosis vaccine only lasts 12-14 months, there is no natural background immunity and the disease is so serious it usually causes death. Contrary to popular belief, humans do require booster vaccinations. For examples, it is rare for polio boosters to be given in the Western World where the disease has been effectively eradicated (by vaccination), but if you travel to an area where the disease is endemic e.g. India or Thailand we need a booster vaccination.

Are live vaccines dangerous?

Live vaccines provide a more rapid onset of protection, a better stimulation of the immune system and longer lasting protection. Live vaccines are tested to the same standard as dead vaccines to ensure no risk to the vaccinated animal or any in contact unvaccinated animals.

Giving all the vaccines together can lead to autoimmune disease – can they be given separately?

There is little scientifically proven evidence linking vaccination with auto-immune disease. There is, however, of increasing auto-immune disease in some breeds of dog due to their small gene pool. There is no evidence that giving different vaccine components separately is any safer than or effective than giving them at the same time.

Are homeopathic vaccines a safer alternative?

Although vaccine reactions are very rare indeed, reactions to homeopathic vaccines will be even less likely as there little or no conventional active ingredients present. However, there have been only a handful of designed clinical trials using homeopathic vaccines and these have shown no evidence of protection.

Why do vaccines cost so much?

You are not paying solely for the cost of the vaccine. The vet will give your pet a full and thorough clinical examination and take the opportunity to discuss all other aspects of health care with you for as long as you need.

Only healthy animals should be vaccinated – why?

In order for the vaccine to optimise the immune system response, we do not want it be “busy” fighting other diseases when your pet is vaccinated. The vaccine may also make your pet more poorly if given when your pet is suffering from another illness. We will not vaccinate your pet if she is in season as the immune response will be lower. If your pet has a chronic illness such as heart disease or diabetes it actually becomes more important that they are vaccinated as they are less able to fight diseases.

Can vaccines can cause skin cancer?

This has only been reported to a limited extent in the USA and Canada where the number and type of vaccine used in cats is very different to the ones used in the UK.