Vaccinations protect against infectious and potentially life threatening diseases. It can be difficult to know what your pets should be vaccinated against, and when you should vaccinate. Below is a brief summary to help you out:

Puppies and kittens

Kittens and Puppies usually need a series of three vaccinations to establish a good level of immunity. The final vaccination is given when your pet is about 14 – 16 weeks of age.

Adult cats and dogs

Adult cats and dogs need regular boosters to keep their antibody levels at a protective level:

  • Dogs must be vaccinated every three years against Parvovirus, Distemper and Hepatitis. Parvovirus causes severe vomiting and diarrhea and is often fatal. Distemper was once very common but is rarely seen now thanks to vaccination and Hepatitis damages the liver.
  • Additional vaccinations for Kennel cough and Leptospirosis require yearly boosters. Kennel cough or canine cough is caused by a viral or bacterial infection causing a harsh cough. Dogs going to boarding kennels and daycare must be vaccinated against this as it is highly contagious. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease transmitted by rat urine and is potentially fatal.
  • The main vaccination for cats protects against 2 respiratory viruses, cat flu and Pan Leukopenia (similar to parvo in dogs). Cats going into a cattery or those living in a densely cat populated area need this annually; other cats can be vaccinated every 2 to 3 years.
  • FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus or Feline Aids) vaccine is optional. FIV affects about 15% of cats. It is transmitted by close contact with an infected cat.

The vaccinations your pet requires will be assessed at the time of their annual health check and is based on lifestyle and risk. Check that your pet’s vaccination book is up to date before you check your pet into boarding facilities.

Anne Shilston BVSc