Vaccinations

Dog, cat and rabbit vaccinations

We believe in giving your pet the best chance to stay healthy. Vaccinating your pet against the most common diseases regularly is an important part of keeping your pet healthy and gives us a chance to perform a nose-to-tail health check as well.

Cat vaccinations

We know that you care for your cat and want to ensure that he or she remains happy and healthy throughout life and that you will do all you can to achieve this.

One easy way in which you can help to ensure that your cat is protected from infectious diseases is to ensure that they are vaccinated as a kitten and regularly throughout adult life.

All recommended vaccinations are included if your pet belongs to the Adelaide Pet Care Plan

  • Why Vaccination is important

    Cats can and do become seriously ill or die from infectious diseases that could have been prevented by yearly vaccination.
    Regular vaccination can protect your cat from infectious diseases such as cat flu, feline leukaemia virus and feline infectious enteritis.
    Please continue reading for more information on each of these diseases. By preventing these diseases you can help ensure that your cat stays healthy and happy.
  • When should my kitten receive their first vaccination?

    We usually vaccinate kittens at 8 and 12 weeks old, once the maternal antibodies are likely to have declined sufficiently. After the first course they require an annual booster vaccination to maintain protection. This appointment also gives us a chance to give your cat a thorough health check.
    Please note that it is never too late to start vaccinations so if you have an older cat that hasn’t been vaccinated or is long overdue, please give us a call.
  • Diseases of cats that we routinely vaccinate against

    There are four important viruses in cats for which vaccines are available in the UK. Vaccination against Panleucopaenia, Herpes and Calici virus is recommended even for an indoor cat.
    Feline Panleucopaenia (Feline Parvovirus)
    Feline Panleucopaenia is a severe and often fatal disease caused by Feline Parvovirus. The virus is very resistant and can survive for long periods in the environment. The disease is usually seen as bloody diarrhoea in young animals, with a characteristic offensive odour and severe dehydration. Many will die within hours of the onset of symptoms.
    Once a cat becomes infected by Parvovirus, the virus invades the intestines and bone marrow. This leads to sudden and severe bleeding into the gut, resulting in dehydration and shock and damage to the immune system. Death is common and frequently rapid unless emergency veterinary treatment is received. Kittens born to infected mothers are weak, prone to infections and may have permanent brain damage.
    Although feline parvovirus is still a prevalent virus, vaccination confers a high level of protection against infection and subsequent disease.
    Cat Flu
    This is caused by two viruses called Feline Herpes virus and Feline Calici virus and is often complicated by secondary bacterial infections.
    Feline Herpes virus
    Feline Herpes virus is a very contagious virus that affects the upper respiratory tract and eyes of cats. Many affected cats will become lifelong carriers of the disease and severe disease can result in permanent damage to the nose or eyes. They may excrete the virus when they become stressed or ill, causing repeated bouts of illness.
    The virus attacks the eyes, mouth and lungs, causing severe symptoms such as fever, eye ulcers and pneumonia. The infection is often made worse by secondary bacterial infections. Infected mothers give birth to small, weak kittens.
    Regular vaccination protects cats from this disease.
    Feline Calici virus
    Feline Calici Virus is also very common. It is generally less severe, but causes fever and painful ulcers of the mouth and tongue, and may again be complicated by bacterial infections. Vaccination is highly effective at protecting cats from disease, but regular boosters are required.
    Feline Leukaemia Virus  (FeLV)
    Infection with FeLV frequently results in persistent, life-long infection. Cats that remain infected with the virus generally develop fatal disease. Most will die within three years of being diagnosed with the infection. Persistent FeLV infection causes disease through a variety of different means, but most cats die due to immunsuppression caused by the persistent infection, progressive anaemia, or through the development of tumours (lymphoma) or leukaemia.
    Transmission of the virus is mainly via saliva, for example through sharing food and water bowls or biting.
    If your cat is not protected and you are concerned that it may be infected then a blood test can easily be performed to check its FeLV status. In order to ensure your cat is protected against this potentially fatal disease which is easily transmitted by infected cats, vaccination is recommended for all cats that go outdoors, even if it’s just in the garden, or for those that have contact with other cats.
    An annual vaccination is required to maintain protection against this disease.
  • Other major diseases of cats

    Rabies
    Rabies vaccination is usually only given for cats that may need to travel out of the UK. A single dose of vaccine protects for three years.
  • Why you need to Vaccinate your cat regularly

    Primary Vaccination
    For the first few weeks of life, kittens are usually protected against disease from the immunity they receive in their mother’s milk. However, this maternal immunity may also neutralise any vaccine given at this time. Gradually the maternal immunity acquired at birth declines to a sufficiently low level for the animal to no longer be protected. This also allows the animal to respond to vaccination and so this is the best time to start the vaccination programme.
    We will suggest a programme of vaccinations to fit in with your pets particular needs.
    Annual Vaccination
    Many people believe that if they have their pet vaccinated when it is a kitten the immunity it receives will protect it for the rest of its life.
    Unfortunately this is not the case.
    After each injection, the immune level reaches a peak and then begins to decline. After a year, the level of immunity against some diseases may no longer be sufficient to protect your pet.
    Revaccination stimulates the immune response so that protection is maintained for another year. Without these yearly vaccinations, your pet’s immune system may not be able to protect it from disease.
  • How vaccines work

    Vaccines work by training the white blood cells in your cat’s body to recognise and attack the viruses or bacteria contained in the vaccine. This should prevent infection with that particular infection if your cat is in contact with it again.
  • People are not vaccinated every year, so why does my cat need annual boosters?

    People in the UK are not vaccinated every year because the risk of disease is relatively low, and because large numbers of people are vaccinated at the same time, eg at school. Unfortunately, only about 50% of dogs and cats are properly vaccinated, and therefore the risk of disease outbreaks in pets is much higher.
    Re-vaccination stimulates the immune response so that protection is maintained for another year. Without these yearly vaccinations, your pet’s immune system may not be able to protect it from serious, often fatal disease.
    In addition, an annual health check is an important opportunity to have your pet thoroughly examined, and to discuss any concerns and questions with your vet. In this way any emerging problems can be identified early, and often treated more effectively.
  • What is in the vaccine?

    There are four important viruses of cats for which vaccines are available.
    Feline Leukaemia Virus
    Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) is easily spread in saliva and blood, so cats are infected when grooming each other, sharing food bowls and litter trays and when fighting. Infected animals may not show any signs for months or even years, so many more cats may be infected before the warning signs are seen.
    Feline Panleucopaenia
    Feline Panleucopaenia (also known as feline enteritis or parvovirus) is usually seen as bloody diarrhoea in young animals, with a characteristic offensive odour and severe dehydration. Many will die within hours of the onset of signs.
    Feline Upper Respiratory Disease
    This is caused by two important viruses and may be complicated by secondary bacterial infection. The two viruses are called Feline Herpes virus and Feline Calici virus, and together they commonly referred to as "cat ‘flu".
  • Is vaccination safe?

    Adverse reactions are sometimes reported following vaccination as with any other medication (or even foods). Such problems are rare and seldom serious, and the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the small risk of an adverse reaction occurring. Mild and self-limiting reactions such as pain or swelling at the injection site, and mild unwellness for a short period are not unusual. Indeed, as the purpose of vaccination is to provoke an immune response in the cat, it is inevitable that such reactions will occasionally occur.
    In the UK, a Suspected Adverse Reactions (SAR) Surveillance Scheme (SARSS) is run by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD). Not all SARs are genuinely adverse reactions to the product being used and some will be coincidental problems. Nevertheless, even if all the SARs associated with feline vaccines were genuinely as a result of vaccination, this still represents a very low rate of SARs of about 0.61 per 10,000 doses of vaccine sold.
    Current data demonstrate that adverse reactions are uncommon, and are usually mild and self-limiting in nature.
    Severe adverse reactions do occur occasionally, and injection-site sarcomas (tumours) have been reported in the UK as well as elsewhere. These tumours are aggressive and difficult to manage. In the USA vaccine-site sarcomas have been recognised for a number of years and are thought to occur with a frequency of approximately 1 per 10,000 -30,000 doses of vaccine administered. Some of the vaccinations in the USA are different to those used in the UK and this may be one reason why these tumours appear to be seen less commonly in the UK than the USA
    As with any product, including food, a tiny proportion of animals may have a reaction to the vaccine, but this must always be balanced against the much greater risk of fatal disease.
    At Adelaide Veterinary Centre we only use Purevax cat vaccines. These non-adjuvanted vaccines do not cause significant and persisting inflammation at the site of administration and therefore are thought not to cause sarcomas.

Dog vaccinations

We know that you care for your dog and want to ensure that he or she remains happy and healthy throughout life and that you will do all you can to achieve this.

One easy way in which you can help to ensure that your dog is protected from infectious diseases is to ensure that they are vaccinated as a puppy and regularly throughout adult life.

All recommended vaccinations are included if your pet belongs to the Adelaide Pet Care Plan.

  • When should my puppy receive his first vaccination?

    We usually vaccinate puppies at 8 and 12 weeks old, once the maternal antibodies are likely to have declined sufficiently. It is possible to vaccinate earlier and there are potential advantages and disadvantages of this that we can discuss with you. After the first course they require an annual booster vaccination to maintain protection. This appointment also gives us a chance to give your dog a thorough health check.
  • Why Vaccination is important

    Dogs can and do become seriously ill or die from infectious diseases that could have been prevented through yearly vaccination.
    Regular vaccination can protect your dog from infectious diseases such as canine parvovirus, canine distemper, canine hepatitis, leptospirosis, kennel cough and rabies.
    Please continue reading for more information on each of these diseases. By preventing these diseases you can help ensure that your dog stays healthy and happy.
  • Diseases of dogs that we routinely vaccinate against

    Leptospirosis
    Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria that is spread in the urine of infected animals. and the most common source of infection is from ponds, puddles and rivers.
    Two major forms of the disease exist in dogs. One (L.icterohaemorrhagiae) causes acute illness and jaundice and is usually caught from rats - either by the animal being bitten or coming into contact with rat urine. L. icterohaemorrhagiae infection usually produces a sudden disease with fever, vomiting and diarrhoae, thirst, bleeding, and jaundice. The outcome is usually fatal and death can occur within a few hours.
    The other type (L. canicola) can also cause acute disease but frequently takes a more prolonged form. This leads to the slow destruction of the kidneys and renal failure can occur many years after the original infection. Even animals that show no signs of illness may still go on to develop chronic disease.
    Canine Parvovirus
    Parvovirus was first recognised in the late 1970’s and rapidly became an epidemic. Many hundreds of dogs died before an effective vaccine could be produced. Sadly, this disease remains a major problem. Outbreaks still occur regularly across the country. Parvovius is highly contagious and transmitted by contact with infected faeces or places where infected faeces has been. The virus can survive outside for six months or more.
    The disease is usually seen as bloody diarrhoea in young animals, with a characteristic offensive odour and severe dehydration. Many will die within hours of the onset of symptoms.
    Once a dog becomes infected by parvovirus, the virus invades the intestines and bone marrow. This leads to sudden and severe bleeding into the gut, resulting in dehydration and shock and damage to the immune system. Death is common and frequently rapid unless emergency veterinary treatment is received.
    Canine Distemper
    Canine distemper, sometimes referred to as ‘Hard Pad’, is caused by a virus very similar to the measles virus, although it is not a risk to humans.
    Although less common than it was 20 or 30 years ago, outbreaks still occur, mainly in urban areas where a large unvaccinated population of dogs and foxes exists. Distemper can cause death or permanent brain damage and transmission of the virus is by inhalation and direct contact.
    The distemper virus attacks most parts of the body, including the spleen and bone marrow. This makes it easier to catch secondary infections. As the disease progresses, the virus spreads to the lungs and gut, the eyes, skin and brain.
    The classical signs are of a dog with a high temperature, a discharge from the eyes and nose, a cough, vomiting and diarrhoea. Hardening of the skin may occur, in particular the nose and pads, hence the term ‘Hard Pad’. The virus can reach the brain causing permanent damage, ranging from involuntary twitches to fits. Dogs that recover may be left with some permanent disability such as cracked pads and nose, epilepsy, and damage to teeth enamel.
    Once again, treatment is lengthy, expensive and most importantly, often unsuccessful. As the incubation period is long - often about three weeks - it is usually too late to vaccinate when an outbreak occurs.
    Infectious Canine Hepatitis
    As the name suggests, Infectious Canine Hepatitis attacks the liver but can also cause eye damage. Some dogs may become infected but show no obvious signs, but in acute cases the death of your pet can occur within 24-36 hours.
    The disease is caused by an adenovirus and is spread by direct contact and from faeces, saliva and urine from infected dogs. The virus is carried to the liver and the blood vessels where the major signs of the disease appear.
    The symptoms are very variable depending on the severity of the infection. Some animals may show a slight temperature and at the other extreme may die suddenly. Intermediate cases exhibit fever, vomiting, pale gums, jaundice, abdominal pain and internal bleeding. The less severe form of the disease has been associated with "Fading Puppy Syndrome".
    Canine Parainfluenza (Kennel Cough)
    This virus is one of the causes of the disease known as ‘kennel cough’.
    Dogs with this very contagious disease suffer from a harsh, dry cough that can last for many weeks, causing distress for both the dog and owner.
  • Other major diseases of dogs that we vaccinate against

    Kennel cough (Bordatella)
    Kennel cough is very common and we see outbreaks of it every year.  Along with Parainfluenza the other major cause of this disease is a very contagious bacteria called Bordatella. We can vaccinate against this with a nasal vaccine in the form of some drops in your dog’s nose and recommend doing this once per year.
    Reputable kennels will require this vaccination before you dog can stay with them.
    Rabies
    Rabies vaccination is usually only given for dogs that may need to travel out of the UK. A single dose of vaccine protects for three years.
  • Why you need to Vaccinate your dog regularly

    Primary Vaccination
    For the first few weeks of life, puppies are usually protected against disease from the immunity they receive in their mother’s milk. However, this maternal immunity may also neutralise any vaccine given at this time. Gradually the maternal immunity acquired at birth declines to a sufficiently low level for the animal to no longer be protected. This also allows the animal to respond to vaccination and so this is the best time to start the vaccination programme.
    We will suggest a programme of vaccinations to fit in with your pets particular needs.
    Annual Vaccination
    Many people believe that if they have their pet vaccinated when it is a puppy the immunity it receives will protect it for the rest of its life.
    Unfortunately this is not the case.
    After each injection, the immune level reaches a peak and then begins to decline. After a year, the level of immunity against some diseases may no longer be sufficient to protect your pet.
    Revaccination stimulates the immune response so that protection is maintained for another year. Without these yearly vaccinations, your pet’s immune system may not be able to protect it from disease.
  • How vaccines work

    Vaccines work by training the white blood cells in your dog’s body to recognise and attack the viruses or bacteria contained in the vaccine. This should prevent infection with that particular infection if your dog is in contact with it again.
  • People are not vaccinated every year, so why does my dog need annual boosters?

    People in the UK are not vaccinated every year because the risk of disease is relatively low, and because large numbers of people are vaccinated at the same time, eg at school. Unfortunately, only about 50% of dogs and cats are properly vaccinated, and therefore the risk of disease outbreaks in pets is much higher.
    Re-vaccination stimulates the immune response so that protection is maintained for another year. Without these yearly vaccinations, your pet’s immune system may not be able to protect it from serious, often fatal disease.
    In addition, an annual health check is an important opportunity to have your pet thoroughly examined, and to discuss any concerns and questions with your vet. In this way any emerging problems can be identified early, and often treated more effectively.
  • What is in the vaccine?

    There are several major infectious diseases affecting dogs today. All are highly contagious and difficult and expensive to treat.
    Canine Parvovirus
    Parvovirus is perhaps the most common canine infectious disease. Outbreaks still occur regularly across the country. The disease is usually seen as bloody diarrhoea in young animals, with a characteristic offensive odour and severe dehydration. Many will die within hours of the onset of symptoms.
    Canine Distemper
    Distemper virus attacks most parts of the body, including the spleen and bone marrow. As the disease progresses, the virus spreads to the lungs and gut, the eyes, skin and brain. As the incubation period is long - often about three weeks - it is usually too late to vaccinate when an outbreak occurs.
    Infectious Canine Hepatitis
    As the name suggests, Infectious Canine Hepatitis attacks the liver. Some dogs may become infected but show no obvious signs, but in severe cases the death of your pet can occur within 24-36 hours.
    Leptospirosis
    Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria that spread in the urine of infected animals. The disease may be caught from rats or other dogs. The disease can either cause severe liver damage and death in just a few days, or slow destruction of the kidneys over months or years.
    Canine Parainfluenza
    This virus is one of the organisms responsible for the disease known as ‘kennel cough’. Dogs with this disease suffer from a harsh, dry cough that can last for many weeks, causing distress for both the dog and owner.
    Bordatella
    Bordatella is the other common organism that causes ‘kennel cough’. Kennel cough is very common and we see outbreaks of it every year.  We recommend annually vaccinating against Bordatella with a simple nose drop vaccine.
  • Is vaccination safe?

    Adverse reactions are sometimes reported following vaccination as with any other medication (or even foods). Such problems are rare and seldom serious, and the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the small risk of an adverse reaction occurring. Mild and self-limiting reactions such as pain or swelling at the injection site, and mild unwellness for a short period are not unusual. Indeed, as the purpose of vaccination is to provoke an immune response in the dog, it is inevitable that such reactions will occasionally occur.
    In the UK, a Suspected Adverse Reactions (SAR) Surveillance Scheme (SARSS) is run by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD). Not all SARs are genuinely adverse reactions to the product being used and some will be coincidental problems. Nevertheless, even if all the SARs associated with canine vaccines were genuinely as a result of vaccination, this still represents a very low rate of SARs of about 0.21 per 10,000 doses of vaccine sold.
    Current data demonstrate that adverse reactions are uncommon, and are usually mild and self-limiting in nature.
    As with any product, including food, a tiny proportion of animals may have a reaction to the vaccine, but this must always be balanced against the much greater risk of fatal disease

Rabbit vaccinations

We recommend that rabbits are vaccinated against Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD).

Myxomatosis
 

Myxomatosis is a severe viral disease of rabbits that decimated the wild rabbit population when it arrived in Britain 50 years ago. Domestic rabbits are also susceptible to the disease and we see deaths in pet rabbits every year.

  • How is it spread?

    Myxomatosis is usually spread by biting insects (fleas, mosquitoes or fur mites) carrying the virus. Direct rabbit-to-rabbit spread can also occur. Fleas can survive for long periods in hay that you buy and can be introduced by wild rabbits and foxes and by your own dogs and cats.
  • Is my rabbit at risk

    Myxomatosis poses a threat to all pet rabbits but the risk varies depending on whether your rabbit lives inside or outside, and on your location.
    Pet rabbits at greatest risk are those living outside, especially if they have any contact with wild rabbits. Pet rabbits affected by rabbit fleas are also at very high risk and rabbit owners who also have a dog or cat that hunts wild rabbits (or foxes that visit the garden and nose around rabbit hutches) must be particularly careful, in case rabbit fleas are brought back to your pet.
    House rabbits living permanently indoors are at less risk than outdoor rabbits, but can and do get Myxomatosis.
    As well as vaccinating your rabbit, the risk of developing Myxomatosis can be reduced by using regular flea control with a rabbit specific product.
  • What happens when a rabbit catches myxomatosis?

    The classic form of myxomatosis is seen in rabbits that haven’t been vaccinated. It is a dreadful disease that causes great suffering. Affected rabbits can take a fortnight or more to die and treatment is usually ineffective, which is why euthanasia is usually recommended.
    Myxomatosis starts with runny eyes and in the very early stages can be confused with other causes of conjunctivitis but in addition, the genitals are also swollen. It rapidly progresses to a severe conjunctivitis which causes blindness and is accompanied by swelling of the head and genital region, plus lumps on the body. Thick pus discharges from the nose and swollen eyes.
  • Myxomatosis vaccination

    Vaccination can start from as young as 6 weeks of age and only one injection is required. An annual booster is usually recommended but if there is a myxomatosis outbreak locally it is wise to ensure your rabbit has been vaccinated within the previous 6 months. Have the booster injection early if necessary.
VHD
 

Viral Haemorrhagic Disease is a deadly disease that any rabbit can catch, and it kills most of those that get it. It first appeared in Britain in 1992 and is now widespread.

  • How can my rabbit catch VHD?

    There are lots of ways your rabbits could pick up the virus:
    • Food (e.g. hay) or water contaminated by infected wild rabbits.
    • Birds or insects may bring the virus to your rabbits on their feet or in their droppings, which your rabbits may eat if they graze on the lawn.
    • The virus may be blown on the wind.
    • You (or your dog or cat) might accidentally bring the virus home on your feet from infected wild rabbit droppings, and vermin around rabbit hutches might bring it along too.
    • You might pick it up from other peoples’ rabbits, for example at a show or even if another rabbit owner handles your rabbits.
    The virus itself is extremely tough and can survive for many months in the environment, and can even resist temperatures of 60 degrees centigrade!
  • What happens to rabbits if they catch VHD?

    Baby rabbits, under about 8 weeks of age, don’t get ill at all. But VHD usually kills older rabbits. They may just die suddenly, with no sign of anything wrong. Or they may get very ill before dying, have difficulty breathing, go off their food, have a high temperature and bleed from the nose and bottom. A few rabbits only get mildly ill and then recover.
  • Can I prevent my rabbits catching VHD?

    Can I prevent my rabbits catching VHD?
    Vaccination is very effective at preventing VHD.
  • VHD Vaccination

    Rabbits are vaccinated against VHD using a combined vaccine with Myxomatosis from 6 weeks of age with a booster dose every year.
    Rabbits living indoors are still at risk from VHD so should also be vaccinated with boosters kept up to date.
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