Vaccinations for Cats and Dogs

A Cat and Dog playing on grass

Vaccinations for Cats and Dogs – Here at Rosevean Veterinary Practice in Penzance, we vaccinate against the most important diseases but try to use as few vaccinations as possible as infrequently as possible.

Why do we vaccinate?

Vaccinations decrease the risk of animals contracting potentially fatal diseases. A full health check is also given at the time of Vaccinations to look for any other things that we should be keeping an eye on. The Vet will also have a chat about other preventative treatments, for example flea and worming treatment. This is a good time for them to catch any potential problems early and offer advice on these.

What do we vaccinate for?

In dogs we advise vaccinating for canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus, canine parvovirus and leptospirosis. We can also vaccinate for certain strains of kennel cough.

In cats we advise vaccinating for feline panleukopenia, feline calicivirus and feline herpesvirus. If your cat goes outside or has contact with other cats that go outside we also advise vaccinating for feline leukaemia virus.

When to vaccinate?

Puppies normally have their Vaccinations at 8 and 10 weeks old, there can be 2-4 weeks between the first and second vaccine. This is followed by a full booster a year after, then subsequently full boosters every 3 years and part boosters yearly to make sure we are not over-vaccinating.

Kittens normally have their Vaccinations at 8-9 and 12 weeks old (3-4 weeks between first vaccination). We can then alternate full and part boosters.

How quickly will my animal be fully protected?

For dogs, 1 week after the second vaccination for core vaccinations. Kennel cough immunity is 3 weeks.

For cats each component is different however the longest takes 4 weeks.

Are there any potential side effects?

Side effects are very uncommon, but can include dullness, a slight temperature, muscle soreness, a swelling at the injection site, sneezing or hypersensitivity reactions. Reaction rates vary widely depending on the source of the information.

Other than part boosters is there another option to ensure we are not overvaccinating?

In dogs we can titre test an animal’s antibody to see if they still have protection against distemper, adenovirus and parvovirus. At the time of writing (28/06/18) this costs roughly £85 for the laboratory fees.

In cats we can test antibody to panlaekopaenia, calicivirus and herpesvirus, however we cannot test for immunity to feline leukaemia virus.

 

Other FAQs

Does it matter if my dog sneezes out some of the kennel cough vaccine?

No! Do not worry, this is fairly common and the design of the vaccine allows for this.

Why would a Chihuahua get the same dose of vaccine as a Great Dane?

Vaccines are based on the minimum immunising dose. This dose therefore works out as a certain volume per animal rather than  patient weight.

I have heard a lot about leptospirosis – L2 vs L4. What do Rosevean vaccinate with?

Leptospirosis 2 covers for two strains of leptospirosis and L4 covers for four strains. The additional two strains are strains that we have started to see a few rare cases of in the UK, however they are more common abroad.

L2 vs L4 is continuously being reviewed to ensure we are looking after our patients as well as we can; at the moment we normally use L2. One reason is that the vaccinations for L4 as a puppy are 4 weeks apart, therefore puppies would have to spend 4 more weeks inside before they could be let outside to socialise (an important part in their behavioural development and emotional health).

We would advise using L4 in patients which are travelling abroad. If we start to see more of the new leptospirosis strains in Cornwall we may start to use L4 routinely.

We stock both L2 and L4 vaccinations, so if your dog has started one and you would like to continue with this we can do this, or if you want a further chat with one of our vets about which one to use we can talk you through the details about each.