Dogs may pick up infectious diseases directly from other dogs, objects that they come into contact with, or the ground. Dogs are more likely to pick up diseases if they are together in large numbers, i.e. going to the kennels, dog training classes, even somewhere a lot of dogs are walked like the local common or park. One disease, Leptospirosis, can even be passed on from your dog to you, with serious health consequences. Your dog may not meet many other dogs, but these diseases can be carried on items of your clothing or shoes without you knowing.
Puppy vaccinations: it is possible to vaccinate puppies from 6 weeks of age, but more normally the first vaccine is given at 8 weeks of age, as the maternally derived immunity (MDI – the antibodies your puppy has received from its mother) are starting to decline at this age. The second dose can be given at 10 weeks of age, but at Twickenham Veterinary Surgery we prefer to give the first dose at 8 weeks old and the second dose at 12 weeks old, when all the MDI has gone and your puppy can mount its own strong defence against the diseases we are vaccinating against. We recommend that puppies are not taken out to public places where they may meet other dogs whose vaccination status you do not know, until at least 7 days after their second primary vaccination. However, socialization is incredibly important at that age, so if you have any friends with fully vaccinated dogs, you should try to socialize them on neutral territory (in their house or your house); most puppy classes will also accept puppies after their first primary vaccination, which is a fantastic opportunity for socialization.
Booster vaccinations: primary puppy vaccinations do not cover your dog for the rest of his or her life: regular annual booster vaccinations are required, the first of which should be given no more than 12 months after the primary vaccination course. The annual health check that is included with the vaccination can sometimes highlight areas of concern with your dog, or may simply reassure you of your pet’s good health. Early detection of some diseases may bring benefits and a quick check to ensure your dog’s microchip is working can bring peace of mind. An adult dog whose vaccinations have lapsed would need two vaccinations 2 weeks apart.
There are a number of highly infectious and potentially fatal diseases which can affect your cat. If your cat lives in a multi-pet environment they may be at particular risk. For many conditions there is a simple protection in the form of vaccinations. Ensuring that your cat receives a course of vaccinations and then receives booster vaccinations is important if you want to keep your cat fit and healthy.
Kitten vaccinations - it is possible to vaccinate kittens from 9 weeks of age, with the second dose being given at 12 weeks old. An adult cat whose vaccinations have lapsed would have two vaccinations 3 weeks apart. We would recommend that animals that have finished a primary course of vaccination are not let outside until at least 7 - 10 days after their second vaccination.
Booster vaccinations - primary kitten vaccinations do not cover your animal for the rest of their life: regular annual booster vaccinations are required, the first of which should be given no more than 12 months after the primary vaccination course. The annual health check that is included with the vaccination can sometimes highlight areas of concern with your cat; it is especially useful for checking their teeth which often have a build up of tartar which can be addressed. Early detection of some diseases may bring benefits and a quick check to ensure your cat’s microchip is working can bring peace of mind.
We routinely vaccinate rabbits every 6 months against myxomatosis and every year against viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD). These vaccinations cannot be given at the same time: we recommend leaving at least 15 days between giving these vaccinations.
If your ferret regularly comes into contact with other ferrets or dogs, it is important to get him or her vaccinated against distemper. As there is not a vaccine specifically licensed for ferrets, we have to use the dog vaccine. It is generally recommended to give a vaccination at 10 and 14 weeks of age, and then yearly thereafter.