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Vaccination and annual health checks

Regular health check-ups are important for the long-term health and welfare of all pets. Routine examinations allow us to take a pro-active role in preventive health care. Actual or imminent health problems will hopefully be spotted earlier and appropriate treatment or preventive action taken.

We normally carry out regular check-ups as part of the annual booster vaccinations that are recommended for all dogs, cats and rabbits. This is an ideal opportunity to discuss any aspect of your pet’s health or well-being (e.g. weight problems) that is of concern to you. If appropriate, further investigation (e.g. blood tests, x-rays etc.) may be suggested.

It is of course possible to perform health examinations at times other than the annual vaccination. We often recommend more frequent check-ups for pets with chronic problems (e.g. heart disease, arthritis). Remember, one human year is considered equivalent to seven for a dog or cat.

Vaccination protocols

Puppies

Are routinely vaccinated against Distemper, Leptospirosis, Parvovirus, Hepatitis and Parainfluenza. The initial course is two injections two weeks apart. The first injection can now be given at eight weeks of age allowing the puppy to “socialise” from twelve weeks of age. Annual booster vaccinations are given.

Dogs can also be given vaccination against kennel cough (Bordetella bronchiseptica). This is most effective if given one to two weeks before going into a “high-risk” situation – most often kennels, but also pet-shows, training classes, etc.

Kittens

We routinely vaccinate against “cat flu”, enteritis and feline leukaemia. These can all be given together as a single injection at nine weeks and then again at twelve weeks, allowing the kitten to “socialise” from fourteen weeks of age. Annual booster vaccinations are given.

Rabbits

Rabbits can be vaccinated from six weeks of age against Myxomatosis and from twelve weeks against viral haemorrhagic disease. Both are very serious and fatal diseases and vaccination is highly recommended. Annual booster vaccinations are given.

Costs

Many people consider the cost of booster vaccinations an unnecessary expense. This is a risky strategy. The widespread reduction in the levels of these largely fatal diseases has arisen from the use of vaccination protocols and is only maintained by their continued use. Reduction in the use of vaccination protocols will lead to increased outbreaks (as is currently occurring with TB in humans). The annual cost of vaccinating pets is pence per week and is insignificant compared with the cost of feeding them. Or, to look at it another way, we can vaccinate our pets for the cost of two to three cigarettes a week, or one can of “pop”, etc.

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