Vaccination is a much talked about subject in human and veterinary medicine. There are lives that are saved by it and people who don’t believe in it. There is no doubt that in the outbreak of serious disease vaccination is vital and no one could argue against it. But in a society where these diseases have died down, due to vaccination and other hygiene measures, people question whether they want to have the injections and look at potential side effects. This can mean less animals or people get vaccinated which in turn increases the susceptible population which means the disease re-appears. This has happened in humans with measles, whooping cough and mumps and is happening in dogs with parvovirus which is increasing (we’ve had several cases, and sadly some deaths)..
There is debate also about how often the vaccinations should be given. In animals we have split the diseases we vaccinate against into ’core’ and ‘non-core’. The idea is that core vaccinations are against serious or fatal diseases such as parvovirus, distemper, leptospirosis and feline leukaemia. The non-core vaccines are against such things as kennel cough and feline chlamydia, which although not very nice diseases, can usually be treated (although we do see a few deaths from kennel cough).
We know that parvovirus, distemper and feline enteritis vaccines last for some years so at Withy Grove we only give these every 3-4 years, but other diseases such as leptospirosis (caught from rat urine and infectious to humans) is both very common and immunity only lasts for one year, so similar to the human flu vaccine this has to be given every 12 months. The situation is similar for cat flu.
We will always only vaccinate your pet with the vaccines it needs (indoor cats do not need leukaemia for example) and are happy to discuss this with you. Remember the vaccination consultation also gives us a vital time to give a full health check and discuss any problems that you may have, this part of the visit can be as important as the vaccination.