The Veterinary Centre

Henley and Twyford

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Vaccination

The development of effective vaccines, to protect animals against serious (often fatal) diseases, has played a hugely important part in the improvement in health and longevity of our beloved pets over the last half century. Some of these diseases are now seen so rarely that many people have forgotten how dreadful they are. We cannot afford to become complacent.

We consider ourselves very fortunate to be practising veterinary medicine in an era when watching a young puppy die of distemper, or a kitten succumb to feline enteritis, is such a rarity that some of our younger colleagues have never seen it. When it does happen it is even more heart-breaking, just because it is so readily preventable.

Photo:
Kitten getting her first vaccination at eight weeks.

There has been a very important additional benefit to pets from the regular visits entailed in any vaccination program. Your pet gets a full physical examination before the vaccine is given and it is surprising how often we pick up a small problem, before it becomes a big problem. This may be something as simple as overgrown claws, before they become painful in-growing claws, or a few kilograms of weight gain, before it becomes clinical obesity. Sometimes it is a more serious issue such as a cardiac arrhythmia or a mass in the abdomen. Either way, early detection improves the odds of successful treatment. We think of these visits as your pet's MOT and then vaccination and worming and flea treatment, and all the other preventive health care measures, are the annual service!

Dogs
We routinely vaccinate dogs against seven different infectious diseases, Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus and two strains of Leptospirosis. Routinely we would give a puppy two injections (one at 8 weeks and one at 10 weeks of age) and he or she would have a full booster a year later. Then we continue to vaccinate every year, but with a reduced booster (Leptospirosis only) for two years and a full booster every third year. This complies with the vaccine manufacturer's data sheet recommendation and ensures the maximum level of “group immunity” amongst the population of dogs that we are responsible for.

Some clients, who are worried about “over-vaccination”, opt to have their dogs blood tested each year to find out what his or her antibody levels are to each component of the vaccine and then vaccinate only against the diseases for which the immunity levels have dropped dangerously low. We are very happy to do this, for anyone who wishes, but it is significantly more expensive than just following the data sheet vaccination regime.
In addition, we vaccinate dogs against Rabies if they are going to travel abroad and against Bordetella Bronchiseptica (the bacterial component of Kennel Cough) if they are at high risk of contracting this infectious bronchitis. Most boarding kennels now insist on it.

Cats
We vaccinate cats against the two cat flu agents, Herpes virus and Calici virus, the severe enteritis infection, Feline Panleucopoenia virus, and also against Feline Leukaemia virus. Kittens get two injections, one at 9 weeks and one at 12 weeks and then annual boosters against all four diseases.
Feline Leukaemia virus transmission requires quite intimate contact between cats (usually mating or fighting) so the owners of indoor cats, that will never be allowed out to meet neighbouring cats, may opt to do without that component of the vaccine.

Rabbits
We can protect rabbits against the ever present Myxomatosis but it does require vaccination as a baby, any time from 8 weeks of age, and then a booster every 12 months to keep this rather fragile immunity intact. We also vaccinate them against Viral Haemorrhagic Disease, a fatal air-born virus, and the two diseases are now covered in a single vaccine which needs boosting yearly.

We are confident of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines we use and the staff all follow these regimes for their own pets.

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Henley Vets and Twyford Vets
The Veterinary Centre: 271 Reading Road, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 1EL - Phone 01491 574490
Also at Twycombe Lodge, Loddon Hall Road, Twyford, RG10 9JA - Phone 0118 934 0259