Vaccinations for cats, dogs and rabbits

Why is vaccination important

Vaccination is vital in protecting your pet from key infectious diseases that cause pain, distress and can be life-threatening.

Annual preventative healthcare and vaccination appointments provide an opportunity for regular health checks for your pet and an understanding of their needs.

Vaccinations for cats and dogs usually consist of a primary course of two or three vaccinations to stimulate an immune response, followed by annual boosters to maintain immunity as the initial immune response gradually fades over time.


Vaccinations for dogs

For dogs, their first vaccination is generally done at around eight weeks old, with the second vaccination given two to four weeks later.

Core vaccinations for dogs include cover against distemper, parvovirus, canine infectious hepatitis and leptospirosis.

The practice team will advise on when it is safe for your puppy to start going out for walks, meeting other dogs and starting puppy training classes.

All dogs should have an annual booster to keep them fully protected. It is important to ensure that booster injections are given each year and do not lapse, otherwise your dog may need to restart a full course to ensure they have adequate protection.


Vaccinations for cats

Cats can generally be vaccinated from eight or nine weeks of age, with a second vaccination given three to four weeks later.

Core cat vaccinations include feline herpesvirus, calicivirus and feline panleukopaenia virus – sometimes referred to as parvovirus – which causes feline infectious enteritis. We also recommend vaccinating most cats against the feline leukaemia virus, which suppresses the immune system and is potentially fatal.

Adult cats should receive annual booster vaccinations to maintain immunity – particularly if they are going to be spending time in catteries or going outside.

It is important to keep your cat’s vaccinations up to date, as overdue booster injections allow for a decrease in immunity and may mean that your cat needs to restart their primary vaccination course to be adequately protected.


Vaccinations for rabbits

Rabbits need to be vaccinated against two life-threatening diseases: myxomatosis and the classic and variant strains of rabbit haemorrhagic disease. These diseases are easily transmissible and both indoor and outdoor rabbits are at risk. All rabbits should therefore receive yearly vaccinations to ensure they are protected.