Dog and cat vaccinations work in the same way as human vaccinations:
...a vaccine prepares the body to fight off a specific infection, should that virus or bacteria ever get in to the body.
It's a bit like giving a police force a photofit picture of a baddie; if a routine police patrol recognise that baddie, a capture plan is launched, and the baddie is apprehended.
That's the way that vaccines work.
I’m sure you’ve heard about a decrease in the number of parents vaccinating their children, against measles, and that this has lead to an increase in clinical cases, some of which have been fatal.... and it’s exactly the same with parvovirus, infectious canine hepatitis, distemper and leptospirosis in dogs.
Parvovirus, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Distemper and Leptospirosis
All of these diseases can be fatal, and when an increasing number of dogs aren’t vaccinated, then we see an increase in the number of clinical cases - ie an outbreak.
It’s horrible to see, as we as vets do our best to help all our patients, but it’s very hard when we are treating a condition that could have been prevented so easily.
Treating a dog with parvovirus, distemper, infectious canine hepatitis or leptospirosis is not easy, treatment is expensive and prolonged, they need a long stay in the clinic; there also are no guarantees that they will pull through either, we've treated dogs that have ultimately been killed by parvovirus and leptospirosis.
Woodham Lane and Chertsey Vets are very happy to discuss and offer advice; and if you prefer, we can check your dogs antibody levels via a titre test; before deciding whether to vaccinate.
Importantly, we can’t titre test for leptospirosis, this vaccination only lasts for 12 months, and so must be given every year. Leptospirosis is also known as Weil's Disease and is spread by rats; which unfortunately are everywhere, which is why the disease is so risky.
What about vaccine reactions?
It's a valid question, and one which we monitor in our own clinics, through talking to colleagues across the country, and through the VMD (Veterinary Medicines Directorate), our independent body which monitors and regulates all veterinary medicines. If there was an issue with a vaccine, or a drug, then they would halt use and investigate.
Vaccination reactions can occur, however in a combined almost 30 years in practice, Sarah and Tristan, carrying out hundreds of vaccinations every month, have only ever seen very mild swellings at the injections site (which resolve in a couple of days - just like your own arm often does after a flu vaccine), or sometimes puppies and kittens can be off colour, just like human babies can be.
These infrequent and mild 'reactions', we feel 100% outweigh the very real risk of your dog dying from parvo, Lepto, distemper or canine infectious hepatitis.
Can I choose which vaccines my dog has?
Yes, we are happy to discuss which would be most appropriate for your dog and their lifestyle.
We carry both L2 and L4, and can give the new intra-oral kennel couch vaccine