Vaccination programmes have transformed our lives. We no longer have our children contracting Polio with life changing consequences and the same is true in the animal world, some preventable diseases are no longer commonplace. Distemper for instance has sadly not been eradicated in the UK but is thankfully not seen so often because of vaccination. Leptospirosis is carried by rats and can be contracted by contact with contaminated urine, food or bedding, this too is a killer and one that we see in unvaccinated dogs. The highly contagious Parvo virus was once extremely common but thanks to most breeders vaccinating puppies it is with great relief we do not see this in anything like the numbers that we once did. In short vaccines do a very important job in preventing disease, so good we are tempted to be complacent.

You only have to read about the tragedy of Samoa to understand how important continued vaccination is.

The threat to the health of our pets is no different. The success of vaccine programmes only works (preventing the death of large numbers of people or animals) if the vast majority of the population takes up the vaccine. These vaccines have been proven to be extremely safe and have been used and improved over decades.

The threat of anti vaccine movements is an interesting issue. You can read about it here.

We understand that people feel strongly on the subject of vaccination. For those who have concerns about annual vaccination we would support full primary vaccination with testing there after to see if immunity covers these diseases. Distemper vaccination for instance can last up to three years but this is not true of leptospirosis vaccination which is unlikely to last for much more than a year.

If the primary vaccination has provided lasting immunity, a booster vaccination will not be required but immunity should be retested at intervals.

An important additional feature of annual vaccination is the full health check that a vet provides (which is usually free), obviously you can do this if you don’t vaccinate (simply by booking an appointment with a vet) but practice shows that we don’t get around to it often enough, life gets busy and time goes by. Data also shows that animals who regularly visit the vet live longer healthier lives as issues are picked up sooner.