VET’S DIARY: Annual boosters needed to maintain immunity

When most people get a new puppy or kitten (or rabbit) they make an appointment at their vet’s for ‘its vaccination’, writes Simon Caple.

As well as vaccinating the pet, our vets and nurses will discuss preventative health care, worming, parasite control, feeding, neutering and the benefits of pet insurance. We then look forward to seeing your young pet come back for its annual vaccination boosters.

But it seems to be a common misconception that once an animal has had its injections at a young age then it is protected for life.

This is unfortunately not the case, and all too often we see animals that develop the clinical signs of a preventable disease and, despite huge amounts of clinical treatment and hard work, some of these unfortunate animals will not survive.

There has been debate in the animal press over the years about over vaccination and the importance of vaccinating puppies in the first instance. There are changes that we would advise for vaccination protocols but there is strong evidence that, for some infectious diseases, annual booster vaccinations are required to maintain immunity.

As a practic,we are extremely passionate about making sure your pets are kept healthy and happy, and vaccinations play a large part in that. For this reason we have launched a programme with your pets’ health in mind.

After your cat, dog or rabbit has had its primary vaccination course you can join our LifeVacc programme. LifeVacc is a lifetime vaccination plan which, for a one-off payment of £99, will provide your pet with annual boosters and health checks for the rest of his or her life. Terms and conditions apply, and these can be downloaded via our website www.alnorthumbriavets.co.uk For more information you can call us 0333 666 9995 on or pick up a flyer in any of our surgeries.

It is a great privilege as vets to see young animals grow and mature through their adult life, and an even greater privilege knowing that by vaccinating we have given that animal the best chance of living a long and healthy life.