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August marks National Immunisation Month

In her monthly Pet Subject column, Laura Dickens of Amical Veterinary Centre, discusses immunisation of our pets...

August marks National Immunisation Month which is vitally important for both humans and animals. As the huge success of the Covid-19 vaccination rollout has shown us, vaccination plays a crucial role in helping to limit, prevent and even in some cases eradicate disease within living populations.

Dogs, cats and rabbits all suffer from species-specific diseases. Some of these diseases carry with them very high mortality rates (for example parvovirus) or they can be highly contagious (for example cat flu). Annual vaccinations are targeted for each species, covering different conditions and aimed to prevent the risk of serious disease.

Rabbits should be vaccinated against myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease 1 and 2
Rabbits should be vaccinated against myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease 1 and 2

A prime example of a highly contagious canine disease is kennel cough, also known as canine infectious bronchitis. This an airborne disease with a variety of pathogens (disease-causing micro-organisms) being responsible. Many people misunderstand that this infection can only be caught in a kennel environment. However, it can be picked up anywhere. The park, playgroups, the pavement, training class, show ringsā€¦ the list is endless.

For rabbits, vaccination for myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease 1 and 2 is strongly recommended. Both of these carry a very high mortality rate, especially VHD1 and VHD2. As these infections can be transmitted by biting insects such as fleas and mosquitos, parasite prevention is essential for outside rabbits, using either pharmaceutical or environmental controls such as mosquito netting in the warmer months.

For cats, cat flu (multiple forms) can cause lifelong symptoms, a little like cold sores in people. Symptoms can break out in times of stress or illness and therefore vaccination to prevent cat flu is strongly advised.

If you have any questions regarding vaccination for your pet, please do not hesitate to contact your local veterinary team for advice.

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