Do you have a cat or you are thinking about how much is chemotherapy for cats and why do they need them. Understanding how a vaccine works can give you an insight into the exact reasoning behind their use. A vaccine consists of a dead, or alternatively, an alive but weakened pathogen that we are vaccinating your pet against, generally a bacteria or virus. We understand that if this pathogen were to enter your pets body it would cause a disease. If your pet has not been vaccinated, these diseases can prove to be fatal, even with appropriate treatment being given. When a vaccine has been given to your pet, their immune system recognises that there is an invader which is considered to be a threat to them. In response, the animals lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, produces antibodies in order to kill the pathogen. If your pet subsequently encounters more of the same or similar organism again the immune system can react and fight off infection.
However, over time the level of immunity your pet has fades. There are many different types of vaccines for different types of pets, and making sure that your pet is fully vaccinated is necessary to ensure that that they have the best possible chance of not contracting any diseases that could prove to be fatal. For cats vaccines are available against felineenteritis, two cat flu viruses, chlamydia, Bordetella, feline leukaemia and rabies. Dogs are routinely vaccinated against distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, parvovirus parainfluenza and leptospirosis. In addition to this, we recommend that if you’re planning on putting your dog in a kennel, that they will often require a kennel cough vaccination against Bordetella. Alternatively, if you plan on travelling abroad, a rabies vaccination is strongly advised.
Rabbits are vaccinated against viral haemorrhagic disease and myxomatosis. The timing of primary vaccinations is catered for animals according to whether their maternal immunity has faded quickly or lasts a bit longer. Very young animals have antibodies passed on from their mothers; these are known as maternally derived antibodies. If these antibodies are still present when you begin your pets vaccinations, these antibodies can mop up the vaccine components and prevent an effective immune response. With diseases such as leptospirosis, we know that dogs need to be given two vaccinations in order to generate immunity in dogs of all ages. Many people tend to wonder if annual vaccinations are actually necessary. The answer to that is yes and no.
Remember we said that your pet’s immunity fades with time now this occurs at different rates for different conditions so although your animals are vaccinated every year they won’t necessarily be vaccinated against every disease annually. For example in dogs we know that leptospirosis and parainfluenza immunity fades very quickly but that distemper parvovirus and hepatitis immunity lasts longer and is therefore only included in the vaccines every third year. An independent body the Veterinary Medicines Directorate oversees the licensing of veterinary medicines in the United Kingdom. Vaccine manufacturers are required to submit a summary of product characteristics, otherwise known as an SPC.
The SPC clarifies how the product behaves based on scientific evidence, as well as giving an indication of how long the immunities are known to last. The VMD, decides whether the SPC information is correct. Another important consideration when looking at the frequency of vaccinations is something known as herd immunity. Herd immunity looks at the percentage of population that is immune for a given disease at any time.
If herd immunity were hundred percent, infectious organisms like bacteria and viruses would not be able to infect anyone at all. Typically heard immunity in our pets is as low as 30 to 50%, this enables conditions like cat Flu and distemper, hepatitis, and parvovirus to remain in the population. It is therefore no wonder that in Swindon we still see dogs with parvovirus which is a highly contagious disease affecting all ages of dog and can cause an horrific death or if the dog survives the acute phase a long term illness with mal absorption and diarrhoea. There are other advantages of having a regular vaccination for example it allows your pet to have a full check up.
This facilitate the detection of problems that your pet may have, allowing us to treat your pet accordingly. This will benefit your pet greatly as issues that are detected early, are more likely to be easier to treat. If you are concerned about over vaccinating your pet, it is possible to check some antibody levels to see if booster vaccinations are necessary. Some animals may produce an immune response which lasts slightly longer than the vaccine schedule suggests, however, the results aren’t completely reliable and they can be quite expensive if you test for multiple diseases.