The importance of vaccinations

Do you ever wonder why your pet needs an annual booster vaccination?

You’re probably aware that getting a new puppy or kitten means a few trips to the vets for vaccinations, parasite control and other preventative treatments. However, to maintain your pet’s health and wellbeing, regular trips to the vets are recommended. Annual vaccinations (boosters) are important to protect your pet against preventable diseases. Here we explore some of the common questions and myths surrounding vaccinations…

My pet only had a primary vaccine course, is that okay?

Your pet’s primary vaccination course protects your pet against many diseases but this immunity doesn’t last for life. Over time, protection against these diseases wanes so regular boosters are needed to make sure your pet is always protected. .

Our priority is your pet’s health so we recommend annual vaccinations for that reason alone. We don’t advocate annual boosters for commercial gain or because of pressure from pharmaceutical companies.

How do vaccines work? 

Did you know, vaccines don’t actually fight diseases themselves?

Vaccines stimulate your pet’s immune system to recognise specific disease-causing viruses and bacteria. If your pet comes into contact with these diseases, antibodies (disease fighting cells) are produced. These antibodies send chemical signals to the disease-fighting cells of your pet’s body and an immune response (attack against the disease) is activated.

Our pet’s produce different levels of immunity to different diseases. For example, the leptospirosis vaccine protects dogs for a year whereas the distemper vaccine protects dogs for three years.

We follow a vaccination protocol that ensures your pets only receive the elements of the vaccine they need that year; this means we never give vaccinations that your pet doesn’t need.

Which diseases do vaccinations protect my pet from?

We vaccinate dogs against:

  • Leptospirosis
  • Canine distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Infectious canine hepatitis
  • Canine parainfluenza virus

We vaccinate cats against:

  • Feline viral rhinotracheitis (cat flu)
  • Feline calicivirus
  • Feline panleucopaenia
  • Feline leukaemia virus

It may take up to a few weeks after vaccination before your pet is fully protected against disease; we can advise you on this during your appointment.

Is my pet protected for life?

Just like us humans, the very young and elderly are more vulnerable to disease and illness. Regular vaccinations help protect your pet throughout their life, even when their immune system doesn’t function as well as it used to.

Helping the wider pet community

By vaccinating your pet you’re also helping to protect all pets in your local community. The more vaccinated animals there are, the less likely it is for disease outbreaks to occur. Most boarding kennels, catteries and dog walkers insist that your pet is vaccinated when accessing their services.

In the UK, pets have been part of vaccination programmes for many years so outbreaks of serious diseases occur less often. These disease outbreaks are only controlled because we continue to vaccinate our pets yearly.

 

Silver Cat Friendly Clinic

At Hawick Vets we’re proud to be reaccredited as a Silver level Cat Friendly Clinic and members of the ISFM (International Society of Feline Medicine) 

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Calling all cats aged seven or older!

Learn more about feline hypertension and book a blood pressure check today…

What is feline hypertension?

Feline hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, commonly affects cats aged seven years or older. As your cat ages, the risk of developing hypertension increases.

Hypertension can often go undetected until it is too late; that is why it is important to spot the signs early, avoiding long-term damage to your cat’s health and wellbeing.

What are the main causes of feline hypertension?

Feline hypertension is most commonly secondary to another disease process such as:

  • chronic kidney disease
  • overactive thyroid
  • heart disease.

Primary hypertension (without another cause) is also seen but less commonly than in people.

What is Target Organ Damage (TOD)?

If not detected early, hypertension can cause irreversible damage to key organs such as the eyes, heart, brain, and kidneys.

  • eyes – high blood pressure can result in bleeding into the eyes and retinal changes such as haemorrhage, swelling, and detachment leading to long term damage to vision and sometimes permanent blindness
  • kidneys – high blood pressure directly affects the kidneys and can cause or worsen kidney failure
  • central nervous system – bleeding in the brain can lead to seizures, dementia, and wobbly movements
  • heart – with high blood pressure, the heart needs to work harder to pump blood around the body. This can lead to heart failure as there is increased pressure placed on the heart.

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

Symptoms may include:

  • loss of appetite
  • decrease in activity
  • disorientation
  • circling behaviour
  • drinking more fluids than usual
  • weight loss
  • urinating indoors
  • hiding away or difference in overall behaviours
  • irritability
  • vomiting (if the kidneys are also affected)
  • seizures (if hypertension is left untreated)
  • bleeding in the eyes or blindness

How can I protect my cat?

As a preventative measure, we recommend that you book a blood pressure check once a year when your cat reaches seven years old. For older cats, a blood pressure check should be checked as directed by your vet.

How do we check for high blood pressure?

A blood pressure check can be conducted quickly and painlessly, using an inflatable cuff around your cat’s tail or leg.

How do we treat hypertension?

If your cat is diagnosed with hypertension, medication may need to be taken daily for the rest of your cat’s life. That’s why it is so important to spot the signs early and include regular blood pressure check-ups as part of your cat’s routine preventative healthcare.

What should you do next?

If your cat is aged seven years or older, we recommend that you book them in for a blood pressure screening once every year.

 

To make an appointment over the phone call us on 01450 372038 quoting our booking code ‘senior cat’.

 

Stress has a major impact on cat welfare. This is why we are proud of our International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) Silver Cat-Friendly Clinic status. There are many ways we help to minimise stress as much as possible for our feline friends when they visit the practice. To find out more, visit www.catfriendlyclinic.org


We look forward to seeing you and your cat soon.