What vaccinations should my pet get?

Our pets are valuable members of the family, so it’s important to keep them fit and healthy. When you get a dog or cat, you’ll need to take them to the vet for a set of routine injections, as vaccinations are vital to ensure that your pet doesn’t succumb to harmful diseases.

In puppies, vaccines are first administered at the age of six weeks. The essential recommended injections in the UK include those for:

  • Canine Parvovirus, which attacks the immune system
  • Canine Distemper, which affects the gut
  • Infectious Canine Hepatitis
  • Canine Influenza
  • Kennel cough and;
  • Leptospirosis, which can also infect humans

Newer vaccines are also available, all of which should be discussed with your vet as soon as you purchase or adopt a new animal. Vaccinations are also essential for cats, and can help to protect against deadly diseases, including:

  • Feline Leukaemia
  • Feline infectious enteritis and;
  • Influenza

Booster injections may be needed throughout your pet’s life, which is why it’s important that your pet has regular vet appointments and that you keep a close eye on its health. For further vaccination information, your vet should be able to supply a range of pamphlets.

If you’re planning to take your pet abroad, there will be other vaccinations to consider. In the past, a six-month quarantine was put in place for all animals entering the UK from another country. Now, the PETS scheme has been put in place to stop the spread of rabies across the EU.

This deadly disease, which is a form of viral brain encephalitis, is extremely dangerous to humans as well as animals, and although the UK has been free of rabies for years, there is still considerable risk elsewhere in the world, particularly in less developed countries.

The latest government advice on pet travel, which came into effect in January 2012, states that all pet cats, dogs and ferrets can enter or re-enter the UK from anywhere in the world without the traditional quarantine, on the condition that they meet the rules of the scheme.

However, when it comes to taking your pet away on holiday, there is evidence to show that many animals find the process distressing. So, unless you’re moving away permanently or travelling in the UK, it’s generally best to leave pets at home with a friend, relative or registered cattery or kennel.

If it’s essential that you travel with your pet, you might want to invest in a specially designed pet travel case, like the Sleepypod available in our range. This luxurious travel case is perfect for pampered pets, with ultra-plush comfy foam that can help to alleviate the stress of the journey.

For more pet health advice, take a look at the resources available at PDSA.org. Alternatively, have a read through our pet page, which offers loads of useful tips and pointers on pet health issues. On our pet page, you’ll also find guidance on pet travel, vaccinations, diet and exercise.