Current vaccination guidelines for dogs & Cats

Current vaccination guidelines for dogs and cats in the UK

Vaccination plays a central role in protecting dogs and cats from major infectious diseases. These include viral and bacterial diseases, which can cause significant illness and are difficult to treat.

All vaccines authorised for use in the UK have met quality, safety and efficacy standards as assessed by the independent veterinary regulator. Based on current scientific understanding and knowledge of local disease threats, vets working with pet owners, can develop vaccination plans to suit the needs of our Practice’s dogs and cats.

Serious adverse reactions to vaccines are rare and the benefits of vaccination continue to outweigh this small risk.

Vaccination appointments allow for a full general health examination to take place. This allows the vet to diagnose any other issues that need to be addressed, nipping potential problems in the bud and keeping the pet in the best of health.

The benefits of vaccination can extend beyond the protection of individuals. The prevalence of disease in regional communities can also be reduced by decreasing the overall numbers of susceptible animals that are not immune. When a high proportion of dogs and cats in the community are vaccinated, the protection offered is called ‘herd immunity’ and this limits the ability for disease outbreaks to spread. Herd immunity also helps to protect the animals which have weakened immune systems and are not able to react to vaccinations appropriately, such as very young puppies/kittens, geriatric, pregnant and sick or immune-compromised dogs/cats.

What Dog Diseases Do We Vaccinate Against Routinely?

CANINE DISTEMPER VIRUS: this is a virus that causes a wide range of symptoms including a cough, runny eyes and nose, diarrhoea, high temperature, thickened pads, tremors and fits.

CANINE PARVOVIRUS: this is a highly contagious virus that can be fatal. The virus attacks the cells in a dog’s intestines and stops them from being able to absorb nutrients. The main signs are severe vomiting and diarrhoea.

CANINE ADENOVIRUS: often also called Infectious Hepatitis, this disease affects the liver and other major organs and causes lethargy, anorexia, coughing, vomiting and diarrhoea.

CANINE LEPTOSPIROSIS: this is a disease caused by bacteria that damages vital organs such as the liver and kidney. There are many different strains of leptospirosis which is why we most often use the most up to date leptospirosis vaccination which protects against more of the different strains. The disease is often spread by mice, rats but can also be caught from contaminated water. Your dog is at higher risk of catching leptospirosis if they live on a farm, regularly kill rodents or spend a lot of time swimming. This disease can also affect humans.

Another vaccine that we offer routinely is an intra-nasal vaccine (it is administered up the dog’s nose):

KENNEL COUGH VACCINE: this vaccine protects against two of the main causes of kennel cough (a bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica) and a virus called Canine Parainfuenza.

Vaccination Protocol

Puppies (8-10 weeks old) are given their first vaccination against Distemper(D), Hepatitis (H), Parvovirus(P) and Leptospirosis(L).

2 weeks later they can have their second dose of DHP

2 weeks later they can have their second dose of L

The Kennel Cough (KC) vaccine is offered usually at the second vaccination. It is a live vaccine so it is not recommended if any human in the household is immune-compromised.

The puppy will be fully protected against DHP one week after the second vaccine but is not protected against L and KC until 3 weeks after the second vaccine.

First Booster: This first booster is when your dog is about one year old. He/she will need to have a single injection to boost their immunity against D,H,P and L (also KC if required)

Boosters thereafter: Your dog will need an annual booster for L (and KC if required) but only every three years for D, H and P.

What Cat Diseases Do We Vaccinate Against Routinely?


FELINE HERPES VIRUS (FHV): These are the two main causes of cat flu (See separate blog on Cat Flu)

FELINE PANLEUCOPAENIA: This is also known as Feline Parvovirus (FPV), which attacks the intestines and immune system. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea and sometimes sudden death.

FELINE LEUKAEMIA VIRUS (FeLV): This virus can cause severe immunosuppression and development of anaemia. It also has the ability to cause the development of tumours: infected cats can develop lymphoma (a solid tumour of a particular type of white blood cell, lymphocyte) or leukaemia (cancer of the bone marrow) and some other tumours.

Vaccination Protocol

Kittens (8-9 weeks old) are given their first vaccination against FCV, FHV, FPV and FeLV.

3 weeks later they will have their second dose of all the diseases again.

The kitten will be fully protected 2 weeks after the second vaccination for FeLV but 3 weeks for FCV, FHV and FPV.

First Booster:  This first booster is when your cat is about one year old. He/she will have a single vaccination to boost their immunity against FCV, FHC, FPV and FeLV.

Boosters therafter: Your cat will need a booster every year for the two cat flu viruses (FCV and FHV) but only every three years for FPV and FeLV.