Herbal and Homeopathic Vet in North Wales & NW England
Natural Pet Care Holistic Vet
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Vaccination Questions

Vaccination Should we vaccinate?
Questions we are asked as vets:

  • How often?
  • At what age?
  • Should we include everything?
  • Are vaccines safe?

These are are questions we get asked by the general public as vets

The most authoritative recent answer from a conventional veterinary study is found in the
WSAVA 2015 Study '
‘Guidelines for the Vaccination of Dogs and Cats'

You can read this document on this link or even more detailed recommendations below

The BAHVS official position can be read here which I support can be
read here

If you follow this guidance the vaccination frequency used by many vets in the UK can be unnecessarily frequent but the 'data sheets' vets are given by drug companies do not always reflect the advice the academics give us and so many vets will vaccinate to be on the safe side. Is this harmful or good sense just to make sure?

The jury is out on that question and it is a complex subject.

If vaccines never cause side affects then why not vaccinate very year just to be on the 'safe side' but undoubtedly they can cause side affects and there are definable risks each time you have a vaccine. That said if you do not vaccinate you run the risk of your companion catching parvovirus or leptospirosis or whatever.

There is no risk free strategy it is a matter of assessing the risks and making an educated choice for your family.

Here is
a link to what vets in the US are now recommending in dogs. It's a long complex document but if you are concerned it shows how much trouble the profession puts into their advice. A holistic vet will take all this into account before giving advice and this will change as new vaccines are produced and new diseases come to light.

I recommend you read these studies and decide what you feel best to do there is no one right answer but here is what I recommend.

Dogs and Puppies

I recommend you vaccinate for
Distemper, Adenovirus and Parvovirus (DHP) at 12-14 weeks plus of age. Or even now just DP vaccine as this is more widely available and Adenovirus cases are rarely if ever seen. An early vaccine at about 8-10 weeks is usually recommended as your pup is vunerable as soon as maternal antibodies reduce from a month or so but you will need to repeat at 10-14 weeks.

Then have a titre blood test at about 15 - 16 weeks of age for antibodies to these viruses. Repeat vaccination if necessary after this and retest If positive no need to repeat.

The vaccines work well in most cases but recent studies show particularly for parvovirus there can be as much as a
12% failure rate leaving your pet vulnerable to catching this. Indeed there are some breeds of dog who seem incapable of producing antibodies.

While usually given with the DHP core vaccines above Lepto is a separate vaccine and given in 2 doses for the initial vaccination.

It seems to me this vaccine is not very affective even if given at the recommended 2 doses, usually 4 weeks apart; unfortunately antibody titre levels are not reliable with this disease.

If you feel you need to protect against Leptospirosis you will need both doses and then annually. You could use the nosode but we have little evidence this is affective or not for that matter. Leptospires only really survive in water not in the regular environment but water is everywhere certainly here in Cymru.

Kennel Cough
There is more evidence the
nosode is moderately affective given for a few days before kennelling or dog shows training classes etc. Nosodes do not give long term protection.

Boosters - Titre test and then decide. I can arrange to have this blood test taken to check your pet has antibodies to DHP. If he has, then it is thought that immunity is life long through a cell mediated memory. (Dr Richard Ford personal communication 2021) If he has a positive titre test then you do not nee the DHP part of the vaccine for a couple of years when it is sensible to repeat the test.

Cats and Kittens

Again 1 dose at 3 months old should be enough they are all live virus vaccines. Titre test to check they have worked

There are titre test available for Cat Flu (both strains ) and panleucopenia Read More on
Vaccicheck UK Leukaemia is not included and I would recommend it for all kittens.

There are exclusions and exceptions to all situations and you should consult with you vet in particular if you are a breeder


There is less research I am aware of for bunnies. Myxomatosis is a horrible disease. I would give my pet rabbit a single dose in 'childhood' at least.
Viral Haemorrhagic Disease or VHD or RHD is also available
House rabbits may not need these but if you rabbit runs free in the garden I would have them covered.
Titre Testing - Vaccicheck

Vaccicheck is a brand of Titre Test I use to check antibody levels to
Dogs Distemper, Parvovirus and Adenovirus (Hepatitis)
Cats Panleucopenia and Cat Flu

Read More

Vaccicheck Clinics - at The Dog's Diner on the Wirral, Imperial Pets near Chester and Parc Vetcare near Bangor
See the
blog pages for dates and contact details

Nosode Usage - can they protect?

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© Graham Hines
Graham Hines MRCVS
Dee View Road, Connah's Quay
Flintshire, CH5 4AY
and Moreton Wirral
Tel:(+44) 07903268439
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