Dog Vaccination Guide: FAQs

By vaccinating your dog, not only do you have peace of mind knowing that your pet is protected, it helps prevent the spread of diseases – not just to other pets, but their owners too. We answer some common questions about dog vaccinations.

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Vaccinations boost your dog’s immunity and act as the first line of defence against some very nasty, and potentially fatal diseases.

Read our FAQ about vaccinating your dog.

What Is A Vaccine & How Do They Work?

A vaccination is an injection designed to make
a dog’s immune system create antibodies against specific infections. When we give a vaccination we are injecting a small dose of a harmless version of the virus/bacteria we want to protect your dog against. This allows your dog’s body to produce
a protective response without having contact with the dangerous form of the disease. Once the dog has responded to the vaccine it will have immunity if it comes into contact with the virus/bacteria in later life.

What Are The Main Things That Dogs Are Vaccinated Against?

  • Canine parvo virus
  • Canine infectious hepatitis
  • Distemper
  • Leptospirosis

These are classed as the core vaccines but we also offer a vaccination against kennel cough if required.

Why Do I Need To Vaccinate My Dog?

By vaccinating your dog you’re helping to keep them happy and healthy by protecting them from picking up infectious, and in some cases potentially fatal, diseases. Vaccination will prevent lengthy and costly treatment for these diseases.

Plus, it’s not just your dog you’re protecting – Leptospirosis, one of the diseases we vaccinate against, is also infectious to humans and could be passed on to owners.

It’s also worth knowing that your furry friend needs to be fully vaccinated if they go to a dog walker, doggy day care centre or if you’re planning on leaving them in a kennel while you are on holiday.

How Often Do I Need To Vaccinate My Dogs?

Some of the diseases we vaccinate against do not need yearly boosters, however Leptospirosis does require a yearly vaccination. For this reason we use a rolling protocol for our vaccines which ensures that we only vaccinate those things that are needed. This prevents over vaccination but ensures your dog is protected at all times.

How Old Does My Dog Need To Be Before I Can Vaccinate?

Dogs can start their vaccines from 6 weeks of age and their second vaccination must be after they’re 10 weeks old. These vaccines can be given 2–4 weeks apart.

Will Vaccination Hurt My Dog?

There may be some mild discomfort associated with the injection although we do use small needles.

How Long After Their Second Vaccine Can I Take My Dog Out?

Your dog will be able to go out for walks on the pavement a week after their second vaccination. However, due to the risk of Leptospirosis and immunity not being achieved for 2 weeks after the second vaccine, we advise that you avoid ponds, streams and other sources of water, or where there is a risk of rats being present.

Are There Any Side Effects To Dog Vaccinations?

Vaccine reactions are uncommon and usually mild.
 Your dog may be a little quieter than normal and off
 their food or have a mild temperature. Swelling or firmness at the site of the injection can occur, but this usually settles in time. If it doesn’t we advise you come in to see us to
get the swelling checked, as in rare cases this can develop into something more serious.

Please contact us if you are concerned that your dog is experiencing side effects.

I Don’t Know If My New Dog Has Been Fully Vaccinated. What Do I Do?

If your dog has come to you with no vaccination history it is usually better to assume that they have not had vaccines. In this case it’s best to start the course of vaccines from the start, to ensure that they are fully protected.

The other option would be to titre test them to assess their levels of antibodies.

What Happens If My Dog Misses A Booster?

It depends on how long over their booster due date 
they are. There’s some leeway with booster vaccinations, but this varies, so we would advise you check with your vet.

If it has been too long after their last vaccination it may be necessary to re-start the course as if they were a puppy.

What Type Of Vaccine Do You Use? Is It Compatible With The First One I Have Had At The Breeder?

We use the Nobivac brand of vaccines for dogs, which are compatible with Canigen dog vaccines. If your dog has been vaccinated with any other brands we would recommend re-starting the vaccine course. This is because there is no data available to say 
if these brands are compatible with Nobivac and therefore can’t ensure they provide the correct level of immunity.

If you did not want to re-start the vaccines using a different brand for the second vaccine, would be ‘off licence’ and we couldn’t guarantee immunity.

Can My Dog Be Vaccinated If They Are On Medication?

This depends on what medication your dog is taking. It is often possible to continue with their vaccines as normal, but medicines that affect the immune system may affect the response they get to the vaccinations. 
We always advise discussing with your vet any medication your dog takes when vaccines are due, as they may have to be delayed to ensure immunity.

Can My Dog Be Vaccinated If They Are Unwell?

No, unfortunately not. Your dog needs to be fit and well when we give them their vaccinations to ensure that they obtain the correct immune response.

My Doesn’t Go In To Kennels. Do I Need To Vaccinate Them Against Kennel Cough?

Kennel Cough is a highly contagious disease of the upper respiratory tract. It can affect dogs of any
age but it can be more severe in puppies,
 older dogs or those with underlying 
medical conditions. It causes a harsh dry cough and may also cause a dog to cough up white froth.

The cough can be made worse by exercise and pulling on the lead. They may also have runny eyes and nose. 
As this disease is spread from infected dogs coughing and sneezing, any dog that comes into close contact with other dogs is at risk, therefore it is not just dogs that go into kennels that can be affected.

L2 & L4 vaccines – What Does This Mean?

L2 and L4 refer to the number of strains of Leptospirosis that are covered in the vaccination. We use L2 vaccines,
as research shows the vast majority of cases of Leptospirosis diagnosed in the UK are covered by L2.

L2 and L4 are not compatible, so puppies that have had their first vaccine with L4 will require and additional vaccine on L2. Please speak with your vet if you are unsure.

Is It Worth Vaccinating My Older Dog?

Definitively. Over time your dog’s immunity may reduce, leaving them susceptible to the diseases that we aim to protect them against.

Do Dogs Need Additional Vaccines To Travel?

Dogs need to be vaccinated against Rabies to enable them to travel into Europe.

Can I Vaccinate My Pregnant Dog?

If your dog has been previously vaccinated using the Nobivac vaccines (the brand we use), it may be possible for them to be vaccinated while pregnant.

It is worth considering checking your dog’s vaccination status if you are thinking of breeding from them and ensure they are fully up to date with vaccines prior to pregnancy.

What Is Titre Testing? Does It Work?

Titre testing is a blood test that assesses the amount of antibodies that you dog has produced after it has been vaccinated. It is these antibodies that will help them
 fight off infections. If these antibodies are above a likely-protective level, vaccination would not be necessary. If the antibodies are below the likely-protective level, a booster vaccination would be required.

Titre testing looks at the level of antibodies when the blood sample is taken. It is not known how quickly this level of antibodies will drop and potentially leave your dog unprotected.

It’s important to note that some kennels and pet insurances may not accept titre test results in place of vaccinations.

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