We want to offer you some reassurance about lapsed vaccinations for your dog or cat.
The core message of this article is that for many cats and dogs, they are likely to have an adequate protection for up to three months after their current booster vaccination is due.
Dogs are vaccinated against several core diseases. This includes:
- Canine distemper.
- Canine infectious hepatitis.
- Canine parvovirus.
Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus
Immunity for these diseases is now thought to last for most dogs for at least 3 years once the primary vaccination course (often of 2 vaccinations two to four weeks apart) is completed. Vaccination helps the body to generate immunity from future infection by enabling it to produce antibodies. It is thought that these protective antibody levels could persist for many years for the large majority of dogs, however this duration of immunity will vary from dog to dog. Therefore, lapsing on these vaccinations by a few months (less than 3 months) should be ok and your dog has a good chance of being protected.
Leptospirosis is a disease that causes liver and kidney failure and is contracted by most dogs by drinking infected water. Vaccination is generally yearly. You can help protect your dog from this disease by simply avoiding standing water sources such as ponds and canals. Again, it’s probably ok for vaccination to lapse by up to 3 months, but please take alternative routes when walking your dog to avoid standing water sources to reduce their risk of infection.
Cats are also vaccinated against several core diseases. This includes:
- Feline panleukopenia (an infectious diarrhoea)
- Feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus (cat flu)
Immunity for this disease is now thought to last for most cats for at least 3 years once the primary vaccination course is completed. Again, if the vaccination is lapsed by less than 3 months then a booster vaccination would likely be enough to continue protection.
Feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus
These viruses form part of cat flu complex. Like humans we vaccinate cats yearly. Our current guidelines are to give a booster vaccination if the vaccination is lapsed by less than 3 months.
What if dogs/cats lapse by more than 3 months?
For animals that lapse longer, we as vets would discuss the risk/benefit of giving a booster vaccination verses a vaccination restart and treat accordingly. We understand that many vaccinations may have been delayed but we will ensure that clients are not financially penalised due to COVID-19 as long as they book their appointments when we contact them.
If your pet’s boosters are due after February 2020, we will be emailing you to invite you to make your appointment. We are having to do this in a staged manner so that we don’t miss anybody.