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Puppy and kitten kissing on the green lawn.

This may be one of the most controversial topics in small animal medicine, and difficult to cover in such a short article. Sadly, the internet is a brilliant source of mis-information which can ultimately lead to a lot of scaremongering.

Inoculations are an important component of canine and feline healthcare plans, to protect them from preventable diseases which are often either fatal or affect them lifelong. However, it’s important to get the balance right – vaccinate just enough to ensure adequate lifelong immunity without over doing it.

Below is a general guideline to inoculations recommended in most dogs and cats:




Annually Leptospirosis Annually Herpes virus and Calicivirus (‘cat flu’)
Every third year Distemper, Parvovirus and Infectious Hepatitis Every third year Feline Infectious Enteritis
At risk dogs only Kennel cough Outdoor cats only Feline Leukaemia Virus


Some vaccinations offer only short-acting immunity and require annual top ups. Other vaccinations last longer and are thus boosted every three years. A blood test (or titre test) can be taken just before a vaccination is due, to see if your pet has a strong enough immunity to forego vaccination that year. However, vaccinations should never be skipped without first titre testing – to leave an animal without immunity could result in fatal consequences.

A routine check-up is a great way to ensure your pet is in optimum health and can allow your vet to detect signs of problems that are on the horizon, possibly sparing you the trauma of an emergency visit later on. It is also a great time to ensure that your pet’s preventative health plan is up to date, including vaccines and anti-parasite treatment.

An animal’s lifestyle affects its risk factors for contracting certain diseases, so each vaccination schedule should be tailored to your individual pet.  Vets are very careful to avoid over vaccination – they give a slightly different vaccine each year to ensure that your pets schedule is tailored to exactly what they require and nothing more. That’s why your vet always checks your pet’s records to see what has been given over the last few years. Always feel confident to discuss your animal’s vaccination protocol with your veterinarian, or call 01494 459095 for advice over the phone.


Dr. Kathryn Miller CertAVP (SAM) Pg CertVPS MRCVS


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