Kittens playing

Keeping your dogs, cats and rabbits safe


After your young pet’s first visit to the vet for vaccination, don’t forget that they will need regular inoculation to ensure they stay protected against a range of infectious diseases. Here’s your at a glance guide to vaccination.

Dogs should be vaccinated against;

  • Canine Parvovirus
  • Canine Distemper virus
  • Canine Parainfluenza (by injection or as part of a kennel cough vaccine)
  • Leptospirosis
  • Infectious canine hepatitis.

Vaccinations are also available against:

  • Canine coronavirus
  • Rabies (required for dogs travelling abroad)

Cats should be vaccinated against:

  • Feline herpes virus
  • Feline calicivirus
  • Feline Panleucopaenia
  • Chlamydia
  • Feline leukaemia virus

Rabbits should be vaccinated against;

  • Myxomatosis
  • Rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Puppy love

When puppies are born they are usually protected from infections by their mother’s milk, providing she has been regularly vaccinated. However, this protection only lasts a few weeks so they need regular vaccinations from an early age.

Puppies are typically vaccinated between 8 and 12 weeks of age, with an initial course of two injections. Your young pet should then be given a booster 12 months after their first vaccination.

Don’t forget that older dogs will need protecting too. All dogs need annual booster injections as their immunity declines. Speak to your vet about the regularity of your pet’s vaccinations.

Kennel cough

‘Kennel Cough’ is a general term used to describe infectious coughs in dogs. These are easily transmitted between dogs, so any dog mixing with a number of others is at risk. As the name suggests, going into kennels is a risk factor, and vaccination should ideally be given at least 2 weeks before going into kennels.

Kennel cough vaccination protects against the main causes of disease (Bordatella bronchiseptica +/- canine parainfluenza) and is given intra-nasally (into a nostril).

Cat protection

Like puppies, kittens gain some protection from infections by their mother’s milk, providing the adult cat has been regularly vaccinated. But kittens will also need regular vaccinations from an early age.

Kittens are usually vaccinated at nine and 12 weeks of age, with an initial course of two injections. They will then need a booster injection at 12 months after their first vaccination.

Your older cat will also need regular vaccination and annual booster injections to help protect them as their immunity declines. Your vet will advise you about the timing of your pet’s vaccinations.

Rabbit vaccination

Vaccination is recommended for rabbits housed both outdoors and indoors (‘house rabbits’) so this is a good time to check with your vet that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date to keep them safe from potentially fatal disease.

Myxomatosis is carried by rabbit fleas. Once infected symptoms include swelling and discharge of the eyes and most rabbits will die despite treatment. Vaccination is recommended once a year.

Viral Haemorrhagic Disease is highly contagious and is spread through contaminated hutches, bedding, food and on clothing. Often the only sign of this disease is sudden death of the infected rabbit. Vaccination is recommended once a year.

Regular worming is also recommended, particularly to prevent infection with the E cuniculi parasite.

Speak to your vet for more advice on your pet’s vaccination requirements.



Published: 10:39, 20 May 2013 | Updated: 02:56, 13 February 2015