What is Vaccination?

Vaccines are products made from infectious agents (virus, bacteria) that have been modified to not cause the disease but still able to stimulate the immune system to help prevent the diseases that they are made from if the animal is exposed to the virus or bacteria in the future.

Why do I need to vaccinate my pet?

Some worldwide life-threatening diseases can be prevented and controlled by vaccination. They are called CORE vaccines and pets must be protected from them:

Dog Core Vaccines Cat Core Vaccines
Distemper FHV (Herpesvirus)
Hepatitis FCV (Calicivirus)
Parvovirus Panleucopenia

Why do they need so many injections to start with?

During the first few weeks of age puppies and kittens are protected against many viruses and bacteria by maternal (from the mother) antibodies. Over the first few weeks of life these antibodies tend to decrease gradually leaving them very vulnerable to the Core diseases so their immune system needs to be stimulated with a vaccination to protect them. The first vaccination series starts at an early age as these maternal antibodies decrease, according to the latest guidelines the series of vaccinations is completed when the immune system is fully responsive at 16 weeks.

How often does my pet need a booster?

Core vaccinations are known to commonly induce long-term efficient immunity. Vaccination guidelines from WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) recommend that in many cases CORE vaccines are required every three years (sometimes with longer intervals) and support the use of titre tests to assess antibody levels along with the most important annual health check. This does not apply for the Leptospirosis vaccine, which is licensed for 12 months only. No in house titre test exists at the moment for this infectious disease.


Vaccination does not mean protection in all cases:

Maternal antibodies can create a natural barrier and prevent good immune stimulation of a puppy/kitten. The purpose of the first vaccination series is to establish good immunity but it is sometimes not sufficient and the immune system has not been stimulated enough to protect them effectively. Also some breeds are known to have a poorly responsive immune system (e.g. Rottweiler) and require more regular injections to set up a good immunity.

Situations where titre testing is recommended:

  • To confirm if puppy/kitten vaccination has induced good quality   immunisation
  • Detection of “genetic non-responders”
  • Pets with unknown history of vaccination
  • Assessment of adult pets to determine if they require a vaccination
  • Pets with a history of adverse reaction to previous vaccines
  • Pets with chronic illness
  • Proof of vaccination in certain circumstances e.g. boarding facilities
  • Vaccination is not only necessary to protect your pet; it helps prevent the spreading of serious infectious disease.

Although vaccination is not without any side effects, a wise use of them is essential.

At Wharfedale Veterinary Centre our annual health check is designed to assess general health, to detect the beginning of possible illness and to determine what vaccinations are needed.

The titre test can help to decide whether your pet needs a booster vaccination and for which Core diseases as well as helping to prevent over-vaccination and the side effects that can result from this. This is an in-house test that gives results within 30 minutes so usually by the end of your pet’s  Annual Health Check, we can give any vaccinations required to maintain your pet’s antibody levels..

Please feel free to pick up the phone or ask at reception next time you are in.