During the first few weeks of their lives, puppies are protected against disease through antibodies from their mother’s milk. Gradually the maternal immunity decreases and therefore the puppies are no longer protected.

We recommend that puppies have their first vaccination at 8 weeks of age and then a second vaccination at 12 weeks old. These vaccinations will protect your new puppy from canine distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza, leptospirosis and infectious canine hepatitis. These vaccinations will keep your puppy protected against these diseases for one year, and booster vaccinations are required to maintain immunity throughout the dog’s life.

At the time of vaccination, the vet will also perform an examination of your pet - useful for picking up on any problems at an early stage – and we will use this opportunity to discuss additional aspects of preventative healthcare. Yearly kennel cough vaccinations can also be given to your dog to protect against the bacterial infection Bordetella bronchiseptica and is required by most boarding kennels.

Vaccinations remain the cornerstone of preventative medicine and are a very simple, safe and useful way to protect your pet against a range of diseases that would otherwise be untreatable, fatal or both. Fortunately, there is now a low incidence of many of these nasty diseases, and this is largely due to owners having their pets routinely vaccinated. However, none of the diseases have been eradicated, and we still see incidents of these illnesses in unvaccinated pets.

Are vaccines necessary?

There has been a fair amount of publicity surrounding the issue of vaccines recently, and some people have suggested that vaccines can be the cause of health problems and might not be needed anyway. Understandably, this has lead to owners questioning the need to vaccinate their pet.

Ribble Vets remain convinced that immunisation through vaccination saves many lives that would otherwise be lost to infectious diseases, and we therefore maintain that vaccinating your pet is the correct and responsible thing to do. In fact, we work hard to keep our vaccination prices are as low as possible, and we regularly review our vaccination policy to ensure it is as safe and effective as possible. We also vaccinate our own pets, which shows how much we believe in its importance.

Further impartial vaccination information is available from the NOAH website.