Covid-19 and Pet Vaccinations – Latest Advice from 14.04.20
Below is an extract from the latest BVA guidance issued to veterinary surgeons regarding pet vaccinations.
Should we carry on with routine pet vaccinations?
Our guidance now says that following a risk assessment both for animal health and welfare and with regard to Covid-19, primary vaccinations and year 1 boosters in dogs and cats could go ahead due to the increased risk of disease outbreak over a longer period of time. Annual leptospirosis vaccination could potentially go ahead due to the zoonotic risk and following local risk assessment. If additional components of the core vaccine are due at the same time, they could also be administered. In addition, our guidance now says that rabbit vaccinations could go ahead due to the seasonal disease risks. Rabies vaccinations could be carried out if required for certification reasons (for example, repatriation of a family overseas).
These changes do not mean that all vaccinations now have to be, or should be, carried out. Vets must continue to risk assess each case and exercise their clinical and professional judgement.
As a practice we have studied the most recent advice from the BVA, RCVS, WSAVA and the vaccine manufacturers and we have updated our protocols for pet vaccinations during this extended lockdown period.
We have to balance the risk to human health with the impact and wellbeing of our pets during this time. Our current procedures are as follows.
As puppies and kittens are naive they have little immunity to disease. We are treating these young animals as our first priority. Puppies usually start their vaccinations from 8 weeks of age and kittens from 9 weeks. They both have second vaccinations 3-4 weeks later. It is important for the successful establishment of immunity against the core diseases that the protocol is followed. If your pet is overdue it’s second vaccination they may have to restart the course. If we administered the initial vaccination at our surgery and the second vaccination has been postponed due to the covid crisis we will include this extra injection in the standard charge for the vaccination course.
Rottweiler puppies sometimes have persistent maternal immunity so we advise an extra vaccination at 16-20 weeks of age which is charged at the booster price for non PCP clients.
Appointments for these animals are now available. Please ring the surgery on 01772 746393 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment.
Year One Boosters
The year one vaccination is important to ensure persistent immunity against the core diseases in both dogs and cats. We will address these animals as the next priority after the primary vaccinations. We hope to have appointments available from the 27th April for these pets.
Dogs which have been fully vaccinated previously will have longstanding immunity against the core diseases of parvovirus, distemper and canine infections hepatitis. These animals will be protected against these infections for up to three years. Booster vaccinations against these diseases in these animals may be postponed at minimal risk during the lockdown period.
The immunity to the non-core diseases of parainfluenza and leptospirosis are less persistent.
Parainfluenza is relatively low risk at the moment as dogs are not going to boarding kennels or daycare. Leptospirosis is spread by rat urine, so we would advise against allowing your dog to swim in ditches or ponds at this time.
Once restrictions are relaxed we will administer boosters to these pets. If they are more than 3 months overdue we would recommend a second leptospirosis vaccination 3-4 weeks later. As this is a result of the covid crisis we will provide this extra injection at no additional cost to you.
Adult cats which have been fully vaccinated all their life again will have persistent immunity against the core diseases of cat flu and enteritis. These booster vaccinations can again be postponed until restrictions are relaxed.
There will be certain pets which are at higher risk due to either environment (e.g. farm dogs) or other pathology (e.g. immunosuppressed animals). We will view these cases on an individual basis.
Although these are no current risk of rabies to pets living in the United Kingdom we may need to perform these in individual cases due to certification reasons (e.g. repatriation of a family overseas)
The rabbit diseases of myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease are seasonal with an increased risk during the summer months. We are therefore treating these cases as a priority.
Thank you for your continued support and understanding
The Ribble Vets Team