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We hope you and your families are all currently well during these difficult times.

We as a practice are doing all we can to support you whilst not putting yourselves or our staff at risk and practicing within the strict guidelines imposed on us by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons under the lock down restrictions imposed by the Government for the next 3 weeks.

Below is an extract from the advice issued to vets from the Royal College this week

“This means that animals should only be seen in emergencies or where, in the judgement of the veterinary surgeon, urgent assessment and/or treatment is needed in order to reduce the risk of patient deterioration to the point where it may become an emergency in the near future (i.e. within the three-week time frame currently laid out by the Government for these measures).”

We can under these restrictions see emergencies, take remote phone consultations, dispense medication and prescription food. We can’t do any routine consultations or operations including vaccinations. We realise that a lot of you are concerned about your pets missing their booster or primary vaccinations. We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions and answers following veterinary advice from the vaccine manufacturers.

 

My dog is overdue his booster what are the risks? He’s an adult and has been fully vaccinated until now.

The core part of the vaccination covers parvovirus, distemper and hepatitis. Once immunity is established for these diseases it is usually very persistent. Usually lasting 3 years and often longer.

This is why as a practice we only give this part of the vaccine every 2 years and many practices give it every third year. The risk of delaying this part of the vaccination for an adult dog for a few weeks or months will be very low.

Why do we vaccinate every year then?

The dog vaccination also includes two none core elements to protect against parainfluenza and leptospirosis. These produce a less long-lastingimmunity.

What can I do to reduce the risk to my dog from these diseases?

Parainfluenza is one of the things that can cause kennel cough. It is air borne and dogs are most at risk when in groups together. At the moment there is much less risk than normal as dogs are not going to kennels, day care, training classes or shows. If following social isolation and they are being walked on the lead the risk is minimal.

Leptospirosis is spread by rat urine. So, places to avoid are allowing your dog to swim in still or slow-moving water and to avoid farmyards and stables. A dog on lead exercise is very unlikely to be getting into those environments.

 

What about my new puppy?

The main risk to puppies is parvovirus. It is spread in the faeces of infected dogs and the spores can persist for several months. It is important not to put your puppy at risk. If no unvaccinated dogs have been in your garden, then he should be safe to exercise and start training and socialising there. If he is small enough to carry you can take the pup on your daily walk BUT he must be carried and not put on the ground at all.

Whilst the puppy (and the children) are confined to the garden It would be an ideal time to start behavioural training in a fun way. Our team of behavioural nurses are going to put advice and games to play on our website and Facebook. We are planning to change the activities on the Facebook page as both pups and children like new challenges.

When the restrictions are eased slightly puppy and kitten vaccinations will be one of our first priorities.

What about my cat’s boosters?

Again, adult cats that have been fully vaccinated all their life will have some persistent immunity and so delaying the boosters for a few weeks or months will be at little risk.

This can be reduced further if the cat is limited to the house and garden.

What about kittens?

Kittens will have little protection and so should be confined to the house and garden until their vaccination course is completed.

What happens when we can restart vaccinating our pets?

Depending on their individual vaccination history some pets may just need a booster some may need to restart their vaccination program. For animals on PCP this will be covered in the cost of their annual health care scheme. For animals not on PCP we are talking to the vaccine companies to ask for their support in covering the costs above the normal booster price for those animals needing to restart the vaccination program.

It is important to continue treating your pet for fleas and worms during this period. This is not just for the pet’s health some of these parasites can have a role in some human diseases too. These medications can be ordered over the telephone.

We will put a notice on our website about how to order, pay for and collect medication safely.

We hope that we have answered some of your concerns. We hope you all stay well and will see you as soon as life begins to return to normal

The Ribble Vets Team