Why Should My Pet Be Vaccinated and How Does The Vaccination Work?

Vaccinations are given to prevent your pet contracting a range of well known and feared infections with various viruses and bacteria that may otherwise prove fatal.

Prevention is better than cure!!!

Vaccination is the way we stimulate an animals’ immune system to become resistant, or immune, to particular infections. A vaccination consists of part of a modified or killed virus or bacterium.

It is prepared in such a way that the body’s defences recognise it as a threat and react as if it were a real infection by producing antibodies. This process takes time though so the purpose of vaccination is to prepare the immune system so that if ever exposed to the real infection the antibodies are already on hand to start fighting the infection straight away.

The body needs to be reminded of its enemies from time to time as antibody levels decrease over time so to keep these antibodies up to a level that will prevent infection we booster this immunity with a booster vaccination annually. It is very important to keep up to date with your pets vaccination.

Please contact us for advice on vaccinations and a health certificate for your pet.

What Diseases do We Vaccinate Dogs Against and Why?

We routinely vaccinate against the following diseases in dogs:

Distemper Virus

This virus causes chest and gastrointestinal damage in some dogs exposed to it and often is fatal. It can also cause brain damage in dogs exposed but go on to survive the disease or don’t suffer from the more acute signs described above. This disease is quite uncommon and even rare now as vaccination has had a huge effect on controlling this disease but we need to continue to vaccinate to maintain this effect.

Parvo Virus

This is seen as a young dog’s disease often affecting puppies as young as 8 weeks old up to about 18 months old. This virus causes the dog to effectively shed the entire lining of its intestines and damages any healing areas so that the dog cannot absorb nutrients or water to any normal extent.

Bloody diarrhoea, vomiting and extreme depression and dehydration leading to death are often the hallmarks of this disease. Although some dogs survive, they may have life-long digestion problems due to the damage done to the intestinal lining during the disease.

This is the disease we worry about most in young unvaccinated puppies that are allowed to socialise or go for walks before they are fully vaccinated.


This is a bacterial type disease that we mainly see in autumn time. This disease can cause kidney and liver disease in dogs and some strains are zoonotic meaning they can also affect humans. This disease is carried by rats and presents a definite human and pet health risk. Most dogs suffering from this disease do not recover.


A viral infection involved with a coughing syndrome and often associated or included in the mixes bag of infectious agents covered by the name ‘kennel cough’.

Canine Adenovirus

Another virus that can cause liver damage with a usually sorry outcome.

Kennel Cough

Is a name given to a disease characterised by a honking cough, especially at night. The dog is often off its food and pretty miserable. There is not just one infectious agent involved in this disease and often a number of different bacteria and viruses will be present and we vaccinate against one of these called Bordetella – a cousin of the whooping cough bug.

Most kennels will insist on vaccination for kennel cough before accepting your dog for kennelling as this is a very infectious disease and if one dog brings it in all the rest go home coughing! Unfortunately for all involved this vaccine needs to be squirted up the nose to be effective at least 5 days in advance of kennelling - this creates antibodies in the lining of the nose and throat where they need to be in case they come across this infection. But even if vaccination involves a bit of wrestling it is definitely better than be kept awake all night by your pet coughing – not to mention their distress!

More Uncommon Diseases That We Vaccinate Against


This viral disease is not seen in Ireland and our Department of Agriculture has very strict rules to keep it that way. This means with the relatively new idea of bringing your animal abroad we now have an alternative to 6 months in quarantine.

Pet Passport Scheme

A pet passport, of which rabies vaccination is part of, means that you can bring your pet on holiday with you as long as you comply with a number of stringent measures. If you are contemplating getting your pet a passport please talk to us and we will be happy to help.

Diseases That We Commonly Vaccinate Cats Against

Cat Flu

Runny eyes, sneezing, anorexia, eye ulcers, mouth ulcers, loosing weight and ill-thrift are some of the signs we associate with cat flu. Cat flu can cause loss of an eye if an ulcer causes perforation of the cornea or sometimes death as young animals will often become debilitated and dehydrated.

Feline Enteritis

A viral disease that causes a horrible debilitating diarrhoea and immune system depression can often cause death in young animals.

Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLv)

A viral disease that is spread through mating, biting/fighting and even sharing food bowls. This disease causes depression of the immune system in young-middle aged cats. It is considered to be a ‘young cats’ AIDS’ as the virus allows the cats immune defences to be lowered and allow opportunistic infections to occur when a normal healthy animal would fight them off. It is also associated with intestinal tumours. This will eventually lead to the demise and death of the cat involved. Once infected a cat is a threat to all its local cohorts.

We cannot yet vaccinate against Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) – the cat version of HIV. This is a disease spread by mating, biting/fighting and sharing food bowls.

We strongly recommend neutering your cat as this reduces the chances of being infected with Felv and FIV greatly as there is no mating post neutering and biting/fighting is greatly reduced.

Further Information on Vaccinating Your Cat

Please contact us for advice on vaccinations and a health certificate for your pet.