Information regarding pet vaccinations during COVID-19 restrictions
These are unprecedented times, and we just thought we would take a moment to talk through a few concerns you may be having now 'routine' veterinary care has been put on hold. Our governing body, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, agrees that now is the time to prioritise public health and take all steps to minimise client contact to combat the Covid 19 pandemic. They have advised that we should only be seeing clients for emergencies, or to prevent one in the very near future, which obviously does not include the process of vaccination.
Obviously as animal health professionals, but also understanding the potential crisis that could result from not inhibiting the spread of Coronavirus, having to prioritise a human disease over some routine healthcare procedures for our patients has not been taken lightly. We have been in discussions with infectious disease experts and can provide the following advice regarding your pet's vaccines becoming overdue.
We will hopefully be able to give booster vaccinations to both dogs and cats within the next 3 months without any further concerns.
Puppies or kittens that have not had their full primary course should be kept indoors until lowering of restrictions which would allow them to be vaccinated. We will prioritise these as soon as we can.
For more detail ... make a cup of tea and put your scientific hat on first!
Our standard dog vaccines cover for Distemper (D), Infectious hepatitis (H) and Canine Parvovirus (P), as well as various strains of Leptospirosis (L4).
The DHP component is now only given every 3 years, and testing has suggested that may last longer in certain individuals.
Foxes are thought to be one of the main carriers of parvovirus, but this is likely only to be an issue if you are exercising unprotected dogs or puppies nearby.
The Leptospirosis 'L4' part is the one that we give every year and is advised not to go over the annual date by more than 3 months ... but that will hopefully give us plenty of time to get everyone up to date.
Further advice if you are worried that your animal's Leptospirosis cover has lapsed ...
Although rare the Leptospira organism that can cause Weil's disease in people (L.interrogans subgroup icterohaemorrhagiae) is most often caught via rodent urine - so avoid stagnant water, areas where you know rats may live, as well as avoiding feeding raw offal that may contain kidney.
One other type of Leptospira (L. interrogans subgroup Australis serovar Bratislavia) has been identified in the Wild Boar population of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire ... so travel to that area should be avoided once restrictions lift until your dog is fully up to date.
Other strains of Leptospirosis are rare in the UK.
Our Kennel Cough vaccines only require single doses whether an annual booster or first dose. These will be started again as soon as we think appropriate. For the time being mixing of dogs at day care centres, kennels and when visiting friends or relatives is mostly being avoided.
Our core cat vaccines are for Cat Flu ('R' for Rhinotracheitis & 'C' for Calicivirus), Panleukopenia (P) and we also cover outdoor cats for Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV).
Again, FeLV vaccines are now only given every 3 years.
The RCP annual vaccine certainly has room to extend booster vaccination by the 3 months discussed for dogs, especially if cats are not being placed in higher risk situations such as cat shows and boarding catteries - with most holidays being cancelled.
Again kittens that cannot receive their primary course at this time are best kept indoors ... as they would be anyway.
Our Rabies vaccinations have a licensed 3 year length of cover, and although booster dates are important for Pet Passport compliance, travel to Europe is unlikely to return to normal for some time.
Rabbits that end up overdue for their Myxomatosis and Viral Hemorrhagic Disease vaccines should ideally be kept away from areas where wild rabbits roam, you should also practise routine hygiene when handling, and treatments can also be used to prevent them having rabbit fleas.