Infectious diseases once killed thousands of pets each year.
But then we started vaccinating. Vaccination became one of the greatest success stories of veterinary medicine, saving countless lives and gaining universal acceptance. Back then, of course, few people cared how long vaccines worked – they were just grateful that they worked at all.
The world moves on. These days – thanks to vaccination – infectious disease is much less obvious.
Should we vaccinate our pets at all?
It’s worth remembering that many of the pet diseases we vaccinate against are killers. Where as a child with mumps will almost certainly get better, an unvaccinated dog that contracts parvovirus can easily die.
Only vaccination can prevent these diseases in animals exposed to infection. Even those who question the need for annual boosters are strongly supportive of vaccination overall.
But are these diseases still a threat?
Vaccination has dramatically reduced the frequency of most of these diseases, but – unlike, say, smallpox in humans – none has been eradicated altogether. Sadly, apart from the rabies reporting scheme, there is currently no national reporting scheme for the diseases which affect pets.
DogsParvovirusWidespreadSevere Disease, Often fatal
DistemperCurrently no significant outbreaks in Ireland.Severe disease, potentially fatal
Infectious HepatitisUncommon in Ireland but still exists.Severe disease, potentially fatal
LeptospirosisExposure to infection is common, especially in areas prone to flooding. One form is carried in rat urineCan be fatal, but may also be transmitted to humans, where it can cause a very serious infection called Weils disease.
Kennel coughRemains widespread in dogs, particularly those exposed to high risk environments such as boarding kennels, shows and parks.Extremely unpleasant but rarely life threatening (except in young or very old)
RabiesNo cases in IrelandRequired only for travel abroad
CatsViral cat fluWidespreadExtremely unpleasant and highly infectious.
Possibly fatal in young kittens: many infected cats will become carriers
Bacterial cat fluWidespread, caused by Bordetella bronchisepticaPossibly fatal in young kittens, highly infectious and can be transmitted from dogs to cats and vice versa.
Feline leukaemiaWidespread, relatively commonSevere disease, potentially fatal
PanleucopeniaRelatively uncommon in IrelandSevere disease, potentially fatal
RabbitsMyxomatosisWidespread in IrelandUsually fatal
Viral haemorrhagic diseaseWidespread in IrelandFatal
Are annual boosters really necessary?
To simplify the previous point: yes, annual boosters are still necessary against some diseases. Each year, on your annual visit, your vet will administer only those vaccines needed to maintain protection. These days the vet’s primary objective is to use the minimum number of vaccine components while at the same time maintaining the optimum protection for your pet.
Do I need a certificate of vaccination?
On completion of your pets primary course, you will be given a certificate providing a record of vaccination and advising when the next booster is due. Boarding kennels, catteries and training classed will most certainly require this before accepting your pet.
Can my pet take a reaction to a vaccine?
As with any medicinal product, whether for human or animal use, an adverse reaction is possible. But serious adverse reactions are exceptionally rare. Pet vaccines are tested thoroughly for both safety and efficacy.
Vaccination has saved – and continues to save – the lives of thousands of pets
Most vaccines protect against diseases that are potentially killers
All of the diseases covered in routine vaccination are still present in the UK
Boosters are necessary to maintain protection – just like human holiday jabs!
There is no evidence to suggest that vaccination causes illness
All licensed pet vaccines have undergone rigorous safety trials
“”My name is Des Groome, owner-founder of Groome Vets Ltd. I grew up on a stud farm in Carbury, co. Kildare surrounded by Mares, Foals, Racehorses, Cows, Dogs, Cats, Foxes, Rabbits and all God’s creatures. I think I was born to be a Vet and have worked with animals my entire life either on the farm as a stable groom, dog trainer, jockey, Vet. After an early veterinary career globe trotting and working with every species from racehorses to tigers, camels and parrots I established Kildare Vet Surgery in 1999 and built an accredited pet hospital here in 2005.
My guiding ethos as a Vet is to help animals live their best natural lives. There are 3 ways we do that which make us different from other practices- We focus on your animals lifestyle helping you understand your pet and their natural needs.
We focus on preventative healthcare for your pet.
And thirdly when your pet does become ill or elderly we focus on quality of Life issues before we do the usual array of scans and tests.
Our health plans are a life plan to keep your pet healthy. We are now developing daycare facilities, boarding kennels, a dog park, dog training service, pet fitness centre and our Groome Vet range of premium food. All these innovations are moving me closer to my life time aim of helping animals live their best natural lives. I have established also a sister company GymDog limited which will develop our Pet Gym service alongside Groome Vets to further improve pet’s lives by offering dog training, day care, fitness and therapy. This will make our hospital, resort and therapy centre for pets at South Green Road Kildare unique in Ireland.
I believe our mission of Helping Pets live their Best Lives is a unique statement in the Irish Veterinary Landscape
I recruit like minded people who’ve also grown up with animals and are here to support pet owners. “”