Vaccinations are an essential part of preventative healthcare for your dog, cat or rabbit. A yearly booster provides effective protection against diseases that can can cause severe illness in dogs, cats, and rabbits. Unfortunately some of these disease can even be fatal, so it’s really important to keep on top of those vaccinations.

Below you can find some information and questions that are regularly asked regarding vaccinations in cats, dogs and rabbits.

You can also find out more about the types of vaccination consultations that we offer by visiting our consultations page.

Dogs are vaccinated against the following diseases

Parvovirus – a hardy and highly contagious virus that can cause localised outbreaks in the UK. It causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea and is often fatal.

Distemper – this virus causes a fatal neurological disease. It is now very rare in the UK thanks to vaccination but it is important to keep pets covered in order to keep it under control, especially as more and more dogs enter the UK from abroad.

Infectious Hepatitis –this fatal virus still exists in the UK

Leptospirosis (Weil’s Disease) – this is a bacterial infection that is spread by rat urine or by infected dogs. Rivers and waterways can be contaminated by the bacteria.  Weil’s disease also causes disease in humans.

There are several brands of vaccination in dogs.  It is important that your puppy’s course is completed using the same brand of vaccine – or with a brand of vaccine that is compatible with the first innoculation.

Aldeburgh Vets uses the Nobivac® brand of vaccines – which is the most popular brand in the UK.  

What if my puppy has already had the first half of its primary vaccination?

The answer depends on which brand was used:

Your puppy can simply have its second vaccination if

  1. The first vaccination was a Nobivac® vaccine
  2. The first vaccination was a Canigen ® vaccine – which are compatible with the Nobivac® brand

If your puppy has not had a primary vaccination with either the above brands you have two options:

  1. Re-start the course using our Nobivac® vaccine
  2. Ask us to see if we acquire a single dose of the same brand as the first vaccination*

* The challenge with finding a single dose of the original brand of vaccines is that all vaccines are sold in multi-packs.  This significantly increases the cost of acquiring a single dose of a brand of vaccine that we do not use regularly as we are unlikely to be able to use the remaining doses within the multi-pack before they expire.

Dogs need to receive a booster each year to remainimmune.

Many dogs owners are worried about over-vaccinating with unnecessary vaccinations. We understand this concern and we agree that dogs should not receive any more vaccinations than are necessary.  However there is a lot of confusion about how often dogs need to be vaccinated. Let us explain why this confusion arises.

If an owner wishes to maintain their dogs immunity their dog will need to be vaccinated against something every year.  However, of the 4 diseases listed above, the Nobivac brand of vaccine which we use protects dogs against 3 of them for up to three years (Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvo virus).  Currently there is no brand of vaccine that protects against Leptospirosis for more than one yearSo this is why dogs dont need to be vaccinated against everything every year but they do need to be vaccinated against something every year ie at least leptospirosis.

So, when you visit the practice for your dogs booster we will check what vaccines your dog has received over the last 3 years (if applicable) and we will decide which vaccine your dog needs this year.  If you are new to our practice, this is one of the reasons why we need to acquire your dogs clinical records. It is also useful to see your dogs vaccination record as well to identify where your dog is within this 3 year cycle of vaccinations.

The term ‘Kennel cough’ is in fact a misnomer.  This is because 60% of dogs that have so-called kennel cough have never been in kennels!  It is called kennel-cough because the disease spreads when dogs are kept in close contact, typically, but far from always, when they visit kennels.

The disease is technically known as infectious tracheobronchitis and it is caused by the combination of a virus and a bacterium.  The typical clinical signs are an extremely unpleasant honking cough similar to human whooping cough. It is very contagious and can as easily be acquired in areas where a high number of dogs visit, such as popular dog-walking areas, canine day-care centres and even training and agility classes.

Some dog owners therefore elect to vaccination their dog against infectious tracheobronchitis even though they never go into kennels, whereas other owners prefer to do so only if their kennels, canine day-care centres, training and agilityclasses insist upon it.  It takes 2 weeks from vaccination for adequate immunity to develop.

The vaccine lasts for a year and can be given from 8 weeks old. It can be given at the same time as your dogs annual booster.

Traditionally Kennel Cough vaccinations were administered as an intranasal spray.  Many dogs resented this style of administration and some even became phobic of visiting the vet in the future.  For this reason Aldeburgh Vets uses a brand of Kennel Cough vaccine that is given as a trickle inside the cheek flap of the mouth without even having to open the mouth.  They sem to like the taste of it too!


Cats are routinely vaccinated against the following:

‘Cat Flu’ is caused by a combination of viruses that produce a condition collectively known as ‘Cat flu’.  The disease is preventable but incurable and in extreme cases can be fatal.  It typcially manifests as a chronic pattern of waxing and waning upper respiratory symptoms, including sneezing, runny eyes and nose, wheezing and coughing, high temperature and a loss of energy and appetite.

Cat flu is still very common in the UK especially in kittens and elderly cats.   It spreads rapidly via sneezing and direct contact and will spread quickly to unvaccinated cats within the same household.

Feline Leukaemia is a viral disease that spreads between cats when fighting and grooming.  It can take a long time for signs to develop, often several months and can result in immune suppression, secondary infections and tumour growth. Vaccination is helping to bring the disease under control in the UK.

Rabbits are vulnerable to two diseases that are extremely common and rapidly fatal amongst rabbits in the UK.

Myxomatosis: a highly contagious disease spread by insects that come in contact with infected rabbits which causes severe swelling of the eyes and mouth together with a fever.

Viral Haemorrhagic Disease: This is caused by two different viruses and can be a cause of sudden death without any symptoms.

Protection against these diseases is provided by either a single yearly combined vaccination or two vaccinations given two weeks apart.