Check your pet’s vaccinations this month

Cat, rabbit and dog owners in Leighton Buzzard/Linslade and surrounding areas are being asked to check their pet’s vaccinations are up to date this month.

Unvaccinated dogs are particularly at risk after recent cases of the life-threatening virus parvovirus. Young puppies and older dogs are especially susceptible with symptoms including vomiting and diarrhoea with blood in it. In addition there are ongoing problems with feline leukaemia and cat flu in cats as well as Myxomatosis and Viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD) in rabbits.

Kate Semple, a vet at Ark House Vets, said that parvovirus is spread between dogs very easily. She said: “In addition the virus can survive in the environment for long periods and is hard to eliminate. Easily spread on shoes, clothing and on the coat and foot pads of dogs, parvovirus causes acute gastroenteritis. Symptoms come on quickly and include bloody diarrhoea, vomiting and lethargy. Sadly a significant proportion of those affected die within a few days.”

She added that pet owners who had taken their dogs for their yearly booster jab would have nothing to worry about.

“Dogs do eat things that make them sick but if they are bright and want to eat or play with a ball don’t start panicking.

“If they start bleeding from their bottom, are very depressed or unresponsive – those are the cases we need to be worried about,” she said.

And there are other good reasons to keep vaccinations up to date: “The reason that some infectious diseases such as hepatitis and distemper in dogs and panleucopaenia in cats are now quite rare is largely due to the success of vaccination but this does not mean owners should become complacent. Immunisation is most effective when a high percentage of the population is vaccinated.”

Diseases like parvovirus are believed to be on the increase because the number of dogs vaccinated against it is lower than it should be.

In the case of parvovirus, the number of dogs currently vaccinated is thought to have fallen below 50%. Not only are unvaccinated pets potentially at risk, but they may have also shed the virus into the local environment causing a risk to other dogs. Prevention through vaccination is the only proven method of protecting pets against serious diseases like parvovirus.

During May 2014, to help limit the spread of disease, owners of dogs, cats and rabbits are able to save £10 by having their pets fully vaccinated for just the price of a booster at Ark House Vets.

Kate added: “We saw a great response to this important message last May and are repeating the vaccine offer this May due to high demand.”

To contact Ark House Vets, call 01525 373329 or email or visit