A guide to first vaccinations

Don with two kittens

Immunity and vaccination

Immunity is the body’s natural ability to fight infection. Puppies and kittens are usually protected during the first few weeks, thanks to immunity passed through the mother’s first milk. However this immunity fades rapidly, leaving them suseptible to disease. Vaccinations increase the likelihood of immunity by exposing the body to a small, harmless dose of the disease.

Initial vaccinations

Puppies need 2 injections at 8 and 10 weeks of age. Breeds susceptible to Parvovirus should get a third vaccination at 16 weeks of age. The first annual vaccination at 15 months is critical.

Kittens need 2 injections at 9 and 12 weeks of age. The first annual vaccination is very important.

Rabbits need 2 injections at 6 and 8 weeks of age.

When your pet has their vaccinations, the vet will also give them a general health check.

Meeting other pets

It is important that puppies and kittens learn to socialise with other animals. It is important to wait a couple of weeks after the vaccinations for immunity to develop. The vet will then let you know that your pet is ready to meet others.

Vaccinations in Adult Animals

Immunity to diseases may fade. It’s therefore necessary for your pet to have booster vaccinations.

Dogs should be vaccinated every 2 years against Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus and Parainfluenza and every year against Leptospirosis and Bordetella. They should also be vaccinated against Rabies every 2 years if travelling.

Cats should be vaccinated yearly against Rhinotracheitis, Leukemia and Calici virus. They should also be vaccinated every 2 years against Rabies if travelling and Parvovirus. We also recommend vaccinations against Bordetella and Chlamydia in breeding colonies.

Rabbits should be vaccinated against Myxomatosis every 6 months and VHD every year. Ferrets should be vaccinated against Distemper every year.

Vaccination records

You’ll be given a certificate that contains a record of the vaccination and tells your when your next booster is due. You will need this certificate when attending boarding kennels, training classes and your vet, so make sure you keep it in a safe place.


If you would like any more information then phone 01621 818282 (Tiptree Veterinary Centre) or 01206 561407 (Willows Veterinary Centre) to book an appointment with one of our vets. You can also visit our websites at www.tiptreevets.co.uk or www.willows-vets.co.uk.


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