Timely jab could save you so much heartache
Emma Pearson and Karmen Watson from Robson and Prescott Veterinary Centre in Morpeth talk about the importance of vaccinating your pet.
It is, of course, a cliche that prevention is better than cure. This week, however, the surgery has been inundated with cases of infectious diseases that could have easily been prevented by vaccination.
It is all too easy to become complacent about vaccination or bogged down in all the controversy surrounding vaccination of children and dogs in the media.
However, the simple truth is this it is truly heartbreaking to watch an animal die despite nursing it round the clock when 10 minutes in the vet's once a year could have made all the difference.
Lately, parvovirus in dogs and myxomatosis in rabbits seem to be increasing in prevalence in the local area.
Both diseases cause almost certain death in the species they affect.
Parvovirus can affect all unvaccinated dogs, regardless of age. Signs to watch out for are reduced appetite, followed by vomiting and diarrhoea.
The virus is famously difficult to get rid of and can be carried around on shoes, clothes, and even can be found in soil where unvaccinated dogs have been.
It can be treated if caught very early, but once the dog appears ill, the chance of survival is very low and the treatment is intense and therefore expensive. The virus can be killed but only by very specific disinfectants.
Feel free to contact us for information on which disinfectants are effective.
Remember, not all diarrhoea cases are parvovirus, but if you have an unvaccinated puppy or dog, then they are at risk (even if they were lucky enough to survive a previous infection).
Myxomatosis is also a virus, but is spread mainly by biting insects.
This means that your rabbit can be exposed to myxomatosis whether it has obvious contact with wild rabbits or not. Fleas are notoriously successful at finding a way into even the cleanest of houses, so it's best you vaccinate your rabbit whether it lives indoors or outdoors to eliminate any risk.
Affected rabbits generally come in with a swollen face and discharge from the eyes and nose.
There are other diseases that look like this but swollen eyes and swelling around your rabbit's genitalia are conclusive.
Unfortunately, although a small number of rabbits do survive the infection, the disease process is long and the suffering of an infected rabbit means that nursing myxomatosis cases through the disease is probably not in your rabbit's best interest.
Hopefully, with a bit more information about what you're actually trying to avoid, your yearly trip to the vet seems that bit more worthwhile.
These things aren't that common so don't panic, but there has been an increase in cases lately, so please make sure your pet is protected.
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