All kittens should receive Feline Enteritis and ‘Flu’ (Herpes & Calicivirus) termed Feline 3 at 6-8 weeks of age followed by a booster at 12-14 weeks of age. Most kittens should receive a flu only booster at 16-18 weeks of age as well. A booster F3 vaccine is given at 15 months of age; then 1-3 yearly based on individual risk.

The VGG (World Vaccine Guideline Group) has recently produced revised guidelines on the frequency of feline vaccinations based on lifestyle. The culprit disease is cat flu (calicivirus and herpesvirus) which like most mammalian flu viruses is notoriously difficult to immunise against as immunity is not just dependent on antibody.

The VGG has reviewed recent studies suggesting that up to a third of kittens may fail to respond to a final core vaccine given at 16 weeks of age; and has suggested that the usual one year of age vaccination be brought forward now to six months of age, then at the interval of 1-3 years based on risk assessment.

For low risk cats ( solitary, indoors, do not board) three yearly Feline 3 vaccination is recommended; however, annual vaccination is recommended for high risk cats (regular boarders, live in multi cat household, cats in conflict, eg some outdoor activity at night). Leukaemia and Chlamydia vaccination are not routinely given for this area.

All puppies are now vaccinated at 6-9wks, and 10-14 wks with the core vaccine; & then at 16-18 wks with the parvovirus vaccine. Erina Heights Vet Hospital follows the World Small Animal Veterinary Association guidelines (see for full details) with expert advice on protocols based on the latest research.

And adult dogs are vaccinated every three years after 15 months for the core diseases (distemper, hepatitis & parvovirus) and annually for non-core diseases (Canine Cough comprising of parainfluenza & bordatella).

The recent change in puppy vaccination protocol is the trade-off of having a more effective parvovirus vaccine. In short, stronger levels of bitch derived protective antibody has meant a later cutoff time for the final puppy parvo vaccine at 16-18weeks. Canine Cough (formerly termed Kennel Cough) is mandatory if planning to board your dog but it is a non-fatal disease.