Routine Preventative Healthcare

Routine preventative healthcare

Vaccination

Vaccination is a very important part of preventing disease in our pets. Vaccines work by presenting the body with a dead or inert form of a particular infectious agent, so the immune system can form a "memory response" to recognise and protect against it in future. 

With the exception of puppies and kittens, most vaccinations are given on an annual basis. Because we recognise the importance of annual health checks in our companion animals, a top-to-tail health assessment is always included as part of our vaccination appointments. 

Puppy and kitten vaccinations

Vaccination is incredibly important for puppies and kittens, and is often the first time we get to meet your new fluffy family member. 

For the first few weeks of their lives, baby animals are protected by antibodies transferred to them in their mother's milk. As they get older, and go off to meet their new families, this protective immunity begins to wane and needs to be "topped up" by a booster course of paediatric vaccinations.

There are a number of diseases that can affect puppies and kittens, some of which have the capacity to be life-threatening, so we strongly recommend vaccination of new family members with the following:

Puppies

  • Canine parvovirus - a virus that infects the lining of the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines) and causes a very severe form of haemorrhagic diarrhoea
  • Canine distemper virus - a virus that causes progressive and usually irreversible respiratory, gastrointestinal and neurological signs 
  • Canine adenovirus - a virus causing infectious hepatitis (inflammation of the liver)
  • "Kennel cough" - a term used to describe infection with one of several types of viruses and/or bacteria, leading to infectious respiratory disease typically characterised by a loud barking/hacking cough

Puppies are typically vaccinated at 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks, and 14-16 weeks of age. We may also introduce an annual injection against heartworm disease (which is spread via mosquitoes and therefore not covered in the scope of the routine jabs). Speak to your veterinarian for more information about heartworm disease and how you can best protect your pet against it. 

Kittens

  • "Cat flu" - a term used to describe infection with one of several viruses (mainly feline calicivirus and feline herpesvirus) that cause infectious respiratory disease 
  • Feline panleukopenia virus - a virus that infects the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines), and can cause fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, liver failure etc., and even neurological signs in kittens that are younger than 12 weeks of age
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) - the cat equivalent of HIV ("AIDS") in people, causing progressive weakening and ultimately failure of the immune system. This leads to an increased susceptibility to infectious disease. It is spread through cats biting and scratching each other, and is therefore more commonly seen in cats that have outdoor access

Kittens are typically vaccinated at 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks, and 14-16 weeks of age. An additional FIV booster is usually required between the 10-12 and 14-16 week vaccine appointments.

Adult dog and cat vaccinations

We cover adult dogs and cats against all the diseases listed above on an annual basis. A full physical examination and dental check by a qualified and experienced veterinarian is also included in the consultation. 

Rabbit vaccinations

Did you know that we can vaccinate rabbits against certain diseases as well as our dogs and cats?

One particular disease of concern is rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease (RVHD), which is caused by the rabbit calicivirus. It has an interesting history - back in 1996 it was introduced to Australia to control wild rabbit populations, and did a good job but unfortunately has no way of distinguishing between wild and pet bunnies. It is spread through direct contact between infected bunnies, and also believed to be transmitted by biting insects (e.g. mosquitoes). Therefore, we recommend the following to help protect your bunny against RVHD:

  • Vaccination - one of the most effective ways of preventing RVHD infection and disease. We recommend jabs at 8 and 12 weeks of age, then boosters every 6 months
  • Insect-proofing hutches - using mosquito nets over outdoor hutches can help prevent mozzie bites and therefore infection. Alternatively, bring your bunny inside of an evening to help keep them safe
  • Keeping your hutch clean, and always practicing good hygiene when handling rabbits
  • Avoiding contact with wild rabbits where possible 

Annual health checks

AHCs are very important for the ongoing health and wellness of your pet! In these appointments your veterinarian will conduct a full top-to-tail check of your pet, review any medications they might be on, and discuss any concerns you may have regarding your pet's general wellbeing. 

The full top-to-tail check includes the following:

  • Assessment of general demeanour and brightness/activity level
  • Assessment of any pain, stiffness or lameness (limping)
  • Dental check
  • Check of the eyes, ears and nose
  • Check of the heart and lungs with a stethoscope
  • Abdominal palpation
  • Checking your pet's lymph nodes for any swelling or abnormalities 
  • Skin check
  • Any other abnormalities that may be detected in the course of the examination

Parasite prevention

Parasites come in all shapes and sizes! The term "parasite" describes any living entity that lives in/on another animal and directly benefits by exploiting its host's resources. In domestic animals, we typically divide parasites into two groups - endoparasites (meaning they live inside your pet; e.g. intestinal worms, lungworm, heartworm etc.) and ectoparasites (meaning they live on your pet; e.g. fleas, ticks, mites, biting flies etc.). Some types of parasite can even cross-infect people and cause disease in us too - yuck! 

Different parasites have different lifecycles - for example, how a flea lives and reproduces is very different to how a roundworm does it! For this reason we have to use different medications and techniques to control parasitic disease. At MEVV we have a wide range of products available for managing parasites in dogs, cats and pocket pets, and are able to provide expert advice on which option will be most suitable for you and your fuzzy friend. Speak to a member of our experienced team for more information. 

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