News & Info

Vaccination of dogs and cats- Why should we bother to vaccinate our pets?


The vaccines we give to your animals protect against viral infections, for which there are preventions but no cures. It is also a good chance for us to check the health of your pet. For low risk animals (those that are mainly at home, and don’t have much contact with other animals), we only need to vaccinate every 3rd year, although we should still see older pets ( over 7 years of age) every year for a health check. High risk animals, including those going into kennels or catteries, breeding animals or those that take part in shows and competitions should be vaccinated every year.


So what are we preventing?


In this part 1 of a 3 part series series I'll focus on what is probably the best known vaccine component; parvovirus. This is the only disease that we vaccinate for that can affect both dogs and cats, although it was first discovered in cats (feline enteritis/panleukopaenia). It is sometimes still referred to as catflu for this reason. It was used on Marion Island as a biological control for feral cats. I have only ever seen 4 cases in cats, and all 4 died! There is a lot less parvo in NZ than South Africa where I was based before coming here, mainly because more pets are vaccinated here. I probably see about 4 cases a year in dogs. It causes symptoms very similar to cholera in people, a bloody (haemorrhagic) diarrhoea that mainly affects young pups. With good supportive care about 70% or more will survive, but there is no specific cure. It is incredibly infectious, a single stool from a recovered dog contains enough virus particles to infect every dog in NZ! The virus is resistant to cold or sunlight, and remains infective for up to a year in the environment. It is easily spread on inanimate objects like shoes. A recovered dog will also continue to shed virus for up to a year after its illness. This means that a pup doesn't need direct contact with a sick dog to become infected and places like pavements, beaches and any place where other dogs have access to should be avoided until at least after the second vaccination. I can guarantee that your pet will be exposed at some point, in fact at over one year of age most dogs will be naturally immune, however the same can’t be said about cats, and of course there are other viral diseases that older dogs can get that we’ll cover later.


When you see that cute healthy pup or kitten, remember that without a simple and relatively painless injection, they could be in agony, groaning, and passing blood from both ends. Let’s not allow that to happen! Also please remember that if it has been more than 3 years since your dog or cat's last vaccination they need a booster in order to keep the herd immunity of Banks Peninsula animals healthy and preventable diseases at bay.


As well as an online store with an extensive range we've also created an online portal to book appointments and order repeat prescriptions or pet food and other animal health products. You can also view invoices and statements as well as update your and your animal's details.

Now you can like us on facebook to receive regular updates (including the monthly news article) and interact with us online.

Our new vet, Dr India Martin has started and we offer an extra afternoon consulting in Diamond Harbour as well as home visits in Little River on Monday & Thursday afternoons for no extra charge compared to clinic visits. We have beautiful cat greeting cards available to help fund our kitten rehoming and stray cat desexing work. Thanks to Cat Rescue Christchurch  who also generously pay for many of our surgeries on strays! You can hire stock signs for your car or to put on the road, as well as orange flashing beacons and hi-viz vests from us to comply with the new regulations when moving stock. We've put shingle down in the parking area and made it drive through so please park inside and tell us what you think! Also have you noticed our freshly painted roof?

We have a large of foods and animal health products, including the BlackHawk working dog food at great prices. Our cattery has proved very popular, and we've had many repeat customers. Masterpet has taken over the cattery's food sponsorship with BlackHawk cat and kitten food, we'd also like to thank Hills Pet Nutrition for their food sponsorship over the cattery's first 5 years.

We have an in house blood analyzer at the clinic, so we can run many tests while you wait. This allows us to offer pre-anaesthetic testing as well as health screening for older animals, and provide an emergency service afterhours and weekends when the Christchurch laboratory is closed. We also now have a portable ultrasound scanner, good news for pregnancy testing.

We once again have the cheap mismating injection available for bitches. This has been off the market for a few years now, but Paul has been able to have some compounded. We have some ideas to help you save on animal health expenses- ask us about very competitively priced BlackHawk farm dog food specially designed at Massey for NZ working dogs, and get to feed a premium, performance enhancing brand. Also the RFID electronic ear tags are now compulsory for cattle and deer. Ask us about ordering NAIT tags for your stock, or about the new tagging requirements. There is a lot more flexibility in what visible tags are acceptable- they don't all have to be yellow! We are able to procure eartags at below recommended retail prices.

We also have a large range of Acana/Orijen, Hills Science Diet and BlackHawk dog and cat food in stock. We can deliver to Akaroa on Mondays and Thursdays and to Diamond Harbour on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Animal health information - Archives

Please contact us if you’d like copies of any of these. Many are now available to view as posts on Paul's Linkedin page. Also let us know if you’d like to see any other topics featured here.

A different perspective, Animal welfare, Accidental poisonings, Arthritis, Allergies, Above & beyond, After Hours, Akaroa or bust

Becoming a vet, Becoming a veterinary technologist, Birthing & midwifery, Be wormwise this Autumn, Barley grass

Calici vaccination update- rabbits

Dental care, De sexing, Dogs, sheep measles & farm etiquette

External parasites, Euthanasia, EID's, Equine deworming recommendations & autumn animal health advice

First aid in animals. FIV and Feline Leukaemia, Five Freedoms

Grain Poisoning

Happy to be stuck with you, Human-animal bond, Heat Stroke

Internal parasites, Is it too late to spay or neuter my pet? Internet & Google- the good the bad and the ugly, It shouldn't happen to a vet, I don't vaccinate my animals, Insights from a vet nursing student

Kitten rehoming

Lamb rearing

Mafikeng rhino, Memories of Mafikeng, Mr Talkative, Mycoplasma bovis , Microchipping,

Nutrition, Nutrition in pet rabbits, New Year Animal Health Checklist

Obesity in pets, Onwards & upwards

Poisons in the pantry, primary health care, Plant poisonings, Pigs rule, Pig's Ear, Pathology & blood testing, Pet statistics in NZ, Phamaceuticals- the NZ situation

Quotable quotes

Rabbit calicivirus, Ramped up rhino, Resistance-squandering a miracle, Road block

Senior wellnessSheep measles

Tapeworm, TB in NZ, The nasties, The big move, The Challenge of Diamond Harbour, The thief, The Driving Lesson, Technology at work, Tom cat vasectomy

Urinary problems in cats

Vets’ cars, vaccination principles- ruminants, Vaccination of dogs & cats, Vet lifestyler

War wounds, Why vaccinate?, World veterinary year, World vaccination guidelines, Wild & stray cats

Xhosa- lost in translation

Yoghurtised milk recipe