To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? That is the question

One of the great things about owning healthy, fit dogs is that visits to the vet are rare. In the past six years I’ve been lucky enough to have only had to make annual visits to the surgery for what I call the spaniels’ MOT. A result of this is that my younger spaniel, Rowan, really enjoys these visits, unlike some of my previous spaniels, which had to be virtually dragged into the surgery.

Adverse reactions

One decision I had to make this year was whether to continue with Rowan’s leptospirosis vaccination. There’s been publicity in the press recently about dogs having adverse reactions to this particular vaccination, but if you search hard enough you will find that there’s hardly a single vaccination that certain dogs haven’t reacted badly to.

I decided not to continue with the vaccination for the simple reason that Rowan’s exposure to rats is much diminished, so I reckon the threat from leptospirosis is minimal.

A year ago we had a large outdoor piggery (1,100 breeding sows) in the fields adjoining our property. With the pigs came rats, but though I had some good ratting with my .410, I had to keep a line of traps around the house as part of my rat defence. When the pigs finally went so did the rats, and it is now some months since I last saw one, let alone trapped one. Rowan used to work on a shoot with an outdoor piggery, but she doesn’t any more. It wasn’t a hard decision to make, and I was pleased that my vet agreed with it.

Worrying new tick-borne disease

My vet, Gavin, runs his own private practice, one of a diminishing band of people to do so. I’m sure that we all prefer going to a practice where we not only know the vets, but they know you and your dogs. I always enjoy chatting to Gavin about topical subjects in the veterinary world, such as the occurrence at Harlow in Essex earlier this year of a worrying new tick-borne disease called babesiosis. It can affect both dogs and humans. Though it may be new in the UK, it’s not on the Continent, and we have to hope that it doesn’t become established here.