Dogs can be effectively vaccinated against 6 different diseases:
- Canine distemper
- Infectious canine hepatitis
- Kennil cough (compulsory vaccination during the gathering of dogs: kennels, fair, competition, …)
- Rabies (vaccination is compulsory for dogs travelling abroad or visiting the Belgian Ardennes area))
First vaccination certificate
The first vaccination automatically covers canine distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis A and leptospirosis.
If the puppy is in a region at high risk of contamination with parvovirus, it must receive its first vaccination at 6 weeks old and then two further injections, one a month later and the second a month after that.
If the region where the puppy was born is infection-free, the first vaccination will be at 8 weeks old, when the puppy is no longer protected by antibodies from its mother. A single booster a month later will need to be made.
The date of the booster will vary according to the type of vaccine used by your vet. Some need to be done every year, whereas others need topping up every 2 or 3 years. We advise you to contact your vet for this information.
Cats can be effectively vaccinated against 4 different diseases :
- Typhus (feline infectious enteritis)
- Leukaemia, if the animal goes outside or is in contact with non-vaccinated cats
- Rabies (vaccination is compulsory for cats travelling abroad or visiting the Belgian Ardennes mountains area)
First vaccination certificate
The first vaccination automatically covers coryza and typhus. The kitten must receive its first vaccination when it is 8 weeks old and no longer protected by antibodies from its mother.
It will be given a booster a month later.
The booster will need to be done each year.
Pet rabbits can be vaccinated against myxomatosis and VHD (viral haemorrhagic disease). One injection a year is needed. Note that ‘apartment rabbits’ are also liable to catch this disease because it is spread by insects.
There aren’t any registered vaccines in Belgium suitable for use on ferrets, but such vaccines are available in other countries, such as the United States. Two vaccinations are important for the domestic ferret: against distemper and rabies. Vaccination against rabies is a legal requirement if the ferret travels abroad and an annual booster is needed too.
Permanent contraception. Eliminating the risk of infections of the womb (Pyometra, Endometritis), sexual behaviour, nervous lactation and, sometimes, a reduction in aggressiveness.
If sterilisation is done quite early, it reduces the risk of some types of cancer (mammary cancer, uterine cancer, cancer of the vagina, prostate and testicles).
PS : Contraceptive pills can cause uterine infections and mammary tumours (and other problems) and should always be avoided.
- Female dogs: Ideally sterilise before dog’s first estru, or “heat,” or, failing that, between the first and second “heat”. This date depends on the breed: between five and seven months for small breeds, between seven and twelve months for medium-sized breeds and between twelve and eighteen months for big races.
- Male dogs: It is generally advised to wait until puberty./li>
Cats can be sterilised from the age of six months, ideally before the cat comes on heat for the first time.
Since 1 September 2015, Belgian legislation requires early sterilisation of kittens whenever they change owners, which usually happens at the age of two, three or four months. This measure aims to reduce the number of stray cats and overpopulation in animal shelters.
The advised age for sterilisation is between 6 months and 1 year.
The male ferret reaches maturity between 8 and 12 months and is sexually active from December to August. The female is ready to reproduce when between 7 and 10 months old and has continual oestrus (period of being on heat) from March to August, which is only interrupted by mating!!! Sterilisation is therefore vital and can be done from the age of six months.
Note that it is recommended to chemically sterilise ferrets using sub-cutaneous implants of deslorelin because surgical ablation of the reproductive organs seems to increase the risk of developing hypercorticism, a disease of the adrenal glands.