Troon: 01292 311 988

Irvine: 01294 278 232

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Why vaccinate?

Vaccination is necessary to protect your pet against potentially life threatening diseases. Vaccination is the method of introducing a weakened or killed bacteria or virus into your pet’s system to elicit an immune response.


The Immune System


The immune system is composed of a number of organs and a host of white blood cells. This system’s function is to determine what is ‘self’ and what is foreign. Immunity can be divided into two different components called humoral immunity and cell mediated immunity.


The humoral immunity is the aspect of the immune system that is mediated by antibodies. Antibodies are large protein molecules that can engulf organisms to either make them inactive or susceptible to immune cell attack. These antibodies originate from cells called B-lymphocytes which circulate through the blood on the surface of these same cells. This is what your titre test will check the level of these antibodies circulating in your pets system.


Cell mediated immunity this is a delayed immune response primarily mediated by T-lymphocytes. Cell-mediated immune response reactions are responsible for defense against certain bacterial, fungal, and viral pathogens, malignant cells and other foreign proteins and tissues.


This is a very simplified explanation of the immune system. Vaccinations in themselves do not protect your pet from disease but aim to create an immune response to protect against fatal diseases that your pet may come in contact with.


Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need to bring my pet in every year for his/her vaccination?


An annual health check is recommended for your pet and the cost of annual vaccinations includes the health check at which we complete a thorough examination and discuss your pet’s health over the year and can advise you on any worries you may have. Health checks are also advised annually to pick up on potential health problems early on.


Can I have my pet blood tested for antibody titres instead of vaccination?


Blood titres can be done to test the level of immunity. These are considerably more expensive to do than vaccinating. Some diseases which we vaccinate against however cannot be reliably checked for titre levels such as leptospirosis of which new strains have also been found.


Do vaccinations have side effects?


Serious side effects following vaccinations are extremely rare. Although all veterinary vaccines undergo thorough, independent evaluation of their safety, efficacy and quality, it is impossible to guarantee that any product will be safe and effective in every individual case. It must be remembered, though, that the very small risk of a vaccine side effect is greatly outweighed by the benefit of protection against serious disease.

Troon Beach Jellyfish

Our Troon branch has recently had a number of dogs which have licked the toxins of jellyfish found on Troon/Barassie beach.


The dogs have been brought in with some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Confusion

  • Persistent swallowing


The toxin in jellyfish is produced by nematocysts on the jellyfish tentacles. If your dog ingests this toxin (from licking the jellyfish or licking areas on the body which have come in contact with the toxin) the above symptoms may occur.


Where possible keep your dog on the lead at the beach until jellyfish season is over (generally as weather turns cooler after autumn).


First Aid Treatment


The general recommendations are that if the toxin has come in contact with the dog’s skin wash with a vinegar solution, or seawater. Do not touch the affected area with your bare hands and phone your veterinary surgery for advice. If your dog has licked the toxin again please phone your vet surgery for advice.

Confirmed Lungworm Death - Irvine, Ayrshire

For the last few years we have getting reports that lungworm (Angiostrongylus vasorum) has been found in more and more areas throughout the UK outside of the usual ‘hot spots’ down south.


We now have a confirmed case from a dog who has not been out of Irvine. Unfortunately despite treatment, the dog died of respiratory failure caused by the migrating worms damaging the lungs.


Infection with lungworm is a real concern because the symptoms are often vague. Symptoms can include lethargy, coughing, weight loss, reluctance to exercise, excessive bleeding, vomiting, diarrhoea and fits. One or more of these symptoms may be seen and there are many other more common conditions that have these symptoms so lungworm can be difficult to diagnose.


What can be done to help prevent this infection?


We now have a blood test in house that can detect active lungworm infection – early detection and treatment is critical.


Preventative monthly treatments are available under direction by your veterinary surgeon.


Please follow this link which will provide you with invaluable information on lungworm, how it is transmitted and how you can help prevent your dog contracting this infection.


Is lungworm near you? This link has a map of the UK which shows reported cases.


For further advice please contact your veterinary surgery.