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Just like humans, our four-legged friends can pick up preventable diseases, either from a trip to the dog park, exploring the neighbourhood or if we’ve unknowingly brought a virus pathogen home on our clothing.

That’s why taking your cat or dog to the vet for a vaccination can be vital for maintaining their health throughout their lives.

Why should my pet get vaccinated?

While medications can help our pets get better, vaccinations can help prevent your furry family member from getting sick in the first place. What’s more, some vaccine preventable illnesses can be deadly, and may not be treatable with medications.

Furthermore, medications may need to be taken repeatedly, which adds up, while a preventative vaccination may only need to be taken once a year.

Core and non-core pet vaccinations

Some vaccinations are known as core vaccines because they’re deemed vital as they protect against deadly or debilitating diseases.1 While core vaccines are deemed essential, non-core vaccines may be prescribed if your dog or cat is susceptible to illnesses or diseases due to their breed or a genetic predisposition they’ve inherited.

Most vaccinations are done when your pet is a puppy or kitten, followed by boosters and check-ups as needed.

Cat vaccinations

a kitten receives a vaccination

What vaccinations do cats and kittens need?

They are a number of illnesses cats and kittens can be protected against. The RSPCA lists the following vaccinations:

  • F3 Vaccine. This is a core vaccine that covers ‘the big three’ cat diseases: Feline Panleukopaenia (also called Feline parvovirus or Feline Infectious Enteritis), Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus and Feline Calicivirus;
  • FIV Vaccine. A non-core vaccination, FIV Vaccine protects against Feline Immunodeficiency Virus; and
  • FeLV. Another non-core vaccination, this one protects against Feline Leukaemia Virus.2

In addition, you may be able to vaccinate your cat against other ailments, including rabies and bacterial infections like Chlamydophila Felis and Bordetella Bronchiseptica.3

How much do cat vaccinations cost?

Vaccinations for cats and kittens will differ depending on the type of vaccination and the vet. On top of that, initial vaccinations can be more expensive than follow up boosters. When getting multiple vaccinations at once – or within a short period – you may be paying up to a couple hundred dollars.

The RSPCA notes that initial vaccinations for kittens could cost between $170 to $200, with annual vaccination check-ups costing roughly $80.4

N.B. these figures are intended as a guide and veterinary costs will differ depending on your pet’s healthcare needs and the veterinary practice you visit. You can contact your vet to ask about vaccination costs for your cat.

That said, the price and benefits of vaccinating your kitten or cat can typically outweigh the cost of treatment should your animal fall sick. Contact your local vet to inquire about vaccination prices and which vaccinations your cat may need.

Dog vaccinations

a vet giving a dog a vaccination

What vaccinations do dogs and puppies need?

Some canine diseases and viruses can be fatal, but there are vaccinations available to help prevent some illnesses from affecting your beloved puppy or adult dog. Canine vaccines include:

  • C3. The core vaccine for canines, C3 covers deadly diseases such as Canine Distemper, Canine Parvovirus and Canine Aedinovirus (also called Canine Hepatitis); and
  • KC. This non-core vaccine protects your pooch against kennel cough (Bordetella Bronchieseptica).5

Along with these common preventative treatments, there are also additional non-core dog vaccinations that may be recommended by your vet. Speak to an animal care professional for a better idea of what vaccines your dog may require.

How much do canine vaccinations cost?

As with cat vaccinations, the cost of immunising your puppy or dog will differ based on which type of vaccine is used, which vet you visit and whether you’re after a batch of initial vaccinations or just a booster.

According to the RSPCA, initial puppy vaccinations could cost you $170 to $250, with yearly check-up vaccinations costing approximately $90.6

N.B. the costs of dog vaccinations will vary depending on your pet’s healthcare needs and which vet administers the vaccinations. You can contact your vet to inquire about how much vaccinating your puppy or dog could cost you.

Does pet insurance cover vaccinations for cats and dogs?

a man holding a young puppy

You can get insurance for dog and cat vaccines with comprehensive pet insurance – which is the highest level of cover available – if it includes the routine care add-on.

Routine care is an optional extra (though some pet insurers include it as a standard feature with their comprehensive level policies) that allows you to claim back a portion of the cost of vaccinating your pet. Other routine treatments such de-sexing, microchipping, teeth cleaning, worming and training may also be claimed through routine care cover.

Frequently asked questions

My cat or dog doesn’t go outside – should they still get vaccinated?

The decision to vaccinate your pets is up to you, though it’s commonly recommended by veterinarians. If you have an indoor cat or dog that doesn’t leave the house, it can still potentially get sick with a preventable disease if pathogens are carried into the indoor environment. It is likely that your pet will still get some benefit out of being vaccinated.

Is worming similar to vaccinations?

While they both keep your pet healthy, worming and vaccination treatments work a bit differently. Vaccines are a preventative medicine used to provide immunity in pets to stop them from contracting certain illnesses.  Worming treatments typically interrupt the life cycle of worms or other parasites to ensure they are eliminated or remain within tolerable, harmless levels.

As worming doesn’t confer immunity on your pet, you will typically need to administer medication regularly as a preventative measure. There are also medications available that can deal with worms if your dog already has them, as well as other illnesses and diseases.

When can my puppy start socialising after getting vaccinated?

Depending on the age of the puppy and the vaccines it’s received, the vet may recommend keeping your puppy away from other dogs until it is fully vaccinated and to allow time for the vaccination to take effect. This means the recommended time for taking your puppy to the dog park can vary, though it’s typically a couple of weeks after their final vaccination.

Do cats and dogs need the same vaccinations?

Generally, cats and dogs don’t take the same vaccinations, as the diseases the vaccines protect against are unique to their species.

Do I need to keep a pet vaccination record?

When going to the vet for the first time, you’ll typically receive a pet health record, which vets will use to list what vaccinations your pet has received. This may be an electronic record or physical booklet.

When you adopt or buy a pet, particularly when it’s older, you should inquire from the breeder or adoption agency about what health records they have for the animal.

Can I lower my pet insurance excess?

You may have the option of choosing a lower excess on your pet insurance. Excess payments are made when you lodge a claim, and lowering them can save you some money should you make a claim. However, lowering your excess increases your regular pet insurance premiums.

If you’re looking for pet insurance – including comprehensive policies that can cover vaccinations – then we can help you out. We bring policies from several insurers in Australia and put them in one place.

Our free pet insurance comparison tool lets you compare quotes in minutes from various pet insurance providers across Australia.


1 Vaccinating your cat. International Cat Care. 2018.

2 Vaccinating your pet. RSPCA Victoria. 2020. https://www.rspcavic.org/health-and-behaviour/vaccination

3 Vaccinating your cat. International Cat Care. 2018.

4 Costs. RSPCA New South Wales. 2020. https://www.rspcansw.org.au/what-we-do/care-for-animals/owning-a-pet/costs/

5 Vaccinating your pet. RSPCA Victoria. 2020. https://www.rspcavic.org/health-and-behaviour/vaccination

6 Costs. RSPCA New South Wales. 2020. https://www.rspcansw.org.au/what-we-do/care-for-animals/owning-a-pet/costs/

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