While medications can help your pet get better, vaccinations help prevent your fur babies from getting sick in the first place. What’s more, some vaccine-preventable illnesses can be deadly and aren’t treatable with medications or covered by pet insurance.
Dog and cat vaccinations protect your pet from life-threatening diseases, as well as other pets − and even yourself since some pet diseases can be transmitted to humans.
Furthermore, medications may need to be taken repeatedly, which adds to the overall cost of caring for your pet. In contrast, a preventative vaccination may only need to be taken once a year.
Some typically prescribed kitten and cat vaccinations include:
Kitten vaccinations should be administered from six or eight weeks of age, and typically followed by a booster vaccine every two to four weeks until they reach 16 weeks.
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) also recommends that cats get a booster vaccine at six months to ensure an adequate immune response in cats who didn’t respond well to the F3 vaccine. Adult cats also require a core vaccination booster every one to three years.3
In addition, you may be able to vaccinate your cat against other ailments, including rabies, Chlamydia Felis and Bordetella Bronchiseptica. There are also other common cat diseases you need to be aware of.4
Some canine diseases and viruses can be fatal, but vaccinations are available to help prevent illnesses from affecting your beloved puppy or adult dog. Canine vaccines include:
As a general rule, the first core vaccines should be given at six or eight weeks of age, followed by a booster vaccine every two to four weeks until they reach 16 weeks of age. Adult dogs may require annual boosters. Your vet will prescribe a vaccination schedule for your pooch during their annual health check-up.7
Along with these common preventative treatments, additional non-core dog vaccinations may be recommended by your vet, depending on your dog’s exposure risk. For example, the Leptospirosis vaccine may be recommended for dogs that regularly go outside, while small breed dogs and dogs that live in urban environments may not need this. Other common dog diseases may not have a vaccine, but it’s important to know about them.
You can get insurance for dog and cat vaccines with comprehensive pet insurance – the highest level of coverage available – when it includes a routine care add-on.
Routine care is an optional extra that allows you to claim back a portion of the cost of vaccinating your pet and other routine treatments such as de-sexing, microchipping, teeth cleaning and worming. Behavioural training may also be available through routine care cover. Just keep in mind that claims for vaccination expenses will be subject to any policy excess and benefit percentage that applies to your policy.
The decision to vaccinate a pet is up to each individual pet owner, though veterinarians commonly recommend it for reasons listed above. If you have an indoor cat or dog that doesn’t leave the house, they can still potentially get sick with a preventable disease if pathogens are carried into the indoor environment.
Worming and vaccination treatments work 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.
Worming doesn’t give your pet immunity, so you’ll 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.
Most vets recommend keeping your puppy away from other dogs until they’re fully vaccinated (or have at least had their core vaccines). Allow a few weeks for the vaccinations to take effect and for your dog to build enough antibodies/immunity to ward off infections. 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.
Generally, cats and dogs don’t need the same vaccinations, as the diseases their core and non-core vaccines protect against are unique to their species.
However, cats and dogs can have similar symptoms to different ailments. This may include sneezing and coughing, difficulty breathing for respiratory diseases (e.g Canine Distemper Virus, or Feline Herpesvirus), loss of appetite and diarrhoea.
When going to the vet for the first time, you’ll typically receive a pet health record, which vets will use to list your pet’s vaccinations. This may be an electronic record or a 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. Your pet’s medical and health information will be required when taking out pet insurance or going to an animal hospital.
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 reduce the cost of making a claim. However, reducing your excess typically increases your regular pet insurance premiums.
1 RSPCA − All you need to know about pet vaccinations. Accessed March 2023.
2 RSPCA − What vaccinations should my cat receive? Accessed March 2023.
3 World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Vaccination Guidelines. Accessed March 2023.
4 RSPCA − What vaccinations should my cat receive? Accessed March 2023.
5 RSPCA New South Wales – Costs. Accessed March 2023.
6 RSPCA − What vaccinations should my dog receive? Accessed March 2023.
7 RSPCA − What vaccinations should my dog receive? Accessed March 2023.
8 RSPCA New South Wales – Costs. Accessed March 2023.