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Understanding your pet’s vaccinations

  • 12, Oct 2020
  • Read time: 5 mins

As a caring pet owner, we know you want to do the best for your pet and keep them as healthy as possible. This includes protecting them against infectious diseases and illnesses. It can be hard to keep track of what vaccines your pet needs, when they need it and whether there are any risks. So, we've had a chat with our vets and shared everything you need to know about your pet's vaccinations.

Cat undergoing a vet treatment.

Why does my pet need to have vaccinations?

Vaccinations are essential to protect our dogs and cats from serious infectious diseases. By protecting them, you’ll also help to prevent the spread of often fatal diseases between other pets and sometimes humans.

It’s important for puppies and kittens to get vaccines as their immune systems aren’t developed. Vaccinations give them extra support to fight off illnesses and diseases.

How much do pet vaccinations cost?

On average, your pet’s vaccinations should cost between £30 and £60. The cost can vary depending on your vet and the breed of your cat or dog.

What vaccines does my dog need?

The most common vaccines help to protect your dog against these diseases:

  • Distemper – this often fatal disease is common in areas with unvaccinated dogs.
  • Hepatitis – this disease affects their liver and can make dogs severely unwell.
  • Parvovirus – this disease causes dogs to vomit and have diarrhoea. It can be deadly if left untreated, especially for puppies.
  • Leptospira – this often fatal disease can cause kidney and liver damage. It can pass from dogs to humans, so vaccinating your dog can protect you as well.

Dogs need their first vaccinations when they are between 6 – 8 weeks old. Then, further vaccinations at 12 weeks old and annually as adults.

Find out more about common dog illnesses and the symptoms to looks out for.

What vaccines does my cat need?

The most common vaccines help to protect your cat against these diseases:

  • Feline Leukaemia – this is an incurable viral infection passed from cat to cat. If your cat explores outside, they should have this vaccinated against.
  • Cat flu – there are two viral causes of cat flu, herpes virus and calicivirus, followed by secondary bacterial infections. These can be more serious for kittens if they get infected. Some cats can develop a chronic disease from cat flu, which can cause continued health issues.
  • Infectious enteritis – this is a severe gut infection that can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

Cats need their first set of vaccinations before they turn 9 weeks old. Then further vaccines at 12 weeks old and every year as adults. By keeping their vaccinations up to date, they are more protected from illnesses.

Learn more about the most common cat illnesses and how to spot their symptoms.

Will my pet need regular boosters?

Our vets here at MORE THAN recommend regular vaccine boosters. They play a leading role in protecting your furry companions against several infectious and fatal diseases.

It is common for your dog or cat to need booster vaccinations every year, but sometimes they can last longer. Your vet will tell you how often your pet needs vaccinating to make sure they keep fighting against infection effectively.

When can my pet socialise with others?

Letting your pet experience the world is important, but be sure to introduce them to it safely.

For puppies, socialising with other pets and people is important for their development. Until your puppy is fully vaccinated, be careful when socialising them by following these guidelines:

  • If an owner doesn’t know if their dog is fully vaccinated, don’t let your puppy play with their dog
  • Pick up your puppy and move away from any unwanted dog contact

For kittens, the experiences they have at a young age play a key part in what they’ll be like as they grow up. While it’s advised to keep them indoors until it’s safe for them to meet other cats, you can still socialise them with everyday sights and sounds inside.

Are vaccinations safe?

Your vet can discuss the risks, side effects and benefits of the each vaccination. This information will vary depending on the age and breed of your pet.

Where can I find my pet’s vaccination history?

Your vet will have an up to date record of your pet’s vaccination history. You can ask for a copy at any time. These come in handy if you need to keep track of your pet’s health.

Do vaccinations affect my pet’s insurance?

Pet insurance plays a part in why your pet needs vaccinating. If fully vaccinated, your pet is less likely to catch infectious diseases and need veterinary attention. This could save you costly vet bills and having to claim on your pet insurance. If you need to claim, your premium price could be affected when it’s time to renew.

Another factor that could affect your pet insurance is their vaccination history. Some insurers consider this when you’re getting a quote and will not cover a claim if you pet becomes ill from an illness that was not vaccinated against. This is also considered when you need to make a claim. For example, we can’t help with a claim if your pet is ill from a vaccinable illness that you did not get them vaccinated against.

Find out more about our pet insurance and how we can help protect your pet

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