The vet’s guide to vaccinating your pets




Everything you need to know about vaccinations for your furkids

If you own a little furkid in the form of a meowing, purring fluffball or a barking and loving big guy (or little guy), then you will know that vaccinations are a vital part of your cat or dog’s medical care.

It is your responsibility as a pet owner to ensure that your furkids are always up to date in their vaccinations and also take any new pets to your family for theirs.

"Vaccinations can be a pretty pricey expense, so, if you don’t have pet insurance that is reliable, simple and pays you BEFORE you see the vet - then only have one thing to ask..."

Stop what you are doing, unless that is loving your furkid as you read this article, then by all means, carry on, but after that, why not check out our range of pet insurance plans that suit your pet and your pocket?

Ok, right - back to vaccinations….


Why do I need to vaccinate my pet?

Good question.

The fact of the matter is this - by vaccinating your pet you could potentially be saving his or her life as a number of diseases that your furkid is vaccinated against are often life-threatening.

Vaccinations offer a form of protection against common diseases and also could save you a whole bunch in medical costs later on down the line when having to treat your sick pet, not to mention the stress factor that goes with dealing with a sick pet.

The more detailed explanation is as follows:

Vaccinations aid in building up an immunity against contagious and dangerous diseases for pets. They also stop outbreaks from happening. By vaccinating your pet, you are stimulating their immune system with an inactivated version of a particular virus so that their body can develop a specialised ‘army’ of defence antibodies should they ever come into contact with the virus in the future.


Are there any risks to vaccinating my pets?

As with every vaccination, including those for humans, there is always a risk of side effects occurring.

These can range from very mild to more severe reactions such as facial swelling, hives etc.

However, these risks are deemed as rare and are worth the risk when vaccinating.

According to the WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association), only 38-51 small animals in every 10 000 experiences a side effect after being vaccinated - and a large number of these reactions are mild.

Are there any risks to NOT vaccinating my pets?

There are some major risks to not vaccinating your pets…

Pets often die from deadly diseases and this is heartbreaking to see as it could have been prevented.

The issue in South Africa is that there are a large number of dogs and cats that are not vaccinated and this puts your little furkids at risk of disease - don’t take the risk - vaccinate.


What vaccinations does my dog or cat need?

Dogs need to have the below vaccinations to help protect them from the various diseases mentioned:


  • 5-in-1: Canine Distemper, Canine Parvovirus infection, Infectious Canine Hepatitis (Adenovirus type 1), Canine Adenovirus type 2 (a common cause of Kennel Cough), Canine Parainfluenza (another cause of Kennel Cough)
  • The majority of vets will use this 5-in-1 combo vaccination, however, some vets will use a 6-in-1 which will include the 5 viruses mentioned above, as well as Canine Coronavirus
  • Rabies


Cats need to have the below vaccinations to help protect them from the various diseases mentioned:

  • 3-in-1: Feline Panleukopenia, Feline Herpesvirus infection and Feline Calicivirus infection
  • Rabies


When does my dog or cat need to be vaccinated?


  • The first 5-in-1 vaccination is at 8–9 weeks
  • The second vaccination for rabies is at 11-12 weeks (first rabies vaccinations)
  • Second 5-in-1 vaccination is at 14–16 weeks (includes second rabies vaccination)
  • Third 5-in-1 vaccination is at one year
  • Re-vaccinate 5-in-1 every 3 years, this includes rabies



  • First 3-in-1 vaccination at 8 weeks
  • Second 3-in-1 at 12 weeks (includes rabies vaccination)
  • Re-vaccinate 3-in-1 at 16 weeks - this is for cats in environments with high infection pressure (i.e. animal shelters or in breeding catteries). If this does not apply to you, only give the second rabies vaccination. (Ask your vet what they recommend you do this)
  • Re-vaccinate 3-in-1 at 1 year of age
  • Repeat 3-in-1 every three years, including rabies


What other vaccinations may my furkid need?

There are a number of other optional vaccines that your vet may suggest your pet have depending on their lifestyle and the area you live in.

These include:


  • Canine Corona virus
  • Bordatella (another cause of Kennel cough)
  • Leptospirosis
  • Herpes virus


  • Chlamydiosis
  • Bordatella (a cause of Snuffles)
  • Feline Leukemia Virus
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)


The bottom line

If you are serious about your pet’s health, then make sure you get them vaccinated accordingly and listen to what your vet has to say about vaccinations.

We want you and your pet to live long, happy, and more importantly, healthy lives together.

So - here’s to the health of your furkids!

Yours in paws,


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