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Vaccinations for pets


Vaccination is a key component of responsible pet ownership and helps reduce the risk of your pet becoming unwell from some severe, life-threatening diseases.

Before the introduction of routine vaccinations in the early 1960s, veterinarians regularly treated canine distemper, an often-fatal disease. Now it’s virtually unheard of in Australia. In contrast, vets still encounter canine parvovirus, particularly in puppies and elderly dogs and outbreaks still occur in neighbourhoods where vaccination is low. Treating a puppy with parvovirus is an intensive process and can be costly due to the level of supportive care need, with a high risk your puppy may still pass away. This is why vaccination is not only in the best interest of your pet’s health, but will also help you both financially and emotionally from having to face this terrible disease.

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) releases guidelines regarding the use of vaccinations which are split into two separate groups; core vaccines and non-core vaccines.

Core Vaccines

Should be administered to all animals to protect them against severe, life-threatening diseases that have a global distribution. These include:


  • Canine distemper virus
  • Canine adenovirus (hepatitis)
  • Canine parvovirus


  • Feline parvovirus (panleukopaenia or infectious enteritis)
  • Feline calicivirus
  • Feline herpesvirus (viral rhinotracheitis)

Non-core Vaccines

Required for pets who live in certain environments or whose lifestyle place them at risk of contracting specific infections. These include:


  • Parainfluenza and Bordetella bronchiseptica (Canine Kennel Cough)
  • Leptospira interrogans (leptospirosis)


  • Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV)
  • Chlamydia felis
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)

The type of vaccinations suitable for your pet and how often they should be vaccinated should be discussed and decided between you and your vet, based on your unique situation.

Every pet should be immunised only as frequently as necessary, with current recommendations for adult dogs and cats to be vaccinated with core vaccines every three years. However, the unique circumstance of your pet may mean they should be scheduled for more frequent vaccination, which you can discuss with your vet. Vaccination is no longer a simple one-size-fits-all approach.

All puppies and kittens should be vaccinated with an initial course for all core diseases in three separate boosters at 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks and 16 weeks. Some vaccine manufacturers provide early finish vaccine schedules which allow two instead of three boosters and this option can be discussed further with your local vet. After your puppy has received their initial course, they will require a booster 12 months later and then progress to an adult schedule.

Non-core vaccines such as the ‘kennel cough’ vaccine for dogs are given annually and can be discussed with your vet. In some parts of Australia, additional vaccinations for local diseases such as leptospirosis for dogs and FIV for cats are necessary to protect pets. This will depend on factors such as where your pet lives, its lifestyle, the amount of time it spends outdoors, as well as its age and general health.

Although your pet may only receive vaccinations every three years, it is still important to have annual health checks to ensure your pet is kept as healthy as possible.

Making sure you have the right pet insurance is important as you never know what accidents or illnesses might come up. Please see our  dog insurance and  cat insurance policies available for you to checkout.