339 High St,
Northcote, VIC 3070

How Dog and Cat Vaccinations Work

Vaccinating your pet is one of the most important responsibilities of being a pet owner. Pet vaccinations, like human vaccinations, help to protect your cat or dog from harmful but preventable diseases. After all, our fluffy friends are our companions and protectors, so we want to make sure that they are as happy and healthy for as long as possible.

Puppy vaccinations and kitten vaccinations are essential when it comes to maintaining your pet’s safety as well as your own, as some animal diseases are transferable to humans. Once your puppy or cat has grown up, it is also important that they receive dog vaccination boosters or cat vaccination boosters according to a schedule to ensure that the vaccinations remain effective

A Brief Overview of How Pet Vaccinations Work

Pet vaccinations, just like regular human vaccinations, contain an agent that is similar to the microorganism that causes the disease the vaccine is protecting your pet from. The agent, once injected into the blood stream, is recognised as a threat by your pet’s immune system and attack the foreign agent. This process means that your pet’s immune system is able to recognise the disease should it be encountered again in the future and be able to fight it off effectively. It takes about seven days for your pet’s body to respond to the vaccination and develop immunity.

Dog vaccinations and cat vaccinations should be administered when your pet is healthy and relaxed as this is when they work best. It’s important to keep in mind that vaccinations do not cure disease, they prevent them. So, if your dog or cat has already contracted a disease, a vaccination will not be effective in getting rid of it.

There are two main types of pet vaccinations: core and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are the vaccinations that every cat and dog should receive, no matter their age, size, breed, environment or circumstances. These vaccinations protect against life-threatening diseases which have a global reach.

Non-core vaccines are vaccines that vary according to a variety of factors including location, environment and lifestyle.

Dog and Cat Vaccination Schedule

Kittens and puppies should receive their first round of vaccinations when they’re around six to eight weeks old. This first round usually consists of three vaccines. Keep in mind, however, that the final vaccination of their initial vaccinations should not be given before your puppy or kitten is 14-16 weeks old, as their mother’s breastmilk can interfere with the efficacy of the vaccine.

After these initial vaccinations, it is common practice to have your pet vaccinated every 12 months.

Vaccination Side Effects

Vaccinations stimulate your pet’s immune system, so it makes sense that they may experience minor side effects or reactions after receiving their vaccinations. In general, these will occur within the first few hours of having been vaccinated with the most common side effects being allergic reactions, sensitivity around the vaccinated area and fever. These symptoms will usually pass within a day or two.

While it is uncommon, sometimes pets have an adverse reaction to vaccinations, in which case they should be taken to the vet as soon as possible. If it has been more than two days since they received their injections and they are still displaying the following symptoms, take them to the vet straight away:

  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of appetite

Other uncommon side effects of vaccinations include:

  • Temporary limping (cats)
  • Sarcomas (cats)
  • Haemolytic anaemia
  • Reproductive system issues

You should keep in mind, however, that these side effects are extremely uncommon and it is much better to protect your animals from the diseases that vaccinations prevent.

Vaccination Costs

Dog vaccination costs and cat vaccination costs vary depending on the type of vaccination or booster. Generally, vaccinations can cost anywhere between $75 to $120 each depending on how many different diseases they are being vaccinated against and whether the efficacy lasts for 12 months or 3 years

Visit Northcote Animal Hospital

If your cat or dog is in need of a vaccination or booster, book in with Northcote Animal Hospital to help ensure their health and safety:

  • Phone: (03) 9482 1913
  • Visit us at 339 High Street, Northcote VIC 3070
    Opening Hours:

    • Monday – Friday: 8:00am – 7:30pm
    • Saturday: 9:00am – 2:00pm
    • Sunday: Closed
  • Book online

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Northcote Animal Hospital will be closed from Friday 29 March 2024 and re-opens Tuesday 2 April 2024.
You can still book online if your case is not urgent, otherwise, please contact CARE Emergency Centre on 1300 888 200.