The importance of vaccines

April 17, 2020

Vaccines are an important part of our world – we need them as humans to ensure we stay safe from life threatening illnesses, and the same goes for our pets. In Australia, we’re lucky to have great biosecurity laws that have prevented many diseases from entering the country. Despite these laws, there are still diseases that can cause serious problems for our furry companions.

One of the most important things we can do as responsible pet owners is ensure they get the right vaccinations at the right time.

Vaccinations are necessary for your furry loved ones because many diseases can be fatal. These problems can be expensive to treat and can cause distress to your loved one.

When should I start?

Just like children, vaccinations should start when your pet is young. Puppies and kittens typically have their first vaccinations within the first 8 weeks of life, while their immune system is still developing. It may sound like it’s early, but young animals are hit hardest by disease and have a poorer chance of survival if they become sick. These core vaccinations will help to ensure your pet has primary immunity.

Asides from the core group of vaccinations your companion should receive, there are non-core vaccinations to consider in certain circumstances. Getting these vaccinations depend on your pet’s current or future circumstances.

At Matraville Veterinary Practice, our friendly vets will guide you on the timing and requirements of your pet’s vaccinations.

Types of vaccinations

Core vaccinations for dogs will include:

  • Canine distemper virus (CDV)
  • Canine adenovirus (CAV)
  • Canine parvovirus (CPV-2)
  • Parainfluenza virus
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica

Non-core (but recommended in some circumstances) vaccinations for dogs include:

  • Leptospirosis

Core vaccinations for cats will include:

  • Feline parvovirus (FPV)
  • Feline calicivirus (FCV)
  • Feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1)

Non-core (but recommended  in some circumstances) vaccinations for cats include:

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

How often should they be vaccinated after the first time?

Time between vaccinations mainly depends on the age of your pet. Puppies and kittens are vaccinated three times in the first four months of their lives and then once a year after the age of 16 weeks.

Our veterinary team will advise you on the best vaccination schedule for your pet’s needs and lifestyle, as part of their tailored preventative health care program.

What happens if I miss a vaccine?

If you miss a vaccine, get in touch with us so that we can get you back on schedule as soon as possible. The timing of the missed dose is based on the type of vaccine required, and how much time has elapsed since the previous dose.

What if I want to board my dog or cat?

If you’re looking to board your dog or cat, a good kennel facility will ask you for up-to-date vaccination records. Even if they don’t, it’s important that your dog is up to date with their vaccinations, as they may come into contact with other animals that are contagious.

If your dog or cat is scheduled to receive vaccinations, make sure they take place a minimum of 2 weeks prior to boarding. 

You can learn more about Matraville Veterinary Practice boarding services here.

What if my puppy enrolled in training school?

Training schools are an important part of the behavioural development of your puppy. To ensure you’re able to attend and get the most out of the classes, your trainers will request proof of vaccination.

Puppy school typically takes place between the ages of 8-16 weeks old for the first class. You must ensure that your puppy has had at least one vaccination 2 weeks prior to their first class.

Matraville Veterinary Practice has partnered with the talented dog trainers at Training The Family, read more about puppy training classes here.

When COVID-19 travel restrictions are no longer required, what is the process required to take my pet overseas?

Depending on the destination country, your pet will be required to undergo additional vaccinations before they can travel overseas. This is to protect them against the various diseases that do not exist in Australia. Even if you’re confident in your plans, it’s best to have a chat with our team well in advance of your intended travel dates. This will ensure we can protect your pet as much as possible and help with any issues you may come across in regards to transport (such as crate anxiety).

If you and your pet are likely to return to Australia, please speak to our staff about treatments that should be done before departure to help with a smoother return to Australia and may reduce the re-entry quarantine period.

Got a question?

We’re here to help you with any urgent enquiries or assistance you might need. Need a little extra help, or not sure if you should bring your pet in for a check-up? Give our team a call and we’ll happily answer your questions.