One easy way to let your pet live its best life every day is… drum roll… regular vaccinations. This essential activity is part of your pet’s routine care regime.

A vaccine is a product that introduces “a small amount of the organism, modified so it will not cause disease in the animal” into your pet’s system, says Be Vaccine Smart[1]. The vaccine formulation encourages your pet’s immune system to develop a protective immune response.

Vaccinations protect pets against highly contagious, killer diseases like rabies, parainfluenza, distemper, adenovirus, tick-bite fever and parvovirus according to the Comaro Chronicle[2]. Administered properly by a veterinarian, they can prevent your pet from getting sick from other pets, wildlife, and from passing some diseases on to humans.


But how regularly?


“Historically,” the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) points out, “annual vaccination had been recommended.” Why? Firstly, “vaccine manufacturers had proof that the core vaccines provided immunity for at least a year” and secondly, “pets benefit from an annual health check – usually given at the time of vaccination”[3].

SAVA goes on to explain that “there are challenge studies showing that some canine and feline core vaccines can protect the majority of vaccinated animals for 3 years”.  As this rule out a “universally applicable vaccination policy”, the rule of thumb is to adapt the practise to your pet’s needs. Chat to your vet about your pet’s health and ask how regularly s/he would recommend vaccinations, or whether vaccination boosters would help.


What if I don’t?


The rise of the anti-vax movement is based on populist thinking (not scientific data) and, sadly, causes unnecessary suffering for the people who support it, AND for the pets dependent on those humans for protection. Pet owners who refuse to vaccinate their domestic animals on the basis of unfounded allegations about Autism, for example, make it more likely that their dog will contract Canine Parvovirus, AKA “the puppy killer. In this instance, they “are sentencing their dog to death from one of the most shocking, horrible viruses you can imagine,” Dr Kovac, a Sidney-based veterinarian tells the Guardian[4].

It’s not only your rabbit, kitten or pooch that could suffer. Failing to vaccinate your pets regularly puts other domestic animals at risk, too. A recent report from People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) finds that a full quarter of UK dog owners haven’t had their puppies vaccinated, and almost a quarter of adult dogs haven’t had regular vaccination boosters.[5] The problem, the PDSA explains, is that this “may threaten population-level immunity”.


One prick and we’re protected for life?


Not necessarily. For vaccinations to be most powerful, your pet may need a series of vaccinations at infancy, and again, in adulthood, and more than once. Adult pets may also need boosters in between major vaccination rounds to avoid gaps in protection.

Does it protect my pet 100%?

It depends on the disease. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) states that “vaccines provide immunity against one or several diseases that can lessen the severity or prevent certain diseases altogether.”[6] Remember that vaccination boosts your pet’s natural ability to fight the disease, so the healthier your pet, the better it works.


How does pet cover help here?


Depending on the plan you choose, we may include vaccinations in your pet’s annual wellness allowance. It really helps to reduce the regular costs of this very important preventative treatment.

Pro tip: Vaccinations get you lots and lots of gratis paw points with our partner, Yapper. Check them out for doggie wellness rewards in real life… simply for doing your pet parent job right! It’s free, and so much fun. Click or tap here to find out how to join.

Now you know. Be the best pet parent you can be, and act now to avoid premature death and prevent suffering by getting regular vaccinations tap here to get cover to help you pay for it and here to find a certified vet.