A guide to vaccinating your pets

Staying current with your pet’s vaccinations schedule is a critical part of responsible pet ownership.

For your pet to have a long, healthy and active life they need have up to date vaccinations so they are protected from serious (and sometimes fatal) infectious diseases.

At Fletcher Vet we take an individual approach to your pet’s vaccination status. We want you, the owner, to be educated on how to protect your best mate.

It may be daunting to think of your cute puppy or kitten getting a jab, but they’ll thank you in the long run.

Here’s your go-to resource for all your vaccination queries.

How often does my cat or dog need to be vaccinated?

Both puppies and kittens need to be vaccinated three times within the first four months of their lives:

  • 6-8 weeks
  • 10-12 weeks
  • 14-16 weeks

After this, they’ll need an annual booster for the rest of their lives.

How do vaccinations work?

While a puppy or kitten is still with its mother, it’s protected from illness through the maternal antibodies it receives through her milk. Vaccines work by building up the immune system so they can safely live separately from their mother.

 Multiple vaccine shots are delivered over time to build up the puppy or kitten’s immune system. Their vaccine schedule is strategically spaced to improve the memory response of the immune system.

 It takes up to 14 days for your puppy or kitten’s final booster shot to be fully effective. We recommend waiting before taking them out for a walk to decrease the chanced of your pet catching anything harmful from unfamiliar dogs.

What are we vaccinating against? 

Dog vaccinations

The C4 vaccination is the first shot administered to your puppy and protects them against Parvovirus, Canine Distemper, Canine Hepatitis and Canine Parainfluenza.

For the remaining shots we recommend the C5 vaccination, which has all the components of the C4 vaccination plus protection against kennel cough (Bordetella). This vaccination is essential if you’re planning on taking your dog to boarding kennels when on holidays or if they’ll be in contact with unknown dogs. 

Causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting and can be deadly for puppies and geriatric or immunosuppressed dogs.

Parvo is a hardy virus that survives in any environment, meaning your dog can catch it from a walk around the block, even when they don’t come into contact with another animal.

  • Distemper

Thanks to modern vaccines, Distemper is now a rare disease in dogs. If caught, however, it can cause coughing, diarrhoea, seizures, loss of balance and blindness.

  • Hepatitis

Can result in permanent and irreversible liver damage.

  • Parainfluenza (kennel cough – viral)

It’s the highly contagious viral component of kennel cough which can lead to permanent damage to the respiratory system.

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica (kennel cough – bacterial)

It’s the bacterial component of kennel cough and is similar to the flu in humans. It can’t always be avoided as there are too many strains to vaccinate for. The vaccination will lessen the severity of the infection and the illness won’t last as long.

Cat vaccinations

The F3 vaccination is the main shot your cat will receive for its initial and booster shots. The F3 vaccination includes Feline Panleukopaenia, Feline Herpes virus and Feline Calicivirus.

If you cat will be an outdoor cat, you may also consider adding the Feline AIDS vaccination (FIV) to the vaccination schedule. 

  • Feline Calicivirus and Herpes virus

These viruses are estimated to be responsible for 80-90% of infectious feline upper respiratory tract diseases (cat flu). This can be fatal for kittens and once infected, most cats never completely rid themselves of the virus.

Symptoms include chronic sneezing, nasal discharge, inflamed eyes and gum problems. The vaccination provides protection for most cats and it also minimises the severity of the disease.

  • Panleukopaenia

Also known as Feline Distemper, Panleukopaenia is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease that can cause cats to die suddenly with little warning.  

The virus is found in the faeces of infected cats, it can survive extreme conditions and is resistant to most disinfectants. Symptoms include extreme listlessness, loss of appetite, fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

  • Feline AIDS

The disease is transmitted through a cat’s bite, such as from fighting. The vaccine is only 57% effective and requires a consultation with your vet prior to receiving the shot.

An infection of this virus leads to immunodeficiency that hinders the cat’s ability to protect itself from other infections.

How we can help

Puppies and kittens are at a higher risk of catching infectious diseases and require a little extra love and care in the early stages of life. If you’re a client at Fletcher Vet, we send out vaccination reminders so you’ll never miss that crucial window for booster shots.

 A puppy’s experiences in the first 2-4 months of their life can influence their behaviour and social skills well into adulthood. Keeping them away from other animals for 10-14 days after their shots can be challenging.

Puppy preschool is a great way for them to learn social rules and meet other dogs in a safe environment. You can also organise play dates with familiar dogs who are healthy and up to date with their vaccinations.

A kitten is less affected by their vaccination schedule as we recommend keeping them indoors until they’re six months old and de-sexed.

If you’re after more information about your pet’s vaccinations, you can call the clinic on 4955 6670 or book an appointment to chat with one of our experience vets.

Meet the Fletcher Vet team

We enjoy a reputation as one of Newcastle’s best vet practices. Dr Paul Robin and his team have been caring for local pets (and their families) since 1998.

Find out why  →