We are often asked how often pets need to be vaccinated. Even though this seems like a simple question, there is no one simple answer.
Recent improvements in vaccines have meant that not every component of a vaccine necessarily needs to be given every year, plus there are different combinations of vaccines for dogs and cats that may vary from vet to vet.
For dogs there are anywhere from three to seven possible components to a vaccine. The components given may vary depending on the most common diseases your vet sees in the local area. At this stage there is a vaccine some vets may use which will protect your pet against Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus for 3 years. Unfortunately all other components in vaccines still only last one year.
At the Northern Veterinary Group we routinely vaccinate all dogs with what is often called a C5. This vaccine has five components which protect your dog against Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus as well as Canine Cough and Canine Parainfluenza. These are the most common diseases we see in our area and why we chose this vaccine. We do use the 3 yearly component to ensure we are adopting the most modern and up to date recommendations from the Australian Veterinary Association. Because some of the components of the vaccine only last one year, it is necessary to still give a vaccine annually.
For cats, there is no multi-year vaccine developed at this stage. This means boosters still need to be given yearly with your pets annual health check. We routinely vaccinate with an F3 vaccine for all cats, and for outdoor cats we also strongly recommend the FIV (Feline AIDS) vaccine as we have detected many positive cats in the area.
Also remember annual health checks are important for all pets regardless of the vaccinations required. The vaccine is the last thing we perform when your pet comes for their visit. Annual health checks also allow us to check for developing eye and ear disease, dental problems, heart and lung disease and any lumps or bumps that may have developed. We can also answer any questions or concerns you may have since your pet’s last health check.
Remember, pets age seven times faster than we do, which means a lot can change over the course of 12 months.