Vaccinating your Pet

From the website of the South african Veterinary Association,

What you should know about vaccination 
Vaccinations protect your pet from several highly contagious diseases such as canine distemper, parvovirus infection and respiratory tract infections. It also protects against transmissible diseases such as rabies that also pose a risk to humans. Vaccination will not cure a pet that is already sick. Only healthy pets should be vaccinated. A veterinarian or a veterinary nurse administers vaccines.  

Are there any risks?
The majority of pets experience no adverse effects following vaccination. A small number of animals may become feverish and have a reduced appetite. These reactions are mild and of short duration. In extremely rare cases, an animal may experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction. Such an animal can be treated successfully if attended to immediately. The possibility of such an event occurring does not justify considering not to vaccinate your pets, however, as that will leave them susceptible to a range of life-threatening infectious diseases.  

Against what diseases should I have my pet vaccinated?
Vaccines used for the protection of pets are currently divided into core vaccines and non-core vaccines. The former are vaccines that should be given to all pets in all regions because they protect against diseases that are widespread and have serious effects. Non-core vaccines are only given strategically when a particular disease is prevalent in an area or when circumstances predispose to the appearance of the disease. Non-core vaccines are only administered after discussion with your veterinarian to evaluate the risks.


Core vaccines for dogs 

Canine distemper

Canine adenovirus infections

Canine parvovirus infection



Non-core vaccines for DOGS                                       
Kennel cough
Canine coronavirus
Canine herpesvirus


Core vaccines for CATS

Feline panleukopenia

Feline herpesvirus infection

Feline calicivirus infection



None-core vaccines for cats

Feline leukaemia
Feline immunodeficiency virus


Basic vaccination programme for dogs

u  First vaccination at 8–9 weeks

u  Second vaccination at 11–12 weeks; includes the first rabies vaccination

u  Re-vaccinate at 14–16 weeks; includes the second rabies vaccination

u  Re-vaccinate at one year of age

u  Re-vaccinate every 3 years, including rabies   

Basic vaccination programme for cats

u  First vaccination at 8 weeks of age

u  Re-vaccinate at 12 weeks of age; includes rabies vaccination

u  Re-vaccinate at 16 weeks in environments with high infection pressure or in breeding catteries. If not applicable, only give the second rabies vaccination

u  Re-vaccinate at one year of age

u  Repeat every three years, including rabies  

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