Vaccinate your pet

The best thing you can do for your pet is vaccinate them. Vaccinations not only protect your pet from preventable infectious diseases, but other pets in your home, those your pet socialises with outside, wildlife and you.

Vaccinating dogs, cats and rabbits

When domestic animals are born, their immune systems are weak and they rely on protection from their mother’s milk. However, this only lasts a short time, so it’s important to get your new family member off to the vet so they can have their first vaccinations.

Vaccinating your dog

Puppies should be vaccinated with:

  • A first dose between 8-10 weeks old
  • A second dose 2-4 weeks later
  • A booster given around 4 months old
  • Annual vaccinations thereafter.

As your puppy grows and starts playing with other dogs, it’s even more important for all pet owners to keep their vaccines up to date to prevent disease from spreading.

An unvaccinated adult dog should have:

  • An initial vaccine
  • A booster dose one month later
  • Annual vaccinations thereafter

Vaccinate your dog to protect from:

Canine distemper

Similar to measles in humans.

Symptoms:

fever, cough, appetite loss and discharge from the eyes and nose.

Canine parvovirus

Attacking the intestine, this virus can be fatal.

Symptoms:

bloody diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, collapse, fever.

Kennel cough

A highly contagious respiratory condition.

Symptoms:

forceful and persistent cough.

eptospirosis

A bacterial blood infection.

Symptoms:

appetite loss, weakness, diarrhea, increased drinking, jaundice.

Parainfluenza

A highly contagious viral lung infection.

Symptoms:

high fever, dry cough, runny nose, sneezing, lethargy, appetite loss and eye inflammation.

Vaccinating your cat

Kittens should initially be vaccinated:

  • A first dose between 6-8 weeks old
  • A second dose at around 3 months
  • Annual vaccinations thereafter.

Kittens should be kept inside until fully vaccinated to keep them protected.

Unvaccinated adult cats should have:

  • An initial vaccine
  • A booster dose 2-3 weeks later
  • Annual vaccinations thereafter.

Vaccinate your cat to protect from:

Feline panleukopenia

An often fatal disease of the intestinal tract.

Symptoms:

depression, lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, loss of balance, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, excessive sneezing, runny nose.

Feline rhinotracheitis virus, feline calicivirus (cat flu)

A debilitating respiratory disease.

Symptoms:

fever, frequent sneezing, discharge from the nose and eyes, loss of appetite, depression.

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)

A blood-borne disease that suppresses the immune system.

Symptoms:

enlarged lymph nodes,
fever, lethargy, appetite and weight loss,
recurrent diarrhoea, a runny nose, sneezing, eye inflammation, skin infections.

*Only recommended for cats at high risk

Leukaemia virus

An incurable viral infection that suppresses the immune system.

Symptoms:

appetite and weight loss, fever, pale/inflamed gums, eye problems, poor coat, diarrhea, seizures, jaundice, laboured breathing, weakness.

*Only recommended for cats at high risk

Vaccinating your rabbit

Rabbits should initially be vaccinated:

  • From 10 weeks old
  • With an initial booster 1 month later
  • Then every 6 months.

Not all rabbit vaccinations are 100% effective, so protecting your bunny by keeping them indoors should be a top priority.

Vaccinate your rabbit to protect from:

Calicivirus

Causes hemorrhaging and damage to a rabbit’s internal organs – is often fatal.

Symptoms:

depression, appetite loss, fever, seizures, respiratory problems, blue mucous membranes.

Adopting from the RSPCA

When you adopt a pet from the RSPCA, your new family member will have all their required vaccinations. They’ll also be desexed, microchipped and have a thorough health check with a vet so they’re ready to go home with you.

From a Great Dane to a Netherland Dwarf, every pet deserves to be happy and healthy in a loving home. See our adoptions page and find your new best friend.

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