Family Vet Clinic

The Critical Role of Vaccinations

Author: Dr. Tessa / 2018-03-28

Vaccinations are of critical importance in your pet’s lifetime, through providing protection against highly contagious diseases, often fatal diseases. This article discusses why you should immunise your pet.

  1. Puppies and kittens receive immunity from their mother. This protection is slowly lost between 4 to 12 weeks of age. His own defences are gradually building up, resulting in an immunity gap in which the puppy and kittens are more vulnerable to diseases. Vaccination help to develop antibodies that give protection against specific diseases.
  2. Puppies should be vaccinated at 6, 9, 12 and 16 weeks of age. Kittens should be vaccinated at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age. Since maternal immunity can interfere with the effectiveness of vaccines, the vaccinations are repeated to ensure the body can produced their own antibodies. The animals should then be vaccinated yearly.
  3. Vaccinations are divided in core and non-core vaccinations. Core or essential vaccines should be given to all pets to protect against widespread diseases that have serious effects. Non-core vaccines are given strategically when circumstances predispose the animals to contract the disease or when the disease is prevalent in an area.
  4. Core vaccinations in dogs are Canine Distemper virus (attacks respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems), Canine adenovirus (Canine hepatitis and respiratory disease), Canine Parainfluenza virus (Dog Flu), Canine Parvovirus (attacks gastrointestinal, immune system and heart), and Rabies (attacks nervous system).
  5. Core vaccinations in cats are Feline Panleukopenia (feline infectious enteritis, feline parvoviral enteritis, feline distemper, feline ataxia), Feline Herpesvirus (Feline viral rhinotracheitis), Feline Calicivirus (Respiratory disease) and Rabies.
  6. All dogs and cats are required by South African law to be vaccinated against Rabies. Rabies is a deathly disease that poses a risk to humans.
  7. Non-Core vaccinations in dogs are Kennel cough (Infectious tracheobronchitis), Leptospirosis (cause flu-like symptoms and can cause liver or kidney disease), Canine Coronavirus (Attack intestinal system) and Canine Herpes virus (Fading puppy syndrome).
  8. Non-Core vaccinations in cats are Feline Leukaemia (cause anaemia or lymphoma), Chlamydiosis (Chronic respiratory infection).
  9. During the vaccination visit your pet also receives a clinical examination so health problems can quickly be detected and treated. Furthermore, you can ask your veterinarian a variety of questions

Please contact us to book a vaccination appointment.


World Small Animal Veterinary Association, 2015, Day M.J., M.C Horzinek, R.D. Schultz and R. A. Squares,

Guidelines for the vaccination of dogs and cats.

South African Veterinary Associated, 2015, Vaccinations

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