Vaccinating your pet

Stray cat being vaccinated at RSPCA Putney Animal Hospital © Andrew Forsyth/RSPCA Photolibrary

Make sure you protect your pets and keep them safe by keeping up to date with their vaccinations.


If the number of pets protected by vaccines drops our animal companions could be at risk from an outbreak of infectious diseases, some of which can be transmitted to humans.


When to vaccinate

When puppies and kittens are born they are usually protected from infections by their mother’s milk, providing she has been regularly vaccinated. However, this protection only lasts a few weeks so they need regular vaccinations from an early age.


Puppies are typically vaccinated at eight and 10 weeks, kittens at nine and 12 weeks, with an initial course of two injections. Your young pet should then be given a booster 12 months after their first vaccination.


Rabbits need regular vaccinations too. Find out more about rabbit vaccinations.


Older pets need protecting too, as their immunity can decline. Speak to your vet as the regularity of your companions vaccinations can vary depending on the diseases prevalent in your area.


Vaccines against infectious diseases

Mixed-breed Solly lying in field at South Godstone Animal Centre © Becky Murray/RSPCA Photolibrary

Dogs

Dogs should be routinely vaccinated against:

  • Canine parvovirus
  • Canine distemper virus
  • Leptospirosis
  • Infectious canine hepatitis.


If your dog will be spending some time in kennels they may also be given a kennel cough vaccine. This vaccine is usually given intra-nasally (into a nostril) and protects against parainfluenza virus and bordetella bronchiseptica.

Dogs travelling abroad may require a rabies vaccination. 

 

Animal Care Assistant holding two kittens at Newport Animal Centre © Joe Murphy/RSPCA Photolibrary

Cats

Cats should be routinely vaccinated against:

  • Feline infectious enteritis
  • Feline herpes virus
  • Feline calicivirus
  • Feline leukaemia virus*.


*Current recommendations are that only at risk cats are given vaccine against feline leukemia virus. See our cat vaccine factsheet (above right) for more information.

 

Group of rabbit kittens © Andrew Forsyth / RSPCA Photolibrary

Rabbits

Rabbits should be routinely vaccinated against: 

  • Myxomatosis
  • Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD).

 


 

For more information on the symptoms, transference and treatments of these infectious diseases take a look at the factsheets on the right-hand side of this page.