What vaccines your pet should have

The majority of us don’t question the need for vaccines for humans – as a means to protect us and our children from a variety of infectious diseases that could, if contracted, be harmful to our health – at worst, even kill us.

The same principle goes for your pets: Vaccination remains the single most effective method for protecting against infectious disease in healthy animals.

When we speak of pet vaccinations in Ireland, most vets will advice you that dogs, cats and rabbits need to be vaccinated, and that you should be contacting your local vet clinic as soon as you bring your new pet home to set up a vaccine plan for all their core vaccinations. And if you purchase or adopt an older animal, do make sure you enquire about vaccines they have had, and whether or not all of these are up to date.

When to vaccinate

Like with human babies, most young animals are usually protected during the first few weeks of life by an immunity passed through the mother’s first milk (colostrum). However, this breast milk immunity fades fast, certainly once an animal is separated from the mother, leaving your pet susceptible to disease within a few weeks.

And so this is when a vaccine schedule should be kicked off and put in place, which will take over in providing much needed protection towards several diseases that could, worst case scenario, cause your pet to die.

With puppies, you can normally begin their vaccination schedule at around six weeks of age, and with kittens, when they are around nine weeks old. Usually, with first vaccinations – primary course vaccinations – a course of two injections is usually given, separated by a couple of weeks.

Rabbits, on the other hand, can be vaccinated from five weeks of age and require only a single vaccination with a booster vaccine each year.

Once your pet’s primary vaccination course has been completed, you’ll be given a record of vaccination, stating what vaccines they have already has, as well as advising you when the next booster shots are due. This is an important document, and should you ever need to put your pet into a kennel or similar, you will almost always be asked to present this. Also, don’t forget to take this record of vaccination with you to the clinic when your pet has new shots or boosters, so that it can be updated.

What vaccines you pets will need

For cats and dogs, some of these vaccines are considered ‘core vaccines,’ meaning they help protect your pet against common, fatal conditions, and experts strongly recommend your pet should receive these without fail, others fall under the ‘non-core’ category, but you should discuss with your vet which vaccines your pet needs, based on factors like where you live, where you dog spend time outside and whether or not you travel with your pet.


The vaccinations your dog receives will vary but in the most part cover a combination of serious and common diseases:

  • Parvovirus
  • Parainfluenza
  • Distemper
  • Adenovirus [Hepatitis]
  • Leptospirosis** We now offer the latest Lepto4 vaccines
  • Canine cough [Kennel Cough]
  • Rabies* required for pet-passport


  • Feline panleukopenia
  • Feline herpesvirus infection
  • Feline calicivirus infection
  • Rabies* required for pet-passport
  • Chlamydiosis
  • Feline leukaemia
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus


  • Viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD)
  • Myxomatosis




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