In the late eighteenth century scientists who had already come up with vaccines to eradicate diseasessuch as smallpox, began creating vaccines for the protection of working animals such as horses, cows and other farm animals. These animals were vital for the income of many individuals at the time in the form of livestock. Any animal epidemic could wipe out a farmers source of income entirely.

As animal and human relations evolved, animals were welcomed into peoples homes as pets. At this point the reason for vaccines was different from saving livestock and more to ensure animal to human disease transfer risk was eradicated. Dogs went from largely being regarded as working animals to being welcomed in peoples homes as pets.

We know of cats being domesticated animals kept in homes from as early as the Egyptian Civilization. Cats seem to adapt to human living spaces more easily and grace many pet cat owners’ homes to this day.

How do animal vaccines work?

Vaccines for animals such a your pet dog or your pet cat work the same as they do for human beings. A vaccine injection triggers your pets immune system to create antibodies to the disease being vaccinated against. Vaccine injection contain small doses of the disease but which is inactive. When injected voluntarily into the immune system, antibodies are created. These antibodies then fight off the disease when your pet is exposed to the disease at any point.

The Risks of Pet Vaccinations

Like all medical procedures, vaccinations carry some risks which we discuss in the section.

The risks associated with vaccinations are usually rare and minimal.

Over the years since animal vaccinations have been created, millions of pets have benefited from being immunized creating health advantages for them. Vaccinations for your pet may be required by law where you live defined by the pets age and health status. Which ever one of Animalia’s partners you choose for vaccinations, make sure you consult your vet on best course of action for your pet. Your local vet can advise on vaccinations that are mandatory and ones that may be recommended to your pet specifically.

While vaccines are a very safe form of protection from harmful diseases, in rare cases pets can show symptoms of lethargy, allergic reaction, fever onset or other flu type symptoms. In the rarest of cases, an extreme adverse reaction can result in illness or even death. Your veterinarian can identify such risks and help you overcome in the off chance this happens at all.

Benefits to Vaccinating Your Pet

Core, or basic vaccines that are mandatory by law or recommended by your pet will differ according to your pet species. Any vaccines outside the core ones would be recommended according to your particular pets vulnerabilities and the environment around it. Just like humans, pets also may have age-based vaccine recommendations.

Because vaccines for pets not only avoid ill health for your pet but also transfer of disease to human beings, vaccinating your pet is a matter of public safety besides management of your pets individual health.

Kitten Vaccinations

Your vet would provide a vaccination schedule for your kitten’s health and vaccinations could start as early as six weeks. Core cat vaccinations include:

  • Feline calicivirus and feline rhinotracheitis (for prevention of respiratory disease)
  • Feline panleukopenia (also known as feline distemper; a fatal disease for cats)
  • Rabies (may not be fatal but can infect other animals and humans).

An example of recurring vaccines is the Rabies vaccine. It may be repeated on an annual basis or every three year term. This matter also depends on the type of vaccine being used that is best suited to your pet.

Feline vaccines outside of the listed core ones above may include the following:

  • Feline leukemia
  • Feline AIDS
  • Feline infectious peritonitis
  • Chlamydophila felis
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica

Your vet and pet consultant will be in the best position to advise on the exact schedule suited to your pet. They will take into account your pets age, health and environmental factors including infection risk levels.

Puppy Vaccinations

Following are the core puppy vaccinations:

  • Canine parvovirus (this is a gastrointestinal disease which can be fatal and is highly contagious)
  • Distemper (this is a viral airborne infection that has no known cure and can result in death)
  • Canine hepatitis (a disease that has no treatment as is contagious to other dogs, it may generally be non-fatal and is a disease of kidney, liver and blood)
  • Rabies (potentially fatal disease that is viral and transferable to other animals and also humans).


Your dogs vet will help you decide and determine the time and schedule of these vaccinations. It can start as early as when your puppy is 6 weeks old.

The schedule may differ for different puppies depending on what the vet recommends. Frequency can be annual or in intervals of three years. Your gods vet will also recommend if your dog needs any non-core vaccinations. These include:

  • Bordetella (A non-fatal respiratory disease, vaccination is recommended for dogs that are regularly exposed to several other dogs for example in a dog day care. It is also known as Kennel Cough and is very contagious)
  • Bronchiseptica (for the prevention of Kennel Cough as other respiratory diseases affecting dogs)
  • Borrelia burgdorferi (a disease transmitted from ticks, and relevant to dogs that live in forest type areas. It is commonly known as Lyme disease. The disease can possibly be fatal)
  • Leptospira bacteria (this specific vaccine is recommended for dogs that live in areas of high contact with leptospirosis. Core vaccines include immunizations for the disease however in areas of high incidence of the disease this top up vaccine can help avoid fatality).


Browse our partner list here for choice of where to get your pet vaccinated. You can also ask you pets vet for recommendations on where to get your pet vaccinated.