Keeping our furry friends happy and healthy is a top priority for pet owners in Perth and across Australia. An important part of responsible pet ownership is ensuring your cats, dogs and other animal companions receive the vaccinations they need to prevent illness. As a pet owner, navigating the myriad of vaccine options can be confusing. This article provides Perth pet owners with a helpful guide to the key vaccinations you should consider for your pet.

Core Vaccines for Cats and Dogs

There are some “core” vaccines that are vital for almost all pets to receive. According to the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), core vaccines for cats include:

  • Feline panleukopenia virus
  • Feline herpesvirus
  • Feline calicivirus

For dogs, the AVA recommends core vaccination against:

  • Canine parvovirus
  • Canine distemper virus
  • Canine adenovirus

Your Perth vet will be able to advise on the exact schedule of vaccination doses to provide maximal protection against these diseases. Generally, puppies and kittens require a course of two to three vaccinations spaced apart when they are between six and 16 weeks old. Yearly booster shots are also normally recommended.

These core diseases can cause severe, life-threatening illness in our pets. However, thanks to widespread vaccination over recent decades in Australia, they are now less common than previously.

Non-Core Vaccines

There are also a range of non-core vaccines that may be recommended, depending on your individual pet’s lifestyle and disease risks. These can include:

Bordetella bronchiectasis – causes infectious tracheobronchitis (“kennel cough”) in dogs. Recommended for dogs visiting boarding kennels, puppy preschools, dog parks or shows.

Leptospirosis – bacterial disease spread via wildlife urine that causes kidney and liver damage in dogs. The risk depends on local animal populations and wetness. Perth’s moist environment makes vaccination often advised.

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) – a cat retrovirus, similar to human HIV, causing immune deficiency. Spread through bites so recommended for outdoor, fighting-prone cats.

Chlamydia felis – bacterial infection causing feline conjunctivitis, bronchitis, pneumonia. Added to the vaccine schedule if outbreaks occur locally.

Tick paralysis – poisoning following tick bites causing muscle paralysis. Prevalent risk across Perth bushland areas so vaccination frequently advised for dogs that hike or camp.

Your Vet Is Your Best Resource

There are also some ad-hoc vaccines – e.g. for snakes or spiders – that may occasionally be recommended by your vet. As you can see there are quite a range of options! The great news is that your trusted Perth vet clinic has the expertise to guide you on the ideal schedule for your pet.

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy states that our pets have individual needs depending on “life stage, environment, travel habits, and exposure risk”. A thorough annual health check is the ideal time discuss your pet’s vaccination requirements for the next 12 months.

During these yearly check-ups make sure to keep your vet updated on any changes to your pet’s lifestyle which could alter the required vaccinations. For example, if your previously strictly indoors city cat suddenly switches to a rural lifestyle with increased outdoor access. Or if your elderly dog stops bushwalking and stays home more. Any illness also requires a review of their immunity levels. Ensure you inform your vet if your pet suffers from ill health, particularly with infectious disease or cancers which can severely impact immunity.

The Importance of Vaccine Boosters

Vaccines help primed your pet’s immune system to prevent disease. Most vaccinations require an initial course of two or more doses, followed by yearly booster shots. Think of it like updating antivirus software yearly to protect your computer against new threats. Skipping boosters leaves your pet vulnerable.

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology & Allergy explains that duration of immunity (DOI) differs between vaccine components. Some vaccinations, like canine parvovirus, provide a minimum of three years immunity from one dose. Others, such as feline herpesvirus, likely require boosters more often to ensure ongoing antibody coverage.

Your vet assesses your pet’s lifestyle risks against vaccine DOI when tailoring an optimal booster schedule. Puppy & kitten shots are more frequent while their still-developing immunity builds protection. As your Perth pet ages, pre-existing conditions may also warrant more regular vaccination updates. Elderly pets with illness can have lowered immunity, like mature humans.

During annual check-ups, your vet also considers any gaps since the last boosters that may leave windows of susceptibility. Say a boarded holiday delayed annual shots by a few months. Your vet can provide supplementary doses to close the immunity gap. They may also recommend blood titer antigen testing to check if antibody levels have waned.

By staying vigilant with yearly veterinary visits for booster shots, Perth pet owners can ensure ongoing disease protection. Don’t fall behind on boosters – prevention is far easier for our pets than treating preventable diseases later!

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

What would you do if your beloved Perth pet suddenly fell critically ill or suffered a serious injury? Treatment of emergency health issues like cancer, hit-by-cars, snake bites or bloat can rapidly cost thousands of dollars – enough to cripple the average household budget.

This is why pet insurance is strongly advised as part of responsible pet ownership. Policies cover big, unexpected vet bills, providing financial peace of mind against health disasters. Having insurance eliminates having to consider euthanasia due to treatment affordability – a tragic choice no owner wants to face.

Pet covers come in different levels. Accident plans only cover injuries, while more comprehensive policies include illnesses. Entry level caps often range $7000-15,000 whereas higher monthly premiums buy $20,000+ coverage. Commonly claimed items as per Pet Plan data include limb fractures, snake bites, cruciate ligament damage, cancer, chronic kidney disease and diabetes. 

Before choosing a policy, read all conditions about claiming processes, exclusions and waiting periods. An existing illness diagnosed before signup may be exempt, although some insurers allow claims if policy continues for several years. Seek insurers with reputations for reasonable premium hikes, especially as your pet ages. While not mandatory, responsible pet owners strongly consider insurance a wise investment in their fur baby’s future health & welfare.

Final Words 

Overall vaccinations form the foundation of preventative health care over your fur baby’s life. Working paw-in-paw with your trusted Perth vet will keep them covered against dangerous diseases …and give you both health & peace of mind!