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HomePetsHealth & WellnessAugust Pet Immunisation Awareness Month: Safeguarding Our Furry Family Members

August Pet Immunisation Awareness Month: Safeguarding Our Furry Family Members

Pet immunisation awareness month is an important reminder to all pet owners in South Africa as we enter August. This month is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of immunisation for pets, including dogs and cats. By following the correct immunisation schedules, pet owners can protect their animals from preventable illnesses. This blog post will provide an in-depth look at the importance of vaccination for pets, the immunization schedule for pets in South Africa and why timely vaccinations are essential for the health and well-being of pets.

Pet Immunisation vs Pet Vaccination

Happy woman with cat and dog. Pet immunisation. Pets24
Happy woman with cat and dog

It’s essential to understand the distinction between pet immunisation and vaccination. Pet immunisation is a comprehensive approach that involves various measures aimed at protecting our furry companions from infectious diseases. Vaccination, on the other hand, is a specific aspect of pet immunisation that involves administering vaccines to stimulate the immune system and create immunity against certain diseases.

The Significance of Pet Immunisation

Pet immunisation is a cornerstone of responsible pet ownership. Vaccinations play a pivotal role in safeguarding our pets from a wide range of potentially life-threatening diseases. These vaccinations work by stimulating the immune system, enabling our furry friends to develop immunity against harmful pathogens. By immunising our pets, we not only protect them but also contribute to the overall health of the pet community.

Dog Immunisation in South Africa

Labrador dog and the vet. Pet immunisation. Pets24
Labrador dog and the vet.

For dog owners in South Africa, adhering to the recommended immunisation schedule is vital to ensure their canine companions’ health and longevity. The core vaccines for dogs in South Africa include:

  1. Canine Distemper: This highly contagious viral disease affects a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems, and can be fatal.
  2. Canine Parvovirus: A severe and highly contagious gastrointestinal disease that primarily affects puppies and young dogs, leading to dehydration and even death.
  3. Canine Hepatitis: This vaccination protects against a viral infection that targets the liver, potentially leading to severe health complications.
  4. Rabies: A deadly disease that can be transmitted to humans, making it essential to vaccinate dogs against rabies for public health and their safety.
  5. Corona: A viral disease of the intestines.
  6. Parainfluenza: Infectious bronchitis.
  7. Leptospirosis: A bacterial disease of the urinary tract.

Immunisation Schedule for Dogs in South Africa

  • The initial vaccination is administered at 6 – 8 weeks of age, comprising a 5-in-1 vaccine that includes protection against Parvovirus, Distemper, Hepatitis, and Parainfluenza.
  • A second vaccination is given at 10 – 12 weeks, also a 5-in-1 vaccine. If the puppy is 12 weeks old at this time, the first Rabies vaccination can also be administered.
  • The third vaccination is provided at 14 – 16 weeks, completing the 5-in-1 series and including the first or second Rabies vaccination. If it is the first Rabies vaccination, a booster will be required in one month.
  • Adult Dog Boosters: After completing the puppy vaccination series, adult dogs require regular booster shots to maintain their immunity. The frequency of booster shots varies based on the specific vaccine and your dog’s health status.

Cat Immunisation in South Africa

Cat getting a vaccine from a vet. Pet immunisation. Pets24
Cat getting a vaccine from a vet.

For cat owners in South Africa, cat immunisation is equally critical in providing protection against common and potentially life-threatening diseases. Core vaccines for cats include:

  1. Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis: This highly contagious respiratory disease can cause severe upper respiratory issues in cats.
  2. Feline Calicivirus: Protects against another highly contagious respiratory disease that can lead to oral and respiratory problems.
  3. Feline Panleukopenia: Also known as feline distemper, this vaccination offers protection against a severe and often fatal disease that primarily affects kittens.
  4. Rabies: A life-threatening disease that can be transmitted to humans, making it essential to vaccinate cats against rabies for public health and their safety

Immunisation Schedule for Cats in South Africa

  • At 8 weeks of age: Administered vaccinations for Calici virus, Panleukopenia, and Rhinotracheitis.
  • At 12 weeks: Received the same vaccinations as at 8 weeks, with the addition of the first Rabies vaccination.
  • At 16 weeks: Provided with a Rabies booster vaccination.
  • Adult Cat Boosters: After completing the kitten vaccination series, adult cats require regular booster shots to maintain their immunity. The frequency of booster shots may vary based on the specific vaccine and your cat’s health status.

Benefits of Pet Immunisation in South Africa

Happy dog. Pet immunisation. Pets24
Happy and healthy dog.

Pet immunisation offers numerous benefits for our furry companions in South Africa:

  1. Disease Prevention: Vaccinations provide effective protection against severe and potentially fatal diseases, ensuring a healthier and happier life for our pets.
  2. Public Health: Vaccinating pets against rabies helps prevent the spread of this deadly disease to humans, safeguarding public health.
  3. Cost-Effectiveness: Investing in pet immunisation is significantly more affordable than treating or managing a pet’s illness, which can incur substantial expenses.
  4. Longevity and Quality of Life: Timely immunisation enhances the longevity and quality of life of our pets, allowing them to enjoy a life free from preventable diseases.

As August marks Pet Immunisation Awareness Month, let’s take a moment to focus on the health and well-being of our pets here in South Africa. Pet immunisation is one of the most important aspects of their health and well-being, as it helps to protect them from preventable diseases. By following the correct immunisation schedule for your dog or cat, we are actively contributing to the health of the wider pet community. Let’s come together as responsible pet owners to raise awareness of the need for pet immunisation and to create a safer and healthier environment for our pets. By taking proactive steps to immunise your pets, we are showing our love, care and commitment to their well-being and helping them live long, healthy lives alongside us. Find out more about pet immunisation and vaccinations from a local vet near you.

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