People often wonder if vaccinations for their pets are actually necessary. The quick answer is yes, they most definitely are. They are an essential part of your dog or cat’s routine healthcare and provide great benefits to their health and happiness.
Being educated about pet vaccinations is helpful in understanding and making decisions about them.
Firstly, pets should receive core vaccinations, those deemed medically necessary for all pets, regardless of lifestyle factors. For dogs, those include canine distemper, infectious hepatitis, rabies, and parvovirus. For cats, they are feline herpesvirus, panleukopenia, calicivirus, and rabies.
Secondary vaccinations are dependent on a pet’s exposure, age, and lifestyle. For example, where you live can affect your pet’s risk of contracting certain diseases such as Lyme disease, and cats who live solely indoors have less of a risk for feline leukemia.
Lifestyle based vaccinations include Lyme disease, leptospirosis, bordetella, canine influenza, feline leukemia, and chlamydia.
Annual Cat Vaccines
Of the core vaccines mentioned above (feline herpesvirus, panleukopenia, calicivirus, and rabies), rabies is the only one that you should plan to take your cat in for every year. Some states require you to take your cat for their rabies booster annually, while others only mandate every three years.
Your vet may also recommend you take your cat to get noncore vaccine boosters for feline leukemia and bordetella every year if they are outdoor cats or considered high risk for other reasons.
Annual Dog Vaccines
Of the core vaccines for dogs (canine distemper, infectious hepatitis, rabies, and parvovirus), annual boosters are only required for rabies. It’s recommended to get a booster every three years for the others.
You should also plan to take your dog in for an annual booster for canine influenza and—depending on if you’re in a high-risk environment—bordetella, Lyme disease, and leptospirosis.
Do pet vaccinations have side-effects?
Some common side effects after immunization are similar to those for people and include redness, swelling, or tenderness at the vaccination site, tiredness, loss of appetite, low fever, and mild respiratory symptoms. If your pet seems severely uncomfortable or any of these last longer than 24 hours, you should call your veterinarian.
While these side effects can be scary, remember that the benefits of vaccinations outweigh the risks.
By vaccinating your pet, you are protecting them from serious and life-threatening diseases. Vaccinations also help lessen the spread of illness throughout pet populations and some protect people as well. Vaccinations are preventative care that can save you money and heartache in the long run.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Vaccines?
While Accident & Illness Coverage plans don’t cover vaccines, many pet insurance providers have preventive or wellness plans you can add on for an extra cost that will cover some routine care like vaccines.*
SPOT offers two preventive care plans: Gold and Platinum. Depending on which plan you add to your coverage, you’ll be eligible for reimbursement on core vaccines like rabies and some noncore vaccines like Lyme disease. Check out our preventive care chart for the breakdown of what SPOT plans cover.
Coverage for Testing of COVID-19
If the COVID-19 testing is conducted because your pet is symptomatic, it would be considered a treatment for an illness under our Accident and Illness Policy and eligible for coverage.
If there are no symptoms and the testing is conducted as a preventive measure, then diagnostic testing is considered preventive and only eligible for customers that elect our optional Platinum Wellness endorsement as part of their $25 Blood test, if that benefit has not been used.
*View our Sample Policy to see what’s eligible for coverage