Prevent Pet Disease by Vaccinating

Vaccines are recommended to help dogs and cats stay healthy.

In a previous blog post and our June Pet Health Matters newsletter, we discussed the benefits of vaccinating your pet. Here are a few more key points you should know about vaccinations:

When should pets be vaccinated?

Puppies and kittens are often vaccinated starting at 6 to 8 weeks of age and given a series of vaccines in 3-  to 4-week intervals until they’re 16 weeks old. Adult dogs and cats might need to be revaccinated annually or every 3 years. Talk to your veterinarian about when and how often your pet should be vaccinated.

Which vaccines are necessary?

Pet health specialists recommend that all pets receive the core vaccines that protect against easily transmittable diseases found across North America. For dogs, these are distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus, and rabies. For cats, they are distemper (panleukopenia), feline calicivirus, feline herpes virus type 1 (rhinotracheitis), and rabies. You should also know that the rabies vaccine is required by law in most states.

Are any vaccines are optional?

Depending on factors like age, breed environment and lifestyle, your pet may not need some of the non-core vaccines. You should ask your veterinarian which non-core vaccines are right for your pet. For dogs, there are non-core vaccines for kennel cough, Lyme disease, and leptospirosis. For cats, they can include vaccines for feline leukemia virus, Bordatella, Chlamydophila felis, and feline immunodeficiency virus.

Levels 3 and 4 of our pet insurance plans offer coverage for a range of standard and advanced vaccines. To learn more, explore our plans or see the options available for your pet now.

If you’re a customer and have questions, you can view your plan at the Member Center or contact our Customer Satisfaction team at 1-866-204-6764.


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Hartville Group News & Info

A mother’s love for her youngsters never rests!

A YouTube video of a mother cat embracing her kitten as the two sleep is drawing lots of “oohs” and “ahhs” across the Internet. Check it out!

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines

The Hartville Group, Inc., and the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) have renewed their strategic partnership for pet insurance, continuing the strong collaboration between the nation’s leading voice for animal welfare and one of the largest and oldest pet health insurance providers in the U.S.

Initially established in 2006, the strategic partnership paved the way for Hartville to develop and launch ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, a leading U.S. pet health insurance program. In addition to promoting humane standards set by the ASPCA, ASPCA Pet Health Insurance furthers the ASPCA’s mission by helping pet parents afford quality veterinary care so their pets can live longer, healthier lives. The ASPCA chose Hartville for this partnership because of its commitment to pet health and humane coverage philosophy.

Read the full announcement here.  

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Hartville Group News & Info

Photo Friday: Lucky Blue Eyes

“My dog started coughing and getting really sick. Thanks to ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, we had the financial support to run the necessary tests to diagnose and treat this condition.”

—Submitted by: An ASPCA Pet Health Insurance Pet Parent*

Photo Friday is a weekly column that showcases photos we receive from loving ASPCA Pet Health Insurance customers of their pets. If you want to see your pet featured, please email me!

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Customer Stories

Pet parents can help their dogs and cats stay healthy by vaccinating them against illness.

Vaccinations are an important part of keeping your pet healthy and safe from various diseases. You should consult with your veterinarian about vaccinating your particular pet, but here are some important points to keep in mind.

Why should you vaccinate your pet?

Vaccinations contain agents that resemble disease-causing microorganisms. They mildly stimulate your pet’s immunity system, so it can more easily recognize and fight off diseases in the future. In addition to providing valuable protection for your pet, vaccines help humans by controlling the spread of dangerous diseases, like rabies, that can be transmitted to people.

Do vaccines have side effects?

It’s important to remember that vaccines don’t cause the diseases they’re designed to prevent. However, they can cause minor reactions such as fever, lethargy or soreness at the injection site. In less common cases, pets may experience more serious problems like immune response disorders. Ask your veterinarian about potential issues when you vaccinate your pet.

Does our pet insurance cover vaccines?

Yes! Vaccines are included under our wellness care coverage offered with Levels 3 and 4 of our pet insurance. Our routine wellness care option covers vaccines for coronavirus, canine or feline distemper, and rabies. Our more advanced option covers these vaccines as well as those for Lyme disease, Bordatella, feline leukemia, and feline infectious peritonitis.

Be sure to check back later in the week as we continue our discussion on vaccinations.

In the meantime, you can also find more information about vaccinations for dogs or for cats in the Pet Care section of the ASPCA’s website.

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Hartville Group News & Info

Researcher Elizabeth Von Muggenthaler believes cats might have developed a purring mechanism as a way for kittens to communicate with their mothers even while they are nursing. One cat in the United Kingdom is making noise as the world’s loudest purer.

How loud is your cat?

The voice of one cat in Great Britain is topping the charts. With a purr that has hit 67.7 decibels, Smokey is nearly as loud as a lawn mower.

News outlets reported earlier this month the gray and white tabby has snared a place in the Guinness World Records—the ultimate cat’s meow for a feline that’s about 16 times louder than average.

Smokey, who roared into the record books with a little coaxing from a piece of ham, is rarely quiet, says pet parent Ruth Adams.

Ms. Adams admitted the hair dryer-loud rumble from her cat’s chest can be “annoying.”

“It’s not just the volume of her purr which is unusual,” Ms. Adams said. “She makes quite a unique sound, as if she has a dove stuck in her throat. My daughter thinks it is adorable.”

No matter whether it sounds like a bumblebee or a jet plane taking off, a cat’s purr can communicate a range of feelings. Most pet parents assume their cat is purring because she’s happy, but cats also purr when they’re sick or afraid.

Purring likely has a purpose, since so many kinds of cats, including cheetahs, pumas, servals, and ocelots, do it, according to an article by researcher Elizabeth Von Muggenthaler.

Ms. Muggenthaler believes purring’s purpose is therapeutic. She recounts one case in which a cat who was struggling to breathe made a dramatic recovery after starting to purr. Moments earlier, the cat’s health was considered so poor, euthanasia was considered.

Ms. Muggenthaler argues that the vibrations from purring just might contribute to bone healing and growth, pain relief, and improvement from respiratory distress. The vibrations might be why cats seem to have 9 lives and heal relatively quickly from injury.

Smokey’s purr could bring him some fame, but if Ms. Muggenthaler is right, it’s already brought her—and no doubt, her pet parents—many benefits.

To hear Smokey’s purr, visit her website at Smokey the Purring Cat.

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines

Arkansas Pet Hospital Looks to Help Pet Parents

Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital in Arkansas believes in the importance of maintaining its connection with pet parents both in person and online.

For an Arkansas veterinary practice, caring for patients doesn’t end when a pet sadly passes away.

One family wrote on Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital’s website, “I just wanted to thank you for everything you did for us when we lost Harley. The flowers you sent and the memorial you made in his memory was very nice and more than I ever expected.”

Like many clinics Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital has found that sympathetic gestures, as well as regular information about pet care, are an important part of building relationships with pet parents.

“It’s important that pet parents are updated on diseases, protocol, prevention, and end of life decisions,” said Toufic Diab, Hospital Administrator at the practice in Jonesboro, Ark. “For our clients, knowledge is power in order for them to make the best choices for their beloved pets.”

The staff hosts bi-monthly meetings with their five veterinarians to brainstorm ways to convey information to their clients. They email monthly newsletters to clients, featuring topics such as camping with your pets, five ways to protect your dog’s hearing, making the decision to say goodbye, and questions to ask when considering which pet health insurance to buy. The hospital also uses its Facebook page to share helpful pet information and tips.

Most recently, the pet hospital partnered with the local newspaper, Jonesboro Sun, to feature a Jonesboro veterinarian’s pet health column each week.

The efforts are all part of a campaign to give pet parents accurate information they can use.

“Our clients can find such a mix of misleading content online these days,” Mr. Diab said. “That is why we’re so dedicated to conveying the correct information to them and helping them during difficult times through a variety of touch points.”

In the next few months, the staff will begin a monthly education series, led by one of the hospital’s veterinarians. They’re also hosting a bereavement class every quarter to provide support and coping techniques to pet parents. 

Learn more about Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital.

Do you love your veterinarian? Tell us why!

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Veterinary Clinic Spotlight

A dog who wanted a piece of the action as a group of half-marathoners raced past his home is now making strides in the fight against cancer.

Dozer, a 3-year-old Goldendoodle, bolted from his pet parents’ yard and joined about 2,000 runners around mile 5 of the Maryland Half Marathon, which benefits a local cancer clinic. He wound up finishing the race in a respectable 2 hours, 14 minutes.

Race organizers recognized Dozer’s efforts by giving him a medal, but that wasn’t the end of the dog’s achievements. Since the race, he’s become the star of the Maryland Half Marathon website, generating more than $10,000 in donations for the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center.

Runners saw the dog stopping for water along the route and took pictures as he fell in step with them. A video of Dozer’s proud saunter across the finish line has garnered more than 140,000 views on YouTube.

According to a Baltimore Sun blog, Dozer’s pet parents were frantic to find him after he escaped, but they didn’t know where he was until the next day, when he returned home with a limp and muddy paws. By then, they had heard the story of a mystery dog who finished the half marathon.

Though Dozer was dog-tired after his adventure, a veterinarian told his pet parents he’s just fine.

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines

Photo Friday: Keeping a Close Watch

“My cat suffers from frequent eye infections. It happened twice this year, and both times I was reimbursed for his care. I’m so happy with ASPCA Pet Health Insurance!”

Submitted by: An ASPCA Pet Health Insurance Pet Parent*

Photo Friday is a weekly column that showcases photos we receive from loving ASPCA Pet Health Insurance customers of their pets. If you want to see your pet featured, please email me!

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A badly hurt dog who returned home weeks after a tornado left the family’s house in ruins has amazed animal rescuers.

Mason, a 1-year-old Terrier, was sucked out of his pet parents’ garage by a powerful storm on April 27 near Birmingham, Ala. Initial searches turned up nothing, and his pet parents feared the worst. But when the family returned to sift through more rubble nearly three weeks after the twister, they spotted their beloved Terrier sitting on the front porch.

Though Mason’s tail was wagging, he was not in good shape.

“He was emaciated and his two front legs were literally flopping below the elbows,” said Phil Doster, adoption and rescue coordinator at Birmingham-Jefferson County Animal Control. “Mason literally had to crawl on his elbows to get back. The little guy had no indication of pain, remarkably. He was just happy to be home.”

Veterinarians at Vulcan Park Animal Care in Birmingham agreed to treat Mason for free, and he is recovering well, according to The (Toronto) Star.

“He’s got two metal plates and several pins in his legs, but he’s doing great,” Veterinary Technician Chuck Eagar told The Star. “He’s eating and drinking well. He’s got a lot of heart and a great personality.”

For the dog’s pet parents, Mason’s journey is a very personal triumph. The surgeon who operated on Mason told ABC News Mason’s pet dad is overwhelmed by the scrappy dog’s survival.

“He broke down in tears when he found out” Mason would be OK, Dr. Bill Lamb said.

Learn how you can help the ASPCA rescue pets affected by this spring’s storms.

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines


As we’re dedicated to making a difference for pets, we want to keep you informed about pet health topics and your ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. Our blog will provide you with fresh, interesting and informative topics—from pet health tips and customer stories, to the latest industry news and a Pet Parent Q&A column. Most of all, we encourage you to share comments and join the discussion!

Meet the Author

Julia H.

Social Media Coordinator

Pet Parent to:

Lucy, an 8-year-old rescued Golden Retriever/Chow Chow mix

Blog Guidelines

While we’ll strive to present all viewpoints on this blog, comments will be reviewed before posting. Offensive or inappropriate language, off-topic remarks and comments containing personal policy information will not be featured.

Also, conditions discussed in this blog aren’t necessarily covered by every ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. For full coverage terms, conditions and exclusions, please refer to your plan.

As always, if you have a question about your plan, call us at 1-866-204-6764.

*Note: While these testimonials may include examples of recent claims payouts, reimbursement is subject to the terms and conditions of your plan. Identifying information has been changed.