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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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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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!

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Julia H.

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

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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.