Getting your pet vaccinated is generally recommended, in order to protect your pet against serious, but preventable, disease. Getting pet insurance is also recommended, as you never know when your pet may require medical attention. Is it possible to have one without the other?
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What vaccinations does my pet require?
Dogs need to have their initial course of vaccinations as a puppy (between 8-12 weeks) and yearly after this (although they won’t usually get all the same vaccines each year). This will protect them from potentially fatal diseases such as parvovirus, canine distemper, leptospirosis and canine hepatitis. The leptospirosis vaccine is required annually, with others only once every 3 years. You may also be offered the kennel cough or rabies vaccinations, which are optional extras.
Cats should receive their initial course as kittens from 9 weeks old. Their normal vaccines cover them for feline panleukopenia virus, feline calicivirus and feline herpes virus, and may provide cover against feline leukaemia. As with dogs, this should be repeated yearly, and as with dogs, not every element will be given every year.
Rabbits are vaccinated against diseases called myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease and can be done so from 5 weeks old.
What does insurance cover?
Insurance is there to cover the cost of non-routine veterinary treatment that your pet may require, i.e., when your pet is unwell. This will likely cover a range of things, including blood tests, imaging, surgery and long-term medication. There are many different policies available with lots of different companies. It is a good idea to research which policy is best for you
What happens if I choose not to vaccinate?
It is a personal choice whether you choose to get your pet vaccinated or not, and it is understandable that some people may have concerns about it. While you probably won’t be denied insurance for your pet, having them vaccinated could mean you are offered a higher insurance premium, or lower cover, or both.
Vaccination appointments are also a great time for your vet to give your animal a top-to-tail health check and get a full update on how they’re doing. They will ask questions about your animal’s eating, drinking, toileting habits etc. If you have any concerns to raise or questions to ask, this can also be done at the appointment.
It is also important to remember that if your pet falls ill with something that could have been prevented by vaccinating (including the diseases mentioned above), it is possible your insurance provider will refuse to cover the cost or reject your claim.
Ultimately, if untreated, the diseases we vaccinate our pets against can make them seriously ill and may even be fatal.
Will my insurance cover the cost of vaccinations?
Unfortunately, no, as vaccinations are in place as a preventative procedure. The same applies for things like neutering, parasite control and often routine dental procedures.
The cost of treating one of these potentially serious diseases (including hospitalisation and medical care) will be far higher than the cost of vaccinating your pet.
Does a ‘health care plan’ count as insurance?
Many practices will offer ‘health care plans’, or ‘healthy pet clubs’ meaning that you can spread the cost of your pet’s preventative care, covering vaccinations, parasite treatment and discounts on things like consults and routine procedures such as neutering and dentals.
It is important to know that these plans are not the same as having insurance, as they are there to encourage preventative care, rather than when your pet is unwell.
While it is an owner’s decision whether to vaccinate or not, it is important to remember that they can protect your pet against potentially fatal disease – as well as potentially lowering insurance premiums! If you have any questions regarding vaccinations or insurance, speak to your vet or insurance provider.