Guarding Your Cat or Dog from Diseases: Core Injections

by BobinOz on June 3, 2013

in Cost of Living - Australia

Mrs Bobinoz walked back into the house this morning; she had a cat carrier in her hand with two cats inside and a dog on the end of a lead. “That’s all the pets’ injections up-to-date for another year!” She said. Before adding…

Don’t ask me how much though.

Of course, I then had to ask.

$389.45!! Gosh.

What were these injections for? For that kind of money, I would expect our cats and dog to be immune to…

And if any of them decided to go for a swim in the sea or to jump in a billabong for a splash, unlikely in the case of the cats, for that money I would expect them to be immune to sharks and crocodiles as well.

But what did we get instead?




Canine Distemper

This is a virus that affects dogs and can be spread through food and water as well as through contact with an infected animal. It comes with a pretty long list of nasty sounding symptoms and can ultimately lead to your dog being put down for humane reasons.

Canine Infectious Hepatitis

Just as nasty as the above, can lead to death due to liver failure although some dogs do recover without treatment.

Canine Parvoviral Enteritis

This may be the scariest of the lot for dogs; this disease is highly contagious and if it goes untreated can kill up to 91% of dogs.


Coco & Remy

Coco, who wants to stay in the cat carrier, and Remy

Feline Parvovirus

Highly contagious and very often fatal, especially in kittens. 95% of kittens under two months old will die, sometimes within 24 hours.

Feline Herpesvirus

Upper respiratory or pulmonary infection which can, again, lead to death.

Feline Calicivirus

This is another virus and it causes respiration problems but cats can and often do fight this one off with the help of their own immune system, often making a full recovery.

So, these injections were worth it, you might think.

Maybe not, we may have actually wasted some of our money.

Do dogs and cats need annual vaccinations?

Yearly vaccinations for cats and dogs are not necessary, apparently.

It’s a shame I decided to write a post about vaccinations for dogs and cats AFTER ours had been done, because if I’d investigated this subject before, they probably would not have gone and we would be $225.50 better off.

Vaccinations for the above diseases last for three years according to the experts, but here in Australia vets still recommend this vaccine on an annual basis. These days though, international standards recommend a three yearly top up and that’s what now happens in both the UK and New Zealand.

Australia is still doing it “the old way”. With around 5 million cats and close to 8 million dogs in this country, and at $70-$80 a jab, I’m sure the vets prefer “the old way” as well.

As many Australian vets do still “recommend” annual vaccinations, I suppose it is down to us as pet owners to make our choice of frequency on behalf of our pets. If that’s a decision you need to make, here are a couple of links that might help out:

Other treatments

Our 3 pets had other treatments today as well. Our dog, Hippy, had a heartworm injection which does last for one year, that one cost $110. She also got some chewable tablets at $24.95, this one helps prevent some kind of intestinal worm or other.

For the record, her injection was actually called the C5 Vaccination (at $79.50) which also helps prevent kennel cough.

Our cats got similar intestinal worm tablets at $14.50, and their jab is called the F3 Vaccination and they cost $73 each.

So yes, our pets are all up to date for another year, and maybe for the next couple of years we will skip those C5 and F3 jabs, saving us over $250 in the process.

What do you think? How often do you vaccinate your cats or dogs? Let me know in the comments below…


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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Joyce June 5, 2013 at 1:12 am

Even though a completely different country; when i was still living in Holland we had a cat that we rescued from the pound. At which of course he had received extensive worm treatment, heart worm vaccine’s, he was “helped” and probably prodded and poked with any other needle they found beneficial. “panter” (Dutch for panther cause he was all black) lived to the old age of 20 without EVER another visit or vaccine to the vet, until the end. and even still while having fluid in his chest and surviving a stroke of old age he fought when he had to put him down, which even amazed the vet.

On the other hand i used to own my own cat, Waffle, who spent a weekend at the vet because she had the rare condition of only having one uterus, Yep, cats have 2.
and another night after that because she licked open the incision and then had to wear the cone of shame and take antibiotics.

So, i think it’s just as different for animals as it is for humans, some get sick some don’t. I personally believe that the more you vaccinate, medicate and supplement the weaker the body and immune system gets from relying on those chemicals.
But, that’s personal belief and opinion. each his own :)

– Joyce.


BobinOz June 5, 2013 at 6:28 pm

“The cone of shame”. :-)

Yes I think it is the same for cats as us humans, some just don’t get ill, others do.

In a way I agree with you, for the most part I think we should be letting our immune systems deal with these things as best they can, but there sure is still a place for vaccines in the world.

We really don’t want to be going back 300 years when our children were dying of whooping cough, measles, suffering polio and a whole host of other infections which vaccines have clearly gone a long way to wiping out.

Cheers Joyce!



Gail June 5, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Maybe the reasons most people are still getting the treatments done annually are because
1) The pet boarding establishments won’t accept your pet unless you can prove it’s injections are upto date, which they stipulate is annually. No injection=no holiday (no Aussie is going to miss that are they!)
2) The vets try to scare you by saying that if you don’t have the treatments done annually you will have to start the course of injections again from scratch and it will end up costing you more in the long run. We have had this said to us by two different practices.

The whole thing is a money making racket for the vets and drug companies. You can ring several vets and they charge almost the same for C5’s (so much for competition), I suppose it’s their bread and butter money.

If too many pet owners do the sensible thing and have it done every three years you can guarantee the vet and drug company lobby groups would start advertising that “good and responsible pet owners” have their cherished animals injected every year without fail and “wouldn’t dare risk harming or loosing a family member” or something similar.

We have found the AWL (Australian Welfare League) are usually about $10 dollars cheaper than most vets for injections and micro-chipping and occasionally run special promotions for treatments plus you know the fees are going to a good cause but unfortunately they only have a few centres


BobinOz June 5, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Yes, I think we have to ask ourselves why the kennels demand yearly vaccinations and why the vets continue to bully us pet owners into this when the international standard is now for three yearly jabs.

As consumers, we should vote with our feet. It is our choice to only get our pets vaccinated once every three years, if vets say they won’t do it, find a vet that will. If the kennels won’t take your pet, find a kennel that will.

By the way, me and my wife also run a pet care company, we visit pets in their homes whilst their owners are away on holiday, it’s way less stressful for cats and dogs to stay in their own environment for a week or two getting fed, watered and walked by us regularly while their owners are away.

Maybe you should look into a home visiting pet care service where you live, then you can tell the kennels where they can go for your holidays :-)


Lindi October 25, 2014 at 11:06 pm

I used to vaccinate my pets every year, however, they have now not had a vaccine for the past 6 years. I think that after the initial ones their immunity has built up. I have 3 cats and they are all very healthy. They are now 17 years old, 15 years old and 11 years old. My oldest has health issues related to his age and that is it!

In regards to kenneling, I have not put them in kennels ever. They have always had house sitters or a pet care service that visits them daily in their home. They are well looked after by this wonderful service and happy and relaxed in their own home. The old one is also given his daily medication as needed.


BobinOz October 27, 2014 at 1:51 pm

That’s exactly the kind of service that me and Mrs Bob run locally here, pets are so much happier staying in their own backyards whilst the owners are away.


Kamma October 3, 2013 at 5:08 am

I do vaccinate them yearly, but after what you just said, I might change that to every three years, too.


BobinOz October 3, 2013 at 11:12 pm

It’s hard to know what to do for the best, isn’t it? These days you just don’t know if someone is giving you good advice, or whether they just want to take your money.

In the end we all have to make our own decisions, but you know I’m not a vet, don’t you? :-)


Mary Mayhead December 5, 2013 at 7:20 pm

I don’t get my dogs vaccinated unless Titre testing indicates they need doing


BobinOz December 6, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Well, of course, I had to Google that one, but on the face of it it seems quite a sensible thing to do. Worth looking into, thanks.


Ruth December 30, 2013 at 11:17 am

The RSPCA (which is where we got our dog and had him vaccinated the first year) recommend the DHP every 3 years but the KC vaccination for Kennel Cough every year. I am going to look into the annual heartworm vaccination as I do tend to forget to give him the tablet on time. Do you have the cost for that. Since I don’t live near the RSPCA I want to find the most economical way to do the vaccination and checkups (not that the RSPCA was cheap).


BobinOz January 1, 2014 at 11:50 pm

No, sorry, haven’t had that done for any of our pets. Anyone else know?


Suzi February 9, 2014 at 11:48 am

Thanks Bob what a God send you have just saved me some big bucks and believe me, I need it at the moment!!!!! Great work!!!!!


BobinOz February 10, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Glad to have helped Suzi, but do bear in mind I don’t really know what I’m talking about :-) That’s why I have included the links to other articles with experts do talk about this, so be sure to read up on that before making your final decision.

I suppose it depends who you decide to believe, but there is certainly money to be saved depending on who you agree with.

Cheers, Bob


Sandie April 6, 2014 at 10:59 am

I think That the Vets do a great job, but no wonder people shy at going every year.. I have just been Quoted $87.95 per dog ( I have 2 small dogs that weigh under 10 kg.

I have asked a Vet Directly if it was true that the vaccine (c5) can last up to 3 years and was told yes, except for the Kennel cough part of the injection… Of cause the Vet recommends vaccinating you pets every year and obviously I want to keep my babies healthy.
However, Last year my 3 year old poodle had an insatiable thirst and would drink all the time, the Vet ran test after test to make sure he didn’t have a disease called Cushings. He had all the symptoms, but because Cushings is only in old dogs they wanted to be sure he did not have it… $1200.00 later the said they still didn’t know why he was drinking the way he was, so they referred me to a Vetinarian Specialist ? First consoltation fee $180… I did not go.. I manage his water intake by leaving him with what should be normal for a dog of his breed & Weight..

He is doing really well, he seems really healthy..

Do Vets take advantage of us? …. My experience say yes they do..

But try to get you pet into a boarding facility without their vaccination certificate being older than 12 months…. Impossible… But understandably so…


BobinOz April 7, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Glad to hear your dog is doing fine, as you say though, vets are expensive, and it’s not just here in Australia.

I remember taking my tortoise to the vets in the UK many years ago, probably around 1991. He told me it had pneumonia and said it would be best for me to leave him there for a few days so the vet could keep a close eye on him.

When I picked up my tortoise it cost me £180! At the time, that would have been equivalent to over $500 and that was over 20 years ago.

I didn’t know they had Veterinarian Specialists now though, that scares the life out of me!

Cheers, Bob


BERNIE June 8, 2014 at 11:08 pm

I’ve had six dogs in my years in Melb Australia, and have never vaccinated under 3 years with any of them: usually much longer. Not because I’m “tight”, but because I believe nature does a great job 99% of the time. None were pedigree which is half the battle. So many problems I see with so called pure breeds must have something to do with “breeder greed” that practice unconscionable inter-breeding (incest) because of convenience, instead of mating with a mate known to be totally un-related, or at least from an extraordinary distance away thus minimising the chance of INCEST.
I neither have the desire to waste money for egotistical reasons of owning a so-called pure breed, nor wish to promote this activity, and so purposely buy a Mixed Breed Dog: I’ve always been rewarded with a Magnificent & Intelligent Friend that I chose personally, from one of my friend’s co-incidental litter!
Has anyone ever heard of a vet with average means ? I am sure they ALL make double that of your family GP. I have never known one to live in an average home and suburb and driving an average car, but rather at the high upper end of the scale!


BobinOz June 10, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Ha ha, yes, the search is on. We are looking for a vet with a concessions card. Anybody?

I didn’t think so…


mez August 14, 2014 at 10:58 am

Well Said!!!!
I also have 2 mixed breed dogs from pet rescue and I just took them to the vet for the annual C5 jab!
$270 which obviously included the “check up” I was in and out in 20 minutes with a quick feel/jab/teeth inspection!!!
I just had that amount in my bank account and I am now waiting for pay day with just $10 to my name!
Sad but true :(


BobinOz August 14, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Yes, the vet knew exactly how much you had in your bank account, if you’d have had $380, he would have charged you $370 :-)


Lindi October 25, 2014 at 11:18 pm

My old cat who is 17 yo had hyperthyroidism and had to be on daily medication until I found a vet willing to operate on him. The medication was costing $55 (for a month supply) a bottle and it was the same as human medication for the same complaint. I spoke to my local chemist about it one day and they said I could get it from there for $14 and all I needed to do was get a script from the vet. I spoke to the vet who wanted to charge $40 per script for just writing a script. So I went to a different vet, who stated that they don’t supply the medication as I can get it from a chemist for less than half the price but he would write me a script and that repeat scripts could be written for $5 for 6 repeat scripts (ie 6 months supply)! What a difference. He was on heart medication at that time too (due to heart problems due to the thyroid issue) and while “only” $25 from the vet they were only $8 from chemist so similar situation. The second vet was also the vet who operated on him and got him off daily medication completely eventually anyway. So also be careful when they try to charge you for medication. Ask if you can get it from the chemist and what the price difference will be as if it is human medication you are likely to be able to get it cheaper if they will write you a script!!!


BobinOz October 27, 2014 at 1:55 pm

I wish I’d have looked into this myself, we were paying (I think) about $250 a month for medication for our Baggy during the last year of his life, that was heart medication amongst other things. Maybe we could have got it much cheaper with some effort.

Good tips Lindi!



Kirsty September 24, 2014 at 11:11 am

I just think it’s all a con and merely serves to keep veterinary clinics in business and there are certainly thousands more vet services than there were years ago. When I was growing up cats and dogs roamed the streets and everyone I knew’s dog lived to a ripe old age. People took their pets to the vet only when they were sick. I don’t even get human annual health checks and vaccinations (only the early childhood ones) yet I’m expected to get my pets checked annually and pay hundreds of dollars for these vaccinations. Humans don’t need annual vaccinations. Why do pets? I think this is really unnecessary.


BobinOz September 24, 2014 at 6:39 pm

I’m sure a vet would have a very clever answer for you Kirsty, but I don’t, I’m sort of inclined to agree with you. I think some vaccines and treatments are very beneficial, particularly when protecting against ticks, but it seems to me that most pets get way too much medication. As you say, more than most humans.

Cheers, Bob


Amanda bray October 4, 2014 at 7:23 am

My beautiful lilly died 26/10/14.
She was almost 5 a lab retriever. I am heartbroken.we have never done the regular vet thing. I am a big believer in the body being given a chance to heal itself.she was vomiting diarrhoea. In the morning… Still walking around and drinking water…by 5 pm we found her despondent. She took her last breaths in our arms 2 minutes later. I’m riddled with guilt…if I’d been at work,I wouldn’t have even been there for her last moments. Whatever the cause,.she was taken soon quickly.if I could turn back time I’d pay it all…she can never be replaced.:(


BobinOz October 6, 2014 at 2:41 pm

So sorry to hear about your dog Amanda, very sad. Do you know for sure that your dog would have been fine had you had all the treatments done? What was the actual cause of death, do you know?


Lindi October 25, 2014 at 11:20 pm

Sounds more like poisoning :(

Sorry for your loss.


Sophie November 4, 2014 at 1:07 pm

What does everyone think about pet insurance? I’m about to buy a (rather expensive) purebred Corgi and think it could be worth it.

Does anyone have experience with this?



BobinOz November 4, 2014 at 4:51 pm

It’s difficult to say Sophie, like most insurances, some people win and some people lose. I have no direct experience with any pet insurance company, but when our dog Hippy ate an indestructible toy when she was still only about one year old, the operation to remove the object cost us nearly $3000, I sure wished we had taken out pet insurance.

Anybody else got a view?


Kamma November 4, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Hi Sophie,
I’ve got a health insurance on both of my dogs. Vets are very expensive, and what could take years for the insurance company to claim from you the vet can take in an hour. Say, if your dog breaks its leg or swallow a toy whole… Those are costly, especially if it happens at night and you need to head to an emergency hospital.
If you have an insurance on yourself, then you already have all the arguments needed to get one for your dog.


Prue January 20, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Hey Sophie,

I’m a little late to reply but I just picked up my (rather expensive) purebred corgi on the weekend and after watching my Mum hand over upwards of $8000 for surgery on our 13 year old corgi who had cancer and passed in November (we don’t regret spending a cent of that on her as she survived the surgery against the odds and had the most wonderful 8 weeks with us afterwards before the cancer got her) I insured our baby as soon as she hit the 8 week mark, before we’d even brought her home – we may find in years to come that we had no need for it but even so I’m happy to keep paying it so that she will always be covered and that we can give her every chance of living a long happy and healthy life with us. My Mum was fortunately in a position where she could pay the money for Oakley’s surgery and we gave her every chance possible but my fiance and I are just starting out in our first home and we would struggle if something major happened to our little pup so there was no way I was going to go without it!!


kayte December 17, 2014 at 10:34 pm

I was told by a dog breeder that vaccinating every 2-3 years was all that was necessary. Vets in Aus recommend yearly purely for monetary reasons. I recently had to have my 14 yr old spaniel put down because of a massive tumor. . But she was vaccinated every 4 yrs and until the last week of her life she showed no signs of illness. Apart from being spayed and 2 bouts of conjunctivitis she never went to the vets. Spaniels in particular are prone to autoimmune diseases and breeders say that yearly vaccinations can increase their chances of getting an autoimmune disease. My new puppy will get all the necessary puppy vaccinations and then one every 3/4 years.


BobinOz December 18, 2014 at 1:23 am

Doesn’t surprise me to hear that, it’s sort of what I suggest in my post. I also think every two or three years is fine for most pets and that it is mostly about money for the vets.

A few people have suggested that if your pets vaccinations are not up to date then they will not be allowed to stay in kennels, my answer to that is don’t use those kennels.

I’m not a vet though, so what do I know :-)


Tracey Devine February 11, 2015 at 11:26 am

I agree, I am currently studying Cert 4 in Vet nursing. And we were told unnecessary to do yearly. 3 yearly is fine. xx


BobinOz February 11, 2015 at 7:05 pm

Sounds like confirmation to me Tracey that it really is just all about the money then.


Simon March 6, 2015 at 3:53 pm

Well not only do I think that yearly vaccination is over the top, I also think that the way we get our dogs desexed just. because. is sick! I’m from Germany where people tend to not get their dogs desexed anymore so I did a bit of research on it. Turns out there are more reasons against it. Just check out the internet and you will be amazed of what ‘modern’ vets do recommend these days. Australia is so far behind its not funny anymore – at the expense of our dogs!


Kamma March 6, 2015 at 8:08 pm

Hi Simon. There is reason to desex your dogs, which is to avoid unwanted puppies and it can help with behavioural problems, and it’s hard to get cancer in something you don’t have, but you’re right. Many, many vets and owners do it far too freely. A six week old pup should not have surgery! A dog shouldn’t be desexed, unless there are health reasons, before it is two years old.


Jenny H April 1, 2015 at 9:39 am

Years ago I attended a seminar help basically for vet nurses. When the question of vaccinations came up and ‘why every year?” the answer was “Because if we do not recommend yearly booster shots people will not bring their animals in for an annual check.”
Solemn noddings, but nobody asked why should a healthy animal NEED annual check ups?


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