Vaccinations for dogs and cats

Vaccinations for dogs and cats: Why do my pet vaccinate?

Vaccination prevents illness by training the immune system to recognise and defeat specific infectious diseases. Immunising dogs and cats with high-quality vaccines is the best method to stop the spread of disease, and one of the most cost-effective ways to maintain your pet’s health, longevity, and quality of life. Vaccinations for dogs and cats also protect you and your family from zoonotic diseases (diseases transmitted from animals to humans), such as rabies and leptospirosis.

Vaccines for dogs and cats are classified into 2 categories: core and non-core. Core vaccines are recommended for all pets, irrespective of their lifestyle. Non-core vaccines are recommended for certain pets based on their lifestyle, geographic location, and risk of exposure to the disease.

For dogs:

Core Vaccines:

  • DHPPi+ Leptospirosis Bivalent (DHPPiL2) 
  • Rabies Vaccine

Non-core vaccines:

  • Leptospirosis Tetravalent Vaccine: recommended for dogs that are active outdoors with exposure to lakes, streams, or puddles of water; or dogs live in areas with exposure to rats, such as village houses or rural areas
  • Bordetella Vaccine: recommended for dogs that go to kennels, dog hotels, and groomers to protect against kennel cough 

For cats: 

Core Vaccines: 

  • FVRCP Vaccine
  • Feline Leukaemia Vaccine (FeLV): Initial 2-vaccine series recommended for all younger than 1 year-old cats (American Association of Feline Practitioners recommended all cats younger than 1 year-old to lower the risk of feline leukaemia infection) 


  • Feline Leukaemia Vaccine (FeLV): Yearly boosters recommended for at-risk cats (outdoor, multi-cat households)
  • Rabies Vaccine: Recommended for all outdoor cats

Below are examples of typical vaccination protocols for dogs and cats. Your pet’s specific vaccination schedule may be adjusted based on your veterinarian’s assessment.

Canine Vaccination Protocol



DHPPi+ leptospirosis bivalent

(Nobivac DHPPiL2)#

Leptospirosis tetravalent

(Nobivac L4)

Bordetella intranasal

(Bronchi-Shield III)


1-year-old and above One booster at 1-year-old,

then every 3 years

Annually Every 6-12 months Every 3 years

#Combined vaccine against canine distemper virus (CDV), canine adenovirus type 1 (CAV1) and 2 (CAV2), canine parvovirus (CPV), and canine parainfluenza virus (CPi), and cover against the two serogroups of leptospirosis

*Required by law for dogs 5 months of age or older (Cap. 421 Rabies Ordinance)


Feline Vaccination Protocol






1-year-old and above One booster at 1-year-old,

then every 3 years

Annually for cats at risk Every 3 years for cat at risk

#Combined vaccine against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, Chlamydia psittaci and panleukopenia

*Initial 2-vaccine series recommended for all cats.
Yearly boosters are recommended for at-risk cats (outdoor, multi-cat households)

**Recommended for all outdoor cats


Why do my dog and cat need so many vaccines when they are young?

Newborns receive protection against infectious diseases from their mother’s milk, which contains antibodies. These antibodies provide early protection while the newborn’s immune system is still developing, but they can interfere with vaccines. By vaccinating the newborn every 2-4 weeks until the age of 16 weeks, the immune system is stimulated multiple times as the maternally-derived antibodies gradually disappear. This gives the newborn enough opportunity to develop immunity against disease.


What to expect after vaccination?

Despite the safety record of vaccines, adverse reactions can occur. Mild reactions, such as lethargy decreased appetite, mild fever, or discomfort at the injection site may occur in some animals. These signs usually resolve within 48 hours and do not require treatment. If these signs persist or get worse, seek veterinary care. Rarely, a vaccine reaction can be extreme or even life-threatening. These reactions generally occur soon (1-2 hours) after the vaccination. If your pet develops swelling, difficulty breathing, vomiting and diarrhoea, or collapse, seek emergency veterinary treatment immediately. If your pet has a history of vaccine reactions, please ensure to inform your veterinarian before any future vaccinations.

Lumps at the vaccination site usually resolve on their own without any treatment, however, if it persists longer than 3 months or grow larger than 2 cm. it may require further diagnostic investigation. 

While our vaccines are highly effective in most pets, on rare occasions, a pet can become ill even after vaccination. This can occur if the pet is infected before the vaccine has taken effect (generally 14 days after vaccination), if the pet’s immune system is ineffective, or if the pet is infected with a different strain of the infectious agent from the one used in the vaccine.

Schedule an appointment with our veterinarian for more information on vaccines for dogs and cats and personalised recommendations for your pet.