What are vaccines?
Pet vaccines are designed to trigger a protective immune response by stimulating the production of antibodies that recognize and fight disease-causing organisms in the animal’s body.
There are two types of vaccines: core and noncore. Core vaccines are considered essential for all pets — namely, rabies and distemper. However, the vaccines dogs and puppies need will differ from those of cats and kittens, so be sure to ask your vet for the full requirements for your specific pet.
Noncore vaccines are given based on the individual pet’s risk factors and lifestyle. They might include feline Leukemia for cats with high risk exposure, or Lyme and Leptospirosis vaccines for dogs who live in regions where prevalence is common.
How do vaccines work?
Some vaccines require boosters or multiple doses for full and sustained efficacy. Your veterinarian will suggest a safe vaccination schedule based on your pet’s weight and age. Making sure your pet receives timely vaccinations against various diseases can make a significant impact on their overall health. Many of these illnesses can be life-threatening or detrimental to pets’ quality of life, often requiring thousands of dollars in veterinary care — but they are entirely preventable through vaccination
While pet insurance policies cover vet costs related to accidents and illnesses, most providers offer supplemental pet wellness plans that cover routine care, including vaccines, parasite control, heartworm preventatives, dental care, spaying/neutering, and microchipping costs.
Average vaccination cost
In the first year, the cost of pet vaccinations can range from $70 to $165 for dogs, or $50 to $100 for cats, depending on where the shots are administered and which vaccines you choose to provide. Some pet owners will only provide the vaccinations required by law, while others will want to protect their dog or cat against as many threats as possible, such as rattlesnake envenomation. Thereafter, the cost of annual pet vaccination can fall between $10 and $100 depending on which vaccines need booster shots. The rabies vaccine, for example, is required by law every three years and costs around $30.
Location is another price variable, as veterinary services in some states are more or less expensive than others. Traditional veterinarians also cost more than animal shelters, humane societies, and budget clinics that offer discounted rates on vaccines.