Vaccinations - Vaccinations are a medical procedure and should be tailored to each patients needs. Vaccinations and what we call ‘duration of immunity’ or DOI are a subject of serious interest and a very hot topic in our profession. Major pharmaceutical companies (like Merck and Pfizer) manufacture many of our vaccines so there is big business interest in the mix as well….I call it like I see it. The bottom line is that at this time we do not know exactly how long these vaccines protect your pet against these deadly diseases. Having practiced in Florida, Dr. S has seen way too many of these diseases and would hate to see any animal suffer from a preventable disease; if you have a question please contact our office. Vaccine titers are available but titers only tell half of the immune system; the humoral half. The other half, the cellular half, is equally important and we cannot measure this.
Current recommendations for dogs are to get the distemper, parvo and lepto, and rabies vaccine every 3 years. These are what we call the core vaccines. Like we mentioned above vaccines should be tailored to an individual animal; for example, if you travel to Lyme infested areas of the country you might want to consider a Lyme vaccine.
Current recommendations for cats are to get the core vaccines, feline panleukopenia, rhinotracheitis, calici virus, feline leukemia and rabies every 3 years. There have been some very interesting changes in cat vaccines over the years such as a recombinant rabies vaccine (no reactions, no tumor or sarcoma formations…but…it needs to be given every year ie. annually). A new feline leukemia vaccine given with an air injection instead of a needle also reduces the chances of injection sarcomas or tumors. These tumors are thought to occur in about 1 in 10,000 cats vaccinated and we think some of the adjuvants added to killed vaccines may be responsible. Discuss this with your veterinarian if you have questions.
Vaccines come in many different shapes and forms and should be specific for each patient as determined by you and your veterinarian. Some vaccines are injected, some are given as nasal drops and others using an air injector.
Vaccinations given by your veterinarian are guaranteed by the manufacturer to protect against the specific disease. In addition, if there is a reaction your veterinarian will be available to administer the correct medications. For these reasons, vaccinations should always be given in a hospital or clinic by a licensed professional.