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Vaccinations Info
Vaccination Blog Topics
 
 
 
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Dogs & Cats: Vaccinations Schedule

  
  Michael Dym, VMD
Dr. Michael Dym
Holistic & Conventional Veterinarian ()
 
  Vaccinations are one of the most controversial topics in veterinary medicine, especially in recent years. Vaccinations are intended to stimulate immunity to dangerous viruses or bacteria, so that our dogs and cats are theoretically protected against these pathogens on future exposure to them. For many years, vaccinations have been the major thrust of preventative veterinary medicine; however, in recent years there has been increasing evidence that over vaccination may contribute to many immune mediated diseases, hormonal diseases, neurological disorders and even certain cancers. In my opinion, many available vaccinations have not been shown to be either effective or safe, so many of them I cannot recommend for my patients.

According to a recent edition of Kirk's Current Veterinary Therapy, a text taught in most veterinary schools, immunity to most core viral vaccinations lasts for many years to the life of the pet, just like childhood vaccinations in people. Vaccinating pets more frequently than needed has been shown to carry certain risks, including triggering chronic disease in susceptible pets. It is for these reasons that I have become a minimalist when it comes to most pet vaccinations over my twenty years of experience as a small animal veterinarian.

  
Find out what vaccinations are recommended by holistic veterinarian Dr. Michael Dym, DVM.
  

Vaccinations for Kittens & Puppies

Probably the most important populations to vaccinate appropriately are puppies and kittens under one year of age. These are the ages that pets are often most susceptible to many viral infections. The core viral vaccinations to use in puppies are canine parvovirus and canine distemper virus (which are often combined into one vaccination). Parvovirus and distemper may cause fatal digestive tract or neurologic disease in young puppies, so it is important to vaccinate puppies appropriately for these two viruses. I do not recommend commonly used 5 or 7 in one vaccinations because of the potential negative and harmful effects on the developing immune systems of young animals. The core viral vaccinations to use in kittens are feline panleukopenia (known as feline parvovirus), feline rhinotracheitis virus and feline calici virus. This 3 in one vaccination offers protection against fatal intestinal symptoms caused by panleukopenia, as well as the respiratory symptoms associated with these other two viruses.

Pet

Panleukopenia
Rhinotracheitis
Calicivirus

Leukemia Virus  

Rabies

FIV Virus

Others (Chlamydia, FIP, etc)

Kitten

Usually every 3-4 weeks starting at age 8 weeks through 12 to 16 weeks old

If outdoor kitten, at age 12 and 14 to 16 weeks old

Age 4 to 6 months

Not recommended

Not recommended

Adult Cat
(1-5 years)

Booster at one year of age and then no more than every 3 years or as indicated based on measuring serum antibody titers

Not usually needed or recommended

Booster at 1 year, then every 3 years

Not recommended

Not recommended

Adult Cat
(5-10 years)

Usually not needed unless antibody titers are low

Not usually needed or recommended

Every 3 years in most states

Not recommended

Not recommended

Geriatric or Chronically Sick (cancer, etc)

Usually not needed or recommended

Not recommended

Every 3 years unless exempt because of chronic disease

Not recommended

Not recommended


Pet

Distemper
Parvovirus

Rabies  

Bordatella

Others
(Leptospirosis, Lyme, Dental, etc)

Puppy

Usually every 3-4 weeks starting at age 8 weeks through 14 to 16 weeks old

Age 4 to 6 months

Not recommended unless kennel required

Not recommended

Adult Dog
(1-5 years)

Booster at one year of age and then no more than every 3 years or as indicated based on measuring serum antibody titers

Booster at 1 year, then every 3 years.

Not recommended unless kennel required

Not recommended

Adult Dog
(5-10 years)

Usually not needed unless antibody titers are low

Every 3 years in most states

Not recommended

Not recommended

Geriatric or Chronically Sick (cancer, etc)

Usually not needed or recommended.

Every 3 years unless exempt because of chronic disease

Not recommended

Not recommended


Vaccinations for Aging Dogs and Cats

When given to pets age 14 to 16 weeks or older, vaccination for these core canine and feline viruses lasts for many years in most cases, although many experts recommend a booster at one year of age. The other core viral vaccine for dogs and cats is rabies. Rabies is usually given over 3 months of age to puppies or kittens and then boostered at one year of age. Adult and senior pets usually do not need these vaccinations more frequently than every 3 years, and probably less frequently with viruses other than rabies. As an alternative to yearly or triennial vaccinations, serum antibody titers may also be measured, which often document protective immunity for 7 years or or longer.

Other vaccinations outlined in the chart above are usually not needed or recommended in most ages of pets for either lack of efficacy or safety reasons. Outdoor young kittens under one year of age are susceptible to feline leukemia virus, which may cause immune suppressive illnesses and even cancer in some cats. I therefore will recommend vaccinating outdoor kittens under one year of age for this virus. Adult and senior cats are much less susceptible to becoming infected with feline leukemia virus, so I do not usually recommend vaccinating them, especially if they are indoor cats.

 
 
  

  
 
Dr. Dym's Tip: Due to health risks, do not over-vaccinate adult, senior or chronically sick pets. For those pets, I recommend seeing a progressive or integrative holistic minded veterinarian when consulting on vaccination schedules.  
  
 
 
   
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