In recent years, the practice of performing full annual vaccinations (rabies and booster vaccinations given together) to family pets has come into question. As more research is being done into how long the protection from vaccinations last in our pets, it is becoming more obvious that annual vaccinations may not be necessary for all pets. In 2006, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Canine Vaccine Guidelines and the American Association of Feline Practioner’s (AAFP) Feline Vaccine Guidelines were published. They suggested that on average, core vaccinations could be delivered on a 3 year basis. Rabies vaccines for both cats and dogs can be offered on a 1 or 3 year basis. Feline Leukemia can be given every 2 years following the initial boosters. Some vaccinations, such as leptospirosis, lyme and kennel cough vaccine still need to be given annually to ensure protection. Accordingly, we have developed our vaccine protocols with the above in mind.
Puppies receive the standard booster vaccine at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age. They also receive a 1 year rabies vaccine at 16 weeks of age. On the one year anniversary of the 16 week vaccination, young adult dogs receive a full standard booster vaccination in addition to a 3 year rabies vaccine. Kittens receive a standard booster at 8 weeks of age, at 12 and 16 weeks of age they receive a standard booster as well as a Feline Leukemia virus booster. They also receive a 1 year rabies vaccine at 16 weeks of age. Owners have the option to give their cats 1 or 3 year Purevax feline rabies vaccine. Following this full vaccination, we begin a 3 year rotation of vaccines for both cats and dogs. Cats are vaccinated annually or every 3 years for rabies and every 3 years with the standard feline booster vaccination. Optional vaccination for feline leukemia virus is given every 2 years if required. After receiving their 3 year rabies vaccine and booster vaccine, dogs receive a parvovirus booster in the following year, a distemper/hepatitis virus vaccine the subsequent year and a 3 year rabies vaccine in the third year of the rotation. Optional vaccination for leptospirosis and kennel cough are given annually if needed. We believe this vaccination protocol strikes a balance between providing protection for our patients while reducing the risk from excessive vaccination.