Vaccine Schedule Guidelines 2014
Veterinary medicine is always changing! Keeping your pet healthy is our goal and each pet's care is customized to its "lifestyle" and particular health issues. We look forward to annual visits for full physical examinations and health recommendations.
In developing vaccines, manufactureres tested vaccine immunity for one year. If the vaccine gave good immunity one year after it had been given, the manufacturers recommended repeating this vaccination every year. For decades, the actual duration of immunity induced by the vaccines that we used was not tested beyond one year. Veterinarians followed these guidelines closely, since it was not known if the individuals we wanted to protect would get sick if the vaccination intervals exceeded this period.
In the past few years, research has shown that a number of vaccinations create immunity that lasts longer than one year. Other vaccinations do not create a long lasting protection and need to be repeated annually. Based on the extensive research that has been done, we feel confident that it is time to make changes in the schedule of vaccinating your pet.
Rabies Vaccine has been known to create a long lasting immunity. Puppies will receive their first vaccine when they are at least 12 weeks old and will receive another vaccine one year later. After that, rabies can be boostered every three years. Rabies vaccine is required by Connecticut state law for every dog.
Distemper virus, parvovirus, parainfluenza and hepatitis combination vaccine has been shown to give good immunity for longer that one year for all but the parainfluenza virus. After puppies finish their series of vaccinations at 15 or 16 weeks of age, they will need a booster vaccination one year later. After that, booster vaccines will be given every three years to protect against distempervirus, parvovirus and hepatitis virus. Every dog shoud be protected from these infectious diseases. A vaccine for parainfluenza virus will be given annually.
Parainfluenza virus protection is included in the distemper, parvo and hepatitis combination vaccine. However, this virus does not include immunity that lasts longer than one year. For dogs taht accept an intranasal vaccine, parainfluenza virus protection will be boostered annually with a vaccine that includes Bordetella and parainfluenza. Dogs who will not allow us to give the intranasal vaccine will get the combination distemper, parvo, hepatitis and parainfluenza vaccine annually.
Kennel cough (Bordetalla) vaccine is available in two forms. Neither vaccine gives immunity that lasts longer than one year. The intranasal form creates effective immunity in the nose after only one dose. It must be repeated every six months for dogs to give good protection against Bordetella, especially for dogs who are exposed to other dogs, such as when kenneled. The intranasal vaccine also includes protection against parainfluenza virus. The injectable form only protects against Bordetella and requires two injections given three weeks apart and then must be repeated annually.
Lyme Disease is a very common occurrence in this area, so we strongly recommend that dogs receive this vaccine. Although a small number of vaccinated dogs may still get Lyme disease, most dogs are effectively protected. In 2012 we are using a different vaccine which should give enhanced immunity. The new vaccine protects against more components of the Lyme bacteria (Borrelia Burgdorferi) than the old vaccine, so even dogs that have been vaccinated in the past will need a booster vaccine three weeks after getting the first of the new vaccine injections. Lyme vaccine does not create immunity that lasts beyoind one year and must be repeated annually.
Leptospirosis is a serious bacterial infection that is spread when the urine of an infected animal is contacted by another animal. The urine can contaminate standing water such as swamps, marshes, large potholes, and low-lying areas that are flooded, for example. Dogs that spend time in these sorts of areas can be protected with a vaccine that must be repeated annually after the first two injections are given.
Panleukopenkia (distemper), herpesvirus and calcivirus vaccine is given to kittens in a series of injections until they are 15 or 16 weeks old. This vaccine is then repeated one year later, with boosters following every three years after that. Panleukopenia is a life-threatening disease and good protection is essential for all cats.
Rabies Vaccine is given when kittens are 12 weeks or older, and then repeated one year later. If this time table if followed closely, the next vaccine is valid for three years. This vaccine is required by Connecticut law for all cats.
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) vaccine is effective at protecting uninfected cats from aquiring this infection. Cats that go outdoors or live with cats who go outdoors may be exposed to this virus through cat-to-cat contact. These potentially exposed cats should be vaccinated as kittens, boostered in three weeks and then every two years.
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) vaccine is available but there are significant problems with using this product. We currently do not give this vaccine unless a cat is in close contact with a known FIV carrier. Even in this instance, the vaccine may not be necessary.