Our approach to vaccines is that not every vaccine should be given to every pet. We attempt to determine which diseases are the greatest risk for each individual pet and vaccinate for only those diseases. Below are listed the most likely vaccine that may be needed.
- DHP: (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza) A vaccine complex which protects against viral contagious disease
- Parvo: A vaccine which protects against a highly contagious, often fatal, gastro intestinal viral disease. The virus causes severe diarrhea especially in young animals
- Rabies: A vaccine, required by law, that protects both pets and people from a deadly viral disease that is transmitted by animal bites
- Bordetella: This is a “kennel cough” vaccine that prevents tracheobronchitis
- Leptospirosis: This is a vaccine against a bacterial disease that is transmitted in the urine of other dogs or wild life, including rats, racoons and foxes. It causes very serious liver and kidney disease.
- Distemper: A vaccine that protects against a very contagious, potentially fatal disease
- Rhino and Calici virus: A vaccine against 2 highly contagious upper respiratory viruses
- Feline Leukemia: A vaccine that protects against an almost always fatal viral disease.
- Rabies: Same as above for dogs
Which vaccines and how often they are boostered is determined in part by “Risk Factor Management”. A pet’s environment and lifestyle puts him or her at a greater of lesser risk for certain diseases. Only the diseases that present a significant risk should be vaccinated against. The risk factors include:
- Where pet lives
- Age of animal
- Goes out doors or stays in
- Prevalence of mosquitoes, ticks and fleas
- Pet travels
- Neutered or not
- Drink from standing water out doors
- Go to groomer, boarding facility, dog training, dog and cat shows
- Used for hunting
- Miss a dose of monthly heartworm preventive by more than 45 days
- Chronic disease problems
- Near deer populated areas
- Frequents dog parks or wild life areas
Conventional wisdom regarding the health benefits of vaccinations is presently changing. Many conventional and alternative veterinarians are now questioning the need for yearly vaccinations and are, in fact, concerned that too-frequent boostering may have negative health ramifications in the form of immune system over-stimulation.
Consequently, there is now a movement to recommend that vaccinations be boostered less often. It has been proposed that rather than booster your dog every year, you have the animal’s serum antibody level (titer) measured to see if it is within in a range that suggests adequate protection against the specific disease in question.
If serum titer proves to be within the range that suggests protection, then it is proposed that boostering be skipped that year and titers be retested the following year. Because vaccines come with instructional inserts on how to give the vaccine and on how often to re-booster, veterinarians are reluctant to follow a course of vaccination and boostering that presently is in opposition to the accepted standard of practice.
Therefore, it may take several years before you see most veterinarians switching to a new boostering protocol. Their fear is that if they recommend less frequent booster (even though the serum titer measures in the protective range) and your pet comes down with the disease, that then they will be held responsible. It should be noted that measuring serum titers has been used by manufactures for years as a way of measuring vaccine protection but many question its validity as a benchmark for protection.