There are a variety of opinions regarding the use of vaccines for our pets. While it would be comforting to have a firm, and easy to remember protocol that can be used in every patient, at every stage of life, it would be a disservice to our clients and patients to have such an approach. When deciding on a vaccine protocol for a given patient I focus on a few items. First, is the patient’s risk of exposure to the disease for which I am vaccinating, second, is the vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing the disease, third is the safety margin of vaccine. For example, I would consider cats that allowed to roam outdoors to be a greater risk of exposure to infectious disease than an indoor cat. Likewise, there is a difference in exposure rates between different dogs.
Many years ago veterinarians treated diseases which are much less common today. This is due in large part to the use of vaccines, however it is now felt that the most commonly used vaccines do not have to be given annually. In addition there are many vaccines on the market that are of little proven effectiveness, and should not be used. While vaccines have their place in prevention of certain diseases, they are not without problems. In my experience, severe vaccine reactions are rare, but they do happen. This is the primary reason for choosing the protocol for a given patient carefully.
It is only after an examination and taking a thorough history that I will make vaccine recommendations for your pet.