Should Your Pet Be Shot?
The Pet Vaccination Controversy
Cathy Wilkie, DVM
Recommendations for vaccinating cats and dogs
- Vaccine programs individually tailored.
- For dogs: at minimum 2-3 vaccines as a puppy, depending on the age when the first vaccine was given. The vaccines should be no closer than 3 weeks apart, and the final vaccine should be at or after 14 weeks of age. The vaccine should be a vectored high-titer canine vaccine. Core vaccine only (distemper, adenovirus type 2, parvovirus). Rabies vaccine given at 16 weeks of age (minimum age 12 weeks). Bordetella (kennel cough) intranasal or oral is a relatively innocuous vaccine and can be given any time after 9 weeks of age. I do not recommend coronavirus, giardia, lyme, or leptospirosis for dogs in this area except in very unusual circumstances.
- For cats: 2 vaccines 4 weeks apart (at 8 and 12 weeks of age) for feline panleukopenia (distemper), viral rhinotracheitis (herpes) and calicivirus. Feline leukemia testing before FeLV vaccination. Kittens who will be going outdoors should also receive two feline leukemia vaccines 4 weeks apart. Rabies at or after 16 weeks of age. Strictly indoor cats should not receive feline leukemia vaccination. All kittens should be tested for FeLV and FIV, either before vaccination or by 6 months of age (if not receiving a FeLV vaccine). I do not recommend FIP, ringworm or chlamydia vaccines except in very unusual circumstances (such as cattery or rescue operations with high disease rates).
- Revaccination for cats and dogs one year after the puppy or kitten vaccines.
- Depending on the pet's lifestyle, risk factors, concurrent diseases, travel history and plans, nutritional status, immune status, other pets in the household and their lifestyles, and response or reactions to previous vaccines, intervals of 3 to 7 years (or longer) between vaccines, with the exception of Bordetella. Antibody titers may be done to assure that at least the humoral arm of the immune response has responded in a normal way to the vaccine.