Canine & Feline Immunization Schedules
IMPORTANT NOTE: The data provided on this page is presented for your information only, based on personal choices we believe in and choose to make for our own pets.
These schedules are ones I recommend and should not be interpreted to mean that other protocols recommended by your veterinarian would be less than satisfactory. It’s a matter of personal and professional judgment and choice.
We provide this information primarily to give you options based on information to assist you in making your own personal choices.
The most important thing to remember is that you DO have choices, don’t let anyone intimidate you or coerce you into making a choice that you aren’t comfortable with.
Canine Immunization Schedules
There is a great deal of controversy and confusion surrounding the appropriate immunization schedule, especially with the availability of modified-live vaccines and pets who have experienced post-vaccinal problems when using some of these vaccines. It is also important not to begin a vaccination program while maternal antibodies are still active and present in the puppy from the mother’s colostrum. The maternal antibodies identify the vaccines as infectious organisms and destroy them before they can stimulate an immune response.
Many breeders and pet owners have sought a safer immunization program.
|Recommended “Minimal” Vaccination Schedule|
|Vaccine||Initial||1st Annual Booster||Re-Administration Interval||Comments|
16 – 20 weeks
|At 1 year MLV Distemper/ Parvovirus only||None needed.
Duration of immunity 7.5 / 15 years by studies. Probably lifetime. Longer studies pending. If concerned, titre test instead
|Can have numerous side effects if given too young (< 8 weeks).|
|Parvovirus (MLV)||9 weeks
16 – 20 weeks
|At 1 year MLV Distemper/ Parvovirus only||None needed.
Duration of immunity 7.5 years by studies. Probably lifetime. Longer studies pending. If concerned, titre test instead
|At 6 weeks of age, only 30% of puppies are protected but 100% are exposed to the virus at the vet clinic.|
|24 weeks or older||At 1 year (give 3-4 weeks apart from Dist/Parvo booster) Killed 3 year rabies vaccine||In many areas, titer test results are accepted in lieu of booster. If titre test results not legally accepted, 3 yr. vaccine given as required by law in most provinces/states||Rabid animals may infect dogs. Ensure titre levels are adequate, or 3 yr protocol maximium|
There are two types of vaccines currently available to veterinarians: modified-live vaccines and inactivated (“killed”) vaccines.
Modified Live Vaccines (MLV)
Modified-live vaccines contain a weakened strain of the disease causing agent. Weakening of the agent is typically accomplished by chemical means or by genetic engineering. These vaccines replicate within the host, thus increasing the amount of material available for provoking an immune response without inducing clinical illness. This provocation primes the immune system to mount a vigorous response if the disease causing agent is ever introduced to the animal. Further, the immunity provided by a modified-live vaccine develops rather swiftly and since they mimic infection with the actual disease agent, it provides the best immune response.
Inactivated Vaccines (Killed)
Inactivated vaccines contain killed disease causing agents. Since the agent is killed, it is much more stable and has a longer shelf life, there is no possibility that they will revert to a virulent form, and they never spread from the vaccinated host to other animals. They are also safe for use in pregnant animals (a developing fetus may be susceptible to damage by some of the disease agents, even though attenuated, present in modified-live vaccines). Although more than a single dose of vaccine is always required and the duration of immunity is generally shorter, inactivated vaccines are regaining importance in this age of retrovirus and herpesvirus infections and concern about the safety of genetically modified microorganisms. Inactivated vaccines available for use in dogs include rabies, canine parvovirus, canine coronavirus, etc.
Vaccines Not Recommended For Dogs
|Distemper & Parvo @ 6 weeks or younger||Not recommended.
At this age, maternal antibodies form the mothers milk (colostrum) will neutralize the vaccine and only 30% of puppies will be protected by the vaccine, yet 100% will be exposed to the virus at the vet clinic.
1.) Disease only affects dogs <6 weeks of age.
2.) Rare disease: TAMU has seen only one case in seven years.
3.) Mild self-limiting disease.
4.) Efficacy of the vaccine is questionable.
1) There are an average of 12-15 cases reported annually in many areas.
2) Side effects common.
3) Most commonly used vaccine contains the wrong serovars. (There is no cross-protection of serovars) There is a new vaccine with 2 new serovars. Two vaccinations twice per year would be required for protection.).
4) Risk outweighs benefits.
1) Low risk in many areas.
2) 85% of cases are in limited areas.
3) Possible side effect of polyarthritis from whole cell bacterin.
|Only recommended 3 days prior to boarding when required.
Protects against only 2 of the possible 8 causes of kennel cough.
Duration of immunity 6 months.
Efficacy of vaccine unsubstantiated by independent studies
After 1 year, annually measure serum antibody titers against specific canine infectious agents such as distemper and parvovirus. This is especially recommended for animals previously experiencing adverse vaccine reactions or breeds at higher risk for such reactions (e.g., Weimaraner, Akita, American Eskimo, Great Dane etc etc).
Another alternative to booster vaccinations is homeopathic nosodes. This option is considered an unconventional treatment that has not been scientifically proven to be efficacious. One controlled parvovirus nosode study did not adequately protect puppies under challenged conditions. However, data from Europe and clinical experience in North America support its use. If veterinarians choose to use homeopathic nosodes, their clients should be provided with an appropriate disclaimer and written informed consent should be obtained.
We recommend only killed 3 year rabies vaccine for adults and give it separated from other vaccines by 3-4 weeks. In many areas, titer test results are accepted in lieu of booster.
We do not personally recommend Bordetella, corona virus, leptospirosis or Lyme vaccines unless these diseases are endemic in the local area. Furthermore, the currently licensed leptospira bacterins do not contain the serovars causing the majority of clinical leptospirosis today.
We do NOT recommend vaccinating bitches during estrus, pregnancy or lactation.
For breeds or families of dogs susceptible to or affected with immune dysfunction, immune-mediated disease, immune-reactions associated with vaccinations, or autoimmune endocrine disease (e.g., thyroiditis, Addison’s or Cushing’s disease, diabetes, etc.) we HIGHLY recommend considering titre testing in lieu of boosters of any kind.
Feline Immunization Recommendations
The following information with regard to feline immunizations is the intellectual property of Dr Jean Dodds, DVM and is reprinted here to provide readers with one possible feline immunization procedure for health and well-being.
Recommended Vaccination Protocol for Cats:
FELINE VACCINATION PROTOCOL – 2011
MINIMAL VACCINE USE
W. Jean Dodds, DVM
938 Stanford Street
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Note: The following vaccine protocol is offered for those cats where minimal vaccinations are advisable or desirable. The schedule is one I recommend and should not interpreted to mean that other protocols recommended by a veterinarian would be less satisfactory. It’s a matter of professional judgment and choice.
Age of Kittens
8 – 9 weeks
12 – 13 weeks
24 weeks or older, if required by law
Panleukopenia, Calicivirus, Rhinopneumonitits Virus (FVRCP)
Same as above
Rabies (e.g. Merial Purevax™, recombinant)
Rabies, same as above but separated by 2-3 weeks from FVRCP)
Perform vaccine antibody titers for panleukopenia virus every three years thereafter, or more often, if desired. Vaccinate for rabies virus according to the law, except where circumstances indicate that a written waiver needs to be obtained from the primary care veterinarian. In that case, a rabies antibody titer can also be performed to accompany the waiver request. See www rabieschallengefund.org