Human vaccines have been the subject of some controversy for some years now, with some parents refusing to have their children vaccinated due to their fears of side effects. Vaccines for pets have not been as controversial, but there is some debate on exactly what vaccines they need and how often they need them. The recommendations for vaccinations have changed in recent years, so you need to check with your vet for current guidelines.
Certain vaccines are recommended for all cats and dogs. Dogs should receive inoculation for parvovirus, canine hepatitis, rabies, and distemper. Other vaccines may be recommended by your vet depending on your dog's environment and may include shots for Borrelia burgdorferi, Bordetella bronchiseptica, and Leptospira bacteria. Cats should receive inoculation for feline calicivirus, rabies, feline herpesvirus type I, and panleukopenia. As with dogs, additional vaccines for diseases such as Chlamydophlia felis, Bordetella, and feline immunodeficiency virus may be recommended by your vet.
Until recently, manufacturers of pet vaccines recommended that they are given annually. Even if veterinarians had doubts about this schedule, they tended to follow the manufacturer's recommendations to avoid liability. In recent years, some professionals have questioned whether this practice is healthy. They believe that too many injections can harm your pet's immune system and perhaps make them susceptible to joint problems and lupus.
Although experts still believe that you need to vaccinate your pets, they believe that annual shots may only be necessary when the pet is young. After initial shots and boosters, your dog or cat may only need vaccinations every three years. The vaccines' effect will be greatest if the first round of shots is given at the appropriate time: six to eight weeks for puppies and six to nine weeks for kittens. If you are unsure as to whether your pet needs a booster, you can pay for a blood test that will determine the amount of vaccine in your pet's blood.
Vaccinations are absolutely vital for your pet's health as well as the health of your community. The guidelines have changed somewhat in recent years. You may no longer need to have your pets vaccinated every year. Although what your pet needs may vary according to its age and environment. Your best resource is your veterinarian. Discuss your concerns about immunizations with them and draw up a plan for your individual animals. When it comes to vaccinations, one size does not fit all.