There is no doubt that vaccinations have made a huge difference in the spread of infectious disease for both people and pets. For dogs, Distemper was a major killer. Like Polio in children before Dr. Salk, no dog was safe. In the third world, Rabies is still a constant, fatal threat to people and animals because vaccines are not available.
Increasing concerns about vaccinations have caused people to question whether vaccines are safe or needed at all. We believe that Yes, they are safe. Yes, they are needed to prevent outbreaks of life threatening diseases such as Parvo in dogs and Panleukopenia in cats. Yes, they are needed to prevent diseases which can be transmitted to humans, such as Rabies.
As much as they are life savers, improved vaccines and on going research have prompted us to re-visit our vaccine protocols. It has always been the goal of Blue Cross Animal Hospital to recommend vaccines that are needed for individual pets, rather than having a one-size-fits-all protocol. For instance, we do not routinely vaccinate cats for Feline Leukemia if they are going to be indoors. We don’t use Corona virus vaccine in dogs because the disease is so mild. We recommend Leptospirosis and Lyme protection only to dogs who’s lifestyle puts them at risk of contacting the disease. We don’t have one blanket protocol that fits all our patients.
We used to vaccinate annually for the “Core Vaccines”. Several years ago we changed to every other year. Now we are changing again to a need-based protocol based on the latest recommendations from The American Animal Hospital Association and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. These groups monitor the latest research and provide guidelines for which diseases our pets are at risk for and how often we should vaccinate.
Here’s the updated procedure:
We will still see your pet annually for a thorough physical examination and discussion of their health and activities. We will then recommend the Core vaccines that are needed that year based on your individual pet’s needs and set or re-set the schedule for the coming years.
See our upcoming post for a list of core and non-core vaccines for dogs and cats.
Note that city by-laws require that all pets be vaccinated for rabies.