For the past 50 years, vaccinations have helped extend the lives of our pets by several years. However, in the past decade the veterinary community has come to realize that not all pets need all vaccines with the frequency previously thought.
In cats and dogs, we have been decreasing the vaccine load in the past several years with the goal of vaccinating only as needed/according to lifestyle.
Only after a cat or dog is 2–3 years old, do we begin their new protocols in order to ensure your pet is totally protected before we start excluding fractions.
All cats and dogs have to follow the rabies law of the state of their residence. In Massachusetts, after the initial two rabies vaccines are given (9-12 months apart), the booster vaccine is administered every three years. If there are any questionable incidents, a booster shot may need to be given at that time.
All other vaccine fractions are given according to age and lifestyle. For cats, the distemper (panleukopenia) fraction lasts for several years and so we extend that 5–6 years. The upper respiratory fractions are variable so we extend that 2–3 years according to lifestyle. Leukemia vaccine is intended for cats that go outdoors or for cats sharing residence with a leukemia-positive cat and is administered annually.
Dog distemper, parvo, hepatitis and one upper respiratory fraction, can be extended 3 years depending on age. Lepto, Lyme and Bordetella need to be given every year.
Therefore, each year will require a different combination, and if your pet needs more than 2-3 vaccinations at a time, we ask that you return a few weeks later so we do not overload its immune system.