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Vaccinating our Pets

Updated: May 2, 2018

If you have questions about your pet's vaccination schedule, Dr. Emilee Alms would be happy to discuss what the best course of action is for your pet.

Top 5 Vaccine Myths

Liza Wysong Rudolph, BAS, CVT, VTS (CP-CF, SAIM

“My pet does not spend time outside. Vaccines are not necessary.”

Vaccine administration should be considered for each individual patient based on exposure risk, geographic location, and pet lifestyle. Vaccines have been divided into core and noncore groups. A one-size-fits-all vaccine protocol does not exist. (See Vaccine Guidelines.)

  • Core vaccines, some of which are required by law, protect pets against diseases that have public health significance, are highly infectious, and pose risk for severe disease. Core vaccines are considered high-benefit and low-risk to the general patient population.

  • Noncore vaccines, which are typically recommended for patients only at risk because of their specific location or population, should be administered based on the risk associated with vaccine administration versus the pets risk for contracting the disease.

Vaccine Guidelines

“Veterinarians just want to make money from vaccines.”

Multiple core vaccinations for dogs and cats have a proven duration of immunity of more than one year, and administration is recommended every three years after the initial series.

However, non-core vaccines have a shorter duration, and will need to be administered at more frequent intervals. Vaccine administration is based on the individual risk factors for that patient, not financial gain. Therefore, vaccination recommendations may vary between patients based on each patient's risk factors.

“My puppy was vaccinated and then got parvovirus. The vaccine made my pet sick.”

Vaccination is particularly important in young animals because they are generally more susceptible to infection and tend to develop more significant disease. Although modified live vaccines can rarely revert to their pathogenic form and cause disease in the patient, maternal antibody interference is more likely to be the culprit in this situation and is the reason pediatric patients require a series of vaccinations.

“My dog was vaccinated last year and got sick anyway. Vaccines do not work.”

Vaccination has been widely used in humans for more than 200 years, and in companion animals for more than 50 years. {Vaccines have} proven effective in controlling a range of major infectious diseases. The goal of vaccination is to create an adequate level of protective immunity to infectious disease.

A vaccine's failure to produce the anticipated results is considered a rare adverse event and should be reported to the vaccine manufacturer.

Vaccine Adverse Events

What constitutes an adverse event?

  • An adverse event is any undesirable occurrence associated with the use of a medical product. Possible adverse events of vaccination include: mild reactions (local inflammation, swelling, pain, irritation). More severe events include: anaphylaxis, immune-suppression, autoimmune disorders, transient infections, and the development of long-term carrier states. Failure to immunize is also considered an adverse event.

“My cousin’s cat had to have his leg amputated. Vaccines often cause cancer.”

Feline injection-site sarcoma (FISS) is a rare but serious adverse event in cats. Reported rates are variable and current estimates are likely below 1 in every 10000 vaccinations.

The Shoreview North Oaks Animal Hospital uses vaccines provided by Merk Animal Health.

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