Should My Diabetic Dog or Cat Receive Annual Vaccinations??
Note: Annual revaccinations not original vaccination shots
By Judy Dick
(this is my opinion only and what works for you and your pet and your vet is what you should do)
(Both sides of vaccinations will be presented here as I feel knowledge is a must in your decision to vaccinate)
I am not a veterinarian.
This information should not take the place of regular care
by your veterinarian nor should it replace your
veterinarian's own advice.
Remember one thing when searching the internet for pros and cons on any subject.
The article you find will always be bias to the person who wrote it.

Queenie was diagnosed with diabetes in April of 1995
Birth: January of 1991
She is a miniature American Eskimo and weighs 27 pounds.
Queenie received her annual vaccination shots right on time...I honestly thought
she had to have yearly vaccinations(this does not include rabies vaccination..from province to
different states there are different laws governing how often you must vaccinate your dog
against rabies ) I am talking about distemper etc the whole host of other shots that your vet will
want to vaccinate against annually. Every year Queenie would receive a little card in the mail addressed
to her ... Queenie have your owner bring you in as your annual vaccinations are due. Protect your
pet against all of the diseases. HA I would immediately go to the phone and make an appointment
and race to the vet to receive her shots thinking it was a necessity.  Note: The first two years
there was no problems..the problems started the third year of annual vaccinations
and in my opinion she at this time became over vaccinated and
should not of received booster shots. Queenie would be healthy all
year...take her into get her shots and immediately she would be ill within a week or so and we would
be back at the vets for health problems. My husband said haven't  you noticed every year you take her
in for shots and she becomes sick. I pointed this out to my vet and he said hogwash I continued
thinking MY vet knows best. :((( This continued from April of 1991 to April of 1996.
At this time I switched to Dr. Bob; if not for this knowledgable man I am sure Queenie would not be here.
With his approval for Queenie's Condition (Again every dog in every practice is different)
Queenie is allergic to most things...we decided not to administer yearly vaccinations since April of 1996
Queenie went to the Bridge on March 3rd, 2008
EXCEPT for the rabies vaccination
(Annual rabies vaccinations are the law in most communities)
We have forgone all the other vaccinations as Queenie is not exposed to other animals.

If she becomes inflicted with one of these diseases we will cross that bridge at that time.
Let's start off with the basics what diseases we are currently vaccinating against and a description of those diseases.

Homepage for  Canadian  Veterinary Medical Association
Homepage for  The American Veterinary Medical Association

Vaccination Information  from  The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association
What diseases are vaccines available for? 
Vaccines available for dogs include:
Parvo virus 
Lyme Disease 
Corona virus 

Vaccines available for cats include:
Feline calicivirus 
Feline rhinotracheitis 
Feline leukemia 
Feline infectious peritonitis 

Speak with your veterinarian about which of these vaccines are necessary for your pet(s). 

Descriptions of the diseases that your pet receives vaccinations for.
Vaccinations for Dogs 

Distemper is a serious viral disease affecting primarily young, unvaccinated dogs. Clinical signs may include a yellowish or greenish discharge from the eyes or nose, coughing, difficulty breathing, increased body temperature, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nervous system disorder (twitching of a limb, seizures, etc.), and hardening of the foot pads. 

Distemper is a highly contagious disease. All body excretions and secretions (discharges from the eyes or nose, vomitus, diarrhea, urine) may carry the infection. The virus can also be carried by air currents, and on inanimate objects such as food bowls. 

Prevention of this disease is extremely important, as distemper is often fatal. Even if a dog survives the disease, distemper can permanently damage the dog's nervous system, sense of smell, sight and sound. Vaccination has been shown to prevent the disease.

Parvovirus is a serious disease affecting primarily young dogs (6 weeks to 6 months of age) although any age can be affected. The breeds at highest risk include the Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd and Pit Bull. 

Parvovirus is a hardy virus, able to withstand extreme temperature changes, and exposure to most disinfectants. Dogs contract Parvovirus through exposure to infected dogs or infected stools. 

Parvovirus attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing affected dogs to lose their appetite, become lethargic and show evidence of vomiting, diarrhea or both. The diarrhea is often bloody and has a foul odour (that of digested blood). Some dogs develop fevers. Left untreated, Parvovirus can be fatal. 

This disease is very serious and can be very expensive to treat. Vaccination against this highly contagious viral disease has proven to be very successful in preventing this disease (or lessening its severity). 

Clinical signs of kennel cough include a dry, hacking cough and, in some dogs, nasal discharge, loss of appetite and difficulty breathing. 

Kennel cough is highly contagious and is spread through sneezing, coughing and contact with infected nasal secretions. Kennel cough is most commonly transmitted when dogs are put in close proximity to one another, for example, at dog shows, in kennels, etc. In most cases, kennel cough lasts 7 to 10 days and dogs recover fully from it. In some cases, antibiotics are necessary. 

If your dog is on the show circuit or spends time in a boarding facility, vaccination may be recommended. Speak to your veterinarian about your dog's risk of exposure and need for this vaccine. 

Hepatitis is a viral disease that is most common in young, unvaccinated dogs (9-12 weeks). Clinical signs may include respiratory tract abnormalities (discharge from the nose or eyes, coughing) or evidence of liver and/or kidney disease (jaundice, loss of appetite, vomiting, change in drinking and urinating behaviour). Occasionally, an affected dog develops a "blue eye" (corneal edema). 

Hepatitis is spread by contact with urine from an infected dog. Prevention by vaccination is the key as canine hepatitis is often fatal. Infectious canine hepatitis is not contagious to people. 

Vaccination is considered optional by most veterinarians. Giardia is a parasite that can cause chronic gastrointestinal upset (primarily diarrhea) in dogs. This parasite can spread to humans. The vaccine for Giardia is new. Ask your veterinarian about the incidence of this disease in your area, and whether you need to have your pet vaccinated against this disease. 

Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system of all warm blooded animals, including humans. Rabies is transmitted by saliva, which is usually transferred by a bite from an infected animal. The disease is frequently found in wild animals such as skunks, foxes, raccoons and bats. 

Once infected, the disease is fatal. Prior to death, clinical signs may include a change in behaviour (e.g. increased aggressiveness or increased shyness), dilation of the pupils, excess salivation, snapping at the air, a shifting gait, and facial twitching. 

As the virus can be transmitted to humans, no stray dog, cat or wild animal should ever be approached. Wild animals should never be kept as pets. Your pet should be kept on its own property or leashed when off its property. To help prevent raccoon rabies, it is recommended that you cap chimneys, close up any holes in attics or outbuildings, and make sure that stored garbage does not act as a food source. 

Vaccination is important to safeguard your dog from rabies. Some veterinarians recommend vaccinating every year, while others recommend a three-year vaccine. Talk to your veterinarian about the degree of risk for Rabies in your area, and about which vaccine will provide your pet with the protection it requires. 

Leptospirosis is a disease that impairs kidney function and may cause kidney failure. Liver disease is also common. Clinical signs may include loss of appetite, lethargy, jaundice, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. 

There are a number of different types of leptospira that may cause the disease. Wild and domestic animals (cattle, pigs, dogs) may act as reservoirs for infection. The disease is transmitted by contact with the urine of infected animals. Stagnant or slow-moving water may provide a suitable habitat for the organism to thrive. 

Leptospirosis is not common in most areas of Ontario. As the available vaccines do not protect against all forms of leptospirosis, and because this vaccine can cause some significant side effects, talk to your veterinarian about the advantages and disadvantages of vaccinating your dog against this disease. 

Canine corona virus infects one of the layers of the intestinal tract and may lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Infected dogs can shed the virus to other dogs. The overall prevalence of corona virus is thought to be low, and most infections are mild and self-limiting. Vaccination against this virus is available, but not all veterinarians recommend it. Speak to your veterinarian about your dog's risk for developing this viral disease. 

Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete (Borrelia burgdorferi) and spread by ticks. It is a serious disease in people. Clinical signs in dogs, if they occur, are thought to include lameness, joint swelling, fever, loss of appetite and lethargy. The heart, brain and kidney may also be affected. Dogs do not generally show the classic red lesion that a human exhibits at the site of a tick bite. 

The diagnosis of Lyme disease is not black and white. If the disease is suspected, your veterinarian may request a blood test to detect antibodies to Borrelia. If this test is positive and your dog has clinical signs suggestive of Lyme disease and a history of travel to a high risk area, antibiotics may be recommended. 

Vaccinating for Lyme disease is considered optional by most veterinarians. To assist in the prevention of Lyme disease, use flea and tick sprays, and remove any ticks from the animal promptly, if found. The risk of tick exposure can be reduced by keeping your dog on a leash, on trails, and out of woodlands and fields. Brushing the pet's coat as soon as the walk is complete is important. 

Vaccinations for Cats 

FELINE RESPIRATORY DISEASE (Feline rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus, Chlamydia) 
Feline rhinotracheitis (FVR) and feline calicivirus (FCV) are the two main causes of upper respiratory tract infections in cats. Although cats of any age can be infected, the young appear to be at greater risk. Clinical signs of infection include sneezing, nasal discharge and discharge from the eyes. Some cats with FVR cough, and some develop a severe eye condition called ulcerative keratitis. Cats with FCV can develop ulcers in the mouth, pneumonia, diarrhea and joint disease. Although most cats recover within 2 to 4 weeks, it is quite common for cats to become chronic carriers of these viruses, putting other cats at risk. Because these viruses are common in many areas, vaccination is highly recommended.

Chlamydia psittici is a parasite that is thought to be responsible for some upper respiratory tract infections in cats. It can lead to a severe form of lung disease if left untreated. Chlamydia more commonly causes a chronic conjunctivitis in cats. Outbreaks of Chlamydia are common when cats are housed together. Most veterinarians consider this an optional vaccination depending on your cat's risk of exposure. 

Feline panleukopenia is a hardy virus, able to survive up to a year in the environment. Clinical signs include fever, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. It most often occurs in unvaccinated 3 to 5 month old kittens. If the virus attacks an unborn fetus, it may cause early death or cerebellar hypoplasia ("spastic kitten"). Most older cats exposed to this virus do not show clinical signs. An infected cat may be infertile. A cat may also abort her litter if infected during pregnancy. 

This virus is spread via contact with an infected kitten or by contaminated premises, food or water bowls. Most veterinarians consider vaccination for panleukopenia mandatory. Thanks to vaccination, this disease is now uncommon. 

Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system of all warm blooded animals, including humans. Rabies is transmitted by saliva, which is usually transferred by a bite from an infected animal. The virus can also be transmitted via air (bat caves) and tissue (corneal transplants). The disease is frequently found in wild animals such as skunks, foxes, raccoons and bats. 

Once infected, the disease is fatal. Prior to death, clinical signs may include a change in behaviour (e.g. increased aggressiveness or increased shyness), dilation of the pupils, excess salivation, snapping at the air, a shifting gait, and facial twitching. 

As the virus can be transmitted to humans, no stray dog, cat or any wild animal should ever be approached. Wild animals, including raccoons, should never be kept as pets. The family pet should be kept on its own property or be leashed when off its property. To help prevent raccoon rabies, it is recommended that you cap chimneys, close up any holes in attics or outbuildings, and make sure that stored garbage does not act as a food source. 

Vaccination is important in safeguarding your cat from infection with this virus. Some veterinarians recommend vaccinating every year, while others recommend a three-year vaccine. Talk to your veterinarian about the degree of risk for Rabies in your area, and about which vaccination protocol will provide your pet with the protection it requires. 

Feline leukemia virus is capable of causing a number of diseases in cats. Lymphoma (lymphosarcoma) is the most common form of cancer caused by this virus. Although a number of forms of this cancer are possible, the most common ones involve the intestines or the chest. Clinical signs may include vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss (if the intestines are involved) or breathing difficulties (if the chest is involved). Any organ in the body can be affected. 

Feline leukemia virus can also cause anemia, and can make a cat more susceptible to other viral and bacterial diseases. Any cat with a history of fever of undetermined origin, or an illness that comes and goes, should be tested for this virus. 

The incidence of FeLV is highest in multi-cat households (lots of contact between cats) as the virus is spread via saliva and other body secretions (tears, blood, urine). Cats that mutually groom, share food and water bowls, litter pans, etc. are at higher risk. "Social" outdoor cats that meet and greet other cats, mutually groom or fight are also at risk. 

A blood test is available to test for infection with this virus. Not all "positive" cats will become sick with the disease. Some cats are able to mount a good immune response and overcome the virus. Others are not and will develop FeLV associated disease or cancer, usually within 3 years. 

If your cat tests positive for FeLV, it is important that your cat not roam free, as the virus is highly contagious. Such a cat is prone to developing serious complications from other viral or bacterial diseases, so any time the cat does not appear well (has a fever, doesn't eat), you should see your veterinarian. 

If a cat in your household dies of Feline Leukemia, the household should be thoroughly disinfected (especially the litter boxes, food and water bowls, bedding, toys). It is best to wait at least one month before introducing another cat to the household. 

Many cats are at high risk for exposure to this virus. If you own more than one cat, if you have a cat that roams outdoors or is very sociable and likely to contact other cats, or if the background of your cat is unknown (adopted from the shelter, etc.) speak to your veterinarian about testing your cat's blood for this virus. Your veterinarian can help you assess the need for vaccinating your cat(s) against FeLV. 

Feline infectious peritonitis is a Coronavirus. The disease is not common. It occurs most often in cats that are: 

6 months to 2 years of age and in those that are older than 11 years of age 
in multi-cat households (especially catteries) 
in cats that are infected with Feline Leukemia or Feline Immunodeficiency Viruses 
in cats whose immune system is compromised 
The virus is spread by contact with an infected cat (feces, saliva, blood, urine). Prolonged exposure to an infected cat is usually necessary for transmittal of the disease. 

Clinical signs of FIP take time to develop. There are two forms of the disease. One, the wet form, results in fluid build-up in the abdomen or chest. The other, the dry form, results in granulomas (lumps of inflammatory tissue) in multiple organs of the body. Infected cats will often exhibit weight loss, fever and loss of appetite. 

Although treatment is available to make infected cats more comfortable, the disease is inevitably fatal. An intranasal vaccine is available. Please speak to your veterinarian about your cat's risk of exposure and the need for a vaccination. 

Do I need to get my pet vaccinated every year? 
This is a topic which is currently under investigation within veterinary medicine. Unfortunately, the duration of immunity for each vaccine is not currently known.

While pet owners can have blood tests done on their pets to assess the pet's antibody level, this does not test the level of immunity currently provided by the pet's cell mediated immune system. Until more is known about the duration of immunity, the frequency and type of vaccines administered will vary. Talk to your veterinarian about the risk of viral and bacterial diseases in your area, and the need for one, two or three year vaccines. 

When considering what is best for you pet, please remember that pets age faster than people. Pets can't talk, and because "survival of the fittest" meant that only the healthy and strong survived in the wild, animals will try to hide any evidence of illness as long as possible. This means that there may not be any outward signs that your pet is ill until the disease is quite advanced. 

That's why, in addition to having regular vaccinations, it is extremely important that your pet has an annual physical examination. By performing a yearly physical examination, your veterinarian can detect early signs of organ dysfunction and illness. With early diagnosis comes early treatment. Early treatment in turn leads to an increased life span and an improved quality of life for your pet. 

These Questions and Answers are from The Ontario Veteriniary Medical Association
Are vaccinations really necessary? 
Yes. Vaccinations help protect your pet from a number of potentially serious and even fatal diseases, such as Rabies. Not only that, vaccinations cost considerably less than the treatments available for the diseases pets are normally vaccinated against. Every pet should be vaccinated - even indoor dogs and cats can be exposed to a rabid bat. 

How do vaccinations work? 
Vaccines contain viruses or bacteria that have been modified so that they will not cause disease. When an animal is vaccinated, it stimulates two parts of the animal's immune system. One is the production of antibodies, the other is the stimulation of cell mediated immunity, which, in combination, mount a response against the bacteria or virus in question. If the dog or cat is later exposed to that disease, the two parts of the immune system will react quickly to destroy the disease-causing agent. 

Why does my pet need regular booster vaccinations for the same disease? 
The protection provided by a vaccine gradually declines over time. Your pet needs regular "booster" vaccinations to ensure ongoing immunity from disease. 

Are vaccinations 100% safe and effective? 
Although your veterinarian cannot guarantee that a vaccine will fully protect an animal against a given disease, vaccinations have proven to be the simplest, safest and most effective means of preventing a number of diseases in pets. 

It is important to administer vaccines only to healthy animals. If the animal is already suffering from an illness, or is receiving certain drugs, its immune system may not be able to respond to the vaccine. For that reason, prior to vaccinating your pet, your veterinarian will ask you about your pet's medical history and perform a complete physical examination. 

Puppies and kittens require a series of vaccinations during their first four months of life. Nursing pups and kittens receive antibodies from their mother's milk (maternal antibodies) which protect them from disease during the first months of life. These same antibodies can prevent a vaccine from being totally effective. Consequently, as maternal antibodies decrease, your veterinarian will give your pet a series of vaccines spread over a period of 6 to 16 weeks of age, to provide your pet with the best possible protection. 

It is very important that you follow the vaccination schedule provided by your veterinarian. Missing a vaccine booster or being more than a few days late could put your pet at risk of contracting disease. 

Puppies and kittens should not be exposed to unvaccinated dogs and cats, sick dogs and cats, or places where dogs and cats roam (public parks etc.) until they have completed their puppy or kitten series of vaccinations. 

Despite your veterinarian's efforts to design a safe vaccination protocol for every pet, vaccine reactions can and do occur. Thankfully, they are not common. Like a drug, a vaccine is capable of causing an adverse reaction. Some of these reactions are mild (some discomfort at the injection site, lethargy or loss of appetite for a day or so). Some of these reactions are more severe (allergic reaction, immunologic reactions). If your pet has reacted to a vaccine in the past, inform your veterinarian. 

I've heard that some vaccinations cause cancer in cats. Is this true? 
Vaccination-induced sarcomas (a form of cancer) in cats are rare. They occur most commonly with Rabies and Feline Leukemia vaccinations. It is important for you and your veterinarian to decide if the risk of your cat being exposed to these diseases is greater than the potential risk of developing a vaccine-induced sarcoma. If the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risk of vaccination, then the vaccination should be given. If your cat develops a lump at the injection site, call your veterinarian. 

The Ontario Veteriniary Medical Association Link

April 22, 2002, 12:32AM
 Houston Cronicle Article
Pets don't need shots every year
Experts say annual vaccines waste money, can be risky
Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle Medical Writer
Debra Grierson leaves the veterinarian's office clutching Maddie and Beignet, her Yorkshire terriers, and a credit card receipt for nearly $400. That's the cost for the tiny dogs' annual exams, including heartworm checks, dental checks and a barrage of shots. "They're just like our children," said the Houston homemaker. "We would do anything, whatever they needed." 

What many pet owners don't know, researchers say, is that most yearly vaccines for dogs and cats are a waste of money -- and potentially deadly. Shots for the most important pet diseases last three to seven years, or longer, and annual shots put pets at greater risk of vaccine-related problems. 

The Texas Department of Health is holding public hearings to consider changing the yearly rabies shot requirement to once every three years. Thirty-three other states already have adopted a triennial rabies schedule. Texas A&M University's and most other veterinary schools now teach that most shots should be given every three years. 

"Veterinarians are charging customers $36 million a year for vaccinations that are not necessary," said Bob Rogers, a vet in Spring who adopted a reduced vaccine schedule. "Not only are these vaccines unnecessary, they're causing harm to pets." 

Just as humans don't need a measles shot every year, neither do dogs or cats need annual injections for illnesses such as parvo, distemper or kennel cough. Even rabies shots are effective for at least three years. 

The news has been slow to reach consumers, partly because few veterinarians outside academic settings are embracing the concept. Vaccine makers haven't done the studies needed to change vaccine labels. Vets, who charge $30 to $60 for yearly shots, are loath to defy vaccine label instructions and lose an important source of revenue. In addition, they worry their patients won't fare as well without yearly exams. 

"I know some vets feel threatened because they think, `People won't come back to my office if I don't have the vaccine as a carrot,' " said Alice Wolf, a professor of small-animal medicine at Texas A&M and an advocate of reduced vaccinations. "A yearly exam is very important." 

The movement to extend vaccine intervals is gaining ground because of growing evidence that vaccines themselves can trigger a fatal cancer in cats and a deadly blood disorder in dogs. 

Rogers conducts public seminars on the subject with evangelical zeal but thus far has been unsuccessful in persuading the Texas Veterinary Medical Association to adopt a formal policy. 

"I'm asking the Texas attorney general's office if this is theft by deception," said Rogers, whose Critter Fixer practice won an ethics award from the Better Business Bureau in 2000. "They just keep coming out with more vaccines that are unnecessary and don't work. Professors give seminars, and nobody comes and nobody changes." 

When rabies shots became common for pets in the 1950s, no one questioned the value of annual vaccination. Distemper, which kills 50 percent of victims, could be warded off with a shot. Parvovirus, which kills swiftly and gruesomely by causing a toxic proliferation of bacteria in the digestive system, was vanquished with a vaccine. Over the years, more and more shots were added to the schedule, preventing costly and potentially deadly disease in furry family members. 

Then animal doctors began noticing something ominous: rare instances of cancer in normal, healthy cats and an unusual immune reaction in dogs. The shots apparently caused feline fibrosarcoma, a grotesque tumor at the site of the shot, which is fatal if not discovered early and cut out completely. Dogs developed a vaccine-related disease in which the dog's body rejects its own blood. 

"That really caused people to ask the question, `If we can cause that kind of harm with a vaccine ... are we vaccinating too much?' " said Ronald Schultz, a veterinary immunologist at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. "As you get more and more (vaccines), the possibility that a vaccine is going to cause an adverse event increases quite a bit." 

Less frequent vaccines could reduce that risk, Schultz reasoned. Having observed that humans got lifetime immunity from most of their childhood vaccines, Schultz applied the same logic to dogs. He vaccinated them for rabies, parvo, kennel cough and distemper and then exposed them to the disease-causing organisms after three, five and seven years. The animals remained healthy, validating his hunch. 

He continued his experiment by measuring antibody levels in the dogs' blood nine and 15 years after vaccination. He found the levels sufficient to prevent disease. 

Fredric Scott, professor emeritus at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, 
obtained similar results comparing 15 vaccinated cats with 17 nonvaccinated cats. 
He found the cats' immunity lasted 7.5 years after vaccination. In 1998, the American 
Association of Feline Practitioners published guidelines based on Scott's work, 
recommending vaccines every three years. 

"The feeling of the AAFP is, cats that receive the vaccines every three years are as protected from those infections as they would be if they were vaccinated every year," said James Richards, director of the Feline Health Center at Cornell. "I'm one of many people who believe the evidence is really compelling." 

Texas A&M's Wolf said the three-year recommendation "is probably just as arbitrary as anything else," and nothing more than a "happy medium" between vaccine makers' recommendations and the findings by Schultz and Scott aimed at reducing vaccine-related problems. 

But many vets are uncomfortable making a drastic change in practice without data from large-scale studies to back them up. There is no animal equivalent of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which monitors outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease in people, thus keeping tabs on a vaccine's effectiveness. 

Federal authorities require vaccine makers to show only that a vaccine is effective for a reasonable amount of time, usually one year. Richards notes that studies to get a feline vaccine licensed in the first place are typically quite small, involving 25 to 30 cats at most. 

There is no federal requirement to show a vaccine's maximum duration of effectiveness. Arne Zislin, a veterinarian with Fort Dodge Animal Health, the largest animal vaccine maker in the world, said such studies would be expensive and possibly inhumane, requiring hundreds of animals, some of them kept in isolation for up to five years. 

"I don't think anyone with consideration for animals would really want to go through that process," said Zislin, another vet who believes current data are insufficient to support an extended schedule. 

Diane Wilkie, veterinarian at Rice Village Animal Hospital, said she tells pet owners that vaccines appear to last longer than a year, but her office hasn't officially changed its protocol yet. She said 20 percent to 30 percent of her cat patients are on the extended schedule. 

"It's kind of a hard situation. The manufacturers still recommend a year, but they're the manufacturers," Wilkie said. "It's hard to change a whole professional mentality -- although I do think it will change." 

In Houston, yearly pet examinations typically cost $50 to $135, with shots making up one-third to half of the expense. A dental check, heartworm test, fecal check and overall physical are usually included in the price. Without the shots, vets could expect to lose a chunk of that fee. 

But an increasing number of vets are emphasizing other services, such as surgery. Wolf said savings on vaccines might prompt pet owners to get their pets' teeth cleaned instead. An in-house test to check antibody levels is in development. 

"I definitely think there's a profit issue in there; don't get me wrong," Wilkie said. "(But) people are willing to spend money on their pets for diseases. Although vaccines are part of the profit, they aren't that big a part. We just did a $700 knee surgery." 
Vaccination findings 
Veterinary research challenges the notion that pets need to be vaccinated every 12 months. 
Some of the findings: 

Dog vaccines/Minimum duration of immunity 
· Canine rabies 3 years 
· Canine parainfluenza 3 years 
· Canine distemper (Onderstepoort strain) 5 years 
· Canine distemper (Rockborn strain) 7 years 
· Canine adenovirus (kennel cough) 7 years 
· Canine parvovirus 7 years 

Cat vaccines/Minimum duration of immunity 
· Cat rabies 3 years 
· Feline panleukopenia virus 6 years 
· Feline herpesvirus 5 or 6 years 
· Feline calicivirus 3 years 

Recommendations for dogs 
· Parvovirus, adenovirus, parainfluenza, distemper: Following initial puppy shots, provide booster one year later, and every three years thereafter. 
· Rabies: At 16 weeks of age, thereafter as required by law. 
· Bordatella: Use prior to boarding; may be repeated up to six times a year. 
· Coronavirus: Not recommended in private homes. Prior to boarding, may be given to dogs 8 weeks or older, and repeated every six months. 
· Lyme: Not recommended. 
· Giardia: Not recommended. 

Recommendations for cats 
· Panleukopenia, herpesvirus (rhinotracheitis), calicivirus: Following initial kitten shots, provide booster one year later and every three years thereafter. 
· Rabies: At 8 weeks of age, thereafter as required by law. 
· Feline leukemia: Use only in high-risk cats. Best protection is two vaccines prior to 12 weeks of age, with boosters repeated annually. 
· Bordatella: Use prior to boarding. 
· Feline infectious peritonitis: Not recommended. 
· Chlamydia: Not recommended. 
· Ringworm: May be used during an outbreak in a home. 

Sources: Ronald Schultz, University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine; 
Fredric Scott, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine; 
Colorado State University;
University of California-Davis Center for Companion Animal Health. 

From Dr. Jennifer Fry
Tue, 10 Dec 2002 
First and foremost, vaccinations are designed to give to healthy animals.
Everyone's definition of "healthy" will certainly be different. 
Some may consider diabetics, those with Cushing's, Thyroid, Allergies, etc. conditions NOT healthy,
and therefore, should not have vaccines because you are indeed stimulating an already weakened 
or overstimulated immune system.  Yes, I do vaccinate diabetics and those with other diseases if 
they are at that time stable and well regulated in regards to their medications and disease-state. 
And there are patients that I also say we'll just forget it for now.  If an animal has a severe reaction 
or vaccine-associated sarcoma or some serious illness, I do not vaccinate.  Indoor animals can still 
have diseases brought into the house by the owners so there is still a concern there. 
When an animal is very young or very old, their immune system is weaker and thus more 
likely to pick up diseases that we vaccinate against.  I had one 15-year-old dog who had not 
been vaccinated in several years actually get Parvovirus.  And I have had a lot of 8-16 week old
puppies get Parvovirus because they were not vaccinated and they DIED from a totally preventable
disease!!!  Since vaccines have been around we do not see as many cases of Parvovirus and rarely 
ever a case of Distemper.  You will have those who say, since we vaccinate we see a lot more disease.
 But other things come into play with is a big one as well as genetics and living 
enviroment and don't forget, animals are living longer these days.  So you can't blame everything
on vaccines!  I do see a lot of sick animals (middle-aged) who come in who were never at the vet 
and obviously vaccine-associated disease is not an issue there, so it must be genetics, diet, etc.

But the fact remains that the vaccine labels are only good for one-year of protection...whether it
lasts longer than that remains to be seen.  Vaccine companies must do studies to prove that their
vaccine has protection for that entire year...beyond that, they don't have to do studies and 
economically they aren't going to because they will sell less vaccine.  My dilemma comes when 
the vaccine manufacturer tells me that the vaccine needs to be boostered every year to ensure 
proper protection while other people say no, no, you can do them every 3 years.  Who do I believe? 
In an ideal world, vaccine titers would be checked yearly after the first yearly boosters and then the 
vaccine given when the protection level is not sufficient.  However, keep in mind protective titer levels 
are arbitrary and may be different for each pet based on what type of viral challenge they encounter. 
So now what happens if I tell a client yes your pet is protected according to the titer and the pet gets 
Distemper????  Plus each animal's (and person's) immune system will respond differently to a vaccine.
 When I was in vet school, we had to get a series of 3 rabies vaccines.  After the series, our titers were 
checked.  Several of my classmates had a ZERO titer after 3 vaccines.  And this can happen in pets as 
well, so just assuming that the vaccines are giving a sufficient titer is not good either. 
If you are going to skip vaccines, at least get a titer
to check that there are antibiodies in the blood!! 
Morevover, you have the money issue....vaccine titers (for distemper and parvo only) cost anywhere 
from $75-100 whereas the vaccine costs $15-20.  Plus there are other diseases that we vaccinate 
against such as Influenza, Bordetella, Hepatitis, Letospirosis, Lyme, etc.  This year I skipped my cats' 
Distemper (FVRCP) vaccine and am going to do vaccine titers...they are 8 years old, indoor only, 
and have received vaccines every year for 7 years, so I am sure they have a fairly good titer, but 
the lab will tell me that for sure.  There is a lot of controversy surrounding this area and it is not cut 
and dry. Rabies vaccine is required by law here so there's not much discussion there.  I give the client 
the options and they decide...most just vaccinate.    It is a bit of a gamble either way you go because
there are always positives and negatives.   Your pet's health is in your hands and you must be 
their advocate.  But realize your vet is trained and is there to help you.  I feel much more 
strongly about yearly physical examinations than vaccines, and therefore, really dislike vaccine clinics...
yes they are cheap but you get what you pay for....a shot, no discussion about healthcare, prevention
of disease, etc.  If you decide NOT to vaccinate, at least take your pet in for check-ups. 

Dr. Jennifer L. Fry
Antietam Valley Animal Hospital

More articles by Dr. Jen can be found at this url
 Dr. Jennifer Fry

 AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents' Report on Cat and Dog Vaccines
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.

The Vaccination Conundrum - New Protocols for Cats

The above link gives answers to these questions
BUT remember whoever writes the article is going to look for information
to agree with their way of thinking!!
How Do Vaccines Work, and Which are Necessary?
How do Vaccines Protect my Cat?
Core Vaccines:  and recommended re vaccination schedule

In addition there are good links at the About Website!

Dr. Jean Dodds' Recommended Vaccination Schedule

added on July 7, 2008



Important Questions 1 to 11 to ask yourself concerning Vaccinations 
Taken from  Introductions to Vaccinations
1:  Is your pet an "indoors-only" pet, such as an elderly dog or a cat? 
2:  Is your pet perfectly healthy? i.e. no fleas, no yucky ears, no bouts of diarrhea and/or vomiting, no yucky teeth or breath, etc. 
3:  What diseases are prevalent in your area? Lyme disease isn't everywhere in the U.S. yet. 
4:  Does your animals come in contact with many different animals and places on a regular basis - like going to dog shows or parks? 
5:  Do you board your animal in a kennel when leaving town? 
6:  What vaccinations are required BY LAW in your town? Usually, it is rabies only. 
7:  Does your vet carry killed or modified live vaccines?
8:  Does your vet carry or can he/she get intranasal vaccines? Rabies is the only vaccine that isn't available in intranasal form. 
9:  Is your pet pregnant? 
10: When was the date of the last booster given? 
11: What sort of shot record does the breeder provide? 

Important additional questions are:
12: Does your pet suffer from an immune oriented disease such as diabetes, asthma etc?
13: Have you noticed an adverse effect in the past after yearly vaccinations?
14: Are you and your vet familiar with the new guidelines recommended by Cornell University on annual vaccinations?

If you would like to contribute an article to this page or have found a link that you feel should be added please email it to Judy Dick

Important Links

 Introduction to Vaccinations


I am not a veterinarian.
This information should not take the place of regular care
by your veterinarian nor should it replace your
veterinarian's own advice.