New Vaccination Protocols

Please endure all of the questions that we ask each time that you call to schedule an appointment to have your animal vaccinated. We are attempting to assess the appropriate vaccination program for each individual patient. Routine questions commonly include: Do you show or board your pet? Is your cat indoor, outdoor, or both? Does your horse reside in a boarding stable? Do you plan to show your horse frequently this year?

The AVMA has recently changed the recommendations for “core” vaccines for each species. Recommendations for “noncore” vaccinations are dependent and vary with the possible risk of exposure in the animal environment.

The AVMA has also changed vaccine intervals for small animals and horses. “Core” vaccinations for equines include: Tetanus, Influenza, Eastern & Western Encephalitis (carried by mosquitos), Rabies (infectious to all animals, including humans), West Nile virus (carried by mosquitos), and Rhinopneumonitis. It is generally recommended that diseases carried by vectors (bugs) be given in the spring (E/W encephalitis, West Nile) as well as Rabies since spring and summer have a higher likelihood of exposure due to the time that animals are outside. Tetanus should be given annually as horses are one of the most susceptible species to this deadly disease. Flu/Rhino vaccinations should be given twice a year to horses that do not travel or have limited exposure to others. It is recommended that it be given quarterly to horses with more change of exposure (horses that show, travel frequently, or have a higher chance of exposure as in a larger boarding barn with frequent in and out movement of horses.)

“Noncore” vaccinations for horses include: Strangles, Potomac Horse Fever, and Botulism. These are given if the horse has a higher risk of exposure to these diseases.

This year Visiting Vet is recommending that whenever possible horses should have their spring vaccinations split into two visits. This will minimize that risk of a vaccination reaction by decreasing the number of vaccines given in a single visit. It will also allow us to better isolate which vaccination is causing a problem if your horse does have a reaction. Splitting the vaccination also allow the horses’ immune systems to mount a greater response to each individual vaccine when fewer are given at a single time.

“Core” vaccinations for cats include FVRCP and Rabies for indoor only cats. Outdoor cats should receive these vaccines as well as Feline Leukemia due to included level of exposure to this fatal disease. FIV and FIP vaccinations are also avaliable for cats. They are considered “noncore” vaccinations. Feline vaccines are either given annually or every three years dependent on the risk for exposure in the individual animal.

For dogs, the Distemper/Parvovirus vaccination is administered in an initial “puppy series”, before one year of age, and then every three years. Rabies is given initially as a one year vaccine in puppies over 4 months of age and then every three years thereafter. Leptospirosis should be given at least annually except in dogs with a history of a vaccination reaction. Bordetella (kennel cough) is given annually to dogs that are boarded, groomed, or have other high exposure potential. A Lyme’s disease vaccination is recommend for those animals with the potential for exposure to ticks that carry these diseases.

Finally, please remember that a fecal sample is an important part of all routine health examinations, including horses! All species should have a fecal egg count at least once a year to monitor for resistance to dewormers, subclinical infections, and overall health of your animal. Some parasites can cause disease and symptoms in humans!

If you have any questions on what the best protocol for your animal(s) is, please call the office.