Which Vaccines Should I Give My Cat or Dog?
By: Dr. Clayton Greenway, B.Sc., DVM | Nov 1, 2016
Dr. Clayton Greenway discusses vaccination in cats and dogs and provides information about the available vaccines to help those deciding on which vaccines are best for their pet. Topics covered in this video include the annual vaccination, vaccine guidelines, control of disease, booster shots, antibodies, titer testing, protective immunity, blood tests, rabies, distemper, parvovirus, DAPP, FVRCP, panleukopenia, calicivirus, bordetella bronchiseptica, leptospirosis, kennel cough, antibody studies, exposure to disease, risk of exposure, lifestyle and environmental factors, boarding, groomers and vaccine reactions.
Below we have a vaccination schedule for dogs and cats with a brief outline of each disease you can vaccinate against, why you would, the pros and cons of doing so, and details that will help you make the best decision about your pet’s vaccination program.
For the vaccination resource for dogs click here.
For the vaccination resource for cats click here.
I’m Dr. Clayton Greenway with healthcareforpets.com. Vaccination is a very contentious issue in the human and veterinary field. It seems that every client I meet has a different opinion on how safe and effective they are, how often they should be given, and whether they should be given at all.
So let’s go over a few key concepts about vaccinations. The first thing I want you to know is you should decide what vaccines your pet receives. Your veterinarian should provide you with the information to empower you to make that decision. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all vaccination plan. Every pet lives in a different home with different surroundings and travels to different places. When I traveled to Asia for example, I received a vaccine for hepatitis A and B but here in Toronto, Canada I don’t receive that vaccine because my risk of being exposed to those diseases is near zero and you should apply the same type of thinking for your pet. You have to assess the risk of exposure to that disease that your pet may have and if that risk exists, you can choose to vaccinate against it. You have to weigh the risk of getting that disease to the risk of potentially a side effect or the negative aspects of vaccination.
Let’s take an example, the vaccination plan I make up for a Chihuahua that lives in a condominium is going to be very different than the vaccination plan I make up for a Golden Retriever that lives near a ravine and may potentially interact with wildlife. You’ll want to change your plan based on whether you travel to a cottage or you’re going over a border to another country. You’ll also change your plan if you expect to board your pet in a facility where it’s regularly exposed to other dogs compared to if you have someone who stays at home to take care of your pet when you go away.
What’s most important is that you talk with your veterinarian about your pets lifestyle, including its expected travel to other locations and contact with other animals such as using a boarding facility, going to obedience classes, shows, and dog parks since these other aspects will impact their risk of being exposed to disease.
Keep in mind there may be some legal responsibilities where you live about vaccinations such as keeping your pet up-to-date with a rabies vaccine. In our vaccination program that you’ll find on the website, there’s a list of vaccines that are available for your pet. I’ve described each one, why you would give it and in plain language tried to help you decide if it’s one vaccine that you should be giving to your pet.
I don’t like to give a vaccine to myself, my children or my pet if I don’t have to but keep in mind that vaccines have saved more lives in human history than any other medical advancement but vaccines should be used judiciously and responsibly based on the risk of your pet encountering one of these diseases.
Please keep in mind that these diseases are under control because of the wide use of vaccination. It’s my opinion that these diseases would return if we didn’t use these vaccines. Please remember that vaccinating your pet is not just about protecting them, it’s about protecting the dog or cat that lives next door or down the street, somewhere else in the city or in your country. We need to have a social conscience about vaccinating and you need to be aware that vaccinating your pet, you’re also ensuring the protection of other animals in society.
Vaccines are described as core and non-core. The core vaccines are the ones that protect against deadly diseases that we still see commonly and they will be strongly recommended in your area. Non-core vaccines are the ones that you have a choice about, maybe more based on lifestyle or what your dog or cat may be exposed to so take a look at our vaccination program and you’ll be able to see these vaccines listed there, you’ll be able to go through and decide which ones are right for you and your pet.
No one should be telling you what vaccines to give, you should be working with your veterinarian to get information that empowers you to make the decision yourself. Please take a look at our other videos about vaccination, the different vaccines, titer testing and boostering, and risks of giving vaccinations. You can find out more here at healthcareforpets.com.
Disclaimer: healthcareforpets.com and its team of veterinarians and clinicians do not endorse any products, services, or recommended advice. All advice presented by our veterinarians, clinicians, tools, resources, etc is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian or other clinicians. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.