There have been independent studies done to determine the longevity of protection our pets receive from vaccinations. Most studies are done by the drug companies that manufacture the vaccines, so their studies may be biased. The AAHA and AAFP ( American Animal Hospital Association & Association of American Feline Practitioners) have established guidelines for pet vaccines after reviewing years of independent studies regarding pet’s immune response to immunizations. Since 2004, the data produced substantiated that our pet’s immune system will hold titers of immunity up to 3 years for Distemper and Rabies!
In the studies, titers were performed which determined how protected the pet was when challenged with the virus or bacteria that causes the disease. With adult dogs and cats who have completed their puppy and kitten series vaccines and have received at least one annual booster their titers showed protection up to 3 years against Canine Distemper/Adenovirus/Parvovirus and Feline Rhinotracheitis/Panleukopenia! (Better known as the Dog Distemper vaccine and the Cat Distemper vaccine.)
When this data was released over 9 years ago, our hospital embraced the information and informed our clients about not over vaccinating their pets. The Merial Company was the first to get FDA approval to place the 3 year duration immunity on their vaccine labels, but since then other manufactures have followed suit.
Vaccines, such as Bordetella, Leptospirosis and lyme the studies revealed limited immunity, thus the recommendation of annual boosters still applies. In regard specifically, to Bordetella, pets who frequently board or get groomed are more likely to have their immunity challenged, so it is still best to booster against Bordetella twice a year.
Cats, on the other hand should be given vaccines sparingly since some cats have a genetic capability to form tumors from adjuvanted vaccines. Our hospital only uses non-adjuvanted vaccines for the safety of our feline patients. However, as stated above, once the cat has completed its kitten series and one adult booster, every 3 years for the Distemper vaccine will suffice for their protection.
Cat Rabies vaccines are still given yearly if they are the safe non-adjuvanted vaccine, though a new 3 year duration is available. Our hospital, at this time, is holding back in recommending this vaccine until more data is obtained. It is a very cost prohibitive vaccine, plus it was a limited study.
Vaccination clinics seldom do a thorough examination or discuss with the owner the necessary vaccinations. They push annual vaccines, which put your pet at unnecessary risk of over vaccinating! At PET AUTHORITY ANIMAL HOSPITAL we want our clients to be knowledgeable about the health care of their pets. Our Veterinarians will thoroughly examine your pet prior to any inoculation and discuss what vaccines your pet will need.
From the other side of the Exam table,
Dr. Gloria Williams