← home
All

Updated Vaccine Recommendations

In response to recent vaccine research regarding puppies and kittens younger than 12 months of age, the Dr. Treat team has updated our first-year vaccine protocol to ensure reliable long-lasting protection against infectious—often life-threatening—diseases.

Dr Treat
Updated Vaccine Recommendations

Key takeaway

As a pet owner, you make a lot of veterinary care decisions, and our Dr. Treat team always has your back by providing our personalized approach. We consider your pet’s individual needs—including their health, lifestyle, and exposure-risks—to help you choose their best health care options today and tomorrow. By keeping current on all vaccine research data, we ensure your pet remains protected from infectious diseases.

Y
our puppy’s or kitten’s first year is full of new experiences—but illness should not be one of them

Frequent flyers

The puppy and kitten vaccine series

The numerous puppy and kitten vaccine visits may give you a sense of déjà vu—every time you turn around, you are bringing your young pet to Dr. Treat for another vaccine. But this seemingly redundant protocol is extremely important to your pet’s health.

Mothers transfer immune antibodies—passive immunity—to their newborn puppies and kittens. This immunity is robust, but temporary, typically fading between 8 to 12 weeks of age, making the puppy or kitten vulnerable to deadly viruses and diseases.

Using a harmless disease particle to establish an immune memory and an antibody response, core vaccines train a young pet’s immune system. However, if your pet’s passive immunity is still strong, vaccines are ineffective, and without extensive blood tests, your veterinarian cannot determine precisely when your puppy’s or kitten’s passive immunity has completely faded.

To ensure your pet has appropriate protection from infectious diseases, and to avoid immunity gaps, veterinarians follow a blanket approach—vaccinating puppies and kittens at 6 to 8 weeks of age, and continuing every 2 to 4 weeks until they reach 16 weeks. After the first vaccine series, the traditional veterinary medicine approach has been to recommend boosting pets’ original vaccines at the 12-month appointment.

Outliers

Initial vaccines do not protect some young pets

According to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) vaccination guidelines, despite receiving the recommended vaccination protocol, some puppies and kittens fail to achieve vaccine-induced immunity, leaving some adolescent pets susceptible to deadly diseases—including canine parvovirus and feline panleukopenia (i.e., feline distemper)—until they receive their booster vaccines at 12 months of age. Prolonged passive immunity may be the cause for ineffective vaccines. In fact, one study has reported that kittens as old as 20 weeks still possessed maternally derived antibodies (MDAs), making null the vaccines they received during their first few months.

“Only allow your pet to interact with healthy vaccinated pets. The ideal scenario would be pets belonging to family and friends who you can confirm are fully up to date with preventive care. ”

Giving it another shot

Updated recommendations for adolescent pets

To help reduce pets’ potential immunity gap, the most current WSAVA vaccination guidelines recommend changing the traditional vaccine protocol, and administering a three-year core vaccine combination when a pet is 6 months of age, rather than administering booster vaccines at 12 months of age. The combination core FVRCP vaccination protects cats from feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR), feline calicivirus (FCV) and FPV panleukopenia (FPV). The combination core DA2PP vaccination protects dogs from canine distemper virus (CDV), adenovirus-2 (A2), parainfluenza (P), and parvovirus (P).

By administering this three-year core vaccine at the routine 6 month adolescent veterinary visit, we can effectively reduce the at-risk susceptibility gap and better prevent heartbreaking illnesses that affect our pets.

Getting social

Puppy and kitten socialization safety

Introducing your puppy or kitten to new people, places, and experiences decreases their fear-based behaviors, and helps them become a well-adjusted adult. If you are concerned that your vaccinated pet—especially your puppy—may  be vulnerable to disease, you may hesitate to socialize them. However, the WSAVA Vaccine Guidance Group and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior agree that pets’ socialization is essential for proper development, and encourage you to be vigilant about your pet’s socialization environment, recommending you take the following precautions:

  • Vaccinations — Ensure your pet has received their first core vaccine at least seven days before beginning socialization with any healthy vaccinated pet, and adhere to your pet’s vaccine schedule as directed.
  • Controlled exposure — Only allow your pet to interact with healthy vaccinated pets. The ideal scenario would be pets belonging to family and friends who you can confirm are fully up to date with preventive care. Have them come to your home where observed and controlled socialization can take place.
  • Safe environments — Only attend socialization classes that have vaccine requirements at private venues (i.e., no veterinary hospitals, pet stores, or dog parks). Verify that the private socialization facilities are routinely cleaned and disinfected between classes.

Although you have justified concerns regarding your pet’s early socialization, this training is vital to their lifelong wellbeing, and you should ensure you enroll your pet at the appropriate age. If you have questions about keeping your puppy or kitten safe from infectious disease during public outings, contact our Dr. Treat team.

Happy birthday!

Your pet’s annual exam

The annual exam is an important visit to the vet and involves more than just a celebration of your pets first birthday. At this visit, our veterinary professionals will be administering important vaccinations to keep your pet safe, complete infectious disease testing (i.e., heartworm and fecal testing for dogs, and viral and fecal testing for cats), and administer ongoing parasite prevention.

We will also discuss and recommend annual blood testing to ensure no abnormalities and obtain a baseline for your pet.  During this visit, your veterinary professionals will also evaluate your pet’s growth and development to ensure everything is on track and check in on your pet’s behavior. Behavioral challenges such as separation anxiety, resource guarding, and reactivity are common issues we deal with in young adult pets.

Personalized protection—Your pet’s lifelong care at Dr. Treat

As a pet owner, you make a lot of veterinary care decisions, and our Dr. Treat team always has your back by providing our personalized approach. We consider your pet’s individual needs—including their health, lifestyle, and exposure-risks—to help you choose their best health care options today and tomorrow. By keeping current on all vaccine research data, we ensure your pet remains protected from infectious diseases.

Written by:

Dr Treat

A veterinary practice that is reimagining the approach to the health and wellbeing of companion animals.

references
Read more on
Medical
View all

Want to stay updated?

If you’re interested in learning more or you’d like to read our in depth pet health & wellness guides, join our newsletter.

your preference:
Thank you!
Oops! Something went wrong