To our Clients
To all clients and friends of the BHVH:
We understand that there has been information circulating that questions the concept and value of vaccinating dogs and cats with absolutely necessary vaccines such as distemper and parvovirus every year. We do use and recommend the yearly form of these vaccines and would like to share our viewpoint and rationale.
Vaccinations that have been approved to be administered every 3 years instead of once a year are available. Initially, they seemed to be desirable because they are used less frequently and help avoid “over-vaccination”. However, to make them last longer, vaccine manufacturers have increased the vaccine virus load five-fold. This means five times the stimulation to the immune system. So then, they are actually being exposed to more vaccine virus with the 3 year vaccine than when they received the vaccine yearly. The USDA is in charge of vaccine approvals. In order to obtain USDA approval for the 3 year vaccine, 8 dogs were vaccinated and their antibody levels checked at 12 weeks after vaccination. This was all that was required to be allowed to claim 3 years of protection. No challenge studies were done, in which vaccinated dogs were exposed to live virus to see if they were truly immune. We feel that this is not adequate proof of protection and have chosen not to use 3 year vaccinations.
In regard to vaccines causing cancers in cats, that was a phenomenon that arose in the 1990’s when rabies vaccination became required for cats. Many theories have been advanced to explain the occurrence of cancer as a result of vaccination. None have been accepted as truth. But we have seen a tremendous reduction in vaccine induced cancer, as well as other serious vaccine reactions such as hemolytic anemia, and we believe that vaccine technology has improved and significantly reduced risk of any serious reaction to current vaccines.
Many people were strongly influenced by a human medical report in the 1990’s that childhood vaccinations caused autism in children. How scary is that? But it was proven completely false, and the physician who wrote the fabricated results has admitted he lied, recanted, and is not able to practice anymore. Yet, people are still influenced by his lie. This has spilled over into the thinking of veterinary clients, causing worry about bad things happening from vaccination, and causing bad decisions about withholding vaccines.
Having lived and practiced veterinary medicine during the parvovirus outbreak of the 1980’s when there was no vaccine and a dog’s chances of dying in spite of treatment was 50:50, having seen the devastation in our raccoon and fox populations by a rabies epidemic in the early 1990’s and the required euthanasia of many animals because there was no wildlife vaccine, working to save Lyme and Leptospirosis-infected pets who have not been vaccinated, knowing that their infections and deaths could have been prevented, these life experiences have provided real and personal proof of the value and protection provided by vaccinations.
Please be assured that we are constantly surveying scientific studies so that we only offer the safest and most effective vaccines to the pets we all love so much.
Regarding Yearly Vaccinations:
Controversy Exists about how to provide the best protection you can and still create the least risk for an adverse vaccination reaction. On the internet, in the papers, from breeders, friends, trainers, groomers, you may obtain an absolutely certain opinion that may be true, partially true, or completely wrong. Please ask us your questions and voice your concerns to us. We are the ones who care the most about you getting the best information. We constantly seek out the newest reliable information to see if changes in our protocols are warranted.
Our Vaccination Policy:
We do not administer vaccines except as a medical procedure that we feel is properly indicated based on the age, risk of exposure, health status, past vaccine history, and intended life- style of your pet. We recommend yearly physical examinations for every pet, and we can discuss the appropriateness of vaccination at those times. There are antibody titer tests that can be run to know weather your pet is properly protected or not. 25% of those we have tested do not have adequate protection and require vaccination booster, even though some experts have said all pets are protected many years longer.
For the Future:
There are new vaccines that have been granted 3-year duration by the FDA, but they contain 5 times the regular amount of viral particles, so we are currently waiting to see if they are safe over a long period of time as the ones we currently use. As information becomes available, as vaccine companies develop improvements in their produces, as we understand the immune system and vaccination reactions better, we may recommend less frequent vaccinations, or individually created protocols for each pet. But for now, we choose the safest vaccines available, which routinely provide the highest level of protection, with the least likelihood for vaccine reaction, and we recommend yearly revaccination for most pets, except for rabies which is every 3 years.
Burnt Hills Veterinary Hospital Feline Vaccination Schedule.
Many diseases are currently prevented through vaccination. A schedule prepared by your veterinarian can greatly contribute to good health and a longer life span for your cat. Below are the most important diseases for which vaccines are currently available.
Feline Panleukopenia (feline distemper) is among the most widespread of all cat diseases and is extremely contagious. Characterized by fever, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea, feline panleukopenia causes high death loss, particularly among kittens. Even older cats that recover from panleukopenia may never totally regain their health.
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR) is a highly contagious respiratory disease characterized by sneezing, loss of appetite, fever, and eye inflammation. As the disease progresses a discharge is noticeable from both nose and eyes. Although few adult cats die from FVR the death rate among kittens can range from 50 to 60 percent. Feline viral rhinotracheitis often occurs simultaneously with feline calicvirus infection.This herpes virus of cats can also cause ocular, nasal and sinus infections that are chronic and recurrent.
Feline Calicvirus (FCV) is another serious feline respiratory infection ,often occurring simultaneously with feline viral rhinotracheitis. Signs of infection are similar to FVR (fever, loss of appetite, nasal discharge),but calicivirus-infected cats may also have ulcers on the tongue. Feline calcivirus most seriously affects kittens and debilitated cats. Calicivirus infection may pave the way for other viral or bacterial agents which cause pneumonia. It has also been associated with gum infections and inflammation.
The first 3 diseases are included in the FVRCP vaccine.
Rabies one of the worlds most publicized and feared disease is almost always fatal. Rabies virus attacks the brain and central nervous and is transmitted to humans chiefly through the bite of an infected animal. Cases of feline rabies have increased steadily over the past five years. Feline Pneumonitis A less common respiratory ailment in cats is caused by the organism Chlamydia psittaci. Except for catteries, we do not currently recommend this vaccine.
Feline Leukemia (Felv) is a viral disease that that can take several forms. Some cats have transient infections with few ill effects. Others have persistent infections varying in severity, some of which may be fatal over time by causing cancer or immune system malfunctions. Cats are most commonly exposed to feline leukemia virus though intimate contact with another infected cat. Thus the likelihood of infection is greater in multi-cat households or where cats are allowed to roam free. There is no relationship between feline leukemia and human leukemia.
We recommend testing all kittens and stray cats and vaccinating all outdoor cats for this disease.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV, Feline AIDS) is a serious cause of immune deficiency and death in cats. There is no relationship between feline AIDS and human AIDS. Although there is no available vaccine for this disease we currently recommend testing all kittens and stray cats.
We recommend the following vaccination schedule:
8-9 weeks: FVRCP first vaccine, Felv/FIV Test, Leukemia first vaccine (if going outside)
12 weeks: FVRCP second vaccine, Leukemia second vaccine(if going outside)
16 weeks: FVRCP third Vaccine & 1 Year Rabies
1 year & older: FVRCP yearly, Rabies 3 year, Leukemia vaccine yearly(if going outside)