Client Questions Regarding Vaccine Policies

Q I know vaccines don’t cost that much, I can buy them in the feed store and give them myself.

The price you pay for a vaccine has little to do with the cost of the vaccine itself. You are paying for our knowledge in how and when to administer the vaccines. We understand which vaccine is effective for your pet . We must know the proper interval to give the vaccine (every week? month? six months?). We must know the proper method of administration (sub-cutaneous, intramuscular, intra-nasally). We must be sure it is not given intravenously or intra-dermal by mistake. We must be present if an allergic reaction happens so that emergency therapy can be administered. If the vaccine is administered wrongly or causes an infection or abscess, we are here to stand behind our work. We must know that the manufacturer is reputable and maintains good quality control and that the vaccine is correctly handled up to the time it is administered to insure effectiveness. Our professional reputation and knowledge is standing behind every vaccination given and that is what you are paying for!

Q I gave the vaccines myself and here are the labels that were on the vial.

We cannot accept this as a vaccination, as there is no control of the way the vaccine was handled (perhaps it got hot and inactivated) or the way the vaccine was reconstituted (mixing a live vaccine with a killed vaccine). The method of administration may not have been correct. The time of administration (If the dog had a fever or was stressed by disease, poor nutrition or parasites, a good immunity might not develop). The owner is not able to be responsible for inappropriate vaccination, should a mishap occur. If a veterinarian administered the vaccine then his reputation stands behind it. The other animals in this facility cannot be put at the risk of infectious diseases due to the possibility of improper vaccination.

Q If all the other pets in here are vaccinated why do I have to vaccinate my dog?

All the pets in this facility are vaccinated but, the vaccine may have just been given today. A vaccine takes ten to fourteen days to be effective and a contagious disease may still be transmitted to or from your pet.

Q My pet does not go outside and isn’t around other pets. I have not vaccinated him in several years and he is fine.

Vaccines are administered as a preventative measure and as such need to be given on a regular basis to be sure that it is effective. If your pet has not been vaccinated then he is surely open for a contagious disease. All it takes is a stressful period and the presence of a virus or bacteria and he may come down with a problem. Your pet is being placed in a room with a high concentration of pets that may transmit a disease. Therefore, vaccination is very important as we cannot take responsibility for a problem if it should arise from lack of vaccination. Your pet may be an immune carrier showing no clinical signs. We, therefore, cannot control the disease that your pet may have and pass to another pet.

Q My cat came in for a bath and now he is sneezing. He must have caught a cold at your clinic so you are responsible.

The virus that your cat has is an upper respiratory virus that is in the Herpes virus family. Herpes viruses are responsible for many human diseases such as fever blisters, shingles, and reproductive diseases. The herpes virus in question is called feline viral rhinotracheitis and causes sneezing, runny eyes and nose and is contagious. If your cat has ever had a cold before with the same signs then it is likely that the cat did not catch it here. The typical incubation period for a virus infection is usually more than one week. When signs show immediately after a stressful event then the virus must already reside in the body. The stress of the bath probably allowed the virus to gain another hold. This virus may never go away and any stressful period will cause the clinical signs to reappear. At the time of the sneezing the virus is contagious to other pets. If your child was taken to a reputable day care facility and caught a cold, would you hold them responsible for his doctor bills?

Q I just moved here from out of state. My doctor says that a Rabies vaccination is good for three years.

Some state laws state that a Rabies vaccination will be done yearly. This has little to do with how long the vaccine is effective. Certain vaccines are capable of producing a three year immunity, but not all of them. We use the “three year vaccine”. Rabies is very prevalent in some areas and yearly protection is a must to immunize the maximum number of pets.

Q My dog is pregnant, can I vaccinate her?

Pregnant animals are delicate. Vaccination should be avoided if possible. When vaccinations must be given as required for interstate travel, or in areas of high disease probability such as Parvo or Bordetella, then killed vaccines should be used. These vaccines will have little effect on the fetus. The Bitch should ideally be vaccinated at the time of breeding to be sure she passes good immunity to her puppies. Worming is also necessary and may be done with some medications during pregnancy, but again, it is better to do it before breeding. A proper diet is necessary for a dog that is pregnant, such as Science Diet Growth or Prescription Diet P/D®

Q My cat is an inside cat and therefore does not need feline leukemia testing and vaccination.

False! Feline leukemia is similar in transmission to A.I.D.S. virus of people. Your cat may be carrying the virus now from his mother, or from contacts he made prior to you having him. The disease has been transmitted through screen windows and through chance outings outside the house. People do not have a vaccine for A.I.D.S. yet, but we have one for cats. Testing is imperative prior to vaccination. Vaccination will protect your cat at times that he is boarding or grooming, or if he gets out of the house by accident. The transmission of the virus must be by close contact as in A.I.D.S. Close contact such as breeding, fighting, or scratching can transmit the virus. Also, the spay and neuter clinics that use the same surgical instruments on multiple cats may transmit this disease. Other clinics that use the same needles, syringes, IV fluids, IV tubing may transmit the disease.

Q My doctor at another clinic says that he has a vaccine that he can give my puppies that is half the price of your vaccines.

The important issue is immunization (creation of immunity) of the puppy to protect him against disease. Just because a puppy is given a shot (vaccine) does not mean that he is protected(immunized) against parvovirus or distemper. The vaccines we use have been shown to provide immunity to puppies and kittens in controlled trials. The maternal immunity will inactivate most vaccines given in the first six weeks of life. The first and subsequent doses vaccines are given to by-pass or over-ride this “mother’s” immunity. The distemper-measles vaccine uses human measles which is similar to canine distemper to by-pass the mother’s immunity. Other vaccines are given in a carefully timed manner to create the most effective protection available. You are buying immunization not just “shots”. You are buying our professional opinion and reputation, should the immunization fail or a reaction occur.

Q My dog has not been vaccinated for the diseases that you require such as Bordetella and coronavirus. My vet says the DHLP vaccine has the same stuff in it as Bordetella and that the coronavirus vaccine is no good.

The Bordetella vaccine that we give is an intranasal product, and recent evidence shows that the intranasal vaccine is superior to the injection. We have seen dogs with the injectable Bordetella vaccine contract kennel cough while boarding. We therefore, require the intranasal type of vaccine. The DHLP has parainfluenza virus vaccine in it which can cause kennel cough but it is not the only cause and it is probably not as effective given as an injection. The coronavirus is a major cause of diarrhea in all dogs, in adult dogs it is usually similar to the human “stomach virus” that may cause diarrhea in people for two or three days. The coronavirus vaccine will prevent this inconvenient messy problem and may save a visit to the vet. Puppies on the other hand may become severely dehydrated and if not treated could die if infected with coronavirus. Some veterinarians have a poor opinion of the corona vaccine because of a previous product vaccine that actually caused coronavirus in some dogs which caused a severe distaste for corona vaccine. The new vaccine is safe and does not have this problem.