The information presented here is from individual group members and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of every member.
Q: How often should I vaccinate my dog or cat?
There are varying opinions on the question of whether to vaccinate or not, and if so, how often. There are an increasing number of studies, some of which are ongoing, which show that if an animal is given the regular puppy or kitten vaccinations and then a booster after one year, that most animals will develop immunity which lasts many years.
In the USA there are recommendations published for vaccine guidelines in dogs and the American Association of Feline Practitioners also publishes guidelines for vaccination of cats.
These guidelines generally recommend vaccination with core vaccines only unless there are specific reasons why other vaccines are needed, for example the prevalence of a disease such as leptospirosis in a certain geographic area.
Core vaccines are vaccines for those diseases which are life threatening and are generally considered to be canine parvovirus, canine distemper, and canine hepatitis viruses for dogs, and feline panleucopenia and feline rhinotracheitis/calici viruses in cats.
The South African Veterinary Association’s latest recommendation is for vaccination every third(3rd) year.
There is one other reason for vaccination and that is control of zoonoses, diseases which are spread to humans from animals. This is the reason that rabies vaccination is a legal requirement for dogs and cats. The provinces have different requirements for how often this must be done and you should check with your veterinarian if you need this information.
There is an increasing awareness that many repeated vaccinations may be linked to the occurrence of autoimmune diseases. Some breeds have been found to be more susceptible to these diseases than others and caution is advised when considering vaccination in these breeds. Your breeder or veterinarian will have information on the breeds which are most susceptible to these diseases.