Miramonte Veterinary Hospital
1766 Miramonte Ave, Mountain View 94040 650-962-8338
What vaccines are appropriate for your pet?
Accredited since 1996
more effective approach. Lyme disease vaccine is unproven against the many strains of the organism
that may cause the disease. Therefore, preventing ticks from attaching to your dog by using Frontline,
Revolution and a Preventic collar or pyrethrin-based flea spray is the effective method to prevent Lyme’s
disease. The safety and effectiveness of the FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) vaccine for cats is
uncertain. A Cornell study found that vaccinated cats may be more susceptible to FIP than non-
vaccinated cats. Also, rabies and feline leukemia vaccines in a very small number of cats have been
found to produce sarcomas (a malignant tumor). The adjuvants in these vaccines are thought to be the
culprits. Considering this risk, we only vaccinate with adjuvant-free rabies and feline leukemia vaccines
manufactured only by Merial. With cats in particular, the risk of exposure is important in determining
which vaccines are indicated. Indoor only cats, with no exposure to indoor/ outdoor cats, are not at risk
for feline leukemia or rabies viral infections.
Age and breed should be considered in the timing of vaccination and the type of vaccine given.
Antibodies given to a puppy by its mother in her colostrum can prevent effective immunization to a
parvovirus vaccine when given under 3-5 months of age. Also, veterinarians feel certain breeds of dogs
respond poorly to parvoviral vaccines and need puppy booster vaccines up to 5-6 months of age.
These are a few of the many controversial vaccine issues. To prevent needless and perhaps harmful
over-vaccination your veterinarian can advise you in choosing the vaccines and immunization frequency
appropriate for your pet. Vaccine brands do vary in effectiveness and safety. Of greatest concern is the
difference in ability to overcome maternal antibodies and therefore provide protective immunization at an
earlier age. With an adult, checking the vaccine titer (the antibody concentration produced by a
vaccine) may be more desirable than booster immunization especially if the pet has had vaccine
reactions in the past.
More important than annual vaccinations is annual physical examinations. A year is a long time in our
pets’ lifetime and many health problems such as dental disease and early kidney failure do not have
obvious symptoms. While your veterinarian is evaluating your pet you can use them as a resource for
your pet’s nutritional, behavioral and health care questions.