Reading about vaccinations for cats and dogs can be a bit confusing. Knowing when to vaccinate and how often is something that is widely disputed. As a pet owner, it’s important to make informed decisions regarding your pet’s health. Every cat and dog need to be vaccinated against the core diseases, but a proper vaccination program should have an end date. The goal is immunization, not a lifetime of regular vaccinations and booster shots.

How often should you vaccinate your cat and dog
After completing a vaccination program for the core diseases, perform an antibody titer test to find out if the vaccinations worked and your pet is immune.

Vaccination leads to immunization

Vaccinations are the road to total immunization. Once your pet is immunized, they no longer need to get vaccinations or further booster shots.

The core diseases that pets should be vaccinated for, with the hope of reaching immunization are:

These are the diseases that our cats and dogs are often exposed to, regardless of where they live, so vaccination is necessary. However, the problem comes when we blindly re-vaccinate year after year (or every three years as is often recommended) without testing to see if your pet is still at risk of acquiring one of the core diseases.

Antibody titer test to see if you pet is immune

When we give our pets a vaccination, the hope is to help them build up antibodies, rendering the animal immune to the disease. The Antibody Titer Test will give owners insight into the effectiveness of the vaccination program. This tests for antibodies and determines if the pet has reached lifetime immunity. Once your pet is immune, it will remain immune and does not need further vaccinations.

Understanding your pet will ensure a healthier life

Much like the debate about worming your pets, you need to make informed decisions about how to vaccinate your cats and dogs. Vaccinations are important, they are necessary. However, the goal should be immunization, and you won’t know if the vaccination program was successful until you perform an Antibody Titer Test.

The more informed you are about the health of your pet, the better equipped you are to make wise decisions about their health and happiness.

For more information on vaccination and immunization, check out this interview by Dr. Becker.