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Do senior pets need vaccinations?

March 10th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

I got asked this question today: “Does my senior dog still need vaccinations?”
My answer: “Yes! Sometimes even more so than the younger dog, since older pets’ immune systems are often not as robust and they are more prone to infections!”

Here is an article that explains it well:
http://www.vetstreet.com/dr-marty-becker/do-senior-dogs-and-cats-need-vaccinations

It was written by Dr. Marty Becker, a veterinarian who often appears on Good Morning America and other t.v. shows. He’s a well respected resource in our field. I’ve copied the nuts and bolts of the article below:

Why Vaccinations Are Important for Older Pets

In rare instances, a vaccinated animal doesn’t develop an immune response to the specific disease. My colleague Ronald Schultz, DVM, PhD, an immunology expert at the University of Wisconsin, says about 1 in 1,000 dogs won’t develop immunity to parvo, for example, and about 1 in 5,000 won’t develop immunity to distemper. Genetics play a key role in whether a pet responds to a vaccine and whether he develops an adverse reaction to it.

Another thing to consider is that a senior pet’s immune system is no longer at its strongest. Like so many other things, the immune system’s effectiveness diminishes with age. (The $5 term for this decline is immunosenescence.) A pet may be more at risk of infection in old age and less able to fight one off.

The type of vaccine is also a factor. While the core vaccines — parvo, distemper, adenovirus and most types of rabies vaccines — have been shown to be protective for a minimum of three years (and, in some cases, for seven or more years), noncore, or optional, vaccines for bacterial diseases such as bordetella or leptospirosis don’t provide long-term immunity and may need to be administered annually if your pet is at risk for those diseases. If these noncore vaccines are not given annually, immunity is lost. Dr. Schultz says pets who haven’t been vaccinated annually for these types of diseases should receive two doses of vaccine two to four weeks apart, just as they did when they received the initial vaccination.

  1. One Response to “Do senior pets need vaccinations?”

  2. By Vicky on May 14, 2017

    Thank you for writing this quality inooamrtifnal content. Your writing technique is impressive and enjoyable to read. You have many interesting points of view that give me pause to consider.

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