In recent years, vaccination protocols for pets have come under scrutiny. Some feel vaccines are overused, but there is no definitive consensus on this matter. This is perhaps more controversial in cats than in dogs due to the phenomenon commonly referred to as vaccine associated feline sarcomas. This terms refers to the formation of a cancerous tumor, called a sarcoma, at vaccination sites.
The incidence of this phenomenon, and even its very existence, is controversial. Some very recent reports indicate that they may not be related to vaccines at all, but to any injection, of which vaccines are certainly the most commonly administered. Until all the data is in, which may take years, vaccine protocols for cats will remain controversial. uvma strives to keep current on the controversy and currently recommends following the manufacturers' recommendations, as FDA approved, for feline vaccinations. For a discussion of feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus vaccination, please see the section above.
Uvma recommends that all kittens be vaccinated beginning at seven weeks for feline viral rhinotracheitis, calici virus, and panleukopenia virus. This combination vaccine is repeated monthly until approximately sixteen weeks of age. This vaccine is then given annually as a booster.
Dogs and cats is best to be vaccinated against rabies, a fatal viral disease that is tranmissible to people. Most animals requires vaccination at three months of age. The first rabies vaccination administered to a pet expires in one year, regardless of the age at which it is given. All subsequent rabies vaccinations expire in three years. State law requires that rabies vaccinations be administered by a licensed veterinarian or a licensed veterinary technician.
Rabies vaccines administered to animals by breeders or private owners are not legally recognized. Unvaccinated animals that are exposed to known rabid animals are sometimes required to be euthanized. If not euthanized, they are subject to extended quarantine periods compared to properly vaccinated animals. Animals without proof of rabies vaccination by a veterinarian are considered unvaccinated. Keeping pets up-to-date on rabies vaccination is a very important part of pet ownership.