Happy New Year!  For 2015, we are updating our clinic vaccine protocols. 

As many of you may have seen or heard, many veterinary clinics have established every 3 year DA2PP (Distemper-Parvo-Adenovirus) vaccines for dogs, and every 3 year FDV (feline distemper virus) for cats.  This protocol for dog and cat vaccines has been out for a few years, but All Creatures elected to wait until more research was provided to support this new idea.  Recently, additional research has been published to support DA2PP and FDV providing protective immunity for 3 years in your adult pet.  We are happy to now incorporate 3 year DA2PP and FDV into your adult pet’s preventative vaccine protocols. 

For this blog posting, we will mostly discuss dog vaccines.  In 2 weeks, we will discuss cat vaccines. 

What does this mean for your pet?

This means that your pet will receive a DA2PP or FDV every 3 years AFTER his/her yearly booster at 1-1 ½ years of age.  These vaccines have been modified over the years to be very protective and safe to stimulate your pet’s immune system for 3 years.  We plan on transitioning your pet to the protocol this year once we have provided a DA2PP or FDV booster and annual exam in 2015. 

For example: Fluffy is a 5 year old dog due for her annual exam and DA2PP booster.  We want to see Fluffy this year for her annual exam and to update her DA2PP.  Following this exam in 2015, Fluffy will STILL need an annual exam every year, but the DA2PP will not be due again until 2018.

Why are vaccines important?

Watch this great video on why vaccines are important.  This video was produced by our governing and national organization, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).


Why does my adult pet still need an annual exam?

Every pet, whether young or old, needs a yearly exam.  Annual examinations are important for early disease detection and are required to both legally and practically maintain the Veterinarian-Client-Patient (V-C-P) relationship. It is common knowledge that dogs and cats age faster than humans. A two-year-old dog is about equivalent to a twenty-year-old human and for each year after 2, the dog ages about 4 to 6 years (depending on breed) for every one human year. Due to this rapid aging it is important to have your pet’s physical exam performed at least yearly (imagine only going to the doctor every 4 years).  In fact, semi-annual examinations are recommended for senior dogs and cats as they age at a much more rapid rate during this life-stage. 

Annual examinations are also necessary for animals with chronic conditions, especially if they are on medications.  In order for your veterinarian to legally dispense any prescription medications (ex. antibiotics, anti-seizure medication, anti-inflammatories, thyroid medication, etc) the V-C-P relationship must be maintained.  This is maintained via an annual exam of your pet.

What do we look for during an annual exam?  How does this benefit my pet?

Regular exams allow veterinarians to identify and address conditions such as weight gain, coat quality, masses/tumors, allergies, chronic diarrhea or constipation, hypothyroidism, arthritis, kidney disease, and dental disease just to name a few. When addressed early, many conditions have a greater chance of responding to treatment allowing for a better quality of life for your dog.  Identifying and treating health conditions early has proven to increase longevity and maintain your pet’s quality of life. 

What is the protocol for my puppy for DA2PP vaccines?  Why do they need so many?

This is a great question!  Puppy vaccines are EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to stimulate your pet’s immune system to produce antibodies (the “good guys”) to fight the viral antigens (the “badness”) with distemper, parvovirus, and adenovirus.  Timing is KEY to these early vaccines and here is why:

When puppies are born, their immune systems are weak. Puppies obtain protection from their mother through the consumption of “mother’s first milk” (colostrum). These antibodies, known as “maternal antibodies,” will help protect the puppy for the first few weeks of life. As the maternal antibodies start to dwindle, the puppy’s immune system begins to respond to infectious agents within its environment.   Unfortunately, there is no diagnostic way to measure the levels, the effectiveness, or the duration of the maternal antibodies for her puppies.  This means that the maternal antibodies may only last the puppy 8 weeks, or up to 17 weeks.   Because of this, we recommend vaccinating puppies at:

  • 8 weeks, 11 weeks, 14 weeks, and 17 weeks of age to ensure adequate protection and immune system development.
  • Vaccination of puppies prior to 8 weeks of age may have no benefit due to adequate maternal antibodies from the mother.

What if your puppy is older than 8-12 weeks and has not received any vaccines yet?

Your puppy will likely be okay and we will start the puppy series at that point in time and continue to 20 weeks of age.  If your puppy is older than 20 weeks of age, we recommend 2 DA2PP vaccines 3-4 weeks apart to provide adequate protection. 

What about vaccines after the puppy shots?

Your dog will need a 1 year booster of the DA2PP at 1-1 ½ years of age depending on when the last puppy vaccine was administered.  This is to ensure that your pet has an appropriate immune response when exposed to these infections.

What about other vaccines?

RABIES – Rabies has been okay to administer every 3 years in Alaska for some time.  Rabies must be given to your pet between 12 weeks and 6 months of age, and then administered as a Rabies booster at 1-1 ½ years of age (for the same reasons as listed above for the DA2PP).  After this booster, your pet will then be placed on a 3 year protocol.  However, if you do not get the 1 year booster during the appropriate time interval or go beyond the 3 year interval, by law, we must start over with a 1 year protocol for your pet’s Rabies vaccine.  Rabies is REQUIRED BY LAW.   Unless your pet is sick or has extenuating circumstances, every pet must be vaccinated for Rabies at our clinic.    Additionally, if you travel with your pet to the lower 48, your pet may be required to have Rabies administered yearly due to increased risk and exposure from raccoons, skunks, bats, etc. 

BORDATELLA – Bordatella is often known as the “Kennel Cough” vaccine.  Bordatella is one bacterial component that we can vaccinate your pet for in the “Kennel Cough” complex.  It is recommended to be administered yearly to maintain appropriate protection.   Bordatella is not required, but strongly recommended for any dogs who participate in “at risk” activities.  These activities include: hiking, visiting dog parks, boarding/kenneling, grooming, puppy daycare, traveling, and obedience/agility classes. 

In summary:

  • Annual Examinations to monitor for disease/illness.
  • DA2PP vaccine starting at 8 weeks and ideally boostered every 3 weeks until the puppy is at least 16-20 weeks of age. Booster 1 year later and then 3 years thereafter.
  • Rabies vaccine can be administered between 12 weeks and 6 months of age. Booster 1 year later and then 3 years thereafter for the State of Alaska.
  • Bordetella oral vaccine should be administered once yearly (after 12 weeks of age for puppies), and then once a year thereafter to maintain protection.


If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.  We appreciate your business and look forward to continue to provide quality care and services for you and your pet.  We hope to see you in 2015!