The Real Story On Vaccinating Pets
Recent media reports have done a wonderful job in totally confusing dog owners all over Australia. Reports suggest that dogs only need to be vaccinated every three years and more frequently than this is dangerous to our dogs and a needless cost for dog owners.
Greencross veterinary surgeons around Australia offer the best advice and recommendations based on what they would offer their own pets. They treat their patients as though they were their own. Our vets, and I would hope, most of my veterinary colleagues regard our clients like family; with strong and friendly relationships that are formed over many years. It is highly concerning that members of the media are attempting to paint the veterinary profession in some highly inscrutable light and damage the professional image and integrity of vets around Australia.
There is a new vaccine available against Canine Parvovirus, Canine Distemper and Canine Hepatitis (three potentially lethal diseases) that, as per the vaccine companies' research and instructions, may be administered on a triennial (three yearly) basis. Many of our Greencross Veterinarians are choosing to offer this to our dog owners as part of the vaccine program for our dogs across Australia. It is just as safe and it is not much cheaper than existing protocols used for the last 10 to 15 years by most vets around Australia.
The use of "triennial" vaccine or continuing with the "annual" vaccine for the prevention of canine parvovirus, hepatitis, and distemper is at the discretion of individual Greencross clinics. Vets in each practice decide their preferred vaccine protocol based on scientific evidence, team consensus and collaboration with pet owners.
Bordetella and parainfluenza vaccines to prevent Canine Cough Syndrome (sometimes referred to as Kennel Cough) or Dog Flu must still be given annually to be effective. It is a mandatory requirement by boarding kennels that dogs are vaccinated against Bordetella and Parainfluenza organisms. Therefore our dog patients will continue to be reminded to be vaccinated every year and will need to visit our practices every year.
The veterinary surgeon will review the case notes, and in collaboration with the pet owner, decide exactly which vaccine will be administered on a yearly basis. All pets must be examined thoroughly prior to any vaccine being administered. Protocols for dog vaccinations are chosen based on best care opinion of the prescribing veterinarians and not financial gain.
Until changes are made to existing vaccine company recommendations, product labeling will be strictly adhered to by Greencross Veterinarians. If the vaccine company label states that a vaccine should be administered annually, then this will be done unless a blood test (titre test) is done to confirm a dog carries enough immunity to prevent infection from disease.
Vaccine companies will guarantee their product if their guidelines for use and administration is strictly followed. "Off label use" of product may have serious health and medico-legal consequences.
Physiologically, pets age approximately seven times faster than humans. Greencross's philosophy is that pets should be examined at least twice each year looking for early signs of ill health and to ensure our patients have the best and latest pet care options.
Thorough history taking, owners observations and pet examinations will determine any concerns re cancerous, metabolic, arthritic, cardiac, dental, dermatological and any general ill-health conditions. Plus discussions about parasite prevention, best nutrition, and general Pet Care must occur regularly as pets cannot tell you how they feel.
Disease outbreaks of Canine Parvovirus occur on a regular basis throughout Australia, especially in Queensland and New South Wales. Canine Cough syndrome (Dog Flu) outbreaks occur every year throughout Australia. Greencross strongly recommends a vaccination program that safely protects our patients against Canine Parvovirus, Canine Distemper, Canine Hepatitis, Bordetella and Parainfluenza. Please contact your local Greencross vet to discuss your current and future vaccination program. In collaboration with you, they will recommend what they believe is the best for your pet.
Currently, in line with vaccine company recommendations, cats need to be vaccinated every year. Instead of daily or monthly heartworm medications, a separate ‘Once a Year' heartworm prevention is available as a convenient and safe means of preventing heartworm in dogs.
Costs of Vaccinations and Examinations
Greencross pricing for vaccinations, examinations and procedures varies across Australia depending on individual locations of our practices. As an indication consultations and physical examinations are approximately $50.00 to $58.00 per examination depending on the practice.
All pets must be thoroughly examined prior to a vaccine being administered. They must be physically healthy so their immune system responds to the vaccine.
The annual vaccine against Bordetella and Parainfluenza (Dog Flu organisms) cost approximately $16 per year.
The annual vaccine against canine parvovirus, hepatitis, and distemper costs approximately $17.00 per year. Total costs over a three year period using annual vaccines including associated examinations would be approximately $260.00.
Alternatively, the triennial vaccine against canine parvovirus, hepatitis, and distemper costs approximately $30.00. Total cost over a three year period using triennial vaccines plus annual dog flu vaccines including examinations would be approximately $250.00.- The total cost of vaccinating dogs over a three year period is very similar using either annual or triennial vaccines.
The extra variable involved with using three year vaccines is whether the pet's exposure to disease has changed in that time. With increased use of "off leash" parks and beaches, dogs are coming into direct contact with many more pets of unknown vaccination history. This why its so important for the Vaccination option to be based on the individual pets needs rather than a "blanket" recommendation.