Dr. Race Foster Discusses Pet Vaccinations

by Melissa R. on August 13, 2010

I work here at Drs. Foster and Smith, so I am familiar with pet vaccinations, but today as I was preparing an interview by Dr. Race Foster to go on the website, I learned some new things about vaccines that were really interesting! He was discussing our National Pet Vaccination Initiative and how we are working to get unvaccinated pets vaccinated. The amount of unvaccinated pets out there is astonishing! Check out Dr. Foster’s interview about pet vaccinations, and other information about our National Pet Vaccination Initiative.


In an effort to help protect these unvaccinated pets and educate pet owners on the necessity of vaccinations, Drs. Foster and Smith pet supplies National Pet Vaccination Initiative will help pet owners economically protect their pets. Our commitment has four important elements:

  • Low Prices
  • A Full Selection of Dog and Cat Vaccines to meet pet owner needs
  • How-To videos and information
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

Ellen wrote a post about our National Pet Vaccination Initiative the other day you can see here.


About the author: Melissa is a devoted pet owner with several cats: Kai, Cirrhi & Ritter; and the newest addition, Emme a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Melissa is an avid dog agility enthusiast, and hopes her new pup will someday be an agility champion! She is a Graphic Designer and Project Coordinator for the DrsFosterSmith.com and LiveAquaria.com websites. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Michigan State University and is a lifelong pet lover and owner. See more articles by Melissa R.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mimi Henning September 24, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Do you have an opinion on the new thinking that pets build up an immunity and therefore do not need yearly vaccinations other than those required by law which is mostly rabies and that in itself is more for human protection/owner liability than that of the animal?

Dr. Scott A. McKay September 28, 2010 at 4:03 pm

You are correct; there are indeed animals that develop a very strong immune response as a result of a single vaccination. And that this immunity is lasting much longer than we first believed. The problem is a lack of consistency between individual animals and the disease antigens they receive in the vaccine. In other words, we just don’t know how long the immunity will last; animal to animal. In addition, most vaccines contain multiple antigens. For dogs, we sometimes call these vaccines: “five-way” or “seven-way”. What this means is that the vaccine will contain antigens representing five or seven different disease causing organisms- depending. This makes vaccinating pets easier because they don’t require a separate injection for each antigen. The down side is that not all antigens produce the same level of disease fighting antibodies. Some vaccine antigens contained in these vaccines produce a longer immunity than others; some lasting a lifetime and some lasting less than twelve months. Vaccination protocols are written with this concept in mind. When developing a vaccination protocol, veterinarians’ usually error on the side of caution and recommend “boostering” the vaccine when the antigen in the vaccine with the lowest response begins to “run-out”.
There are already vaccines on the market whose manufacturers are recommending a three year interval between vaccinations. I believe, in the future, we will see more and more vaccines designed and used with longer and longer intervals between injections.
Another technology that is immerging is the use of blood tests that determine the level of antibodies in the animal and whether or not vaccination is needed. Theoretically, if the levels of certain antibodies are high in the animal, they don’t need vaccinating for that disease. These tests are rather expensive and at this time, not as accurate as they need to be to make this kind of determination.
Remember, vaccinations are fundamentally a risk-management affair. Work with your veterinarian to determine what diseases in your area pose the greatest risk to your pet and tailor a vaccination program based on that risk.
This is an area of research that is ongoing.

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