Vaccination Guidelines for Arizona Pet Owners

Vaccinations

Arizona Animal Wellness Center strongly recommends minimizing vaccinations for your pet over the course of its lifetime based on your petís lifestyle and risk for disease exposure. Most vaccinations protect your pet against common diseases. However, there are many vaccines available for diseases to which your pet may never be exposed in Arizona or the Western United States.

Arizona Animal Wellness Center recommends the following vaccinations based on your pets lifestyle and risk of disease:

Dogs

  • Bordetella Vaccine (kennel cough) - to be given on a yearly basis. If your dog goes to the groomer, dog park, boarding facilities or is otherwise exposed to other dogs, you should consider this vaccination every six months
  • Rabies Vaccine - Maricopa and Pinal Counties require that dogs be vaccinated for rabies virus once every three years after they have completed their puppy series. Puppies receive a rabies vaccine at 16 weeks of age and then one booster a year later
  • Distemper and Parvovirus Vaccine (DA2PP) - includes canine distemper virus, adenovirus (hepatitis), parvovirus and Parainfluenza. For adult dogs, this vaccine should be given once yearly. In older dogs, who have been properly vaccinated, a vaccine titer blood test can be done in order to determine if this should go on a rotating vaccine cycle
  • Rattlesnake Vaccine - rattlesnakes are common in Arizona. Although this vaccine is not considered a core vaccine, it is available to help protect your dog against snake bites. This vaccine works by stimulating your dogís immune system to produce antibodies that start to neutralize snake venom immediately. This vaccine does not eliminate the need for immediate medical attention after a snake bite

Cats

  • FVRCP (feline distemper) - yearly following initial vaccine series
  • Rabies - every three years after the initial series depending upon risk and exposure
  • Feline leukemia - recommended for kittens up to one year of age that will be going outdoors or live in a household with additional cats, then yearly depending upon risk of exposure to the disease

Lifestyle and Risk Factors

The use of these vaccinations will be determined based on travel to other states and exposure to other pets at dog parks or boarding facilities. If your pet is at moderate risk for disease we may recommend yearly vaccines. However, if your petís risk is low we may suggest a vaccine titer, which could allow a vaccine to be administered on a three year rotation.

  • A vaccine titer is a blood test that determines the level of immunity your dog has against certain diseases. In dogs, distemper and parvovirus titers are common, and rabies vaccine titers are also used occasionally to prove the level of protection your pet has against the rabies virus
  • Some pet owners elect not to vaccinate and instead rely on vaccine titers to indicate whether or not their pet is due for the vaccine
  • In Arizona, the municipal animal control organizations will not recognize a titer in the place of a rabies vaccine. This is typically performed if pets are going to an international country and the country wants the status of the rabies blood level for that pet
  • Some boarding facilities will accept vaccine titers in place of vaccinations.

In some instances these vaccines may adjust to a three year rotation schedule. At the time of your petís wellness examination the team at Arizona Animal Wellness Center will discuss with you a custom vaccine protocol for your pet based on your petís risk of disease and lifestyle.