Vaccine Protocols

To all Red Bird Animal Clinic Patients,

There have been updates to the vaccine protocols for domestic animals. These changes were made because the technology of vaccine makeup and production has improved. Also, because of the controversy with once a year vaccines, many studies have been conducted to get a good idea as to efficacy and duration of vaccines.

Historically, vaccines have been given annually. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has standard guidelines on new vaccine protocols based on the many studies conducted with new and old vaccines. The studies discovered that new vaccine technology has not only made vaccines safer, but longer acting as well.

What does this mean?

The new AVMA guidelines suggest that most (not all) vaccines are required every three years. This is only the recommendation and not a rule, therefore each veterinarian is free to continue to vaccinate as often as they please. Currently, most if not all veterinarians in our area still do yearly vaccines as we always have.

In light of this new data, I have chosen to change my protocol to follow the AVMA recommendations. They are as follows:


Vaccines given every three years:

  1. Distemper virus
  2. Adenovirus-2
  3. Parvovirus
  4. Parainfluenza
  5. Rabies virus (This is for patients more than 4 months and older)

Vaccines and procedures administered once a year:

  1. Leptospirosis (This is for patients at risk—exposure to dog parks, hunting, golf courses, the outdoors)
  2. Canine Influenza (H3N2+H3N8)
  3. Heartworm test (This is for all patients)
  4. Wellness exams (For all patients over 7 years old)
  5. County tags still have to be purchased once a year or every 3 years

Vaccines and procedures administered every six months

  1. Bordetella/Kennel cough (This is for patients at risk—exposure to boarding facilities, groomers, dog parks, training classes, and other social events)
  2. Fecal exam (This is for all patients)

Puppies will receive a series of four sets of vaccines and rabies for one year. One-year-old puppies still receive all vaccines.


Vaccines given every three years

  1. Rhinotracheitis
  2. Calicivirus
  3. Panleukopenia
  4. Rabies virus
  5. Leukemia virus (This is for patients at risk—any exposure to the outdoors or outside cats)

Procedures done once a year

  1. Wellness exam (For all patients over 7 years old)

Procedures done every six months

  1. Fecal exam (This is for all patients)

Kittens still receive a series of four vaccines, leukemia, and rabies for one year. One-year-old kittens still receive all vaccines.

Why did we change?

This vaccine change is the optimal protocol, and it is what is being taught in all veterinary schools. If we are to stay current with modern medicine, we occasionally have to make big changes. Another example of this change is the wellness exam. We began this last year, and consequently have been able to catch diseases early enough to treat them in their entirety or to prolong the life expectancy of those not treatable.

I hope this letter helps to make our protocol change a smooth transition. Our decision to modify what this clinic practiced for many years was based on our patient’s best interest. We will continue to send out reminders to keep you updated on what and when your pet is due for any procedure. If you have further questions on this matter, please feel free to contact us.

Your friends at Red Bird Animal Clinic