Dear Porky and Buddy,
My big old goofy golden retriever, Sam, is eight years old now and will be due for his annual check up soon. He is due for his various vaccination boosters this year, but I am wondering whether it is really necessary, given his age. I mean, I’m in my 60s and don’t get vaccinations any more, so why should he?
So you don’t get a flue shot, have not had a shot for shingles, and are generally one of those people who rely on everyone else to keep serious diseases under control by getting appropriate vaccinations. OK, that’s your health choice, but Sam is a different story.
In 2006, the American Animal Hospital Association’s Canine Task Force published a revised version of guidelines regarding canine vaccinations. The guidelines divide vaccines into three categories: core, non-core and not recommended.
Core vaccines are considered vital to all dogs based on risk of exposure, the severity of the disease and its possible transmission to humans. They include canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis and rabies.
You should talk to your vet about this, but assuming Sam is healthy, we expect that she will recommend that you continue all of the core vaccines, with boosters every three years, yearly exams and yearly blood work.
Senior dogs with illnesses and on medications might be a different story.
They still need the rabies vaccination that is required by law, but talk to your vet about other vaccines if you find that Sam has health issues that might compromise his immune system. This is one reason it is so important that your vet checks out your dog’s health before administering a vaccine.
Keeping your elderly dog healthy and stress-free can be as important as vaccinations when it comes to making sure his immune system is up to doing its job.
Keep Sam in a comfortable environment, feed him well, and love him often – and make sure he gets regular vet check ups.
Actually, we have the same advice for you, except don’t go to your vet for check ups – go to your doctor.
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, NY.
Phone (315) 207-1070.
Email: [email protected]
Because people and pets are good for each other!