Most pet owners would be surprised by the wide variation in vaccination protocols among veterinarians. Although nearly all follow the same general guidelines, they clearly develop their own “brushstrokes” based on their clinical experience. State regulations also influence what vaccines they administer and how often. With the exception noted below, we honor your veterinarian’s protocol.
Because of these individual variations we require vaccination documentation that clearly indicates the expiration date, not simply the administration date of any given vaccine. If you have an older pet your veterinarian may also determine that he no longer requires one or another vaccine. In general we will respect his or her judgment in this regard if you provide us with a written statement of suitability for boarding for our files.
The one exception to the foregoing discussion centers on the Canine Cough (Canine Tracheobronchitis) vaccine, which is sometimes referred to as “kennel cough” despite the fact that this highly contagious ailment is as likely to be transmitted at a grooming shop, a dog park, a vet hospital, or even by the dog next door. The most common causes of Canine Cough are the bacterium, Bordetella bonchiseptica, or canine parainfluenza virus, or type 2 canine adenovirus.
We absolutely require that your dog have an in force Canine Cough vaccine. Which version of the vaccine the vet prefers (some prefer the injectable “Bordetella”, most we are familiar with lean toward the intranasal version Bordetella, some alternate between the two) is fine with us. If this is his first administration of the vaccine, we require that it be given two weeks before his check in date (or his overnight trial board). If you are boosting an in-force Bordetella, we still would like a 10-day window between when the vaccine is administered and when you check in. This is because there can be an interval of a few days up to ten days between an exposure and its symptoms. In addition, some pets’immune systems get “lazy” following a vaccine.
We know that some veterinarians think that our fourteen-day rule is unnecessarily conservative, and others don’t find cough vaccines as effective as they would like. Nevertheless our experience is that the combination of in force Bordetella vaccine, our regular sanitation procedures, our state of the art air purifiers, and our optimum fresh air practices has been effective in minimizing the risk of contagious coughs.
Having said that we must remind you that no vaccine is 100% effective, and we cannot guarantee that your pet will not pick something up while he’s at the kennel, any more than the school your child goes to, the office you work in, or the restaurant you eat at.
With respect to cats, there is no feline cough vaccine. We will respect your veterinarian’s vaccination protocol. We recommend but do not require a feline leukemia vaccine, because your cat will never come in contact with another cat’s saliva. If you have a cat that goes outdoors, he should certainly get this one because he will likely encounter infected critters out there.