Should I have all vaccines given at once or space them out throughout the year?
There’s no right or wrong answer to this. Most animals receive all their needed vaccines during one visit to the vet and adverse reactions are very rare (less than 1 in 100 animals).
There were a couple of retrospective studies done in the mid-2000’s that looked at the frequency of vaccine associated adverse reactions in dogs and cats (such as facial swelling, hives, lethargy and fever) and whether they could be related to the number of vaccine doses that were given at one time. They showed that with more individual vaccine doses given, there was indeed an increased risk of an adverse reaction. However these studies didn’t take into account the type of vaccine. The risks of reactions appear lower with combination vaccines (for example DAP – distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus) than they are if an animal is given a number of single dose vaccines at the same time such as those against just rabies or just leptospirosis. Reactions are thought to be caused by proteins used in the vaccine manufacturing process so the fewer vials of vaccine that are given to your pet at the one time, the less likely they are to have a reaction whether those vials are combination vaccines or single dose vaccines.
When it comes to what’s best for your pet, this needs to be worked out based on their risk factors and in consultation with your vet. There’s no one size fits all when it comes to your pet’s health care.
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