Vaccine Protocol

We recommend vaccine protocols that are created specifically for each animal. Animals that are living indoors are less likely to need certain vaccines. Animals that have had repeated vaccines are less likely to need certain vaccines. ALL animals that have acute or chronic diseases should not be vaccinated. This includes animals with disorders such as food allergies, skin allergies, chronic bouts of diarrhea, chronic eye and ear infections, and any immune or autoimmune associated disorder.

NOTE: This schedule is the one I recommend and that there is considerable controversy within this evolving field of vaccinology. It's a matter of professional judgment and choice.

Because we modify vaccine protocols specifically for the individual animal, we do not send out vaccine reminder cards. We recommend that all animals have yearly exams; at that time, we can discuss all vaccines that your companion animal needs.

Our general vaccine recommendations are:


The rabies vaccine is licensed by the Federal Government to be effective for at least three years. We recommend that you always keep your animal’s rabies vaccine current as required by law. In Colorado, rabies vaccines are required in dogs and cats. The first vaccine should be given after twelve weeks of age and before six months of age. One year after the first rabies vaccine is given, a second rabies vaccine is required. Thereafter, the rabies vaccine is required every three years.


  1. Rabies vaccine as required by law
  2. Feline Panleukopenia vaccine (Feline Distemper)

    Although somewhat controversial among some veterinarians, a considerable body of evidence has led all researchers to believe that feline distemper vaccine, once given as a kitten, provides life-long protection in almost all cats.

    We recommend a two-shot series. The first vaccine is at 8-9 weeks of age and the second is given at 12-13 weeks of age.

    We do not recommend yearly Feline Distemper vaccines. The Association of Feline Practitioners recommends Panleukopenia every three years, even though there is no evidence to support this recommendation. For cats in high-risk situations, some holistic doctors might recommend a Blood Titer Test to check levels of immunity every three years. We do not recommend titer tests in almost all situations, believing that the vaccine has such a high success rate for life long immunity.

  3. Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)

    Feline Leukemia Vaccine is controversial in that the vaccine is extremely ineffective, especially when compared to the effectiveness of other vaccines. Kittens are at greatest risk, and the best protection you can give a kitten is to keep the kitten indoors for the first year of its life.

    The reported vaccine effective rate varies from 0% of vaccinated cats protected to 67%. One of the more interesting studies involving natural infection (as compared to a lab setting) showed no protection.

    Feline Leukemia was first recognized as a disease in the late 1970’s, it was not around before then. Since then, the incidence of Leukemia in cats as rapidly decreased. Today, the disease can be considered to be exceptionally rare. What is the reason? Naturally acquired immunity! It is well known that close to 100% of the cats that are immune-competent (over 6 months of age), once exposed to the Feline Leukemia Virus, develop resistance and become immune. Since the vaccine has such a poor rate of success, and since natural immunity protects almost all cats, there are few cats with leukemia now, entirely due to natural immunity.

    Chaparral Animal Health Center never vaccinate any cat for Feline Leukemia Virus. The reasons are:

    a. The vaccine does not protect cats well

    b. Repeated vaccines do not improve its effectiveness

    c. The vaccine causes incurable cancers (fibrosarcoma) in roughly 1 cat in every 5,000 cats

    d. The vaccine can cause vaccinosis (a homeopathic term that means the animal develops a relatively permanent degradation of their vital health)

    i. All vaccines can degrade health, so any vaccine is a risk vs. benefit assessment

    ii. Use of the vaccine gives the caretaker a false sense of security when the caretaker should instead be aware of the more important methods they can employ to protect their cats (keeping them indoors or outside under supervision for the first year of life

  4. Feline Upper Respiratory Diseases

    In general, feline upper respiratory diseases are relatively mild and self-limiting. The potential vaccines include:

    a. Calici Virus Vaccine- We use this vaccine, because it is extremely effective, recommending they have a two-shot series

    b. Rhinotracheitis Virus (Herpes Virus)- We use this vaccine, but it is important to understand that it does not prevent infection, but may lessen the severity of the disease

    c. Chlamydia- We do not recommend this vaccine in almost all situations

    d. Bordetella- We do not recommend this vaccine in any situation

  5. Feline Infectious Peritonitis- This vaccine has not been shown in any study to be effective, so we do not use it
  6. No sick cat should receive any vaccines
  7. No pregnant cat or lactating cat should receive any vaccines
  8. There is no evidence to support a repeated vaccine prior to breeding


  1. Rabies- Keep the dog current with state requirements
  2. Canine Distemper Vaccine- For most animals, we recommend only Distemper and Parvovirus. Most animals get a combination shot that includes Distemper, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza and Adenovirus (“Hepatitis”)
  3. There is some evidence that, in high-risk parvo endemic areas, a single parvo vaccine given at 18 weeks of age can be helpful

    9 weeks MLV Distemper/Parvovirus only

    12 weeks MLV Distemper/Parvovirus only

    16-20 weeks MLV Distemper/Parvovirus only

    One year later, some holistic veterinarians recommend revaccination or titer testing for levels of immunity. We do not routinely revaccinate or perform titers.

    From then on, for the life or your companion, we do not believe dogs need further Distemper/Parvovirus Vaccines.

  4. Chaparral Animal Health Center does NOT routinely use Bordetella, Influenza, Coronavirus, Leptospirosis or Lyme vaccines. In rare situations, one or more of these vaccines might provide very limited benefits.
  5. Giardia Vaccine- Studies show that their mother and/or the kennel environment have exposed essentially 100% of all dogs to Giardia, almost always from birth. It makes no sense to use a vaccine when the primary infectious agent has already been seen by the dog’s immune system (the Giardia). Thus, we never use this vaccine.
  6. No dog with any acute or chronic disease should be vaccinated; this includes allergic animals and those with age-related disorders
  7. No pregnant or lactating bitch should receive vaccinations

Cat Vaccine Schedule Summary:

  1. 8 weeks of age: Feline Distemper/Panleukopenia
  2. 12 weeks: Feline Distemper/Panleukopenia
  3. 16 weeks: Rabies
  4. Rabies is repeated on one year for the second rabies vaccine and then every three years thereafter
  5. Feline Distemper (Panleukopenia) is well known to be good for life in all cats and doesn’t need to be repeated ever
  6. We do not use the Leukemia vaccine in any cat for any circumstance

Dog Vaccine Schedule Summary:

  1. 9-10 weeks: Parvo and Distemper Vaccine
  2. 14-16 weeks: Parvo Distemper
  3. 18 weeks of age: Parvo
  4. Rabies BY 6 months of age, but 2-4 weeks after the last Parvo Distemper vaccine
  5. 1 year after first rabies vaccine, revaccinate for rabies, then every 3 years revaccinate
  6. NO further parvo or distemper vaccines are needed, but if you wish, we will give 1 parvo distemper booster one year after the puppy series has been completed
  7. NO other vaccines are indicated or helpful (including Bordetella, Influenza, Giardia, Corona, Rattlesnake bite vaccines)
  8. Some kennels and daycare facilities mistakenly think one or more of these useless vaccines are needed before the dog enters the facility, so some other vaccines are given due to this fear-based thinking
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