November 15, 2002


 AVMA council releases report on dog and cat vaccinations

Posted Nov. 1, 2002

As part of the continuing effort to educate veterinarians about the use of vaccines in dogs and cats, the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents has published a report on vaccinations.

The report is the fifth of six or more steps the council is taking to educate veterinarians and the public about vaccine use. It is based on the results of a comprehensive review of publications about vaccinations and the on opinions of four panels of experts. The complete report begins on page 1401.

The council also has recently revised the AVMA brochure for pet owners about the use of vaccines in dogs and cats. A copy of the brochure is inserted between pages 1400 and 1401. For more information about the brochure or to place an order, see page 1366.

Dr. Donald J. Klingborg, a member and former chair of the council, said he hopes the report stimulates veterinarians to study the risks and benefits of the vaccines available and make the right choices for their clients.

"For a number of years, vaccinations have been the easiest part of the day (for veterinarians)," Dr. Klingborg said, adding later, "The range of value varies widely between diseases and brands, and careful decisions need to be made."

The report emphasizes the need for veterinarians to create core and noncore vaccination programs that take into account state laws, vaccine risks and benefits, and the patient's lifestyle.

Other issues covered in the report include:

  • The importance of vaccinating to prevent disease
  • The risks and benefits associated with vaccines for dogs and cats
  • The lingering uncertainty about optimal revaccination intervals

The council began its review in 1998 to address the vaccination concerns of practitioners. Since then, the council has published a commentary titled "Vaccination issues of concern to practitioners" in the April 1, 1999 issue of JAVMA, held an open forum at the 2000 AVMA Annual Convention in Salt Lake City, and published the "Principles of Vaccination" in the April 2001 issue of JAVMA.

According to Dr. Klingborg, the council plans to continue its efforts to educate the public, work to change the labeling on vaccines to help veterinarians evaluate differences between products, and develop an adverse event reporting system.