J. Lynn Lawhon, DVM, President Martin E. Garcia, II, DVM, Vice President Dee A. Pederson, DVM, Secretary
Gary C. Brantley, DVM Mario A. Escobar Guy W. Johnsen, DVM
Robert L. Lastovica, DVM Dawn E. Reveley M. Rebecca Terry
MARCH 2003 Issue A Publication of the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners Ron Allen, Executive Director
Phone: (512) 305-7555 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.texasonline.state.tx.us/tbvme Fax: (512) 305-7556
AN OPEN LETTER TO VETERINARIANS
RE: VACCINATION PROTOCOLS
As in many professions, the practice of veterinary medicine is evolving quickly. Practices that
were accepted even five or 10 years ago may now be outdated by advances in scientific and
medical knowledge and techniques. One of these areas of practice involves vaccination protocols.
In the last several years there have been a number of studies relating to vaccination intervals,
durations of immunity, risks of vaccination, and the efficacy of certain vaccines that are
routinely used by many veterinarians. These issues are currently being addressed in many veterinary
circles, both scientific and clinical.
The Board encourages veterinarians to consider examining their long-standing vaccination protocols in light of recent
developments. To simply adhere to custom may, in some cases, not be enough to meet the evolving “standard of care.”
For example, recent studies have cast serious doubt on the advisability of routinely administering vaccines for coronavirus,
borreliosis (Lyme Disease), leptospirosis and other infections. A recent report of the AVMA Council on Biologic
and Therapeutic Agents on cat and dog vaccines (JAVMA, Vol. 221, No. 10, Nov. 15, 2002) is an excellent article in
point. The article discusses suggested core and non-core vaccines and vaccination intervals based on realistic assessments
of exposure to infectious agents. (See also comments on the report found in DVM, Vol. 33, No. 1, January 2003.)
In light of current trends, the Board recommends the following:
(1) Veterinarians should keep informed of the latest developments in vaccines and vaccinations through regular
continuing education and self-study.
(2) A veterinarian should communicate with clients the benefits and risks associated with administration of
(3) The veterinarian should then seek the client’s consent to the vaccinations.
Answers to questions on different protocols and consent concepts, new trends and studies, etc. can be found in the different
reports surfacing on vaccine issues from the following organizations: American Animal Hospital Association
(AAHA); American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA); American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP);
Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine; and the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA).
The Board, by making this statement, has no intention to “micro manage” the practice of the profession. The Board understands
that no one vaccination and vaccination interval protocol will apply to all patients and that a veterinarian’s informed
discretion must ultimately prevail. The Board urges veterinarians to address these considerations and discuss
them with their clients in order to provide the best possible care for their patients.