Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell

Shelter Dogs  

Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell


Shelter Medicine Vaccination Protocols

What are vaccines?

Vaccines are health products that trigger protective immune responses in pets and prepare them to fight future infections from disease-causing agents.

Vaccines can lessen the severity of future diseases and certain vaccines can prevent infection altogether.

Vaccination in the shelter setting is absolutely essential and can be expected to dramatically reduce disease when used appropriately.


How should vaccines be handled?

Handling vaccines appropriately is critical to their effectiveness.

Because vaccines are live viruses, they are very sensitive to temperature changes and are unstable once drawn up and mixed into solution.

Vaccines should never be left unrefrigerated nor should they be frozen. The virus will die if left at room temperature even for a short time, and the vaccine will not be effective.

For best results, vaccines should be used within 30 minutes of being drawn up and mixed into solution.

A. Canine Vaccination

Daily assessment of candidates for adoption should be made. Puppies and dogs deemed as possible candidates for adoption should be vaccinated immediately with

1.injectable MODIFIED LIVE DHPP vaccine
2.intranasal Bordetella vaccine

Note: The minimum age for a dog to receive these vaccines in the shelter is 4 weeks of age. However, it is not recommended that puppies less than 6-8 weeks of age be housed in the shelter as they frequently become seriously ill from infectious disease despite aggressive vaccination procedures. Underage puppies should be vaccinated and removed from the shelter as quickly as possible--preferably within 24 to 48 hours of arrival.  Ideally they should be placed in foster care or housed off-site until 8 weeks of age, when they can be altered and put up for adoption.

DHP-P-subcutaneous injection
Distemper
Hepatitis
Parainfluenza
Parvo virus

Administration: Tent the dog's skin over the shoulder blades, insert the needle, and inject 1 ml vaccine. There should be no resistance when pushing on the plunger.

Bordetella-intranasal vaccination
"Kennel cough"

Administration: Bordetella vaccination is given through the nostrils using a syringe with no needle. Draw up 1.0 ml of vaccine. Stand behind the dog while he is sitting and use your legs to keep him from trying to back away. Gently grasp his muzzle and tilt his head back. Gently place the syringe into the dog's left nostril. Inject approximately half of the liquid. The other half should be injected into the right nostril. Continue to hold the dog's head back until he swallows or licks. It may be necessary to have someone assist if the dog resists restraint.

Dogs and puppies can have a reaction to this vaccination, usually a mild hacking cough which develops several days following vaccination and may persist as long as 2 weeks. Sneezing a few days after the vaccine is administered is also possible.

Remember: Always assume all incoming animals are unvaccinated. Bordetella and DHLP-P can and should be given at the same time and as soon as possible.

B. Feline Vaccination

Daily assessment of candidates for adoption should be made. Cats and kittens deemed as possible candidates for adoption should be vaccinated immediately with 1. injectable MODIFIED LIVE FVRCP vaccine

An intranasal MODIFIED LIVE FVRCP vaccine may be given in addition to the injectable vaccine and may afford extra protection against the upper respiratory viruses, however it should not be used in place of an injectable vaccine since it may not provide adequate protection against panleukopenia.

Note: The minimum age for a cat to receive these vaccines in the shelter is 4 weeks of age. However, it is not recommended that kittens less than 6-8 weeks of age be housed in the shelter as they often become seriously ill from infectious disease despite aggressive vaccination procedures. Underage kittens should be vaccinated and removed from the shelter as quickly as possible--preferably within 24 to 48 hours of arrival. Ideally they should be placed in foster care or housed off-site until 8 weeks of age, when they can be altered and put up for adoption..

FVRCP vaccine subcutaneous injection
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (herpes virus)
Calici virus
Panleukopenia (parvo virus)

Administration: Tent the cat's skin over the area of the right scruff/shoulder blades, insert the needle, and inject 1 ml vaccine. There should be no resistance when pushing on the plunger. Both the injectable and the intranasal vaccines may be administered at the same time.

FVR-C Intra-nasal Vaccination (bivalent)

Administration: This vaccine is given through the nostrils using a syringe with no needle. Position the cat on a table or counter facing away from you. (It might be necessary to kneel on the floor with the cat between your legs.) Tilt the cat's head back and put at least 1 drop of the vaccine in each eye. Then put 2-3 drops of vaccine into each nostril. One vial contains 0.5 cc of vaccine.

Vaccine reactions are common with intranasal vaccine: most cats will have a mild reaction to the vaccination within 2-5 days consisting of watery eyes and nose. Vaccine reactions are self limiting and should not require treatment. Runny eyes and nose with thick yellow or green discharge days following vaccination suggests that the cat was already harboring infection prior to vaccination or represents vaccine failure. Cats showing these signs should be removed from adoption or holding areas ASAP. If the cat is to be treated, it is important to isolate or foster the animal. Be sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect the area.

Rabies Vaccination

Rabies vaccination should only be administered by a licensed veterinarian according to state laws.

Vaccination and Deworming Protocol

DOGS > 4 months old

DHPP: once on entry to the shelter (ideally repeat in 2 weeks if feasible)
Bordetella intranasal: once on entry to the shelter

CATS > 4 months old

FVRCP on entry to the shelter (ideally repeat in 2 weeks if feasible)
+/-FVR-C intranasal: once on entry to the shelter

PUPPIES = 4 months old

DHPP: every 2 weeks starting as early as 4 weeks of age and continuing until 16 weeks of age (when permanent incisors erupt)
Bordetella intranasal: once on entry to the shelter

KITTENS = 4 months old

FVRCP: every 2 weeks starting as early as 4 weeks of age and continuing until 16 weeks
+/- FVR-C intranasal: once on entry to the shelter

Pyrantel pamoate 50mg/ml suspension (dewormer)
for all dogs, cats, puppies and kittens of all ages
1 ml per 10 lbs. body weight once every 2 weeks for 2-3 doses (SHAKE WELL)
treats round worms and hook worms (NOT effective against whip worms)

Record Keeping

Each animal should have an individual health record.
Example format for recording vaccinations/medications administered:
Feline Medical Record Example
Canine Medical Record Example

Written by Brenda Griffin, DVM, MS, DACVIM

Additional Information:

American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Vaccine Guidelines

American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) Vaccine Guidelines