Shelter Health

Frequently Asked Vaccination 101 Questions

The ASPCA’s Shelter Medicine Services veterinarians often field questions in four basic areas around vaccination—administering vaccines on intake, vaccinating foster animals and special populations, and why disease still crops up in organizations even when regular vaccinations take place.

These commonly asked questions can make great staff training resources!

Must We Always Vaccinate on Intake?

Q: We have a very limited budget and vaccinating every animal as they come into the building would be very expensive for us. Beyond that, isn’t it wrong to vaccinate stray animals that are not yet legally in the shelter’s possession?

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Must We Vaccinate All Foster Animals?

Q: Since foster animals are in homes rather than the shelter, is it really necessary to do the boosters every two weeks?

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How Should We Vaccinate Special Populations?

Q: We have read conflicting information about how safe it is to vaccinate a mother who is still nursing puppies or kittens. And what about the puppies and kittens who are still nursing from mom? I think they’ll be protected by the mother’s milk, right?

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Why Does Disease Happen Even When We Vaccinate?

Q: In the last three weeks we have had six dogs diagnosed with parvo … We’re vaccinating everyone, but a couple of these pups already had three shots before they got sick. Shouldn’t they have been protected? 

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More Vaccination Resources

Vaccination Decision Tree
Test Your Vaccination Smarts
Storing & Handling Vaccines
Canine Shelter Vaccines
Feline Shelter Vaccines
Preventive Health Care & Vaccinations
Shelter Care Checklists: Putting ASV Guidelines Into Action