The vaccination schedule for Yorkies used to be on a yearly basis. The first shots are given around eight to 10 weeks, with boosters a year later and annual vaccinations after that. Some veterinarians now question the necessity and safety of the boosters.
Case by Case
The answer on how often to vaccinate your Yorkshire terrier varies depending on whom you ask. Some veterinarians are still recommending yearly vaccinations, some are of the opinion that three or more years between shots is fine and a few who advise against vaccinations altogether. The American Animal Hospital Association's Healthy Pet site cautions that, just as with any medical procedure, there can be risks. The AAHA guidelines for vaccinating dogs urges vets to make vaccination decisions on a case-by-case basis.
Why Things Are Changing
A number of reasons have caused the veterinary medical community to rethink the frequency of vaccinations for pets. Improvements to medicine and evidence that protection from a vaccine lasts longer than had previously been thought are contributing factors. And other than state requirements for rabies vaccinations, there are no standard protocols for determining a specific amount of time between shots. All of these issues are causing vets across the country to rethink vaccination schedules for their clients.
Issues With Vaccinations
New data is proving that vaccines aren't as harmless as they once were believed to be. Reports of vaccines causing inflammation of the brain, allergies, skin problems, convulsions and other problems are concerning. With a mild allergic reaction on one end of the spectrum and death on the other, it is easy to see why opinions are so widely split on the issue.
How Do You Decide?
It might be tempting to avoid vaccinating your Yorkie altogether, but experts overwhelmingly agree that is not the right answer. Your Yorkshire terrier still needs protection against basic contagious canine diseases. AAHA lists only four vaccines that are necessary: rabies, distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus. Although Yorkie puppies should receive the typical round of shots with boosters at one year, some vets wait until nine or 10 weeks old with a partial dosing because of their small size. After the initial year, it is up to you and your vet to determine what type of schedule to follow. D.V.M. Nancy Kay also recommends finding out about vaccinations and the diseases they are designed to prevent or treat so that you can make an educated decision. Also, determine which conditions your dog might not be at risk for. For instance, a dog who lives in the city and rarely goes outside is doesn't have a huge risk of contracting Lyme disease. Other factors, such as age, breed and health, are also significant.
- Vet Street: Dog Vaccine Recommendations
- American Animal Hospital Association: Vaccinating Your Dog
- American Animal Hospital Association; Vaccinations for Your Dog: A Complex Issue; Nancy Kay, D.V.M.
- Vet Info: Dog Vaccines and Vaccinations
- Yorkie Classy Kennels: Your Yorkie Pup Plus Other Important Tidbits
- PubMed.gov: Adverse Events Diagnosed Within Three Days of Vaccine Administration in Dogs
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.