Vaccinating Nursing (Lactating) Mothers Will Not Protect Young
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith

Q. If a nursing dog or cat is vaccinated, will it also protect their young?
A. Vaccinating a female while she is lactating (producing milk) will not provide protection to her nursing offspring. The mother's immune system will take at least a week to react to the vaccine and produce higher levels of antibody. The newborn's digestive system can only absorb antibodies from his mother during the first 36 hours of his life. By the time the mother's antibody level has increased, the offspring will no longer be able to absorb them. The vaccination, then, may help protect the mother, but it will not provide antibody protection to her nursing offspring.

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