The answer to this is not always cut and dry. But here are some guidelines I have followed that have helped me when it comes to vaccine shipping.
A vaccine is quite stable in the freeze dried form. There have been cases when a vaccine was held at 78 degrees F for six months (Intervet — 5 way and Parvo) and it was fine, but it was kept at a constant temperature. Constant temperature is not so easy in shipping!
The biggest concern is when a shipping truck gets warm and cold. That is why ice packs and coolers are used to mitigate that temperature swing without freezing the vaccine. Freezing will shorten the shelf life.
When a vaccine comes with ice packs that have melted, the vaccine should still be good as long as the ice packs did their job creating constant shipping temperatures. Dog and cat vaccines from Revival are shipped to your doorstep using specially designed polar boxes that have been extensively tested to make sure your pet’s vaccines stay cool inside for 48 hours.
One trick I use is to hold the vaccine to my cheek, and if it is cool I know the vaccine is still good. If it is cool to the touch of my cheek I know the ice packs kept the vaccine under room temperature and the vaccine stable. I am comfortable using the vaccine in these cases.
Your cheek is a pretty good indicator as it is sensitive to temperatures and more accurate than your hand. You may also use the underside of your arm, as that tissue is tender and sensitive as well.
If I hold the vaccine to my cheek and it is hot- I replace it. It is not worth the risk of using when vaccinating.
Have more questions on cat and dog vaccine shipping? Call our Pet Care Pros at 800.786.4751. They have the experience and knowledge to help you manage and prevent pet care challenges.
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Written by: Marty Greer, DVM
Director of Veterinary Services
Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 40+ years’ experience in veterinary medicine, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She’s served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services since 2019. In 2023, Dr. Greer was named the Westminster Kennel Club Veterinarian of the Year.