How often should my dogs receive vaccinations?
You may have heard the current controversies regarding vaccinations for dogs and cats. Some researchers believe we do not need to vaccinate annually for diseases. But how often we prescribe vaccinations for each specific disease in adult animals has not yet been determined. We do not know how long the protection from a vaccine lasts. It may be 5 years for one disease and 3 years for another. Still others may linger in the blood stream less than 2 years.
Almost all researchers agree that for puppies, we need to continue at least three combinations of vaccination and repeat these at one year of age. They also agree that rabies vaccinations must continue to be given. We require vaccinations for all pets scheduled for grooming to keep our pet family safe. Since viruses and disease are easily passed from pet to pet during grooming, we consider it one of our most important safety measures.
Against what diseases do vaccinations protect?
Experts agree that the core vaccines for dogs include distemper, canine adenovirus-2 (hepatitis and respiratory disease), canine parvovirus-2, and rabies.
Noncore vaccines include leptospirosis, coronavirus, canine parainfluenza and Bordetella bronchiseptica (both are causes of ‘kennel cough’). Other vaccines include Borrelia burgdorferi (causes Lyme Disease). Based on the breed of your pet, we’ll help you to select the proper vaccines for your puppies or kittens.
Researchers at some veterinary schools suggest alternating vaccinations in dogs from year to year. Instead of using combination vaccines (vaccines against more than one disease), they recommend using vaccines with only one component, e.g., a vaccine that only contains parvovirus. So, one year your dog would be vaccinated against distemper, the next year against canine adenovirus-2, and the third year against parvovirus. Then the cycle repeats.
On the other hand, other researchers believe we don’t have enough information to recommend vaccinating only every 3 years. As with cat vaccines, manufacturers of dog vaccines have not changed their labeling which recommends annual vaccinations. Again, each dog owner must make an informed choice of when to vaccinate, and with what.
Discuss your concerns with our veterinary team. We’ll help you make the best decision for your breed.