Does My Dog Need To Be Vaccinated Every Year?

It depends on a variety of factors including the particular vaccine in question and your dog’s lifestyle.

Rabies vaccination is subject to state and local laws and both 1 year and three year vaccines are available.

Distemper/Parvo” vaccines have traditionally been given on an annual basis based on the manufacturers recommendations. There is ample evidence, however, that these “one year” vaccines provide long lasting protection. Several organizations including the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association have proposed that an interval of 3 years or even longer is more appropriate. The guidelines proposed by these organizations recommend that puppies should be vaccinated every 3 – 4 weeks up to the age of 16 weeks and should subsequently receive one additional distemper/parvo vaccination at their first annual exam, after which time an interval of three years or more is considered advisable. There are many experts who believe that the immunity produced by these vaccines may last much longer than 3 years and might in fact be lifelong.

Other factors for you to consider are whether you will be boarding your dog or plan on taking them to the dog park. Proof of current distemper vaccination may be required in such cases. You should check with the boarding facility to see if they accept the “3 year protocol”.

What other vaccines does my dog need?

Another issue which has been debated, is whether all available vaccines should be given to all dogs. This has led to the idea of “core” (necessary) and “non-core” (depending on the circumstances) vaccines.

The “distemper/parvo” vaccine and the rabies vaccine are considered “core” vaccines.

“Non-core vaccines” include Leptospirosis, Bordetella (“kennel cough”), Lyme and Canine Influenza vaccines.

Leptospirosis is a serious disease that can cause liver and kidney damage. It can be difficult to diagnose and it can also be transmitted to people through infected urine. The new vaccine guidelines consider the leptospirosis vaccine to be “non-core”. This is largely because there are areas of the country in which this disease is virtually non-existent. The disease does occur in our area and I therefore consider it a core vaccine. vaccine.

Kennel cough/bordetella” can be thought of as “infectious bronchitis”…..or a really bad chest cold. Although it may occasionally lead to pneumonia it is usually self-limiting but may requires medical treatment. Proof of vaccination is required for dogs that will be boarded or for entrance into most dog parks. Groomers may also require this vaccine. In general this vaccine should be considered if your dog will be exposed to other dogs on a routine basis.

There is a canine Lyme disease vaccine. Although we occasionally encounter dogs that test positive for exposure to the disease, our area is not considered a “hot spot” for this infection. However there are areas in Michigan and Minnesota where the disease is quite prevalent and it would be prudent to vaccinate dogs that will travel to these areas. It is worth noting however, that the majority of dogs that are infected never show clinical signs. However, a small percentage of those dogs that do develop systemic disease may suffer severe kidney damage in addition to other symptoms.

There are two strains of Canine Influenza and vaccines are available for both types. There was recently a widespread outbreak of the newer strain of influenza which was occurred in the Chicago area. The epidemic has quieted down but cases are still occurring and there is now an outbreak in Bloomington. It is impossible to predict whether our local area will be affected, but should that happen the disease spreads very quickly and it takes a minimum of two vaccinations (approximately 3 – 4 weeks) to induce immunity. Many local boarding facilities and doggie daycare centers are now requiring vaccination with the new strain and some require vaccination with both strains. I believe anyone whose dog has lots of contact with other dogs should strongly consider getting this vaccine

If you have any questions do not hesitate to call us.

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