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How Often Should You Vaccinate Your Dog?

If you are vaccinating every year… you really need to read this article.

After one of our customers was asking about vaccinations I thought I would do an article on the subject and add a different perspective to what you may be hearing from your local vet. This customer actually made a really valid point and that was, why do humans only get vaccinations once and dogs need to be vaccinated every year? The basic answer is that it was a bit of a scam by the people that run those businesses. Not so much the vets as the vaccine companies.

In the past I have vaccinated puppies 2 or 3 times before 16 weeks and then done a booster at 12 months and then not really worried about a booster till the dog is showing signs of old age. The reason being healthy grown dogs can get sick from Parvo Virus but rarely does it become critical. The reason being the Parvo Virus attacks growing cells and degenerating cells, this means growing dogs and old dogs are very susceptible to it.

I have never seen a dog with distemper or hepatitis so can’t really comment too much about those.

Enough of my hearsay… let’s get
down to the scientific facts.

Here is what the American Animal Hospital Association Canine Vaccination Task Force discovered. They said, that for both Parvo and Distemper vaccinations, immunity lasts at least 5 years and for Adenovirus, at least 7 years.

And this is what they now recommend for vaccination guidelines.

For both Parvo and Distemper vaccinations

Initial vaccination in puppies < 16 weeks of age

  • First shot between 6 weeks to 8 weeks, then vaccinate every 3 to 4 weeks. Last Vac. should be given between 14 and 16 weeks to minimize risk of intervention by maternal antibodies

Initial vaccination in dogs > 16 weeks of age

  • One dose

Revaccination

  • For puppies who received initial vaccination series by 16 weeks, a booster no later than 1 year after completion of initial series, then equal to or greater than every 3 years
  • For dogs who received initial vaccination after 16 weeks of age, every ≥ 3 years thereafter

Note: Among healthy dogs, Distemper and Parvo vaccines are expected to induce immunity for at least 5 years.

For Canine Adenovirus vaccinations (Hepatitis)

Initial vaccination in puppies < 16 weeks of age

  • First shot between 6 weeks to 8 weeks, then vaccinate every 3 to 4 weeks. Last Vac. should be given between 14 and 16 weeks to minimize risk of intervention by maternal antibodies

Initial vaccination in dogs > 16 weeks of age

  • One dose

Revaccination

  • For puppies who received initial vaccination series by 16 weeks, a booster no later than 1 year after completion of initial series, then ≥ 3 years thereafter
  • For dogs who received initial vaccination after 16 weeks of age, every ≥ 3 years thereafter

Note: Among healthy dogs, distemper vaccines are expected to induce immunity for at least 7 years.

Please be aware that most Vets in Australia give a C3 vaccination which vaccinates against all three of the above viruses. If you need extra immunity for leptospirosis, Bordatella or kennel cough then you need to ask your vet. The C5 is necessary in most boarding kennels. C5 does the same as the C3 does plus Bordatella and Parainfluenza. The trick here is to plan ahead and not double up on the 3 if you don’t need to.

I will conclude by saying that common sense and the info above should be used to decide when you will vaccinate your dog. For instance if your dog frequents dog shows and dog parks all the time then go for the more aggressive method of vaccinating. If you live on a farm and your dogs never meet other dogs then every 5 years will be fine.

In the end, it’s your choice.

*Information from American Animal Hospital Association’s (AAHA) Canine Vaccination Guidelines.
https://www.aaha.org/public_documents/professional/guidelines/caninevaccineguidelines.pdf

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