Vaccines are now being divided into two classes. ‘Core’ vaccines for dogs are those that should be given to every dog. ‘Non-core’ vaccines are recommended only for certain dogs. Whether to vaccinate with non-core vaccines depends upon a number of things including the age, breed and health status of the dog, the potential exposure of the dog to an animal that has the disease, and the type of vaccine and how common the disease is within the geographical area where the dog lives or may visit.
The AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents’ Report on Cat and Dog Vaccines has recommended that the core vaccines for dogs include distemper, canine adenovirus-2 (hepatitis and respiratory disease), canine parvovirus-2 and rabies.
Non-core vaccines include leptospirosis, coronavirus, canine parainfluenza and Bordetella bronchiseptica (both are causes of ‘kennel cough‘), and Borrelia burgdorferi (causes Lyme Disease). Consult with your veterinarian to select the proper vaccines for your dog or puppy.
AVMA Vaccination Recommendations for Dogs
|Component||Class||Efficacy||Length of Immunity||Risk of Adverse Effects||Comments|
|Canine Distemper||Core||High||>1 year for modified live virus (MLV) vaccines||Low|
|Measles||Non-core||High in preventing disease, but not in preventing infection||Long||Infrequent||Use in high risk environments for canine distemper in puppies 4-10 weeks of age|
|Hepatitis||Core||High||>1 year||Low||Only use canine adenovirus-2 (CAV-2) vaccines|
|Rabies||Core||High||Dependent upon type of vaccine||Low to moderate|
|Respiratory disease from canine adenovirus-2 (CAV-2)||Non-core||Not adequately studied||Short||Minimal||If vaccination warranted, boost annually or more frequently|
|Parainfluenza||Non-core||Intranasal MLV – Moderate
Injectable MLV Low
|Moderate||Low||Only recommended for dogs in kennels, shelters, shows, or large colonies. If vaccination warranted, boost annually or more frequently|
|Bordetella||Non-core|| Intranasal MLV – Moderate
Injectable MLV Low
|Short||Low||For the most benefit, use intranasal vaccine 2 weeks prior to exposure|
|Leptospirosis||Non-core||Variable||Short||High||Up to 30% of dogs may not respond to vaccine|
|Coronavirus||Non-core||Low||Short||Low||Risk of exposure high in kennels, shelters, shows, breeding facilities|
|Lyme||Non-core||Appears to be limited to previously unexposed dogs, variable||Revaccinate annually||Moderate|
Dog Vaccination Schedule
|5 Weeks||Parvovirus: for puppies at high risk of exposure to parvo, some veterinarians recommend vaccinating at 5 weeks. check with your veterinarian.|
|6 & 9 Weeks||Combination vaccine* without leptospirosis. Coronavirus: where coronavirus is a concern.|
|12 Weeks or Older||Rabies: Given by your local veterinarian (age at vaccination may vary according to local law).|
|12 & 15 Weeks**||Comination vaccine leptospirosis: include leptospirosis in the combination vaccine where leptospirosis is a concern, or if traveling to an area where it occurs. Coronavirus: where coronavirus is a concern. Lyme: where Lyme diesease is a concern or if traveling to an area where it occurs.|
|Adult (boosters)§||Comination vaccine leptospirosis: include leptospirosis in the combination vaccine where leptospirosis is a concern, or if traveling to an area where it occurs. Coronavirus: where coronavirus is a concern. Lyme: where Lyme diesease is a concern or if traveling to an area where it occurs. Rabies: Given by your local veterinarian (age at vaccination may vary according to local law).|
* A combination vaccine, often called a 5-way vaccine, usually includes adenovirus cough and hepatitis, distemper, parainfluenza and parvovirus. Some combination vaccines may also include leptospirosis (7-way vaccines) and/or coronavirus. The inclusion of either canine adenovirus-1 or adenovirus-2 in a vaccine will protect against both adenovirus cough and hepatitis; adenovirus-2 is highly preferred.
** Some puppies may need additional vaccinations against parvovirus after 15 weeks of age. Consult with your local veterinarian.
§ According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, dogs at low risk of disease exposure may not need to be boostered yearly for most diseases. Consult with your local veterinarian to determine the appropriate vaccination schedule for your dog. Remember, recommendations vary depending on the age, breed and health status of the dog, the potential of the dog to be exposed to the disease, the type of vaccine, whether the dog is used for breeding, and the geographical area where the dog lives or may visit.
Bordetella and Parainfluenza
Additional Vaccination Schedule Information
Researchers at the Veterinary Schools at the University of Minnesota, Colorado State University and University of Wisconsin suggest alternating vaccinations in dogs from year to year. Instead of using multivalent vaccines (combination vaccines against more than one disease), they recommend using monovalent vaccines which only have 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 would repeat itself. Other researchers believe we may not have enough information to recommend only vaccinating every three years. 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. Consult with your veterinarian to help you make the decision.