New research verifies the main vaccines' three-year immunity

 Adverse reactions are the No. 1 reason experts recommended changes---principally fewer annual booster shots---to guidelines from the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).

 Evaluated risks

 Veterinarians used to routinely give dogs annual booster vaccinations, based on the science at the time.

Today's research shows that not every dog needs every shot every year. Instead, their owners and veterinarians should decide on appropriate vaccinations based on individual need and evaluation of risk, such as canine lifestyle an incidence of a given disease in their area. Previous guidelines, released in 2003, had suggested switching re vaccination from yearly to every 3 years. New research strongly supports that view.

 “The most significant change in the guidelines is the duration of immunity has now been verified for at least 3 years for the main vaccines – distemper, canine adenovirus-2 (hepatitis) and parovirous,” said oncologist Susan Cotter, DVM, Distinguished Professor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. “The main difference is in the assurance that the three-year recommendation is based on good evidence.”

 Dr. Cotter served on the Canine Vaccine Task Force that revised the guidelines. The international group included practitioners, internists, infectious disease experts and immunologists. Among their other important recommendations, said

Dr. Cotter:

 *”If  the vaccine is given for Bordetella—(kennel cough)  it is best used intra-nasally, not by ingestion.

 ·        “Leptospirosis and Borrelia (Lyme) vaccines should be only to dogs at significant risk. Geographic variation exists for risk.” Among other states, canine leptospirosis has been reported in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey. It's spread through the urine of affected wild animals.

(diplomats of the American College of Veterinary Medicine believe the use of Lyme vaccines still is controversial and most do not administer it.) The Vaccines give only partial, relatively short-term immunity.

 ·        “ Vaccines against canine aedenovirus-1 ( an older form of hepatitis), giardia and corona virus are not recommended. Killed rabies vaccine should be given to all puppies at 3 months of age and 1 year later,” Dr. Cotter said. “After that, it is effective for three years, even though some states continue to require it yearly.

·        A vaccine for measles, a virus similar to distemper, is no longer recommended as part of routine puppy vaccinations.                       

 “Tufts follows the recommendations of AAHA,” said Mary Labato, DVM, an internist at the Cummings School. “There have been studies looking at viral exposures to animals vaccinated long ago to see how protective immunity is. That demonstrated that we could extend out the vaccine protocols. But it is still up to the individual veterinarian,”

 The updated guidelines --- available at --- are changing how veterinarians practice medicine and will impact the way manufacturers market their products. The yearly veterinary visit that once emphasized vaccinations will now focus on wellness care. The new guidelines encourage rational vaccination rather than simply use-it-because-it's-available, said internist Richard B. Ford, DVM, faculty member at North Carolina State University and a member of the Canine Vaccine Task Force.

 Thirty to 40 years ago dogs received only four kinds of vaccines. Giving distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis and rabies to all dogs was considered state-of-the-art medicine, said Dennis Macy, DVM, a professor and internist at Colorado State University School of Veterinary Medicine.

 At the time, studies determined that immunity against distemper lasted less that one year in 33 percent of vaccinated dogs, said

Dr. Macy. Based on decades-old study, annual re vaccination became the default recommendation, and soon veterinarians were re vaccinating dogs annually with all available vaccines.

 When dogs received more and more shots each year as new ones became available, veterinarians and owners noticed adverse reactions. Over- vaccination also has been linked to chronic immune-mediated conditions, such as poly arthritis ---multiple joint arthritis --- and inhaled allergies, said Dr. Macy. In rare cases, live vaccines induce the disease they  were designed to prevent. “The only cases of distemper we saw at CSU last year were vaccine induced,” he said.

 The vaccines that are given and their frequency require medical judgment. “ We want consumers to know that vaccination is absolutely the best buck for a dog's health dollar,” Dr. Ford said. “If dogs need vaccinations at the annual exam, it's a good time to give them.”

 In the final analysis, Dr. Cotter said, “the important point is that the benefits of recommended vaccines far outweigh any risks.”

 References for the above article : 

American Animal Hospital Association (the "official" source!), 


Amy Shojai, Author,  at  Amy D. Shojai  taken from Your Dog Magazine, September 2006 .

 An excellent vaccine schedule can be found at the following site.

We have found this information very useful, but always consult your Veterinarian. We post this article with permission of the author for informational purposes only if you have any questions please consult your veterinarian as to the proper treatment of your pet/pets.