Due to advances on science and medicine there have been numerous changes in vaccines over the last 15 years. Vets tend to get asked which ones should be given to dogs on a regular basis.
Some of the answers are below:
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents, “medical decisions concerning vaccine selection and administration protocols are among the most complicated medical decisions facing veterinarians today.” Here’s why:
The reasons are numerous and include, but are not necessarily limited to,
- continual changes in our understanding of the immune system,
- changes in local/regional population susceptibilities to various diseases,
- increased animal valuation with related liabilities,
- longer animal life expectancies, and improved medical record systems, which allows for better tracking of the short-, medium-, and long-term effects of vaccine use/administration.”
Other contributing factors that affect a veterinarian’s decision as to whether any given dog should receive a vaccine include:
- veterinary medicine’s constantly evolving understanding of infectious diseases,
- veterinarians’ concerns regarding the regulations behind vaccines (licensing, labeling, etc.), and
- veterinarians’ awareness of the risks associated with vaccines. Much has been made of the risks of vaccination in recent years. Unfortunately, this debate has fueled a largely unwarranted backlash against vaccinations in general, which protect dogs from dangerous (and sometimes fatal) diseases while also protecting humans from diseases (such as rabies) that are transmissible across species.
Vaccination decisions should always be made in consultation with a veterinarian so they can be tailored to meet a pet’s individual needs.
According to the American Animal Hospital Association’s (AAHA) vaccine guidelines, the following vaccines are considered “core” (indispensable) vaccines for all dogs in the United States:
- Rabies virus
- Canine distemper virus
- Canine adenovirus-2 (hepatitis)
- Canine parvovirus
The following vaccines are considered non-core, which is to say they are optional vaccines that dogs can benefit from based on risk for exposure to the diseases in question:
- Bordetella (kennel cough vaccine)
- Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi vaccine)
- Canine coronavirus
The AAHA has categorized another group of vaccines as “not recommended.” This categorization does not mean that the vaccines are bad or dangerous. This designation simply means that widespread general use of the vaccine is not currently recommended for pet dogs. They are:
- Giardia lambla (no longer available as of this writing)
- The AAHA takes no position on the use of some other vaccines, such as the rattlesnake vaccine (Crotalus atrox).
Always make sure sure your pet has the proper vaccines at the right times to prevent any unnecessary illness in their lives. Also regular vet check ups, just like our regular doctor visits, are very important regardless of the breed. Keeping your pet, yourself and your family healthy should always be your number 1 priority.