Which vaccines should a dog get and how often?
Original Question: My dog is 6 years old and 40 lbs. What vaccinations must she have every year? - Helene
Thanks for your question. It is a short and simple one but it has a bit of a complicated answer.
Vaccinations need to be an independent decision. There should not be one protocol that fits every dog. So I can give you a straightforward answer to your question and tell you which vaccines the average dog should be getting on a regular basis. But I also want to give you guidance on having a discussion with your veterinarian to choose the right vaccinations for you.
For a dog of this age, living in a city center, without travel to other environments, I would suggest that you use the core vaccinations. This would be DAPP (distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza and parvovirus) and Rabies. I would recommend you stagger these vaccines and give them on a three-year cycle. So one year you give the rabies 3-year vaccine, then give the DAPP the following year, and then no vaccines the next year. Repeat this cycle every three years. This would be the simple answer to your question.
The better answer is really about determining your pets lifestyle, what environments they’re exposed to and your feelings about risk of being exposed to the diseases that the vaccines prevent. This is where you consider the use of the non-core vaccines to prevent these possible diseases. For example, leptospirosis is a bacteria that is carried in the urine of skunks and raccoons. If you have this urban wildlife visiting your property and therefore your pet could be exposed to it, you could consider giving this vaccine as well.
Other vaccines exist for Lyme disease and kennel cough but again, these are non-core vaccines that are optional.
As a veterinarian, I always found it important to develop a unique vaccination program for each individual patient as opposed to a one-size fits all approach. Therefore, I’d like you to discuss a vaccination program and schedule with your veterinarian to determine what is best for you and your dog. I encourage you to check out our videos “Everything You Need to Know About Vaccine Reactions“, “Which Vaccines Should I Give My Dog or Cat?“ and “How Often Vaccines Need Boosters and The Benefits of Titre Testing for Dogs & Cats“ for more information on this topic.
All the best.
Dr. Clayton Greenway
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