When should dogs be vaccinated ?
Dogs should be vaccinated for the first time when they are young puppies (from 9 weeks of age - and occasionally earlier) to protect them against a number of important infectious diseases. They usually require more than one dose initially (called the primary course) followed by booster vaccinations at regular intervals to maintain protection.
Vaccination of dogs is required for movement across many International borders, and before dogs can enter boarding kennels or dog shows. The National Greyhound Racing Club in the UK insists on vaccination of dogs participating in the sport.For general information about vaccines and vaccination CLICK HERE
Vaccines in common use in dogs are listed below. If you want to find out more about the individual diseases follow the blue links provide
Canine Distemper Virus Vaccination
Maternal antibodies interfere with vaccination but will have declined sufficiently by 12 weeks of age. In some individuals it may have fallen by 8-9 weeks of age. For this reason two vaccine doses are usually advised - one at 9 weeks, the other at 12 weeks. In high risk environments (e.g. rescue centres) vaccination should be given as early as possible - even as young as 6 weeks if necessary. If protection is needed earlier because the puppy has been exposed to infected animals a measles vaccine can be used from 5 weeks of age.
An initial booster vaccination is usually advised at 12 months of age, followed by a booster every year, or every 2 years. Some vaccine manufacturers now recommend Boosters every 3 years.
Licensed products in the UK are live vaccines, often incorporated in mixed vaccine
Human measles virus shares some antigens with canine distemper virus and vaccination of dogs with measles vaccine will provide some cross-protection. This vaccine is used to protect puppies over 5 weeks of age if they are at risk of exposure to canine distemper virus.
Licensed products in the UK are live vaccines.
For more information about Canine Distemper CLICK HERE
Canine Parvovirus Vaccine
Initially feline parvovirus vaccines were used to vaccinate dogs against canine parvovirus infection but now they are derived from the canine virus and these confer better immunity which lasts longer.
Even low concentrations of maternal antibodies (which can persist for 4-20 weeks in a puppy following birth) can interfere with the response to vaccination and there is a risk that puppies may be susceptible to field infection before they can mount a response to vaccination. Unless a puppy's antibody levels are measured at regular intervals (not practical under most conditions) vaccination should be given at 2-4 week intervals from 6 to 18 weeks of age. Boosters can be given every year, every 2 years, and some are now recommended to be given every 3 years.
Live vaccines can produce a viraemia and so they should not be given to pregnant bitches. The protection conferred by modified live virus vaccination probably exceeds a year, but annual boosters are usually advised.
An antiserum is available against canine parvovirus (prepared in combination with other antisera, including canine distemper, infectious canine hepatitis virus, and leptospirosis)
Licensed products in the UK are live or killed (inactivated) vaccines, the latter contains adjuvant. They are often incorporated in mixed vaccinesFor more information about Canine Parvovirus CLICK HERE
Infectious Canine Hepatitis
This disease is caused by canine adenovirus type I, which may also be involved in infectious tracheobronchitis. Canine adenovirus type 2 is a similar virus which is also sometimes involved in infectious tracheobronchitis. Vaccination with modified live vaccines of the type 2 virus confers immunity to type 1 as well, and has the advantage that it does not cause "blue eye" in susceptible individuals.
With earlier vaccines prepared from adenovirus type I an antigen-antibody reaction occasionally caused "blue eye" - particularly in susceptible breeds such the Afghan Hound, and also created persistent shedding of virus in urine.
Maternal antibody is not much of a problem and vaccination is given from 6 weeks and a second dose is given at 12 weeks of age. Immunity following modified live virus vaccination probably lasts for several years, but booster vaccination is advised every 1-3 years.
Inactivated vaccines should be given to pregnant animals, in which case annual boosters are needed.
Licensed products in the UK are live and killed (inactivated) vaccines. They are also incorporated in mixed vaccines.
An antiserum is available in combination with antisera to other diseases.
Intranasal vaccines are quite effective producing local immunity in the respiratory tract, but they cause a transient cough 3-4 days after vaccination. Passive immunity (e.g. maternal antibodies) do not affect the development of this immunity - which takes 5 days, so puppies can be vaccinated as early as 2 weeks of age. Revaccination is recommended every 6 months.
The Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccine should not be given to pregnant bitches, or dogs on antibiotic treatment effective against Bordetella spp.
Licensed products in the UK are live vaccines.
Canine Parainfluenza Virus
The first vaccine is given from 6 weeks of age and the second dose is given at 12 weeks of age, or 3-4 weeks after the first vaccine.
Pregnant animals should not be vaccinated against parainfluenza virus.
Licensed products in the UK are live vaccines, they are often incorporated in mixed vaccines.
For more information about Kennel Cough CLICK HERE
Maternal antibodies to Leptospirosis have gone in puppies by 8 weeks of age and so vaccination can be started then. Two doses are given for the primary course with 2-6 weeks between them .
Annual booster vaccinations are recommended.
Licensed products in the UK are killed (inactivated) vaccines. They are often incorporated in mixed vaccines.
An antiserum is available in combination with antisera to other diseases.For more information about Leptospirosis CLICK HERE
NOTE : Rabies is a serious zoonosis that can be transmitted from animals to humans. In most countries of the world it is a notifiable disease.
See Rabies for further information about the disease
Rabies vaccines can be given from 4 weeks of age, and a second dose is given at 12 weeks of age. If vaccinated for the first time after 12 weeks only one dose is needed. Booster vaccinations are needed every 2 years.
Licensed products in the UK are killed (inactivated) vaccines and contain adjuvant.
Pregnant animals should not be vaccinated.For more information about Rabies CLICK HERE
Tetanus toxoid is administered to dogs exhibiting signs of tetanus. Ideally this is given intravenously, but a test for anaphylaxis is done first (see Tetanus for further information)
Routine preventative vaccination against tetanus is not advised for dogs.
The first vaccination can be given at 6 weeks, and again at 10 weeks. Booster vaccinations are recommended every 3 years.