Do I really have to vaccinate my dog (or cat) every year?
More and more people worry about over-vaccinating their pets, and unfortunately there’s lots of conflicting and confusing advice out there. We want to keep our pets safe- but how do we do that when it comes to vaccinations? The vaccinations protect against some really nasty diseases (I’ve seen plenty of dogs die from Parvo, you really wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy!), yet some dogs have quite severe reactions to the vaccine itself, and there is concern that vaccinating too much may lead to chronic health issues.
The background bit:
Before we start, you need to know that dogs don’t get the same vaccination every year (cats typically do, more on that next time). For their puppy vaccination course and their first booster, dogs get the full vaccine, against Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvo and Leptospirosis (+/- Kennel Cough), then for the next two years it’s the small vaccine, just Lepto (+/- Kennel Cough), and every 3rd year it’s the full vaccine again.
|Puppy Course||1 Year||2 Years||3 Years||4 Years||5 Years||6 Years||7 Years|
We know that the core vaccine (that it given at the full vaccine, and covers Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvo) lasts for at least 3 years, but can last much longer, up to the life time of the dog. But we don’t know for which dogs it lasts longer and for how long, so to be on the safe side, we vaccinate against these diseases every 3 years.
We also know that immunity against Leptopirosis (and Kennel Cough) only lasts up to a year, so we repeat this every year.
It has always been possible to check whether a dog is still protected against the core diseases, but it was so expensive that only very few people had it done.
These days though, titre testing is much more affordable, and in my mind really is the obvious thing to do.
Titre testing is a blood test that will tell you if your dog still has immunity against the core diseases: Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvo. It does not test for immunity against Leptospirosis, because this only lasts for a year anyway and therefore needs to be repeated yearly.
So this is how it could work:
Full puppy course and first booster, then small vaccine at year 2 and 3 (this is how it is routinely done pretty much everywhere), then in year 4, rather than giving the full vaccine again, run a titre test, and only give the vaccine if needed. But do vaccinate against Lepto every year. A positive titre test means your dog is protected for at least 1 year, and it’s recommended to then titre test every year to be sure the cover still lasts.
|Puppy Course||1 Year||2 Year||3 Years||4 Years Onwards|
|Full||Full||Lepto||Lepto||Lepto + Titre Test,
Give full vaccine only if needed
Don’t take my word for it, though- check out www.wsava.org/Guidelines/Vaccination-Guidelines and @vaccicheck for their advice on titre testing.
Next time your dog is due a booster, ask for a titre test first instead. Or sign up for one of our popular titre testing sessions.
For more ways in which titre testing is useful check here and for titre testing in cats check here.
Having the vet come to you is easy.
Call me on 07399 983 173 and we'll arrange a suitable time for an appointment.
I visit your home
I'll come directly to you for your appointment and provide any assessments or treatments.
We?ll arrange any follow up appointments as needed.
Katja's treatment of my 16 year old springer spaniels arthritis with acupuncture and subsequently electro-acupuncture has made a huge difference to her quality of life. A huge thank you to Katja whose care and treatment I would highly recommend
- Helen Peel
Superb relaxed service at home meant no stress, no scratches and no car journey and a cool cat. Absolutely outstanding, can't recommend Katja enough.
- Angela Traynor
I have searched for a mobile vet for years and I am so happy to have found such a fantastic one in Katja. A much calmer experience for me and my cats cannot recommend highly enough!
- Rachel Daly
I never thought a vet visit could be so easy! I used to worry about how I would get my cats to the vet and didn't like the idea of stressing them out. But when Katja comes to my home, my cats hardly notice they're being examined and go straight back to sleeping as if nothing had happened. When one of my cats needed a blood sample, Katja came together with her vet nurse Rachel, who was fantastic!
- N. Walton
Thank you Pets Relaxed. All puppies health checked and vaccinated without the added stress of leaving their home. A very calm experience for them. Can't recommend Katja Londa enough.
- Linda Hunt
Caring and kind, takes the time to listen to human and animal, observes pets in their home. Offers advice along with sensible advice on alternative healing treatments. Medicates when necessary. Fabulous veterinary lady x.
- Nichola Roberts
Cannot recommend pets relaxed enough. Sadly we had to end our beloved dogs life last week. Katja came to our home, as our usual vets didn't have a vet available. Our lovely dog went to sleep in his bed in the sunshine, which was one of his favourite places. Katja made a heartbreaking situation as lovely as it could possibly be. Today, I have come back to a lovely card together with some poppy seeds to scatter to remember him. Thank you x
- Sarah Gledhill
Thank you for your wonderful care when we had to lose Eddie - I thought you were remarkable - so gentle and kind with him, and then so patient and thoughtful with us...You pushed away as much of the trauma as you possibly could and I'll never forget that.. or you - thank you.
- Lisa Moore
Katja came and took blood from my two older Labradoodles, as well as our?ten Animal Assistance team dogs, to check immunity to the core diseases via VacciCheck. I haven't boostered my dogs for over 10 years as I prefer to take a more holistic approach and have opted for titres in the past. They all came back with immunity, including my old dogs, which proves that many vaccines can last for many years, if not a lifetime. I would always opt to titre test my dogs as opposed to unnecessary boosters.
- Alison Frost - Animal Assistance