Recently, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) released revised vaccination guidelines for dogs. The changes are slight, but they are significant. Perhaps the most significant change is acknowledging that titer tests can determine whether your pet is in need of vaccination boosters.
Core vaccinations for dogs
The new guidelines do not make any changes to the core vaccination protocol for dogs. The AAHA still recommends that a dog should receive vaccines for Distemper, Parvovirus, Adenovirus-2, and Parainfluenza. The last one, Parainfluenza, is optional. The vaccines should be given in combination doses starting at 6 weeks old until 16 weeks old.
Vaccination schedule for dogs
Dr. Jean Dodd, who is considered one of the foremost experts in pet healthcare with a focus on vaccination protocols, suggests that vaccinations should be given in the following combination doses. Dr. Dodd only talks about the two core vaccinations for Distemper and Parvovirus.
- Distemper and Parvovirus – 9-10 weeks of age
- Distemper and Parvovirus – 14-15 weeks of age
- Parvovirus – 18 weeks of age
- Optional booster depending on results of titer test – 1 year
The AAHA recommends that booster vaccines be given after 1 and 3 years of age. However, this is where the major change in vaccination protocol comes into play. The goal of vaccination is immunization. Many just assume that their pets will need a vaccination booster and blindly follow the vet’s protocol. However, your pet may not need a booster, particularly not the three-year booster shots.
Serum antibody titer test
The only way to determine if your pet is immune or in need of an extra vaccination booster is to perform a serum antibody titer test for the various diseases. A titer test tests for antibodies and can give parents an idea of how well protected their dog is against the four major diseases. Before you give your dog more vaccinations and boosters, test to make sure they are necessary. For families who have a dog who is older than the vaccination age, but don’t know the vaccination history for the dog, a titer test can help determine if the dog needs to be vaccinated, needs boosters, or is fully protected.