My vet is a fairly new graduate and so I asked her and the vet tech what they thought about giving less shots. Now this woman said she went to school in California and there is a big movement to NOT vaccinate as often out there. She also said that there isn't enough data to substantiate giving vaccines every 7 years! I told her I was talking 3-4 years...she does not believe that dogs need as many shots as they get but it does depend what and why as she doesn't give her dogs kennel cough because they will never be anyplace but at her home (she sited the dog insurance covers all these shots I have never even heard of).Sounds like pharmaceutical companies everywhere! We talked about the basic shots also and there again she thought that people and situations are all different but believes in the rabies (my dogs get a 3 year rabies every 2 years) and then distemper yearly and a couple more because I breed! I do this because we live in the country and have racoons,stray dogs and feral if my dogs/cats never left a fence it would be one thing but they do occasionally run into some animal that could be sick. If my cats get older and don't go out I would not vaccinate them BUT they do!

What do you do and why?

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We do (after puppy shots)

Rabies every 3 years
DHPP every 3 years
Lyme every year
Lepto (the new 3-way) every year
Kennel cough if we will be boarding (which is likely to be every year, or at least most years).

Our vet only does Lyme and Lepto for pets that frequent woodsy areas, and since we live across the street from woodsy, we go with it.
I wonder if they do the 3 year rabies around here every 2 years as so many dogs are farm dogs and maybe their owners don't bring them in as often? Just thinking out loud! I really should ask why they do this...oh well another discussion another day!
I have NO idea why they'd give the rabies more often - sounds crazy to me. Hopefully after the Rabies Challenge study is done we can all move to 5-7 years, but every three years is MORE than cautious (and a lot closer together than it should be, honestly).

The existing 7-yr duration studies are mostly in Europe. I think they're trustworthy but US medicine has a complex about accepting data from Europe.

I am also not sure why she'd want distemper (which is usually shorthand for the 4-in-1 or 5-in-1 combo vaccine) yearly? Or more because you breed? None of that has any scientific basis.

We have deer, fox (the fox den is about 100 feet from my dog pen), raccoons, dogs, coyotes, you name it. We still follow a very minimal schedule (rabies as mandated by law; parvo+distemper as puppy shots and again at age 1 and then never again; never lepto; never kennel cough; never Lyme).
You need kennel cough to board, or most of the kennels won't let you in the door. My vet, like many, only does it if you are boarding.
So Joanna, You never give the distemper after the 1 year? Just making sure that's what you are saying. I know that even if an animal would catch distemper you could vaccinate them at that point! I guess I will be asking more questions!

I do not give the combo shot (which is what a lot of vets call "distemper," even though distemper is only a part of the shot) after one year, no. There's no way you could vaccinate AFTER a dog got distemper; the vaccine protects them for a very long time.

It's just like humans; you probably got your last whooping cough shot two or three decades ago. Do you worry that you're going to get whooping cough? A vaccine for a virus (as opposed to a vaccine for a bacteria, like kennel cough) has a VERY long duration.
While the research may well bear you out, we can't just assume that because HUMAN immune systems produce memory cells against viruses that live more or less forever, so do canine immune systems.

Animals have immune systems that are similar to, but by no means identical to, our own.
Plus we don't sniff faces and butts of every person we meet :)
Speak for yourself.   :-)  sniff sniff.
The way the memory cells work is pretty much exactly the same. Duration of immunity by serology (meaning that the antibodies are still present) for distemper is 9-15 years as proven by studies, and in actual fact is safe to assume is lifelong.

Parvo is even less of an issue, because it's absolutely everywhere so the dog is constantly challenged and constantly fighting it off. So the antibody titer stays very high. The only exception is in breeds that have a kind of immunodeficiency that means they don't ever build good titers; dobermans are the classic example. But even dobermans don't need to be vaccinated every year; they can go three years at minimum and you can do titers after that to see if the protection is falling.
Joanna, I believe you may be proved right, and I hope you are too. :-)

My understanding though is that long-term studies have been very limited (I think we've discussed the reasons for it) and involve only a handful of dogs.

So, I go with my vet's recommendation of 3 years and hope that further research moves the field in the direction you are saying.
We just went through this because Finn turned one and was due for shots. He had all of his puppy shots (Rabies, Parvo/Distemper combo & Bordatella). I talked to the vet about what was needed/recommended when we went in for his boosters last month and they said they recommend the Parvo/Distemper every 3 years and Rabies is every 3 years as well. Bordatella was the only optional vaccine that we considered since he had it as a puppy but the tech said unless we board him it is not necessary. She said they used to recommend it for dogs who go to the groomers or dog park but they don't anymore. That would have to be administered yearly and thought it has very low risk of side effects and insurance would cover it, we opted not to get it. The vet tech said if we do decide to board him we should bring him in for it 2 weeks prior. So, that's our plan; Rabies and Parvo/Distemper every 3 years and nothing else unless it becomes necessary. I'm not a fan of over vaccinating/medicating. I don't take care of myself that way so why would I do it with my dog? I feel confident that he is protected based on this vaccination schedule.


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