Dog Vaccination Guidelines 2015


Have you ever wondered how often you should be 'booster' vaccinating your dog? It is not as clear cut as it appears, with different vets, insurance companies, kennels etc. insisting on different vaccination schedules for our pets. But who is right and what is best for the health of our dogs?

Dog vaccination guidelines (2015) recommend that our pet dogs should not be vaccinated with core vaccines annually. The recommendation for boosters is actually every 3 years or more.

dog being vaccinated by a vetIn 2013 I wrote a blog called The Dog Vaccine Booster Debate where we discussed whether annual boosters were really necessary for our pet dogs.

At that time noises were already being made suggesting that a two or three year gap between booster vaccinations was more than adequate and that excessive (annual) vaccinations could even compromise our pet's health. There was mounting evidence that most dogs could go for many years without needing boosters. However, many vets, insurance companies, boarding kennels and so on, were still suggesting and requesting vaccination boosters on a yearly basis, and still do.

Last week I came across the small animal vaccination guidelines and was keen to see what they recommended. It's important for all of us, as pet owners, to be aware of these issues. So let's get stuck in.

The 2015 guidelines for pet owners don't seem to be available online (the link doesn't appear to exist) so I have used the guidelines for vets. I can't imagine they could be very different other than maybe the terminology used.

I have specifically picked out the parts of the 45 page report that relate to us as individual dog owners in the UK. The report also discusses cats/kittens and high risk pets i.e. those at shelters. There is also particular mention of canine rabies vaccines which you should consider if you live in a country in which canine rabies is endemic.

You can click here to read the guidelines in full.

Vaccination Guidelines Group

The Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Vaccination Guidelines Group (VGG) was established in 2006 following the need for global recommendations on best-practice for the vaccination of dogs and cats.

They publish global vaccination guidelines for veterinarians and for the owners and breeders of dogs and cats. They can be found online at WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines.

The guidelines are translated into several languages and are accompanied by pictorial disease fact sheets and over 100 frequently asked questions and answers. So if your vet is not up to date with regards the vaccination guidelines for pets, you can always point them at the most recent VGG guidelines. Don't be talked into annual boosters unless there is a very specific reason why your vet feels this is necessary for your pet, which is unlikely.


Before we start, I want to be really clear about something. We are not discussing whether or not our pets should be vaccinated. There is little doubt that it is beneficial for all cats and dogs to be vaccinated and also to have their initial booster vaccinations. The contentious issue is that of annual boosters i.e. yearly booster vaccinations.

Guidelines for Core Vaccinations

The VGG defines core vaccines as those which all dogs and cats should receive to protect them from severe, life-threatening diseases. Core vaccines for UK dogs are those that protect against canine distemper virus (CDV), canine adenovirus (CAV) and the variants of canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2).

The VGG recommends the administration of multiple core vaccine doses to pups, with the final dose being delivered at 16 weeks or older followed by a booster at 6 or 12 months of age. The initial core vaccination should be given at 6-8 weeks of age, then every 2-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age or older. Therefore the number of puppy primary core vaccinations will be determined by the age at which vaccination is started and the selected interval between vaccinations e.g. when vaccination is started at 6 or 7 weeks of age, a course of four primary core vaccines would be administered with a 4 week interval, but only three would be required with an 8 or 9 week start and a similar 4 week interval.

Note that the puppy booster is mentioned by the VGG as being given at "6 or 12 months of age". Traditionally a puppy's booster vaccination was recommended to be done at 12 months old or 12 months after the last of the primary series of puppy vaccines. While this was convenient, coinciding with the pup's first annual health check, a puppy who did not respond to the initial vaccinations may be unprotected until their 12 month booster vaccination. The VGG has therefore re-evaluated this practice and now suggests that this possible window of susceptibility be reduced by bringing forward the booster vaccine from 52 weeks to 26 weeks of age. And after the 26 week booster, another core vaccine would not be required for at least another 3 years.

small dog being vaccinated by a vetIf you have adopted an adult dog or you have a dog whose vaccinations have lapsed, you may be wondering what to do.

An adult dog who had received a complete course of core puppy vaccinations and their 26 or 52 week booster but may not have been vaccinated regularly as an adult requires only a single dose of MLV core vaccine to boost immunity (Mouzin et al. 2004, Mitchell et al. 2012).

Similarly, an adopted adult dog (or puppy over 16 weeks of age) of unknown vaccination history requires only a single dose of MLV core vaccine to engender a protective immune response.

The guidelines are very clear on one important fact: Vaccines should not be given needlessly.

"Core vaccines should not be given any more frequently than every three years after the 6 or 12 month booster injection following the puppy/kitten series, because the duration of immunity (DOI) is many years and may be up to the lifetime of the pet."

So even every 3 years seems to be somewhat of a minimum. The VGG mentions above how immunity may last the lifetime of the pet and also suggests later on in the report that the 3 year guide could in fact be extended further:

"Following the 26 or 52 week booster, subsequent revaccinations are given at intervals of 3 years or longer".

In the FAQ part of the report I also found the following statement: "The time generally considered to be the minimum DOI for core vaccines is in fact 7 to 9 years for CDV, CPV-2, CAV-2".

Guidelines for Non-core Vaccinations

The VGG states that non-core vaccines are only required for pets whose geographical location, local environment or lifestyle places them at risk of contracting specific infections. Any chosen non-core vaccinations would need to be given annually or at least reassesed annually.

They have also classified some vaccines as not recommended, where there is insufficient scientific evidence to justify their use.

For all the details, please see the full report (link above).

In particular you might want to discuss the Leptospirosis non-core vaccine with your vet. Leptospiros is a zoonotic disease which means it can be spread from animal to human and vice versa. This potentially fatal disease, especially in puppies, is hard to diagnose and treat. There are many different strains, making it difficult to vaccinate against. Previously the Leptospirosis vaccine only covered 2 different strains (the ones most common to the UK) but a new vaccine covers 4 strains. Like a flu virus, it changes constantly.

One of the strains, Serovar Icterohaemorrhagiae (more commonly known as Weil's disease), is spread by rats, foxes and other infected animals in their urine. Talk to your vet about the risks and benefits of the Leptospirosis vaccine and annual boosters for your dog.

Serological Testing

blood in a vialThere have been advances in the availability of rapid and simple serological test kits that vets can use to detect the presence of protective antibodies specific for CDV, CAV and CPV-2. In other words, you can easily test to see if your dog is still covered for the core vaccines - canine distemper, canine adenovirus and canine parvovirus type 2.

These titre tests offer the perfect alternative to routine core vaccination every 3 years. At the moment the kits cost more than a dose of vaccine but at least you would know that your dog is not being unnecessarily vaccinated.

As an extra note, you can also use these test kits to test your dog before the 3 year period is up, if you are worried by the idea of not vaccinating annually.

Please note that while serum antibody titres are incredibly useful in determining vaccine-induced immunity in the case of CDV, CAV, CPV-2 and rabies in dogs, they are of limited or no value for other vaccines.

Vaccination Records

Let's quickly talk about what should be recorded when your puppy or adult dog is vaccinated. The guidelines are as follows:

At the time of vaccine administration, the following information should be recorded in the dog's permanent medical record:

  • date of vaccine administration
  • identity (name, initials or code) of the person administering the vaccine
  • vaccine name, lot or serial number, expiry date and manufacturer
  • site and route of vaccine administration

Annual Health Checks

The VGG strongly supports the concept of regular (annual) health checks for all pets. While the pet's annual health check may still include the giving of any necessary non-core vaccines that have a DOI of 1 year, the yearly health check should not be a time that the pet automatically receives annual booster injections. This does not however reduce the need for those all important annual health checks.

Reporting Adverse Reactions

reporting adverse medical reactions from drugs in dogsThe VGG recognizes the importance of adverse reaction reporting schemes and suggests that "veterinarians should be actively encouraged to report all possible adverse events to the manufacturer and/or regulatory authority to expand the knowledge base that drives development of improved vaccine safety."

Vets have a lot on their plates and it could be that this side of things, the reporting of any adverse reactions, is slipping through the net. I therefore think that we should ALL report any adverse reactions, so there will be a record should it happen again to another pet.

To find out more about how to report an adverse reaction in your dog to medications, vaccinations, microchips etc. please see Reporting Adverse Reactions.

Reducing the Vaccine Load

"It is simply not possible to induce 'better' immunity in an individual animal by giving repeated vaccinations, i.e. a dog receiving a core MLV vaccine every 3 years will be equally well protected compared with one receiving the same vaccine annually" (Bohm et al. 2004, Mouzin et al. 2004, Mitchell et al. 2012).

The report recognises that we need to reduce the 'vaccine load' on individual animals. This would minimise the potential for adverse reactions to vaccines and would also reduce the time and financial burden on owners and vets of unjustified veterinary medical procedures.

Annual boosters are officially "unjustified veterinary medical procedures". Yes!

More Rational Use of Vaccines

The vaccination guidelines are "based on a rational analysis of the vaccine requirements for each pet". There is also a push towards marketing products with extended duration of immunity (DOI), to reduce the unnecessary administration of vaccines and thereby further improve vaccine safety.

"Both of these changes have necessitated a frame-shift in the mind-set of veterinary practitioners, which is now becoming the accepted norm in many countries."

Vaccination Guideline Summary

Core vaccination is a single dose of MLV vaccine (CDV, CAV-2, CPV-2) plus rabies in endemic areas. There is no need to give two doses. Revaccination should be no more frequently than every 3 years.

Non-core vaccines should be selected based on a risk:benefit analysis for that individual dog. Two doses should be given 2-4 weeks apart followed by annual boosters.

Serological testing can be used on any adult dog to confirm protection against core diseases and, if the dog has retained immunity, the owner can elect not to revaccinate that animal. Serological testing should be performed every 3 years (annually for dogs over 10 years old).

"Adoption of these new guidelines is not simply about minimising the risk of adverse reactions - it is about practicing better, evidence-based veterinary medicine and only performing a medical procedure (i.e. vaccination) when this is required."

Why Does this Matter?

vet talking to dog ownerYou may be wondering why any of this matters to you as a dog owner? If these guidelines are available to vets, why can't you just let your vet tell you what to do and when? Well, while there are many fantastic vets out there, I am sure that there are also some who do not keep up to date with various changes or are resistant to change for various reasons.

It is your dog and your dog's health potentially at stake here. It is your right to speak up should you need to and you can only do that if you have been given this kind of information. If your vet still insists on annual boosters then you are at least in a position to discuss these vaccination guidelines with them.

By Jenny Prevel

© D for Dog
This article belongs strictly to D for Dog and we do not authorise the copying of all or any part of it.

26 January 2016  |  19:49

Very interesting. I'm impressed with the amount of research and downright hard work that went into writing this article
. I've always had my dog boosted 3 yearly...but vets don't like it!

Thank you for taking the trouble.

01 February 2016  |  13:32

I'm delighted to eventually read here confirmation of what I've found through keeping up with latest thinking on this subject. My local vet is sympathetic to this, but I've found that a problem also lies with kennel owners who still insist on annual vaccinations before they will board your pets (dogs and cats), some even going so far as to insist on continuity with no break in cover. I tell them my vet says 3-yearly cover is more than adequate but they can refuse if they want, forcing me to vaccinate my pets unnecessarily. I hope this filters through pretty quickly.

Lady Scattercash
01 February 2016  |  13:46

Fantastic article. I will be contacting my vet, insurance company and dog minding service to see how enlightened they are about these changes. Having always worried about the unnecessary risk of annual vaccinations on the wellbeing of my dog, this is good news indeed. Thank you.

Stan Ogden
31 July 2017  |  0:19

Ity is local council TRading Standards that insist on licenced dog Home boarders and Kennels seeing vaccination records that include an annual booster.

Maggie Fisher
01 February 2016  |  16:28

Thank you so much for this information. I had a really hard time convincing my vet that I had read the manufacturer's own guidelines and they recommended a 3 year revaccination programme. I was made to feel like a bad owner even though I explained that the jabs made my 13 year old dog sick and generally unwell. I argued that he must already have sufficient immunity. Good to now know I was correct.

Mark Hamilton
01 February 2016  |  16:29

I have 3 dogs chihuahuas and a vet i no longer use even if you was a week later than last yrs jabs they would insist that the dogs had to have there jabs started again 2 jabs 2 weeks apart.even though i have never missed an annual jab.and my oldest dog is thirteen and i have always thought this as am delighted to read your article about this issue.I can only presume a lot of vets do this to get poeples pets through there doors rake in the money as most poeple who have healthy pets would not bother going to the vets for no reason but yearly vaccinations keep the cash rolling in.The vets i now use fortunatly dont believe in over vaccination my dogs.and finally my childhood dog which was a large mongrel only had his puppy vacs and never anymore throughout his life and lived to 19 pretty unheatd of these days

01 February 2016  |  16:29

Thanks for this great article. I will definitely be referencing it the next time my vet insists on yearly boosters. I'd be interested to hear if your research came upon anything regarding vaccinating where there is a history of malignant mast cell tumours. I spoke to my vets regarding articles I'd seen advising against vaccination and they disagreed.

Helen Hargreaves
01 February 2016  |  22:12

Really good reading, will be discussing this when my dog 's yearly vaccination is due. I REALLY hope insurance companies take note of this! Maybe if you have this blood test done and it proves the dog is covered this would be accepted by the Pet insurers even if it does mean a bit more to pay for the test . Thanks for enlightening us all; knowledge is empowerment too!

Maggie Warnett
02 February 2016  |  7:39

Great article but a little confused as to weather I should or not get boosters every year or not .. Think I must retread & discuss with my vet when the tine comes... Interesting none the less

D for Dog
02 February 2016  |  9:17

Core vaccine boosters do NOT need to be given every year. Every 3 years is more than adequate.

27 March 2017  |  13:00

I could not agree more. Any vet that dissagrees with the 3 yearly vac is out of touch.

02 February 2016  |  10:38

Great research done for the health of our animals. Doctor Karen Becker US has done countless studies on un necessary vaccination. GOOGLE. Thank you for this very valuable information.

Maria Ashworth
02 February 2016  |  12:53

I didn't know when I adopted my black lab if she had ever been vaccinated so I had her done. Since then she has had allergies and colitis. The person I adopted from said in the 12 months she had her she had never been ill or seen a vet but didn't know any previous history. I'm sure this vaccination triggered her problems, I now have her done for leptospirosis because we live next to farm land but my vet is not happy that I won't let her have the other vaccines. I am a dog minder and don't insist the dogs have yearly boosters.

06 February 2016  |  16:40

I too, adopted a Labrador. She was very over weight but generally healthy when I got her. I had her booster done four months later, and she developed dreadful skin problems, atopic dermatitis . Treatment improved this , but the next booster set her off again . I have not repeated the booster since. The vets all denied this would be the cause, so very interesting reading. Thanks.

02 February 2016  |  15:07

Thanks for this! My dog is 3 years old and had his puppy vaccinations and annual boosters but I had decided not to get him vaccinated this year. He's one of the "primitive" type dogs and the only time he's got ill is after being vaccinated and after worming (I now send his poo off for a wormcount before treating him and so far he's been worm-clear). My vet is very keen on annual vaccinations and processed dog food and it's been a bit of a battle!

09 July 2017  |  11:57

I know it's a while since you posted this comment but thought I'd let you know that organic pumpkin seeds ground and put into dog's food is a great natural way of worming dogs.

23 February 2018  |  10:10

Hi Lynne, can I just check - do I need to use normal organic pumpkin seeds without the shell (so they are green in colour) or do I need seeds with the whitish shell left on? Thanks.

Maggie Edwards
06 February 2016  |  13:37

I'm slightly confused as to what my dogs need vaccinating against annually. We live in Spain in an area where there's lots of foxes and stray dogs, so I'm pretty sure they need the annual Leptospirosis vaccine. Does this also protect against rabies, or is this a separate vaccine which they'll need annually? Thanks

D for Dog
06 February 2016  |  14:04

Non-core vaccines would need to be given annually i.e. for rabies and Lepto. As far as I know they are separate vaccines.

Isobel Chapman
05 April 2016  |  8:10

I always thought dogs didi'nt need yearly vaccine, so leaving mine 3 years,

Soggy Doggy
08 April 2016  |  23:09

If you look at the vaccination card you can see the manufacturer make, data sheets are available online. I would argue that to ignore manufacturer advice with regards to safe use is negligent, print it out and hand it to your vet without comment. Then change your vet. More money is earned from allergies due to a knackered immune system than anything else. How often do you get vaccinated? Think about the concept of immunity and what it means. A vaccine vial sells for 1 to 2 . Enough said . More is less. We have around 12 dogs and when parvo called it took 22 puppies but not a single adult was off colour. Having said all that, baby jabs are essential, or it's a dead dog.

Soggy Doggy
08 April 2016  |  23:15

My vet tells me that leptospirosis is highly unstable and recommendations are for 3 monthly injections. Having said that, we live in a high risk area, and so far no one had it, so I can't comment on this. Rabies is annual in all of Europe, it will kill you, there's no cure, it's normally a legal requirement and for a very good reason. Don't risk it.

05 October 2016  |  21:30

not quite. We had rabies vaccination once in 2 years (in Slovakia), i think it depends on the vaccine

Alison Yeo
21 June 2016  |  17:22

I have had 6 of my dogs titre tested and they are all covered except the dog that is 10 this year and she is covered except for parvo. Can I just get her a booster for Parvo?

D for Dog
21 June 2016  |  18:08

Hi Alison, you will have to ask your vet whether they can get just the parvo vaccination for your dog.

Mary Gray
05 July 2016  |  16:11

Should the vaccine normally be injected into the back of the neck

D for Dog
05 July 2016  |  19:09

Hi Mary, I am sorry but I am not a vet and it is a long time since my oldies were vaccinated but the scruff of the neck does ring a bell, yes. I don't think it matters too much though. That's just a convenient and relatively painless place to do it, I think.

01 November 2016  |  12:09

Hi Mary . It's one of the many issues I have with annual boosters . I have read that can cause problems even cancers in the same place and some vets in the US are doing it legs now as well . I posted on here about concerns I have . My lassie Collie was 10 when I had to have him euthanised do to the fact he had Degenerate myelopathy . Which is all about the nerves running through the spine . From what I'm given to understand. Point being is , if theses jabs are given in the same place in the back of the neck are they having effects on the nervous system ? Can't be doing the animal any favours being bombarded with a cocktail of chemicals year after year , my boy was10 when I lost him . So makes you think that 10 years of these drugs may of been responsible. Sad thing is I never will the vets and drug companies make too much money to stop them . I often wonder that if humans only have vaccines once in their lives why do animals need them so often ? It's a worrying thought ?

Graham Cartmell
13 September 2016  |  16:59

I have just bought an 8 week old black Labrador puppy and took him to me vet to register him and have a checkup. My vet noticed that his first set of vaccinations were given at 4 weeks and 6 days, which I now understand was given by the vet of the breeder despite them querying it and being told 'it's fine'. My concern is what to do now. My vet has informed me that he needs to have the vaccinations again as the initial ones would not have 'taken' but that raises the issue of the safety of my puppy by injecting him again. I only want what is best for my puppy first and foremost. Secondly, I want to know what should happen to the vet, who knowingly mis-administered the vaccinations in the first place putting my puppy at risk and making him go through the traumatic experience all over again.

01 November 2016  |  11:03

Hi just found this article and found it interesting . Ive been in a delema over if I should or shouldn't have my dog vaccinated . His annual booster has run out and my vets tell me I have to start all over again . Because he hadn't had his annual jab they refuse me his workers and flea treatment saying beacause he hasn't been down they would need to see him to give him the once over to see if he's fit .as far as I'm concerned it's all about money making , as he could have something go wrong with him at any time . What bothers me about the vaccines is my dog who is a 8 yr old rough Collie seems to be having behaviour issues even showing his teeth at me occasionally. And he's a loving boy . The other thing I'm concerned with his my last dog who was also a collie . I had to have him euthanised because he had degenerate myelopathy. . Which looking back and thinking about it was it the vaccines ?? They are put in same place in the neck for ten years . That how old he was when I lost him . Did these chemicals which after all is what they are cause this dreadful illness . Apart from this he was a loving healthy boy . Almost like he was in two parts the to half of him he was like a pup wanting to play . The bottom half of his body was like an old aged dog dragging his self around and having no feeling in his rear end . I think the BVA .should be made to look into the safety of these vaccines and the goverment as to see if they really need to be given . Stopping kennels and insurance companies holding us to ransom .

01 December 2016  |  10:39

I thought you said you were narrowing it down from the 45 pages. I found the advice and reading better from the replies.

05 December 2016  |  14:54

what an article, my 2 yorkies are lap dogs 1, being 1.5kg age 3 and 1, is 5kg age 4 in sept 2016 they had eurican L & dhppi they have had this every year,do i have to be concerned??if something happened to them because they were`nt protected i would blame myself i think it`s a choice we have to consiously make for the health of our beautiful pets,perhaps a simple blood test to check they still got immunity instead of possibly overdosing them,do you think my tiny little boy needs all this in his system? yes!, it`s all about the money! it is like being held to ransom and making us feel we are not doing the right thing.they know we love our pet`s a part of our family and we do anything to protect them.

27 December 2016  |  16:52

Thank you for this. A comprehensive explanation with references. I gave chosen not to vaccinate my 3 this year. I will search out a vet and have them boosted after 3 years.
My poor departed girl used to have dreadful eczema and she was a hairless dog. This eczema would occur annually. Now i look back i see it coincided a couple of weeks after each annual vaccination. Strange! The eczema cleared after a couple of months every year. I was told by the vet practice that it was linked to the weather.
A friend bred some puppies. One of them was poorly at birth it wouldn't feed. It was hand reared until it gained strength. All the puppies were chipped and vaccinated in the back of their necks at 7 weeks. The weak one developed a large swelling on his neck within 24 hours and then lost use of his back legs. The vet denied it had anything to do with jab or chip. A different vet treated him and after intense physiotherapy and steroid therapy he regained mobility of a sort. Now gone to a home which will cater for his lifelong mobility problems.
He is a toy breed so very tiny at the time.
Is there a link?? Anyone else had problems

02 February 2017  |  8:22

Thank you - a fantastic informative read

Mike Styles
09 February 2017  |  14:04

Two years later and vets still insist on yearly vaccinations. I believe that they are fully aware that vaccines are not required at this regularity, but they are happy to put our animals health and life at risk for their own gain. I also think that they are hand in glove with the insurance companies who will look for any excuse to not pay when needed.

Judith Butler
13 February 2017  |  12:26

Thanks for the article, helped me to approach the vet from a more informed perspective. Dog just gone into remission after treatment for IMPA, cause unknown but we're considering all options to prevent reoccurrence. We are very lucky to have an excellent vet and referral to Leahurst Small Animal Hospital in the Wirral.

Y Robertson
18 February 2017  |  11:50

Good article and an issue I fully support. The problem though, for most pet owners, is kennels, insurance etc. Its as if we are being pressured into doing something that can, effectively, do more harm than good. I grew up with dogs in the family and I can tell you for sure, folk just didnt have the money to bother about injections etc. All of those dogs lived to 10+ years. No diseases apart from age related ill health. I have had my dogs vaccinated but after my pup had to go through not one but two sets of vaccs because my vet says breeders vet didnt give him the correct vaccs, i vowed not to line their pockets unless my dogs needed general treatment.

06 March 2017  |  12:23

Leptospirosis is core vaccine in the UK.
And most vets only vaccinate your dog against Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvo every 3 years - only Leptospira is given yearly as immunity against that only lasts a year.

D for Dog
06 March 2017  |  12:37

The vaccine for canine leptospira is 'non-core' meaning it is recommended for dogs particularly at risk of specific infections due to their location, environment or lifestyle. Source - VMD (The UK veterinary medicines regulator).

06 March 2017  |  14:53

WSAVA defined core and non-core vaccines for dogs
Canine adenovirus
Canine distemper virus
Canine parvovirus


Babesia canis
Bordetella bronchiseptica
Canine coronavirus
Canine herpesvirus
Canine leptospires*
Canine parainfluenza virus
Clostridium tetani
Rabies virus**

* Vaccines against canine leptospires are considered as core vaccines in the UK.
Source : VMD

"Cases of canine leptospirosis in the previous 12 months were reported in 14.61%
of UK veterinary practices surveyed in a recent study (Ball et al., 2014) (13
practices out of 89 which returned questionnaires). The authors note that all but
one of the cases occurred in non-vaccinated dogs, highlighting the importance for
dogs in the UK to maintain a current vaccination. Over 60% (8/13) of the cases
resulted in fatality.
Unlike the viral vaccines, the circulating antibodies in the blood are relatively
short lived following vaccination and, therefore, serological tests do not
correlate well with protection and cannot be used reliably to indicate immunity' source: VMD.
So I suggest to continue to vaccinate your dog against Leptospira yearly and against the Distemper, Parvo and Hepatitis every 3 years if you want to continue to keep your pet healthy.

D for Dog
06 March 2017  |  15:10

Not all dogs need the Lepto vaccine. Not only that but there are other factors to consider with the Lepto vaccine. The Leptospira bacteria changes constantly. This means that vaccinating against one strain does not protect your dog from another strain of the disease. It is also one of the vaccines that is more likely to cause adverse reactions. The pros and cons of giving the Lepto vaccine should be discussed with your vet on a case by case basis.

D for Dog
06 March 2017  |  15:27

I just noticed that the pdf link in your post above is from 2010. I found one for 2014 here They don't appear to discriminate between core and non-core vaccines at all in that one but either way it is a moot point. We are in agreement that, if Lepto is given, it should be annually and that is made clear in the article already.

06 March 2017  |  15:32

precisely the reason why vets are now vaccinating against four different serovariant of Leptospira.
' dogs in the UK as they are at risk of contact with rodents or potentially contaminated water. Cases of leptospirosis have been identified in urban dogs with no known access to wildlife or water sources (Schuller et al., 2015b).' Source BSAVA
When you say adverse reaction , are you referring to that ridiculous article in the daily mail (and sadly in the Telegraph as well)?
This is the response of the VMD:
VMD said the incidence of adverse reactions to Nobivac L4 is 0.064 per cent. Or, in other words, for every 10,000 doses administered, the VMD has received six adverse reactions. The overall incidence is therefore classed as 'rare' by regulatory authorities.

According to the VMD, the majority of the most commonly reported clinical signs are linked to allergic type reactions, which are recognised as potential side effects of any vaccine'

D for Dog
06 March 2017  |  15:37

The Daily Mail/Telegraph article has already been discussed here

20 March 2017  |  15:31

Great info.. My Vet has just advised me that as my dogs are late with their booster, they need all injections again. My oldest Bonnie had all jags in 2015 (due to missing booster again), but they are saying she needs them again as they don't have a record of her booster from last year (which I'm sure she's had done). Should I refuse to have these done and ask for the booster? Also my youngest Ben had a booster
last year too (which they also have no record of) and they're saying he needs to have all injections again, he only just turned 3 in January 2017.

D for Dog
20 March 2017  |  19:51

I would definitely refuse Donna. The vaccination guidelines are quite clear now - annual boosters are not necessary. As for starting all over again, that is most definitely not necessary. It is your dogs health at stake so stick to your guns, point them in the direction of the guidelines and if they still insist, change vets.

21 March 2017  |  9:15

Thanks for the advice, that is definitely what I am going to do.

21 March 2017  |  7:53

we have 4 dogs and they were all done yesterday 2 for lepto only 2 for 3rd year full,boosters. Our vet is happy to use the every 3 year criteria and yearly lepto as they are working dogs. He informed us he vaccinates his own dogs yearly but was happy to go with our request for 3 years. Must be lucky with our choice of vet.

18 April 2017  |  21:31

So does this mean after 3 years you get the injections done again like the same as what they'd had as puppies? Thanks

D for Dog
19 April 2017  |  9:36

Oh gosh, no. Just the booster vaccinations but every 3 years, not every year. You don't need the dog to start all over again with their vaccinations and if a vet suggests that (some do, sadly) refuse... say "no".

Nichola Lack
13 June 2017  |  14:43

I run a breeding group and see so many still yearly vaccinating. I also see many start vaccines again due to being 3 mths late having them.. Have you any research to show me that it is not needed to start vaccines again. I am very angry vets are still insisting that they over vaccinate.

Karen Scanlon
22 June 2017  |  14:56

How often do I get my Dogs the Lyme Shot?

S. Andrews
21 August 2017  |  18:39

2 questions: 1)How do we avoid this over-vaccination when Kennels insist their vaccinations are 'up to date' in order for them to be left in their care? 2) What can we do if we think an error has been made in the recording of a booster? I took my dogs just this week for their annual 'boosters' as they are going into kennels next week. I got both my dogs at the same time, as rescues. They have always been for vaccinations together and had exactly the same thing every time. When the vet had finished administering the vaccines, she mentioned that she had given the 'full dose' to one of them and the p'partial dose' to the other. I could not understand why they were suddenly on different schedules. It turns out that there was a mis-recording of the vaccinations at some time in the past. So one of my dogs has received the 'full dose' when she didn't need it. I have yet to discuss this fully with the vet...but will this have harmed my dog? Also, for convenience, I want them to be in sync with each other - can I (should I), hold back on the vaccination for her next time?

Sandra Ward
11 November 2017  |  13:10

My dogs had not been vaccinated for 3years and so I made an appointment for what I called a health check, I never mentioned to the vet that I wanted to get them vaccinated again but she went ahead and did it anyway costing me just under 100 pound and told to come back in two weeks for the next lot. Since then one of my dogs seems to now have problems breathing and it sounds Like he is cooking, is this a side effect of getting the jags. They were both absolutely fine before this.

09 January 2018  |  8:38

My dog is 13 years has been booster every year dose she still need a booster at her age

D for Dog
09 January 2018  |  9:30

No dog needs annual boosters of core vaccinations.

07 February 2018  |  17:39

my Tot Poodle age 14 had his booster
8 January 2018 L4 was given he Died 31of January 2018.IF I could go back in time knowing now what would happen to him he was fine till L4.Heart broken.

05 March 2018  |  10:05

Is there really a downside (other than financial) to "over boosting"? The suggestion is that this could cause adverse reactions but there is no evidence to support this proposition provided in the report that this article is based on. This therefore seems to be nothing more than an anecdotal risk.

It is one thing to point out that "over boosting" is unnecessary and legislation, veterinary practice and pet insurance companies should change, but quite another to spread scare stories about dangers that have not been proven to exist.

D for Dog
05 March 2018  |  10:12

No 'scare stories' in our blog Alan. Dog vaccination guidelines (2015) recommend that our pet dogs should not be vaccinated with core vaccines annually. Those are official guidelines yet the general public are not necessarily aware of this and are often being forced or wrongly advised to booster annually.

Alison Brady
03 April 2018  |  7:24

I adopted my dog aged 19mths. Her previous owners had not had her 1st booster done (due September 2017) is there any evidence availableabour restarting entire programme or just administering thr booster late please?

15 April 2018  |  8:32

Hi, My old red setter (10) is taking steroids for a skin problem, this problem occurred after she was spade, she takes 2 x 5mg every four days. Her booster is due this month. Her vet says that as she is taking steroids, the vaccination would not be effective as the steroids would counteract the booster vaccination. So she hasn't had her yearly booster. Could you give me your opinion please. Regards P J F

Jayne McHenry
30 July 2018  |  20:51

Hi, My dog is a 4 year old Labrador. I have just checked his Health Care Card he got when he was a puppy and he was given injections for Parovirus,Distemper, Hepatitis ,Leptospirosis and Paraininfluenza. I am not sure that I got a booster for him at 12 months? Should I be able to contact the veterinary practice he is registered at and ask them?

Also, if he has had this booster, would be just need a booster now as he is 4?


Robert Lucas
08 September 2018  |  12:09

Thanks for a very interesting article. I had been searching for information regarding whether our 2 imported Greek Kokoni Mix rescue dogs, now 8 months old, need to have rabies vaccinations boosters every year. Their pet passports indicate the current Versiguard rabies vaccinations are valid to 31/5/2019, but nowhere can I find whether rabies boosters are actually needed. Incidentally their pet passports show that they had Vanguard DA2Pi & Vanguard CPV-Lepto vaccinations on 17/4/2018 & 10/05/2018. Any advice regarding rabies boosters would be gratefully received. Our Vet had never come across the Kokoni breed.before.

Sharon Rourke
13 October 2018  |  23:57

Hi Robert, I have two rescues, one from Romania and one from Spain. My vet advised me rabies booster, would only be needed, if I planned to travel abroad with my dogs.