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Question:

Conflicting advice for older dogs and parvo vaccination. I’ve recently been advised by a pet supply outlet that my older dogs (8 year old golden and 13 year old heeler) do not need annual parvo if they have regularly been vaccinated up to this point. The exception they noted was if they were to be kenneled. Is this correct or would you always do a parvo vaccination?

 

Dr. Nichol:

Gone are the days when all veterinarians recommended annual boostering. Vaccines have improved and so has the ability to accurately measure immunity. Infectious diseases, parvo in particular, are also changing. The entire issue is a moving target.

 

The vaccination debate recently raged on our veterinarians’ list serve. Some wrote strongly of studies showing longer durations of immunity while others pointed to data implicating vaccines as causes of immune disorders.

 

With all due respect to the mavericks among us, here are the generally accepted distemper/parvo vaccination recommendations: a series for puppies under 16 weeks followed by a single booster one year later. Revaccination every 3 years through adult life appears safe and adequate for most dogs, whether kenneled or not. By about age 12 they are considered to have a lifelong immunity.

 

With rabies vaccination there is no legal room for dissent. Every 3 years until death do us part on that one.