How long can my dog go without booster vaccinations? Let’s Explore

CPV, CDV and CAV are viral diseases and considered core vaccinations for all dogs around the world.

After vaccination for these three, a strong and long lasting immunity is produced in the majority of dogs. In most cases this lasts for a minimum of three years. Logically most veterinary professionals recommend booster vaccinations against these components every three years. This is actually quite a long time if you compare the relative life spans of humans and our canine friends. If your pet has gone over the three year mark for a vaccine against these three, a single booster injection should be sufficient to kick start their immunity and offer full protection.

Pets do not receive the same blanket vaccination every year

Non-core vaccinations are largely dependent on lifestyle and environmental factors. This might include whether your animal social with others, do they need to be put into kennels or catteries, is the disease endemic in your country? However, every animal must receive the ‘core’ vaccinations.

In dogs, their ‘core’ or ‘trivalent’ vaccination will be given every three years. With their non-core (leptospirosis and kennel cough) licensed annually (although in some countries, including the UK, Lepto is considered a Core vaccine – Editor.). In cats, they will be given their core vaccination either annually or trianually (depending on the vaccine), and their non-core vaccine (feline leukaemia virus) every two to three years.

Core Parvovirus, Distemper, Adenovirus Parvovirus/enteritis, Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus
Non-core Kennel Cough (Bordetella bronchiseptica), Leptospirosis, Rabies, Parainfluenza Feline Leukemia virus/Feline immunodeficiency virus, Rabies, Chlamydia

I would prefer my dog to have boosters only when necessary. Is this okay?

It is possible, but in order to determine when boosters might be necessary, the level of immunity against any of the preventable diseases has to be established by individual blood tests for antibody titers. If a specific antibody titer is found to be low, your dog will require a booster vaccine. Currently, inoculation against a single disease may not be available, and it is likely to cost as much as a multivalent vaccine that vaccinates for multiple diseases. From your dog’s point of view, it is preferable to receive one injection against many common diseases rather than a series of single disease vaccinations.

insulin_syringe For patients that have low-risk lifestyles or whose owners want less frequent vaccination, your veterinarian may recommend giving certain core or essential viral vaccines to your dog on a three year schedule.

It is important to note that that administering a vaccine that is labeled for annual administration at a different interval, such as every three years, is an off-label use for some vaccines and may violate government regulations. You should discuss the pros and cons with your veterinarian before making a decision. Recent studies have demonstrated that some viral vaccines may convey at least three years immunity. This is not the case with bacterial vaccines, which usually still require annual boosters.

Ultimately, how frequently your dog should be vaccinated is determined by your dog’s lifestyle and relative risk. Ask your veterinarian about the type and schedule of vaccines that is appropriate for your dog.

Vaccinating Your Dog- Does Your Dog Need Vaccinating?