Opinions often clash between pet experts, breeders, pet owners, and veterinary professionals on the topic of canine vaccinations. AAHA’s recently updated Canine Vaccination Guidelines can help.

Renew confidence in your recommendations when you attend sessions on the 2017 AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines at AAHA@VMX, February 3–6, 2018, in Orlando, Florida. In addition to highlighting the “must-know” information and updates from the guidelines, attendees will also learn how to successfully implement these recommendations in practice.  

Prepared by a task force of experts convened by AAHA and externally reviewed by authorities in private practice, shelter medicine, public health, and veterinary law, the 2017 AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines have been expanded to include:

  • An interactive tool to support decisions on vaccination recommendations based on a dog’s age, environment, and lifestyle
  • Quick reference tables summarizing vaccination recommendations for client-owned and shelter-housed dogs
  • Algorithms to help veterinary teams interpret and act upon results of antibody testing
  • Recommendations for dogs overdue for vaccinations
  • Practical information on vaccine storage and handling
  • Cutting-edge product summaries on immunotherapeutics 
  • An expansion of the clinically relevant and popular “Frequently Asked Questions” section

Additionally, the guidelines tackle several controversial topics, including:

Frequency of core vaccines

  • Based on the duration of immunity data, the guidelines continue to support vaccinating for canine distemper, parvovirus, and adenovirus-2 every three years after the dog has completed the initial series.

Rabies vaccinations

  • Rabies vaccinations should be administered in a manner consistent with the most current version of the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention & Control. Exceptions to rabies vaccinations are not authorized in most states. The guidelines recommend practitioners visit rabiesaware.org for state-by-state law.
  • At this time, positive rabies antibody testing does not legally correlate with protective immunity, regardless of the type of testing performed.

Vaccination of small-breed dogs

  • The guidelines do not support reducing the dose volume of vaccinations, including the rabies vaccination, for small dogs. The volume recommended by the manufacturer generally represents the minimum immunizing dose; therefore, the total volume of a vaccine dose should always be administered. Arbitrarily reducing the volume of a vaccine may result in an immune response that is less than protective. Furthermore, there is no evidence that lowering the dose or volume of a vaccine will prevent an adverse event. 
  • Administration of multiple doses of parenteral (injectable) vaccines at the same appointment, particularly among small breed dogs (≤10 kg), may increase the risk of an acute-onset adverse reaction.  Alternative vaccination schedules may be indicated, e.g., delaying administration of a noncore vaccine by two weeks following administration of core vaccines. 

At the core of the complexity surrounding vaccine selection and frequency lies the need for veterinarians and pet owners to communicate openly. It is AAHA’s hope that these guidelines can be a foundation upon which these conversations can occur.

The 2017 AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines were sponsored by an educational grant from Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, Merial, Merck Animal Health, and Zoetis. They are available online at aaha.org/caninevaccinationguidelines.

Take advantage of these sessions and other great offerings from AAHA—including top-tier customer service, continuing education, and networking opportunities—by booking a room at the Rosen Centre Hotel, AAHA’s designated headquarters at VMX.

Register today at aaha.org/vmx and be sure to check the box identifying yourself as an AAHA member. Then click the booking link in your VMX confirmation email to reserve your room.

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