Vaccination recommendations – shelter-housed dogs

For frequently asked questions and more information, click here.

A primary goal when implementing a vaccination protocol for shelter-housed dogs is to establish and sustain “herd” immunity as well as to provide protection of individual dogs. Therefore, as many dogs as feasible should be vaccinated on intake (Table 1) as a means of mitigating infection risk.*

Vaccination on intake is considered the best practice in shelter medicine. However, vaccination at the time of intake does not equate to immediate immunization/protection. Timing of pathogen exposure (field versus transport versus shelter exposure), age and health status of the individual dog, presence of interfering levels of maternally derived antibody, etc., are among the various factors that impact the ability of a well-executed vaccination protocol to prevent infection and transmission of pathogens.

Table 1: Vaccines recommended on intake

/

MLV or Recombinant Canine Distemper Virus, Adenovirus-2 and Parvovirus (DAPP)

Vaccines

Combination product administered as:

MLV or Recombinant Canine Distemper Virus
+ MLV Parvovirus
+ MLV Adenovirus-2

Administer by the subcutaneous (SQ) route.

OPTION: Combination CORE vaccines commonly include parenteral MLV Canine Parainfluenza Virus (CPiV). Recommendations apply whether or not CPiV vaccine is included.

Initial Vaccination
(Dogs ≤18-20 Weeks of Age)

Beginning at 4 wk of age, shelter-housed dogs should receive an initial dose at the time of (or before) intake, then one additional dose every 2 to 3 wk until 18–20 wk of age.

Vaccination of dogs prior to 4 wk of age is not recommended.

Initial Vaccination
(Dogs >18 Weeks of Age)

Administer 2 doses 2 to 3 wk apart with the first dose administered at the time of intake.

Revaccination
(Applies to dogs admitted to Long-Term Housing Facilities)

Administer a single dose every 3 yr.

Remarks

The rCDV and MLV-CDV vaccines perform similarly with regard to onset of immunity following vaccination in the absence of Maternally Derived Antibody and duration of immunity.

Parvovirus (CPV): All MLV-CPV vaccines available today are expected to provide immunity from disease caused by any field variant recognized today (including CPV-2b and -2c).

Canine Adenovirus-2 (CAV2): is primarily intended to protect against the canine infectious hepatitis virus caused by CAV1 (infectious canine hepatitis virus) but also offers protection against the respiratory CAV2 (one of the pathogens associated with canine infectious respiratory disease syndrome). Intranasal vaccination may provide superior protection against respiratory CAV2 exposure compared to parenteral vaccination.

Intranasal vaccination may provide superior protection against respiratory CPiV exposure compared to parenteral vaccination.

Following reconstitution (addition of liquid to the freeze-dried “cake”), vaccine deterioration may happen rapidly, despite refrigeration. It is therefore recommended to administer CORE vaccines within 1 hr following reconstitution. It is recommended that reconstituted vaccines held longer than 1 hr should be properly discarded.

B. bronchiseptica + canine parainfluenza virus

Vaccines

B. bronchiseptica + canine parainfluenza virus (intranasal)

B. bronchiseptica (avirulent, live bacteria); CPiV (MLV)

Administer by the intranasal (IN) route.

OPTION: some IN products may also contain CAV-2 vaccine.

Initial Vaccination
(Dogs ≤18-20 Weeks of Age)

At the time of intake, administer a single intranasal (IN) dose. Vaccines licensed for intranasal use may be administered as early as 3 to 4 wk of age. (Maternally derived antibody does not interfere with mucosal immunity.)

Initial Vaccination
(Dogs >18 Weeks of Age)

At the time of intake, administer a single IN dose.

Revaccination 
(Applies to dogs admitted to Long-Term Housing Facilities)

Where risk of exposure is sustained, administer a single dose every 1 yr.

Remarks

Onset of protective immunity (B. bronchiseptica) has been shown to be as early as 48 to 72 hr following administration of a single intranasal dose.

The duration of immunity to B. bronchiseptica based on challenge studies is 12 to 14 mo following administration of a single intranasal dose.

The duration of immunity to parainfluenza virus is expected to exceed 1 yr following administration of a single intranasal dose.

DO NOT ADMINISTER PARENTERALLY or ORALLY.

Rabies virus (killed)

Vaccines

Rabies virus

OPTION: for dogs admitted to LONG-TERM HOUSING FACILITIES

1-Yr & 3-Yr labeled rabies vaccines are available.

Administer by the subcutaneous (SQ) or intramuscular (IM) route (see Manufacturer’s Package Insert for the product selected).

For state-specific information on Rabies immunization and law, click here.

Initial Vaccination
(Dogs ≤18-20 Weeks of Age)

Administer a single dose to dogs determined to be 12 wk of age or older.

Initial Vaccination
(Dogs >18 Weeks of Age)

At the time of intake, administer a single dose.

Revaccination 
(Applies to dogs admitted to Long-Term Housing Facilities)

Administer a single dose within 1 yr following administration of the initial dose, regardless of the dog’s age at the time the initial dose was administered.

NOTE: Some states specify a defined time during which the second dose of rabies vaccine must be administered.

Remarks

NOTE: Authority to administer rabies vaccine to shelter-housed dogs is often stipulated in state or local law and may NOT be at the discretion of shelter personnel (e.g., licensed veterinarian only, veterinary technician working under direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian, or certified rabies vaccinator [CRV]).

For state-specific information on Rabies immunization and law, click here.

Table 2: Vaccines recommended at the time of release

/

Rabies virus (killed)

Vaccines

Rabies virus

1-Yr & 3-Yr labeled rabies vaccines are available.

Administer by the subcutaneous (SQ) or intramuscular (IM) route (see Manufacturer’s Package Insert for the product selected).

For state-specific information on Rabies immunization and law, click here.

Dogs ≤20 Weeks of Age at the Time of Release

A single dose of rabies vaccine should be administered.

Most, but not all, states (in the United States) allow discretion in the use of a 1-Yr or a 3-Yr labeled rabies vaccine when administering the initial dose.

(State/ Local/ Provincial law applies)

Revaccination
(Booster)

The next dose of rabies vaccine should be administered no later than 1 yr from the date the INITIAL DOSE was administered.

NOTE: Some states specify a defined time during which the second dose of rabies vaccine must be administered.

NOTE: Some states and some jurisdictions within states do NOT recognize a 1-Yr labeled Rabies Vaccine in which case a 3-Yr labeled vaccine must be administered for the dog to be considered “currently vaccinated.”

(State/ Local/ Provincial law applies)

Remarks

Although some states and most Canadian provinces do not have a rabies vaccination requirement/law for dogs (or cats), rabies vaccination is recommended as a CORE vaccine in all states and provinces.

Many states (and jurisdictions within states) do NOT permit veterinarians to exempt the requirement for rabies vaccination even in dogs having medical contraindications to vaccination.

NOTE: Authority to administer rabies vaccine to shelter-housed dogs is often stipulated in state or local law and may NOT be at the discretion of shelter personnel (e.g., licensed veterinarian only, veterinary technician working under direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian, or certified rabies vaccinator (CRV).

For state-specific information on Rabies immunization and law, click here.

Table 3: Optional vaccines for administration to shelter-housed dogs

/

B. bronchiseptica only

Optional Vaccines

B. bronchiseptica only (monovalent)

Three (3) options available:

Parenteral (CAe)
Administer by the subcutaneous (SQ) route

-or-

Intranasal (avirulent live)
Administer by the intranasal (IN) route.

-or-

Intraoral (avirulent live)
Administer orally (buccal pouch).

Dogs ≥18-20 Weeks of Age

Parenteral (SQ): Two initial doses are required 2 to 4 wk apart beginning as early as 8 wk of age.

Intranasal (IN): Administer a single dose. Vaccine labeled for intranasal use may be administered as early as 3 to 4 wk of age.

Oral: Administer a single initial dose into the buccal pouch as early as 8 wk of age.

>20 Weeks of Age

Parenteral (SQ): Two initial doses are required 2 to 4 wk apart.

Intranasal (IN): Administer a single initial dose.

Oral: Administer a single dose.

Revaccination
(Applies to dogs admitted to Long-Term Housing Facilities)

Where risk of exposure is sustained, administer a single dose 1 yr following the last dose administered regardless of the type of vaccine used; thereafter, administer a single dose annually where risk of exposure is sustained.

Remarks

The duration of immunity following a single dose of B. bronchiseptica vaccine administered by the IN route is 12 to 14 mo.

At this time the duration of immunity conferred by the parenteral and the oral B. bronchisepticavaccine are not known.

Vaccines listed in this section do NOT contain CPiV vaccine.

The products listed in this section should only be administered by the route stipulated by the manufacturer.

Canine Influenza Virus-H3N8 (killed)

Optional Vaccines

Canine Influenza Virus-H3N8 (killed)

Administer by the subcutaneous (SQ) route.

Dogs ≥18-20 Weeks of Age

Two initial doses 2 to 4 wk apart are required. The first dose may be administered to dogs 6 to 8 wk of age or older (see package insert for specific information).

>20 Weeks of Age

Two initial doses 2 to 4 wk apart are required.

Revaccination
(Applies to dogs admitted to Long-Term Housing Facilities)

Administer a single dose annually where risk of exposure is sustained.

Remarks

Administration of a CIV vaccine to shelter-housed dogs is generally limited to facilities that provide long-term housing AND encounter suspected or confirmed infections within the shelter.

CIV vaccination is not routinely recommended in all shelter-housed dogs due to the requirement to administer 2 doses 2 to 4 wk apart and the short duration most dogs remain within a shelter.

Any dog deemed at risk for exposure to influenza virus should be vaccinated against both H3N2 and H3N8 strains.

Following administration of 2 doses, vaccinated dogs may still become infected following exposure, may develop mild clinical signs, and may transiently shed virulent virus.

Canine Influenza Virus-H3N2 (killed)

Optional Vaccines

Canine Influenza Virus-H3N2 (killed)

Administer by the subcutaneous (SQ) route.

Dogs ≥18-20 Weeks of Age

Two initial doses 2 to 4 wk apart are required. The first dose may be administered to dogs 6 to 8 wk of age or older (see package insert for specific information).

>20 Weeks of Age

Two initial doses 2 to 4 wk apart are required.

Revaccination
(Applies to dogs admitted to Long-Term Housing Facilities)

Administer a single dose annually where risk of exposure is sustained.

Remarks

Administration of a CIV vaccine to shelter-housed dogs is generally limited to facilities that provide long-term housing AND encounter suspected or confirmed infections within the shelter.

CIV vaccination is not routinely recommended in all shelter-housed dogs due to the requirement to administer 2 doses 2 to 4 wk apart and the short duration most dogs remain within a shelter.

Any dog deemed at risk for exposure to influenza virus should be vaccinated against both H3N2 and H3N8 strains.

Following administration of 2 doses, vaccinated dogs may still become infected following exposure, may develop mild clinical signs, and may transiently shed virulent virus.

*NOTE: Vaccines listed in this section have not been evaluated in pregnant dogs or dogs that are ill or debilitated. Among shelter-housed dogs, however, the benefits (reducing risk of infection) versus risks of vaccinating pregnant or unhealthy dogs should be considered when implementing the vaccination protocol.

CAe, cellular antigen extract (Bordetella bronchiseptica)
CAV1, canine adenovirus-1 (cause of infectious canine hepatitis);
CAV2, canine adenovirus-2;
CDV, canine distemper virus;
CIV, canine influenza virus;
CPiV, canine parainfluenza virus;
CPV, canine parvovirus;
CPV-2b and CPV-2c, field variants of pathogenic canine parvovirus recognized in the United States today;
IM, intramuscular; IN, intranasal;
Killed, inactivated; MLV, modified-live virus, or attenuated; 
oral, specifically administered into the buccal pouch (Bordetella bronchiseptica); 
rCDV, recombinant canine distemper virus; SQ, subcutaneous.

These guidelines are supported by a generous educational grant from
Boehringer Ingelheim USA Inc., Merck Animal Health, and Zoetis.