Vaccination Recommendations – Shelter-Housed Dogs

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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)
B. bronchiseptica + canine parainfluenza virus
Rabies virus (killed)


Table 2: Vaccines Recommended at the Time of Release

Rabies virus (killed)


Table 3 Optional Vaccines for Administration to Shelter-Housed Dogs

B. bronchiseptica only
Canine Influenza Virus-H3N8 (killed)
Canine Influenza Virus-H3N2 (killed)


*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.