Recommendations for core and noncore canine vaccines

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Based on existing data and Task Force expertise, the AAHA Canine Vaccination Task Force has separated vaccines into two categories, core and noncore. Core vaccines are those defined by the Task Force as vaccines recommended for all dogs irrespective of lifestyle, unless there is a specific medical reason not to vaccinate. Examples of core vaccines include canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus type 2, canine parvovirus type 2, and rabies. Noncore vaccines are those recommended for some dogs based on lifestyle, geographic location, and risk of exposure. Canine leptospirosis vaccine, canine Bordetella vaccine, canine Lyme vaccine, canine influenza vaccine, and the Western diamondback rattlesnake toxoid are considered noncore.

Table 2 lists core and noncore vaccines as determined by the Task Force and their dosing recommendations. The designation of a core vaccine was unanimously supported by all members of the Task Force, but there was not always consensus regarding noncore vaccines. For example, some members of the Task Force asserted that the canine leptospirosis vaccine should be considered a core vaccine based on the increasing geographical prevalence of the disease. However, others preferred to leave this decision up to the veterinarian. For regions where noncore pathogens are endemic, such as canine leptospirosis and canine Lyme disease, these traditionally noncore vaccines may be considered a core vaccine by veterinary practices in those locations. As travel with pets becomes more popular and vector-borne diseases spread, patients should be carefully assessed at least annually to determine their vaccine requirements. These should be considered general rather than universally prescriptive recommendations. Veterinarians have the discretion to administer vaccines off-label when scientific data, local circumstances, or evolving standards of care support that decision. In those situations, informed consent from the client is still an important consideration.12

These guidelines have been revised from prior versions to provide consolidated and updated clinical information, allowing the veterinarian to select the best vaccines and protocols to fit individual patient needs. The guidelines are to be considered discretionary recommendations, and the Task Force emphasizes that practitioners should be aware of the importance of reviewing and following manufacturer’s label instructions for specific vaccines, including instructions on proper mixing and use of diluents. Different types of vaccines for the same pathogen may induce different immunologic responses depending on vaccine technology, formulation, route of administration, and patient factors.

 

2022 AAHA Core and Noncore Vaccines for Dogs*

Table 2 – Download PDF

CORE VACCINES: Recommended for all dogs irrespective of lifestyle, unless there is a specific medical reason not to vaccinate.

ANTIGEN INITIAL VACCINATION REVACCINATION
Dogs ≤16 Weeks of Age Dogs >16 Weeks of Age

Distemper
Adenovirus
Parvovirus
+/-Parainfluenza

At least 3 doses of a combination vaccine between 6 and 16 weeks, 2-4 weeks apart.

2 doses of a combination vaccine, 2-4 weeks apart.

  • A single dose of a combination vaccine within 1 year following the last dose in the initial vaccination series.
  • Administer subsequent boosters at intervals of 3 years.

Rabies

As required by law.

 

NONCORE VACCINES: Recommended for some dogs based on lifestyle, geographic location, and risk of exposure.

ANTIGEN INITIAL VACCINATION REVACCINATION
Dogs ≤16 Weeks of Age Dogs >16 Weeks of Age

Leptospira
(killed) 4-serovar

Two doses, 2-4 weeks apart, starting at 12 weeks of age.

Two doses, 2-4 weeks apart, regardless of dog’s age.

  • A single dose within 1 year following the last dose in the initial vaccination series.
  • Administer subsequent boosters annually.

Borrelia burgdorferi
(canine Lyme disease)

Two doses, 2-4 weeks apart.

Two doses, 2-4 weeks apart, regardless of dog’s age.

  • A single dose within 1 year following the last dose in the initial vaccination series.
  • Administer subsequent boosters annually.

Bordetella bronchiseptica & canine parainfluenza virus

A single (IN) dose is indicated for dogs at risk of exposure.

  • Administer subsequent boosters annually.

Bordetella bronchiseptica & only

Parenteral (SQ): Two doses, 2-4 weeks apart.
IN: Administer a single dose intranasally.
Oral: Administer a single dose into the buccal pouch.

  • Administer subsequent boosters annually.

Canine influenza virus-H3N8/H3N2

Two doses, 2-4 weeks apart.

  • A single dose within 1 year following the last dose in the initial vaccination series.
  • Administer subsequent boosters annually.

Crotalus atrox (Western diamondback rattlesnake)

Dosing requirements and frequency of administration vary among dogs depending on body weight and exposure risk.

 

OVERDUE VACCINES AND UNKNOWN VACCINE HISTORY

Core and Noncore Vaccines

The benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks in cases of dogs with unknown immune status or vaccination history. In cases of overdue vaccinations, consult specific vaccine manufacturers for instructions. A good rule of thumb is: When in doubt, vaccinate.

Rabies

Follow local laws and consult the state veterinarian as needed.

IN, intranasal; SQ, subcutaneous.
*For dogs in shelter environments, see narrative for additional recommendations.

Merck Animal Health
Zoetis
Elanco
Boehringer Ingelheim

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