BAMBERG: Updated vaccination guidelines for dogs

For decades the veterinary community has been struggling with vaccination protocols for dogs. The problem remains that there just isn’t enough knowledge about the immune system to establish specific protocols.

The American Animal Hospital Association, the organization that accredits veterinary hospitals in the U.S. and Canada, has stepped up and taken a leadership position regarding vaccination recommendations.

While only about 15 percent of veterinary hospitals are accredited (accreditation is not a requirement as it is in people hospitals), most veterinarians will follow the AAHA’s Canine Vaccination Guidelines.

Established in 2017, the emphasis is on the word guidelines, recognizing that a number of factors contribute to an individual dog’s vaccination recommendations. It’s a living, online document that serves as an education resource for veterinarians and pet owners.

Created by five expert veterinarians and 18 contributing reviewers, the guidelines, which underwent a formal external review process, are a combination of clinical experience and scientific evidence.

As has been the case for decades, there are core and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are recommended for every dog; non-core vaccines are recommended for dogs at risk for contracting specific diseases.

The core vaccines include rabies (required by law in all 50 states), distemper, adenovirus-2, parvovirus, and parainfluenza, with the latter four usually given in a single, combination shot. Beyond that, the recommendations diverge.

For instance, in our neck of the woods, Lyme…