Once a year you come in to the vet with your dog and they have their annual vaccinations. It’s usual routine, right? Well, as we learn more and more about our pets and as veterinary science advances some of our routines need to change. This is all part of the science of keeping our pets happy, healthy and living longer!

Vaccination is one of the most common veterinary procedures. Vaccination programs have played an important role in preventing diseases and helping with early detection and treatment of problems through regular health checks during the life of the animal. Vaccination programmes in the past were considered a simple part of animal care, but are now a complex and controversial issue. It is being recognised that veterinarians should aim to reduce the vaccine load on individual animals to minimise the risk of adverse reactions to the products.

You might have read about the changes to canine vaccinations in the media over the past few years. Research has emerged that the core vaccinations against parvo, distemper and hepatitis viruses (C3) may not need to be given annually as previously thought. Once the dogs are adults a booster vaccination every three years for parvo, distemper and hepatitis viruses may be sufficient to protect your pet. (This is NOT the case for Kennel Cough vaccination however). This is quite similar to the changes that we see to human vaccination schedules from time to time. As science evolves, so too do the schedules recommended to protect our beloved canine family members!

At Inner South Vet Centre we have been following this developing area of research closely and we feel that the evidence is now there to support a change. We’ve taken our time and really looked deeply into this issue. We just do not want to take any risks with your pet (or with our own!). We now feel that the time has come to change the core (C3) vaccinations of dogs to a three yearly basis. Kennel Cough vaccination however would still remain as an annual booster. The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), the nationwide association of Australian vets, and the international organisation, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) supports this change. Boarding kennels also accept these changes in vaccination schedules.

So what does this mean for vaccination of your dog?

When you come for your annual health check, we will together decide the best vaccination schedule for your dog. Every third year dogs will be given a triennial C3 vaccine. The vaccinations against Kennel Cough – a very serious respiratory disease – need to be given each year. Most dogs also need their annual Proheart® heart worm preventative injection.

The annual health check is still vitally important.

For our cats and dogs one human year is the same as about seven years in their lives. See the human age equivalent chart on our Dogs and Cats Seniors page. We need to make sure they have a yearly check up at the vet as most people do with their doctor. In effect this visit is equivalent to a visit to the doctor every seven years!

We will check for any signs of disease, make sure their teeth, skin, ears and eyes are healthy and update you on preventative measures for problems like fleas, ticks, heartworm and intestinal worms.

Finding any health problems early can save you time and money now and, more importantly possibly even save your pet’s life.

It’s important to remember that a yearly check up is really essential, and as your pet gets older twice yearly check ups, because like humans, their health problems increase.
 It allows them to live to their full potential, which is great for both of you.

So we will still look forward to seeing you and your dog each year and making sure all is well with your canine friend. They are still going to need vaccination each year but the injections given will vary on a three year cycle. Remember, vaccination is all about preventing serious disease and here at Inner South Vet Centre we want to do that in the best and safest way possible.