October 31, 2017
Categories: Shelter Medicine

When should you vaccinate your dog, and for what? How can shelters use vaccines to protect against outbreaks? And what about titer testing? The latest recommendations from a panel of veterinary experts, including a number of shelter medicine leaders, has the answers!

The newest guidelines for canine vaccination have been published by the American Animal Hospital Association, and include guidance on initial immunization, vaccine boosters, rabies vaccination, vaccine handling and storage, titer testing, vaccination for dogs in shelters, legal considerations and more.

For the first time, the guidelines are being published in a mobile-friendly web format that will allow them to be updated at more frequent intervals than in the past. Also new this year is a vaccine lifestyle calculator, which will allow you to enter information about a puppy or dog and get vaccine suggestions.

Vaccine Guidelines for Shelter Dogs

In their new shelter guidelines, the panel made a blanket recommendation for vaccinating all dogs upon intake to animal shelters with MLV or Recombinant Canine Distemper Virus, Adenovirus-2 and Parvovirus (DAPP), as well as B. bronchiseptica combined with canine parainfluenza virus. They also recommend rabies vaccination, with some discussion of the legal issues related to this recommendation.

The shelter guidelines also include specific information based on the age of the dog or puppy.

Titer Testing

The section on titer testing is extensive, given the increase in interest in titers in recent years. “The demand for and availability of antibody testing (both qualitative and quantitative) for canine vaccine preventable diseases has increased substantially over the past decade,” the authors write. “It is imperative, when assessing test results, that the veterinarian have a clear understanding of the indications for testing and the interpretation of test results.”

The complete guidelines can be viewed here.