Dog vaccination schedule

Reference article about dog vaccination schedule.
By Laure-Anne Viselé, October 2010

Knowing which vaccination your dog needs can be quite the conundrum, especially if you, like me, live in a foreign country where you are unfamiliar with the technical vocabulary and local regulations. So, ever my dog’s medical advocate, I talked to the staff at my local veterinary practice to get an idea of the typical vaccination schedule for the Netherlands. It is actually very similar to US and UK practices.

Introduction

In the Netherlands, vaccination schedules are not government-regulated, so individual veterinarians have their own preferences about what diseases to inoculate against and when. But all schedules should really cover at least the following diseases:

  • Distemper
  • Canine Hepatitis
  • Kennel cough
  • Parvovirus
  • Leptosporosis (Weil’s disease)
  • (Rabies)

Typical canine Dutch vaccination schedule

The schedule below shows an example of a typical rotation in the vaccines to be administered to your critter.

6 weeks

The ‘puppy vaccination‘:

  • Distemper
  • Parvovirus

9 weeks

  • Parvo booster
  • Leptosporosis (Weil’s disease)

12 weeks

The  ‘cocktail vaccination‘:

  • Distemper
  • HCC
  • Kennel cough (adenovirus type-2)
  • Parvo
  • Leptosporosis (Weil’s disease)

The Rabies I vaccine: Often compulsory if dog travels abroad, depends on the country

16 weeks

Rabies II booster: Compulsory if took Rabies I

Parvo and Leptosporosis (Weil’s) booster:

  • (optional, if dog in close proximity to infected dogs) Parvo
  • (optional, if dog in close proximity to infected dogs) Leptosporosis (Weil’s disease)

1 year

The  ‘cocktail vaccination‘ booster:

  • Distemper
  • HCC
  • Kennel cough (adenovirus type-2)
  • Parvo
  • Leptosporosis (Weil’s disease)

The Rabies booster (often compulsory if dog travels abroad, depends on the country)

Every year after year 1

  • Parvo booster
  • Leptosporosis (Weil’s disease)
  • Rabies: often compulsory if dog travels abroad, depends on the country

Every 2 to 3 years

  • Distemper
  • HCC
  • Kennel cough (Adenovirus type-2)

Example of a typical US recommendation

6 to 8 weeks

First DHPP vaccine:

  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Parainfluenza
  • Parvo

10 to 12 weeks

Second DHPP vaccine:

  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Parainfluenza
  • Parvo

Bordetella I: injectable or through nose, depends on the veterinary practice

14 to 16 weeks

Third DHPP

  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Parainfluenza
  • Parvo

Bordetella II (booster of Bordetella I)

Leptosporosis I (Weil’s disease): optional.

Rabies

1 year

DHPP booster

  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Parainfluenza
  • Parvo

Bordetella booster

Leptospirosis (Weil’s disease) booster

Lyme disease (optional) booster

Rabies booster

Every year from year 1

Bordetella

Leptospirosis

Lyme (optional)

Every 3 years from year 1

DHPP booster

  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Parainfluenza
  • Parvo

Rabies booster

Potential points of contention

Puppy training classes?

The American Veterinary Society on Animal Behavior issued a position statement (2008) supporting early attendance to (positive) group training classes (i.e. from 8 weeks onwards) despite the incomplete vaccination status at that age.

They put forward the argument that the risk of dying of a disease contracted at the puppy class through prior to the completion of the vaccination schedule is significantly lower than the risk of dying as a consequence of the development of a severe behaviour problem caused by inappropriate socialisation (i.e. an unmanageable dog is put down).

Validity period and regional relevance

Currently, most veterinarians advise for yearly boosters against the usual suspects, but this is coming under increasing scrutiny in light of the fact that some vaccines stay effective long longer than 12 months. Given the fact that most vaccinations have side-effects (ranging from extremely mild to death in rare cases), it is advisable to only vaccinate when there is a real benefit.

To help you make those decisions, ask your veterinarian for the instructions leaflets that came with the box of vaccine shots. This lists the possible side-effects and the validity period of each vaccine. As there is only one flyer for dozens of doses, veterinarians do not automatically give these away and you have to ask for it specifically, but most surgeries will welcome your pro-active approach.

Along similar lines, some dogs are a lot less at risk of a particular disease than others due to regional or lifestyle specificities. I would automatically ask your veterinarian whether your dog is indeed at significant risk of the diseases against which he is suggesting to inoculate him/her prior to administering the vaccine.

For complete information about these diseases and more, consult Common canine diseases.

Given all the possibilities, I would ask your veterinarian about the particulars of your region, and asking him to make a recommendation taking into account your pet’s lifestyle.

Nasal vaccine or injection?

For some vaccines, like the one against Bordatella bacterium (a form of kennel cough), it is possible to spray the vaccine through the dog’s nostrils, rather than by injection. The advantage is that the vaccine is most effective at the site of potential infection (rather than processed through the blood stream through the entire body). The disadvantage. It is also said that the vaccine administered through the nose is no longer sufficiently effective beyond 6 months. Administration through the nose is also much less pleasant for the dog and is virtually unmanageable with aggressive or reactive dogs.

Further reading

This is a very nice article (in English) about Vaccicheck, the Dutch certificate of your pet being free of certain contagious diseases. It can be presented in lieu of vaccination in some situations.

And here is an article on the currently changing American vaccination protocol – to avoid over-vaccination.

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