What age do you end distemper shots?

bertman_gwApril 17, 2011

On that note what do they really need versus have no more use for? Do they keep needing the rabies shot there whole life? Just curious what others are eliminating as far as the yearly shots?

PS If you know of another site I should ask this question? Or perhaps read up on this, I would appreciate any suggestions.thx

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We keep our dogs current on rabies vaccines, they need them for their licenses, & if there were ever any legal problem, the rabies vaccine could be lifesaving for them. This THS poster has an awful reason why all pets need to be current on rabies.


They get their booster/distemper vaccine every 3 yrs, after they've had their puppy series and another booster one yr later. The next link addresses it in the second to last paragraph.


Our vet techs always ask when we make our spring HW appt, & I had to ask them to take the booster syringe away last year, the girl seemed a little surprised but the vet didn't say a word. We had a dog that we dutifully vaccinated annually & when she was 10 or 12 yrs old, she had some very negative effects afterwards. She never had another booster. I wish she had only gotten them every 3 yrs.

We do see the vet annually for HW test & meds & a check up. Good luck with your pet.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 11:39AM
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I titer my dogs annually to check the antibody levels. They only need to be titered every 3 years, but my compromise is to titer annually. My dogs have never needed another booster. I'm very appreciative of the vaccines available for my dogs, but also aware of the risks/ramifications of overvaccination.

Rabies is required by law, so no option to titer there. Though in most states if the vet feels it is a risk to the dog due to age or infirmity there are exemptions. The Rabies Challenge (linked) is testing the duration of that vaccine. The organization relys on contributions to continue the study.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rabies Challenge

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 12:23PM
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I do the same as jomuir, baby shots, 1st annual booster then 3 yearly shots as I do have concerns about over vaccination. I did read that here in my country the vaccine manufacturers are going to change their labeling to recommend they be used 3 yearly but my vet still sends me a reminder every year to get shots done. we don't have rabies here so i know nothing about those.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 1:03PM
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spedigrees z4VT

I have kept many generations of dogs (as well as cats and horses) up to date on ALL their innoculations for their entire lifetimes. They have lived to old age with no ill effects and without ever contracting the preventable, contagious diseases they were vaccinated against. I can see absolutely no logical reason for failing to provide available protection for animals who are dependent on me for their well-being.
Vaccination = Protection.. and for me it equals peace of mind.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 1:07PM
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My vet has stopped a lot of vaccines, etc. that we used to think were mandatory. Though I know we do rabies.

For instance, we don't do any Heart Worm testing or medicine. I asked why and was told they rarely ever see it in our area.

Personally, I'm glad my vet only does what is necessary in our area.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 12:52PM
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My male Birman cat had a bad reaction to the distemper shot. He had a lump for five months where the shop was given. After the second time it happened, I said enough.

I'm in a big city, heart worms are a big problem here.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 9:15PM
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So much depends on your individual dog, it's lifestyle, it's health, where you live, where you travel with your dog. As a veterinarian, I take ALL of that into consideration when determining which vaccines your dog will receive and when.

There are some hard and fast rules:

1. NEVER EVER stop Rabies vaccines, unless your veterinarian determines that there is some damn good reason to risk not vaccinating. Rabies vaccine frequency is determined by the state, county, or town in which you live. There may be serious consequences (sending its head to the state lab for example) to not vaccinating if your dog bites a person or gets bitten by a feral animal.

2. Core vaccines for dogs are distemper, parvo, adenovirus-2, and parainfluenza. All puppies need those vaccines once every 3 weeks until it has received 2 vaccines after 14 weeks of age. So it depends on when the puppy starts vaccines as to how many vaccines end up being in the series and how old it is when it finishes. Dogs over 14 weeks of age only need 2 vaccines 3 weeks apart.

3. After that, I give a booster at one year and then determine the frequency of subsequent vaccines based on the individual, but never more frequently than once every 3 years. Studies have shown that core vaccines provide immunity for at least 5 years; we just play it safe and recommend them every 3 years. Veterinarians who are still giving annual core vaccines are 1) wasting your money because the vaccines aren't doing anything and 2) risking your dog's life with reactions, auto-immune disease, etc.

4. Other vaccines such as bordetella, canine influenza, lyme disease, lepto, etc. are determined by your dog's individual risk. Bordetella is given every 6 months; influenza, lepto, and lyme once yearly. There are other vaccines which are useless and not recommended.

5. Heartworm prevention is also determined by where you live and where you travel. In the Southeastern US, heartworm prevention is a year-round thing.

6. Flea and tick prevention is determined by where you live. Again being in the southeast, I recommend year round prevention.

If you'd like more information, AAHA developed the canine vaccine guidelines are available here:

Here is a link that might be useful: AAHA canine vaccine guidelines

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 9:21PM
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and if you live in California, there is no Rabies Challenges or testing or any reason that any veterinarian can give the state to keep your dog from being vaccinated. The state of California does not recognize even severe rabies vaccine reactions as a reason not to vaccinate. All dogs of all ages (over 4 months) need their rabies vaccines every 3 years (after the first one year vax) until they die. .. of course, if the state of California doesn't know you have a dog, well there is little they can do about it. That is why so many dogs out here do not get rabies vaccines, and why a lot of those do not get licensed. Sort of the same reason nearly half our drivers have no car insurance ...

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 7:03PM
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There is no veterinary exemption in NC either but there could be extremely rare circumstances where I'd accidently "forget" to vaccinate the dog. It hasn't happened in the 3 years I've been a vet though.

Some states do have a veterinary exemption but if the dog bites a person the dog is still subject to quarantine at owner's expense. Just may save it's head though.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 9:22PM
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