Vaccines in dogs: A debate

A few days ago on Facebook, a story circulated about the adverse effects caused by “too frequent” vaccination in dogs, which alarmed several dog owners and at the same time confused them. For this reason, some friends and clients asked me to express my opinion, something I did first privately and then publicly on the same social network. Due to the reaction of the readers, it seemed very important to add this information to our website.

Original post:

This is my opinion. I will try to be as objective as possible:

1.- In my opinion there are several medical specialists in this (and all) areas who have varying opinions about vaccination in dogs and I do not think it is valid for them to start this post by stating what this single specialist doctor said as the absolute truth. I do not doubt this veterinarian is very well qualified, but this manipulates the reader making him or her believe that this is the only possible reality.

2.- Yes, it is true that vaccination is not recommended annually in dogs. The international vaccination guide of dogs published in 2015 and based on scientific studies (evidence-based science!) states this.

3.- As with any biological substance, the possibility exists that your dog, a human, a cow, etc., could have an adverse reaction after its application.

4.-The adverse reactions mentioned in the original post are a reality in human and veterinary medicine, but the risk and benefit must always be weighed and this is where the decisions to vaccinate or not, at what time, at what age and what number of times are made. This is what the doctor should do, based on vaccination guidelines, but also based on their experience, the geographical area, the age of the dog, its origin and even the breed. It is not an exact science, and a single post cannot define a whole as complex as immunity.

5.-The quote from this post is from 2001. I have to say it is very old and not necessarily obsolete, but it is worth the public’s while to understand that sharing a post from 2001 in 2019 always question its validity and forces me to invite the readers to look for more recent information.

6.-I hope that those who read this information also know that there is an organization called WSAVA - World Small Animal Veterinary Association - which is an international body that is responsible for making recommendations on the vaccination of your dog and shares current information open to everyone who has access to the internet and wants to know more without necessarily being a health professional. See link below.

7.- Vaccines are not infallible even well applied properly. Viruses and bacteria are ahead of us by leaps and bounds and can find windows in the body’s immunity. Nobody should ever think that a dog who is well VACCINATED is not capable of getting sick. Whether the dog does or does not get sick, and does or not get better, will depend on a myriad of factors apart from just the vaccinations including his or her general condition, age, breed, treatment and on the dog itself. Each and every immunity is as unique as the dog itself.


Specifics in my Practice: In Mexico where I live and practice my profession, I would not recommend periods of 7 years between one vaccine and another as the original post states, because the risk of infection is high, but this is a particularity that I always discuss in the doctor's office with the owners and define for each patient.

The vaccination plan I recommend to our dog puppies at Pet Point is based on the WSAVA vaccination guide *, the area in which I practice, and my experience in the field. Our program starts at 6 or 8 weeks of life with the essential vaccines (canine distemper (distemper) (CDV), canine adenovirus (CAV, types 1 and 2) and canine parvovirus type 2 (PCV-2) and its variants) which we then repeat every 21 days until 4 months of life. Then, we repeat these vaccines on the day of his or her first birthday (I know, it is not the most expected gift, but very necessary and easy to remember). Finally, we will see each other every 3 years without fail to revaccinate.

The rabies vaccine, although not mentioned above, is also essential, but, unlike the others, it is applied after 3 months of the puppy's life and then repeated in Mexico on the first birthday and then reapplied yearly. Even though the rabies vaccine stays current for longer than a year, the Mexican Secretary of Health (SAGARPA-SENASICA) requires this vaccine to be no more than a year old. In relation to non-essential vaccines, I recommend bordetella and leptospira yearly as well.

In the next post, I plan to delve more into the subject of vaccination and its role and positive impact on the quality and life expectancy of dogs.


THE MORAL HERE IS: Get informed and go to a health professional to make a personalized vaccination plan for both the humans and animals of your family so as not to put them or you at risk of infection or death.

Until next time,

MVZ. Carolina Hidalgo Contreras