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The most important canine viral infections are distemper and CPV-2. Problems of variable CD vaccine safety and efficacy persist, but CD vaccines have greatly reduced the prevalence of
disease and cases in vaccinated dogs are now rare. Canine hepatitis (ICH, CAV-1 infection) also has been controlled well by vaccines for more than 35 years and it is now rare; the sporadic cases seen in the 1990s have usually occurred in unvaccinated dogs. CAV-2 vaccines should, therefore, continue to be given since they have proved to be safe and effective, and prevent hepatitis as well as adenoviral tracheobronchitis. Failure to vaccinate would likely result in increase in cases of ICH, a serious
disease, but never as significant as distemper and CPV infection. "Are we vaccinating too often?" The question is complex, but the dominant opinion is "yes" (Smith, 1995). The question cannot be responded to unequivocally, however, since manufacturers employ different strains that vary in their immunizing capacity and, probably, duration of immunity. This question was frequent with distemper in the 1960s. At that time, many veterinarians tested batches of the vaccine they used by providing pre- and postvaccinal sera to competent diagnostic laboratories. That practice appeared to benefit veterinarians and dogs, as well as the quality of vaccines. Unfortunately, many owners and some veterinarians seem to hold the view that infectious diseases such as parvovirus infection can be controlled by frequent vaccination alone. The common practice of dog breeders of vaccinating their animals several times each year is senseless. Revaccination for distemper and parvovirus infection is suggested at 1 year of age, but recommendations regarding the frequency of most vaccinations given after that time are unclear. Since most distemper and CPV-2 vaccines probably provide immunity that endures several years, vaccination at 3- to 5-year intervals, after the first year, seems a reasonable practice until more data on duration of immunity become available. "Are too many kinds of vaccines being promoted for dogs?" Distemper and parvovirus vaccines are essential; canine adenovirus vaccines are recommended since the few cases brought to our attention in recent years have been in unvaccinated dogs. Vaccination against respiratory infections is recommended for most dogs, especially those in kennels, or if they are to be boarded. Need has not been clearly established for coronavirus vaccines;
Lyme disease vaccines (see below) are useful in preventing illness in areas where the
disease exists, but are unnecessary elsewhere since dogs respond rapidly to appropriate antibiotics; current Leptospira bacterins are without benefit since they contain serovars that fail to protect in most areas (noted below).
Lyme disease (LD) was not considered here, but newer recombinant (OspA) vaccines are now available that appear to be safe and effective for at least 1 year and they have not caused vaccine-induced postvaccinal lameness, which has been documented with certain whole-cell
Lyme disease bacterins.
Lyme disease vaccines should be restricted to dogs in, or entering, endemic areas where infested ticks reside. More than 85% of LD cases occur in the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern States, about 10% in six Midwestern states (Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin), and a smaller percentage in restricted areas of northern California and the Pacific Northwest. Leptospirosis also was not discussed here, but vaccines are commonly reported as a cause of anaphylaxis and current vaccines do not contain the serovars prevalent in most regions. The vast majority of cases diagnosed at the New York State Diagnostic Lab at Cornell are grippotyphosa and pomona serovars and there have been no recent cases caused by canicola or icterohemorrhagiae serovars. Because leptospirosis is an important
disease of dogs, there is an urgent need for more research and the development of safer vaccines that contain the prevalent