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During the last 40 years vaccines have been developed that have greatly reduced the incidence of infectious diseases of dogs. In general, modified live products have been superior to inactivated vaccines for dogs. It can be expected that recombinant and/or DNA vaccines may dominate the market in the future. Although most vaccines on the market are safe and efficacious, there have been exceptions where
disease was induced by vaccination or dogs were not protected. The failure of protection may in part be due to variations in individual vaccine batches. Only potency tests but not efficacy tests are required, which may not be sufficient. For example, a virus titer in a vaccine may be meaningless if the minimum protective dose is not known. Overattenuated virus (e.g., CDV-Ond or parvovirus in cat cells) may have a high titer in tissue culture but is not immunogenic. The question of frequency of vaccination of dogs should be addressed. Annual revaccinations for CDV, CPV, and CAV are probably not needed. However, it would be desirable to collect more data to support less frequent vaccinations. Annual immunization for bacterial diseases such as kennel cough,
Lyme disease, and leptospirosis should continue. It also would be desirable to develop more oro/nasal vaccines, perhaps combined with newly developed vectors that are less likely to induce undesirable side effects that may be seen after parenteral vaccination. Finally a word of warning against homeopathic "nosodes" to replace tested canine vaccines. They will appear highly effective as long as the majority of dogs remain vaccinated. As soon as a nonvaccinated dog population is large enough to allow virulent agents to spread,
disease outbreaks will occur and we will be back where we began 40 years ago.