Vaccinations: Is it okay to delay?

In these COVID-19 times, we are mindful that it’s important we reduce our interpersonal contact as much as possible, and avoid all unnecessary errands outside of our homes.

Vaccination of our pets is necessary - it is the best and cheapest protection we can provide against fatal diseases like parvovirus, distemper and viral hepatitis. However, given the current situation, it can be acceptable to delay adult vaccinations, for the purpose of reducing your and our personal risk of exposure to COVID-19.

The core dog vaccine (C3) is usually licensed for either one or three years, depending on the product and manufacturer. This means the vaccine manufacturer guarantees protection for the period of time for the specific vaccine product. Research and studies have shown that some of these vaccines can protect for longer than the licensed period. While this is considered “off-label”, there is a high probability that your dog will maintain immunity against these diseases for longer than the specified time frame.

If you have a puppy less than 6 months old, it is ESSENTIAL that you maintain the normal vaccination schedule, which is monthly from 6 to 8 weeks until the last puppy vaccination at 14-16 weeks. The first annual adult vaccination is also ESSENTIAL – this may occur at 6, 9 or 16 months of age depending on the protocol your vet is using.

At UniVets Camden, all adult dogs we see from 16 months old typically receive a core vaccine that lasts 3 years. Vaccines for Kennel Cough and Leptospirosis are licensed for 1 year. During the COVID-19 lockdown period, we are advising that all vaccinations for adult dogs can be delayed for up to 6 months whilst remaining likely to have protective immunity. Dogs in high-risk situations (such as living in high parvovirus-incident areas) are exempt, given their higher chance of exposure.

Furthermore, if you would like to confirm that your adult dog’s immunity has decreased and revaccination is required, it is possible to run vaccine titres to measure their level of protection after their first annual vaccination.

For any questions or enquiries, please feel free to contact UniVets Camden on 0246 550 777.

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