Canine Vaccination



American Animal Hospital Association Guidelines 2011

Summarized by Lori E. Gordon, DVM MA TF-1 US&R

Since 2003, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Canine Vaccine Task Force has made recommendations regarding vaccination protocols specifically for canines. The latest set of recommendations was published in 2011, and is summarized in the table on page 2. Canine Vaccine Guidelines

These vaccines have been divided into 3 categories:

  • Core vaccines – recommended for all dogs, and are required for FEMA search canines
  • Non-core vaccines – optional and based on a dog’s lifestyle and a risk/benefit ratio analysis. It is recommended to be discussed with your local veterinarian
  • Vaccines that are not recommended – some of the reasons include inadequate immunity, unknown efficacy, or are associated with complications


After the initial vaccination protocol, to build up immunity, many vaccines were performed on an annual basis. The change from the standard yearly vaccinations to every 3 years for most of them is due to advances in vaccine products and extended duration of immunity (DOI). In addition, there have been no increases in core infectious diseases in adequately immunized dogs since that time.

Be advised that these are guidelines based upon expert opinions, personal experiences, published scientific data and some unpublished scientific data. The full text of information is intended as a guide with which to make vaccination decisions specifically for an individual dog or group of dogs.

Familiarization with adverse vaccine reactions is strongly advised. There are methods of staged vaccinations for dogs that have vaccine reactions, as well as treatments to mitigate reactions. Veterinarians are familiar with these protocols. Current data indicates that titers will reveal if an animal has received a vaccination, but titers do not indicate protection against that disease.


Canine Vaccine Summary

per 2011 AAHA Guidelines

Core Vaccines – Required by FEMA

  • Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) – MLV or recombinant rCanine Distemper Virus (rCDV)
  • Canine Parvovirus (CPV-2) – MLV
  • Canine Adenovirus-2 (CAV-2) – MLV parenteral; also protects against CAV-1(Hepatitis)
  • Rabies 1-year (killed)
  • Rabies 3-year (killed)
    • Timing is critical; must be given before 1-year vaccine expires
    • In all states except District of Columbia as of 12/2015, where annual Rabies vaccination is required


Non-Core Vaccines – base on individual considerations and recommendations from your local veterinarian

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bb) – inactivated cell antigen extract, parenteral
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bb) – live avirulaent bacteria, intranasal
  • Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme Disease) – killed whole bacterin or rLyme: rOspA
  • Canine Adenovirus-2 (CAV-2) – MLV intranasal
  • Canine Influenza Vaccine – killed
  • Leptospirosis interrogans – 4-way killed whole cell or subunit bacterin
  • Measles Vaccine (MV), MLV – temporary immunization for very young puppies
  • Parainfluenza Virus (CPiV) – MLV parenteral
  • Parainfluenza Virus (CPiV) – MLV intranasal


Not Recommended

  • Canine coronavirus – killed and MLV
  • Leptospira interrogans 2-way killed bacterin



  • Crotlus atrox (Western Diamondback Rattlesnake) – field efficacy and experimental challenge data are currently unavailable


Core Vaccine Schedules as Recommended by AAHA

Other vaccine protocols are available Canine Vaccine Guidelines

Vaccine Initial Puppy Vaccination (less than 16 weeks old) Initial Adult Vaccination Revaccination Booster
Canine Parvovirus (CPV-2, MLV) Give every 3-4 weeks btw ages 6-16 wks; final dose btw 14-16 weeks old 1 dose considered effective Booster at 1 year then every 3 yrs any product used
Canine Distemper Virus (CDV, MLV) or rCanine Distemper Virus (rCDV) Give every 3-4 weeks btw ages 6-16 wks; final dose btw 14-16 weeks old 1 dose considered effective Booster at < 1 yr then every 3 yrs any product used
Canine Adenovirus-2 (CAV-2, MLV parenteral) Give every 3-4 weeks btw ages 6-16 wks; final dose btw 14-16 weeks old 1 dose considered effective Booster at < 1 yr then every 3 yrs any product used
Rabies 1-year (killed) Give one dose no earlier than 12 wks old or as required by law Administer single dose of 1-yr vaccine Administer single dose of 1-yr vaccine
Rabies 3-year (killed) Give one dose of 3-yr vaccine no earlier than 12 wks of age or as law requires Administer single dose of 3-yr vaccine or as law requires Administer single dose 3-yr vaccine within 1 year of the initial dose or as the law requires


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