April 15, 2006


 AAHA updates canine vaccine guidelines

Posted April 1, 2006

The American Animal Hospital Association in March released a new edition of its vaccine guidelines for dogs.

The 2006 AAHA Canine Vaccine Guidelines include detailed recommendations on the use of available vaccines, which are classified as core, noncore, or not recommended. Revised sections of the document include those addressing serologic testing, vaccine adverse events, the vaccine licensing process, and the medical and legal implications of vaccine medicine.

The 28-page document contains a new section of guidelines that address vaccination of dogs entering or residing in animal shelter environments. Some of the core vaccination recommendations for shelter environments are slightly more aggressive than the guidelines presented for general veterinary practice.

Other new content covered in the document includes a section highlighting the science of vaccine development. The document also deals with vaccines granted a conditional license by the Department of Agriculture's Center for Veterinary Biologics. These include rattlesnake and periodontal disease vaccines.

The 2006 AAHA Canine Vaccine Guidelines are based on a combination of published and unpublished scientific studies, expert opinion, and personal experience. The guidelines include a number of new citations that enhance and enforce the science on which the guidelines are based. The guidelines are intended to educate and inform the profession and help veterinarians make vaccine recommendations for individual dogs or, in the case of a shelter, a population of dogs.

The guidelines are not intended to be an AAHA standard of care, however.

The AAHA released its first set of canine vaccination guidelines in 2003. The AAHA Canine Vaccine Task Force reconvened in 2005 to re-examine and revise the guidelines to reflect changes in areas of canine vaccines. Factors that contributed to the updating of the guidelines include the increase in documented duration-of-immunity studies, industry support of extended revaccination intervals, and developing areas of shelter medicine.

"To stay abreast of the changing landscape of vaccinations, it's important for companion animal practitioners to review the updated guidelines," said AAHA immediate past president, Dr. Daniel Aja. "We have gained new knowledge over the past three years, especially in the field of duration-of-immunity studies and shelter medicine. These important updates are well-referenced and are reflected in the 2006 edition of our guidelines."

The 2006 AAHA Canine Vaccine Guidelines are available in their entirety on the AAHA Web site, www.aahanet.org. The executive summary of the guidelines is published in the March/April 2006 issues of Trends magazine and the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association.