Canine Distemper Vaccine: 1-Year vs 3 Year

There has been debate among veterinarians about the necessity of administering the canine distemper vaccine annually or over a three year schedule, citing health risks and reactions to repeated vaccinations. The choice is up to the informed dog owner, but there are some key facts to consider.

Yearly Distemper Vaccination

Many veterinarians feel annual vaccinations are an essential part of preventive care for your dog. There are some guidelines they suggest for annual care:

  • Puppies should have a series of vaccines administered at six to eight weeks. These vaccines cover canine distemper in addition to a handful of other diseases.
  • Dogs at the age of twenty weeks to two years of age should receive vaccination boosters that will prolong the strength of the puppy shots, and canine distemper should be re-administered along with other vaccinations.

Three Year Distemper Vaccination

Studies have shown that while yearly shots are needed for rabies and other viruses based on local city laws, annual canine distemper vaccinations may not be necessary. Some argue that the three year vaccination is preferable, because some dogs show adverse reactions to annual shots.

Scientists are successfully testing new formulas for boosters that have prolonged immunity durations that can last up to three years. Further testing is being performed on these vaccinations, but there is a growing belief that due to medical advances in immunizations, these three year formulas are just as effective as an annual booster.