Guidelines for the vaccination of dogs and cats compiled by the Vaccination Guidelines Group (VGG) of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA)

Day, M.J., Horzinek, M.C., Schultz, R.D., and Squires, R.A. (2016) Guidelines for the vaccination of dogs and cats compiled by the Vaccination Guidelines Group (VGG) of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA). Journal of Small Animal Practice, 57 (1). E1-E45.

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The WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group (VGG) was convened in order to develop guidelines for the vaccination of dogs and cats that have global application. The first version of these guidelines was published in 2007 and they were updated in 2010. The present document provides a further updated and expanded version of these international guidelines for the vaccination of small companion animals and indicates the scientific evidence base on which the recommendations are made. The VGG recognises that the keeping of pet small animals is subject to considerable variation in practice and associated economics throughout the world and that vaccination recommendations that might apply to a developed country may not be appropriate for a developing country. These guidelines are not a mandatory edict, but rather should be used by national associations and individual veterinary practices to develop vaccination schedules relevant locally. However, the VGG strongly recommends that wherever possible ALL dogs and cats receive the benefit of vaccination. This not only protects the individual animal, but provides optimum ‘herd immunity’ that minimises the likelihood of infectious disease outbreaks.

With this background in mind, the VGG has defined core vaccines as those which ALL dogs and cats, regardless of circumstances or geographical location, should receive. Core vaccines protect animals from severe, life-threatening diseases that have global distribution. Core vaccines for dogs are those that protect against canine distemper virus (CDV), canine adenovirus (CAV) and the variants of canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2). Core vaccines for cats are those that protect against feline parvovirus (FPV), feline calicivirus (FCV) and feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1). In areas of the world where rabies virus infection is endemic, vaccination against this agent should be considered core for both species, even if there is no legal requirement for routine vaccination.

The VGG recognizes that maternally-derived antibody (MDA) interferes with the efficacy of most current core vaccines administered to pups and kittens in early life. Because the level of MDA varies among litters, the VGG recommends administration of multiple core vaccine doses to pups and kittens, with the final dose given at 16 weeks or older and followed by a booster at 6- or 12-months of age. In cultural or financial situations where a pet animal may only be permitted the benefit of a single vaccination, that vaccination should be with core vaccines at 16 weeks of age or older.

The VGG supports the use of simple in-practice tests for determination of seroconversion to the core vaccine components (CDV, CAV, CPV-2 and FPV) following vaccination, for determination of seroprotection in adult dogs and for management of infectious disease outbreaks in shelters.

Vaccines should not be given needlessly. Core vaccines should not be given any more frequently than every three years after the 6- or 12-month booster injection following the puppy/kitten series, because the duration of immunity (DOI) is many years and may be up to the lifetime of the pet.

The VGG has defined non-core vaccines as those that are required by only those animals whose geographical location, local environment or lifestyle places them at risk of contracting specific infections. The VGG has also classified some vaccines as not recommended (where there is insufficient scientific evidence to justify their use) and has not considered a number of minority products which have restricted geographical availability or application.

The VGG strongly supports the concept of regular (usually annual) health checks which removes the emphasis from, and client expectation of, annual revaccination. The annual health check may still encompass administration of selected non-core vaccines which should be administered annually, as the DOI for these products is generally 1 year.

The VGG has considered the use of vaccines in animal shelters, again recognising the particular circumstances of such establishments and the financial constraints under which they sometimes operate. The VGG minimum shelter guidelines are simple: that all dogs and cats entering such an establishment should be vaccinated before, or at the time of entry, with core vaccines. Where finances permit, repeated core vaccines should be administered as per the schedules defined in the guidelines and non-core vaccines against respiratory disease may be included.

The VGG recognizes the importance of adverse reaction reporting schemes, but understands that these are variably developed in different countries. Wherever possible, veterinarians should be actively encouraged to report all possible adverse events to the manufacturer and/or regulatory authority to expand the knowledge base that drives development of improved vaccine safety.

These fundamental concepts proposed by the VGG may be encapsulated in the following statement:

We should aim to vaccinate every animal with core vaccines.

Non-core vaccines should be given no more frequently than is deemed necessary.

Item ID: 42860
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1748-5827
Keywords: animal vaccination, Vaccination Guidelines Group(VGG), World Small Animal Veterinary Association(WSAVA)
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Additional Information:

In addition to the full guidelines, a summary of the guidelines was also published in the same journal (see PDF above). The correct citation for the summary is:

Day, M. J., Horzinek, M. C., Schultz, R. D. and Squires, R. A. (2016), WSAVA Guidelines for the vaccination of dogs and cats. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 57: 4–8. doi:10.1111/jsap.12431

Funders: MSD Animal Health, The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA)
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2017 00:35
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3009 Veterinary sciences > 300905 Veterinary epidemiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 86 MANUFACTURING > 8609 Veterinary Pharmaceutical Products > 860901 Veterinary Biological Preventatives (e.g. Vaccines) @ 80%
86 MANUFACTURING > 8609 Veterinary Pharmaceutical Products > 860902 Veterinary Diagnostics @ 20%
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