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Does my dog or cat need to be vaccinated every year?

7 June 2010

The decision to revaccinate a dog or cat will vary from animal to animal. The vet and the pet owner should always make this decision jointly after considering the following factors:

  • the vet’s knowledge of the canine/feline immune system
  • the vaccination history of the animal
  • its age, breed, health and reproductive status
  • disease prevalence in the local area
  • likely exposure of the animal to other animals, including stray or feral animals
  • current best practice, contemporary guidelines and published veterinary literature

Taking these factors into account will ensure that an informed decision can be made about the vaccination program for the pet.

More detail

There are normally two types of vaccines that are given to cats and dogs – core and non-core.  Core vaccines are those that protect animals from severe, life-threatening diseases that have worldwide distribution.  Non-core vaccines cover specific diseases that may affect pets due to their geographic location, local environment or lifestyle.  For a list of core and non-core vaccines, see the APVMA's full position statement on vaccination protocols for dogs and cats.

Although annual vaccinations have been the norm, the international veterinary community is increasingly taking the position that cats and dogs do not need to be re-vaccinated every 12 months with core vaccines if they have been properly vaccinated when young, while non-core vaccines should only be administered annually if the individual situation warrants it.

The APVMA supports the policy of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) (external site) and the position of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (external site) who believe that vaccines should be administered on a needs-basis.

In its role to manage product labels on vaccines, the APVMA is working with the vaccine companies to amend these labels in line with its policy on revaccination.

Last updated on 2 September, 2010