Duration of Immunity: How Long Does Immunity Last?

June 9, 2012

How long does immunity from a vaccine last? Here are the results of canine duration of immunity (DOI) studies by Ronald Schultz, PhD.* 

The study warns: “The minimum duration of immunity data does not imply that all vaccinated dogs will be immune for the period of time listed, nor does it suggest that immunity may not last longer (e.g. the life of the dog). The percentage of vaccinated animals protected from clinical disease after challenge with canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus and canine adenovirus in the present study was greater than 95%.”

Note: Challenge studies are those in which an animal is vaccinated then injected with virus to test its immunity to disease. Serology is the method of measuring antibody levels in the blood (also called titer testing) to determine an animal’s immunity. (For duration of immunity for cat vaccines, see below.)

Minimum Duration of Immunity for Canine Vaccines

CORE VACCINES (recommended for all dogs)

Canine Distemper Virus (CDV):

   Rockborn Strain 7 years/15 years challenge/serology

   Onderstepoort Strain 5 years/9 years challenge/serology

Canine Adenovirus-2 (CAV-2) 7 years/9 years challenge-CAV-1/serology

Canine Parvovirus-2 (CPV-2) 7 years challenge/serology

Canine Rabies 3 years/7 years challenge/serology   Note: vaccine makers guarantee the 3-year vaccines for 3 years

NON-CORE VACCINES (generally recommended only for animals in areas with high risk)

Parainfluenza  3 years serology

Bordetella bronchiseptica (kennel cough)  9 months challenge

Borrelia burgdorfen (Lyme)  1 year challenge

Leptospira   duration ?

Coronavirus (not recommended by WSAVA or AAHA)

Data from Duration of Immunity to Canine Vaccines: What We Know and Don’t Know by Dr. Ronald D. Schultz. 

Also please see Duration of immunity for canine and feling vaccines: A Review by Dr. Schultz in 2006.  “Recently, all major companies that make canine vaccines for the U.S. market have completed their own studies; published data show a 3 years or longer minimum DOI for the canine core products, canine distemper virus (CDV), canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2), and canine adenovirus-2 (CAV-2). Studies with feline core vaccines – feline parvovirus (FPV), calicivirus (FCV) and herpes virus type I (FHV-1) have shown a minimum DOI of greater than 3 years. Based on these results, the current canine and feline guidelines (which recommend that the last dose of core vaccines be given to puppies and kittens ≥12 weeks of age or older, then revaccination again at 1 year, then not more often than every 3 years) should provide a level of protection equal to that achieved by annual revaccination.” 

Note: Dr. Schultz and others now suggest giving the last vaccine at 15-16 weeks of age to make sure maternal immunity has waned.

AHAA Canine Vaccination Guidelines duration of immunity: beginning page 4, http://www.aahanet.org/PublicDocuments/VaccineGuidelines06Revised.pdf

WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines: “….  duration of immunity (DOI) is many years and may be up and may be up to the lifetime of the pet.” They also say that feline core vaccines “should not be expected to give the same robust protection, nor the duration of immunity, as seen with canine core vaccines.”   Read the report at http://www.wsava.org/PDF/Misc/VaccinationGuidelines2010.pdf

* Dr. Schultz is a member of the 2011 AAHA Canine Vaccine Task Force, the AAFP Feline Vaccine Task Force and the 2010 World Small Animal Veterinary AssociationVaccination Guidelines Group and is Chairman of the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. He has been researching pet over-vaccination since the 1970’s.

Related Article

Do older dogs and cats need vaccinations?  Study summary.

Titer Testing  How to determine immunity.

Related Video  Watch this video featuring Dr. Schultz talking about vaccination and duration of immunity, among other subjects.  If you watched Part 1, featured on our homepage,  skip ahead to Part 2.     







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