Vaccinations for older dogs

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My dog is 14 now, suffers from arthritis but we are managing it and all the time learning new things to do thanks to CAM. However, my question is not arthritis related but more to do with older dogs and that is there a need to vaccinate dogs of this age?

I’m of the thinking that why put something into any living body that isn’t necessary and unnatural unless there is a valid risk level or need for it. She has been religiously vaccinated every year of her life and i’m wondering if it really is necessary now as surely she would have built a pretty good immune resistance to them and is not out and about with other dogs or in many places like she used to be. In addition, is her ability to deal with foreign substances entering her body weakened now and so will put unnecessary stress on her system.

I have read opinions on this subject from vets for and against but waned to know what actual dog owners think. Given that many of us are on this site because we have older dogs I wanted to find out what your thoughts are? Is it really necessary or just a would be nice?

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Thanks Kathryn. I appreciate you responding. Looks like its 2 votes for vaccinating – not that I’m counting. LOL. Its good to hear what people think.

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Similar to Lynsey Iโ€™m in the vaccinate camp for the reason really she has outlined.

Depending where you walk your dog perhaps their risk of exposure to these vaccinatable disease is less (Iโ€™m guessing long walks and lots of interaction with other dogs are not part of the routine anymore) But in saying that, we know that the immune system of older patients isnโ€™t as great as for younger patients so if they do contract any illness we would anticipate them being more affected.

Its highly unlikely to cause harm to give the vaccine.

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Thanks for your opinion ๐Ÿ™‚

Its good to hear from all sides as in that way you can make your own informed choice from the best information available.

At this stage I’m not saying that I’m not going to do it. It’s just a strong question in my mind and I want to talk about it with other people who have experience with it from all angles, such as yourself.

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Vet nurse here, so my opinion may not be what you’re after.


My thoughts are that actually our pets should be vaccinated as they get older, because they are going to be more susceptible to infection and illness. Just like the NHS offering flu vaccines to the very young and old.

A majority of practices only vaccinate every three years for a large component of the core vaccines, and just leptospirosis every year. I work in practice on the south east coast and have seen about three suspected cases of leptospirosis in the past couple of years. (It is pretty hard to diagnose so far as I know). I also know of a lady who died from it when bitten by a rat. Personally I will always keep my dog’s vaccines up for those reasons alone.


I think if you have had her boostered every year from a pup, then it is unlikely she will suddenly start having problems relating to the vaccines, and is at a much higher risk by not having them. Especially as a lot of people are now choosing not to vaccinate, the diseases will start to become more rife as in measles for kids right now.


An option would be titre testing, but leptospirosis can’t be titre tested and there is no real protocol on how often to test. The dog may have enough antibodies on the day of testing, bit how do we know whether it will three, six, nine months down the line?


So, I’m in the necessary, not would be nice camp ๐Ÿ™‚

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