NOAH issues statement on canine vaccination

The National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) has issued a statement for veterinary surgeons on canine vaccination which sets out to discuss the apparent discrepancies between global vaccination guidelines and advice contained within vaccine Summary of Product Characteristics (SPCs) and datasheets in the UK.

NOAH technical executive, veterinary surgeon Donal Murphy explains: “NOAH members have received queries from practitioners seeking clarification when guidance written from a global perspective appears to differ from specific manufacturers’ instructions, as set out in vaccine SPCs and datasheets in the UK. For example, there have been queries regarding the messages within the recent publication from WSAVA, Vaccination Guidelines for New Puppy Owners. While there are some differences, we believe the profession within the UK has adopted many of the principles of the WSAVA guidance for some considerable time, such as annual health checks and determining individual requirements in consultation with the owner”.

NOAH welcomes any guidance assisting the veterinary profession in their determination of vaccine protocols and helping to educate the public. However, the guidance, whilst promoting the benefits of vaccination, does appear to be at variance with many of the protocols that practices have adopted and the advice contained within the datasheets and SPCs for the vaccines licensed in the UK.

Apparent discrepancies include the advice in the Guidelines document regarding vaccination protocols, the routine use of non-core vaccines (particularly Leptospirosis and Kennel Cough), the role of serology testing to determine vaccination requirements and vaccine safety.

Donal Murphy says: “In the light of increased movement of pets from mainland Europe and beyond, the continued wide distribution of canine parvovirus and indeed the re-emergence of confirmed cases of canine distemper in a number of locations in the UK, the threat of infectious disease to our pets is ever present and demands that a high level of vaccinal immunity is maintained across the country. It would be unfortunate if in seeking to provide “best practice” advice on the use of vaccines, expert guidance was to lose sight of the need to maintain the confidence of both the pet owning public and indeed the veterinary profession itself in the continued value of the use of vaccines to keep significant infectious disease threats at bay.”

NOAH believes the comment by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), responsible for the authorisation of veterinary medicines in the UK, sums up the value of vaccination to the health of our pets: ‘…the benefits of vaccination are considered significantly greater than the risks of infection by the ever present canine infectious diseases in the UK.’


Notes for Editors

  1. The NOAH statement on canine vaccination can be found here

  2. For further information contact Donal Murphy at NOAH tel. +44 (0)20 8367 3131

  3. The National Office of Animal Health represents the UK animal medicines industry: its aim is to promote the benefits of safe, effective, quality medicines for the health and welfare of all animals.

  4. WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines for New Puppy Owners

  5. Veterinary Medicines Directorate position paper (February 2014)