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Considering "Non-Core" Vaccines

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

Read all of the articles in our Vaccines & Titers intro series here:

You can also visit our Vaccines & Titers topic page for a look at all of the articles in this category.

Many vaccines available for pets are not considered necessary for every animal. Instead, these “non-core” vaccines should be given on a case-by-case basis, after considering each pet’s environment and other risk factors. Read about the non-core vaccines, and determine whether you think they’re important for your dog.

Leptospirosis is a non-core vaccine that has document adverse reactions. Click here to read more about Leptospirosis and the Lepto Vaccine.

Bordetella (kennel cough)

Shows that there are 9 different Bordetella vaccines, some of which also include other diseases. Explains the importance of finding out which vaccine your vet carries, in order to prevent double-vaccination for something else.

“I do not suggest parainfluenza, adenovirus-2, Bordetella, or even canine influenza, Lyme and leptospirosis vaccines, unless a local endemic or other high exposure risk circumstances exist. I certainly do not want a dog given all of these vaccines in one veterinary visit.”Dr. Jean Dodds, Hemopet/NutriScan

Canine Influenza (flu)

Canine Non-Core Vaccines Summary of non-core vaccines, with a section dedicated specifically to the Canine Influenza vaccine. Discusses the original flu strain and the new Asian isolate strain, symptoms, diagnostic testing, and the lack of testing to evaluate whether a single dose will produce an immune response.

Canine Influenza Outbreak – Chicago 2015 Information on the outbreak of canine flu in Chicago during 2015. Dr. Dodds recommended that dogs be restricted from dog-friendly areas and activities during the outbreak.


  • Explains the 2 strains of coronavirus.

  • Discusses the causes, symptoms, and treatment for CCV (canine enteric coronavirus).

  • American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) position – “Neither the MLV vaccine nor the killed CRCoV vaccines have been shown to significantly reduce disease caused by a combination of CRCoV and CPV-2. Only CPV-2 vaccines have been shown to protect dogs against a dual-virus challenge.“

  • World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) position – “Not Recommended. CCV infections are usually subclinical or cause mild clinical signs. Prevalence of confirmed CCV disease does not justify use of currently-available vaccines. There is no evidence that existing vaccines would protect against pathogenic variants of CCV. Variant strains of this virus have been reported to cause severe systemic disease in adult dogs and puppies in various parts of the world, but it is unclear whether the available vaccines would protect against these variants. The identification of coronavirus with a test kit does not necessarily mean it is the cause of disease.”

Canine Non-Core Vaccines Summary of non-core vaccines, with a small section regarding the Coronavirus vaccine.

Lyme Disease

Canine Non-Core Vaccines Summary of non-core vaccines, with a section dedicated specifically to Lyme disease. Explains low risk and “hot spot” areas, the percentage of dogs who will develop the disease, and the research available to evaluate the immune response to the vaccine, when given.

Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases in Dogs Looks at the many types of ticks, their locations, and the diseases each one carries. Also explains that most tick-borne bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics, and that the bacteria are not closely enough related to Lyme for the vaccine to offer cross-protection from these bacteria. Lists the symptoms of tick-borne illnesses, and offers insight from two respected experts.

Dr. Schultz on Lyme Vaccine “I believe it is irresponsible to suggest that all dogs in low-risk exposure states should be vaccinated. Veterinarians should know, based on diagnoses in their clinic and other clinics in the area (town), how common the disease would be and they should base their judgment to vaccinate on risk, not on a statement that all dogs in a particular low-risk area need Lyme vaccine!”

Rattlesnake Vaccine

Canine Non-Core Vaccines Summary of non-core vaccines, with a section dedicated specifically to the Rattlesnake vaccine. Explains which species of rattlesnake are & are not included in the vaccine, the schedule for vaccinating, and rattlesnake avoidance training as an alternative.


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