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Ask the Veterinarian/Shots and senior dog


Dear dr.

I adopted a rescue senior 11 yr. old west highland terrier 3 yrs ago who is now 14 years old.
The shelter gave her shots before adopting her out and a year later at age 12 I had the vet give her the rabies required by
Law and also the 5 and 1 shot DHPP .  I normally stop giving non mandatory shots to my dogs once they turn 10.
Since I do not know her medically history before her adoption I'm not sure if it is safe to stop the shots.
My vet and I never agree about when to stop giving shots to old dogs.

Thsnk you

I'm not entirely sure about vaccination where you are. We are in Australia, so no rabies here and therefore vaccination is not required by law. Usually in older pets that are low risk after they have had 3 or more annual vaccination we often extend out their immunisation, but usually canine cough and leptospirosis still need yearly vaccination.

The duration of immunity is different for different diseases and vaccines. For example in humans you need a 'flu shot' every year, but only tetanus vaccines every 10 years (then again if you get exposed).

Your vet would probably know better than me what the risks are in your local area.

Sorry I can't be of more help


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Eloise Bright


I am a vet with a special interest in dermatology, particularly allergic dogs and cats, behaviour and acupuncture. I work mainly with dogs and cats. If you are wondering why your pet is still itchy, despite good flea control, or why your dog licks his feet, I may be able to give you some solutions. I'm currently very passionate about behaviour and am doing some further education in this area. So if you have a troubling behaviour with your dog or cat, such as barking, leash reactivity, anxiety or a dog who is a little wild and difficult to control, I may be able to help you with some solutions.


I work in an area of Sydney where we see lots of allergic pets. I think behaviour problems are very common and I help a number of owners find solutions that will restore peace to them and their pets. Currently I enjoy answering questions, providing advice and writing pet care articles for

I graduated as a vet from Sydney Uni in 2006 and have since been completing my Masters in Small Animal Practice and am also updating my skills with a behaviour course through Sydney Uni.

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