Vaccination Guidelines Group

The WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group (VGG) was initially established in 2006 following recognition by the WSAVA Board and Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) of the need for globally applicable recommendations on best-practice for the vaccination of dogs and cats.  In the intervening 10 years, the VGG has published three sets of global vaccination guidelines for veterinarians (2007, 2010 and 2015) and two sets of guidelines for the owners and breeders of dogs and cats (2010 and 2015).  The guidelines are translated into several languages and are accompanied by pictorial disease fact sheets and 110 frequently asked questions and their answers.  The VGG has also produced regional guidelines for Asia (2014) and in 2016 starts a new project investigating infectious disease and vaccinology in Latin America.

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The 2007 WSAVA vaccination guidelines had major global impact as assessed by a survey conducted of WSAVA member organizations in 2009. The availability of the guidelines, accompanied in some instances by local public pressure, led to many countries either formally adopting the WSAVA guidelines as national policy, or using the WSAVA guidelines as a basis for formulation of a National policy document. It is clear that the controversy surrounding small companion animal vaccination has not diminished and that there is an urgent requirement for education of practicing veterinarians in this area. The members of the VGG are actively engaged in delivering national and international lectures to help address this demand.

The VGG was reconvened in 2009 for a second phase of activity that concludes in June 2010. During Phase II the initial task was the above mentioned assessment of the global impact of the 2007 guidelines. The second major task has been the production of an updated 2010 version of the veterinarian’s guidelines that were launched at the 2010 Geneva Congress. The revised document includes much new background information included following feedback from the 2007 version. Additionally, there is a new infectious disease fact sheet related to rabies virus and the number of FAQs has almost doubled. As a supplement to the revision we have also made available a set of images related to the major vaccine-preventable infectious diseases that may be used by veterinarians in a consultation room to emphasize the importance of vaccination to clients. The 2010 Guidelines were published in the June issue of the Journal of Small Animal Practice and are available from this website (see link below). The second outcome of Phase II was the release of an information document for the owners and breeders of small companion animals. This substantial paper, written in lay language, provides factual scientific information concerning canine and feline infectious diseases, the immun response, types of vaccines, and their use. The VGG hopes that this source of information will balance much of the misinformation that is widely available to pet owners and breeders via the Internet. The document is freely available to the public from this website (see link below).


The work of the VGG would not have been possible without the generous sponsorship of Intervet-Schering Plough Animal Health.


Current Activities

The VGG is pleased to announce that a third phase of activity will commence in July 2011 and continue through until 2013. In this programme of activity, the VGG will focus specifically on the major challenges of companion animal infectious disease control and vaccination on the Asian continent. A series of three meetings is planned to take place in Japan (July 2011), China and India (dates to be announced) during which the VGG will meet with local experts and veterinary practitioners to discuss local issues related to vaccination. The information obtained during this series of meetings will lead to the production of a discussion document summarizing the findings of the committee. Importantly, following on from each of these three meetings, the members of the VGG will provide a continuing education event for local veterinary practitioners. This will be conducted under the auspices of the WSAVA Regional Continuing Education programme. The VGG acknowledges the support of Intervet-Schering Plough Animal Health who will make possible these activities in Phase III.


Scientific Publications


  1. Day MJ. Editorial: Vaccination of dogs and cats-no longer controversial? 2011 Vet Rec May:480
  2. Day MJ, Horzinek M and Schultz RD. 2007. Guidelines for the vaccination of dogs and cats. Journal of Small Animal Practice 48, 528-541.
  3. Day MJ, Horzinek MC and Schultz RD. 2009. Comment on ‘Patel JR, Heldens JGM. Review of companion animal viral diseases and immunoprophylaxis’ (Vaccine 2009; 27: 491-504). Vaccine 27, 2533.
  4. Day MJ. 2010. Report from the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group. Proceedings of the Annual Congress of the WSAVA, Geneva.
  5. Day MJ, Horzinek M and Schultz RD. 2010. Guidelines for the vaccination of dogs and cats. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 51, 338-356.
  6. Day MJ, Horzinek and Schultz RD. 2010. Vaccination guidelines for the owners and breeders of dogs and cats. WSAVA Website (linked below).
  7. 2011 Editoral: Vaccination of dogs and cats: no longer so controversial? (PDF)
  8. WSAVA 2010 Guidelines Pictorial Fact Sheets (PDF)
  9. Owner-Breeder Infectious Disease and Vaccination Guidelines
  10. BSAVA April 2011: Different perspectives on vaccination advice (PDF)



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