Ask the vet: Are annual injections necessary?

RACQ, in partnership with Animal Welfare League Queensland, can help solve your pet problems.

RACQ, in partnership with Animal Welfare League Queensland, can help solve your pet problems.

Got a curly problem with your favourite pooch? Is your cat being too catty?

While animals can bring much joy into our lives, they are not always problem free. If there is an animal issue that you need help to solve, send your question to via RACQ to the Animal Welfare League Queensland experts, to find the answer.

Are annual injections necessary?

I’m beginning to wonder if our 8-year-old 2.8kg chihuahua maltese cross is over vaccinated. She does not frequent dog parks but does come into contact with other dogs when she travels with us with the caravan. Each year she has had two injections – Nobivac and Pro-heart. Does she still require both injections yearly?

AWLQ experts say

You are correct. Scientific evidence suggests that most dog core vaccines (those that cover Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvo) have a duration of action that is variable and may be considerably longer than one year. She possibly gets the Nobivac DHP which the manufacturer says will provide at least three years protection against these core diseases. However, they also recommend that a vaccination program for each individual should be determined within the vet-client-patient relationship based on that animal’s circumstances. For example, sometimes a vet may recommend boosters be given more frequently than three years if the animal lives in an area with high incidence of Parvo, or in a kennel situation. There are a few companies that make animal vaccines and some of them recommend annual booster shots with their products. It is important to feel that you are informed. Your vet will be happy to give you all the information you need to make a decision. If she gets a vaccine against kennel cough, then this does need to be done annually. Regardless of whether a vaccination is given or not, an annual health check is still very worthwhile (think of it as similar to humans having a health check once every seven years).

The heartworm prevention injection is not a vaccine but is a slow release drug and needs to be given every year. Heartworm is carried by mosquitoes, so you never know when or where she may be bitten by one.

What’s your question?

Send your pet questions to and Animal Welfare League Queensland‘s experts will provide the answers. Letters will not receive an individual reply and should be no more than 120 words.

AWLQ work with local councils, state government, rescue groups and the community to improve the outcomes for stray and surrendered pets.