I used to get my dogs vaccinated annually, but stopped doing this after one of my dogs was diagnosed with Cancer and I subsequently lost him to this Cancer. I was actually advised by boy's Oncologist not to vaccinate him or my two older boys I had at the time as my boy's immune system was compromised by the Cancer and she believed that the other two older boys had sufficient antibodies in their systems after receiving annual vaccs for most of their lives.
I did a lot of research on this issue and I do believe we are over-vaccinating our dogs and more and more research is proving this to be the case.
Recently published studies have shown that vaccinations in dogs and cats may provide significant serological titres (antibodies) lasting for at least 3 years and longer in some cases. In Veterinary practices there is an increasing awareness that automatic annual revaccination may not be necessary despite the recommendations of the vaccine manufacturers.
It has long been acknowledged that yearly vaccination of animals is probably not necessary and possibly, in some cases, harmful. There has been much debate about yearly vaccinations both within and without the profession in Australia over the past few years and it is becoming generally accepted that vaccination every 3-5 years will be a likely recommendation and registered triennial vaccinations for dogs are available at vet clinics.
Unfortunately, many boarding kennels and dog clubs have not kept pace with the current trends and still require current yearly vaccination certificates before animals can participate in activities. I live in Sydney and I have found one very reputable boarding kennel who will accept titre testing.
As an alternative to vaccinations you can get your pet titre tested. This is a simple blood test that demonstrates levels of protective antibodies to canine distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus and feline rhinotracheitis and enteritis (C3 and F3 respectively).
I will be having my Lab youngster titre tested when he is due for his next annual vac in Jan 2012 as he had his puppy vaccs and his one year booster and from hereonin will undergo titre testing and will only be vaccinated if absolutely required. Titre testing is relatively new in Australia and as such there are only a few clinics, mainly in the large cities, that offer this testing. Hopefully as more and more pet owners become aware of this testing, it will become available in more veterinary clinics Australia wide.