The POOCH study (Practice Overview Of Canine Health)

One anti-vaccine group recently made claims that vaccination itself caused high levels of illness. In order to allay the fears of owners, these claims were therefore investigated in a major UK study involving almost 4,000 dogs.

Conducted by the Animal Health Trust, the study found no evidence that dogs suffered any increased level of illness after vaccination; indeed, recently-vaccinated dogs were actually the healthiest. This study is the clearest evidence yet that vaccination of dogs in this country does not increase the frequency of illness.

Here is a brief summary of the study and its findings:

  • In total, more than 9,000 postal questionnaires were sent to the owners of a randomly selected population of dogs. Just over 4,000 were returned and subsequently analysed.
  • The study was comprised of dogs that had used the services of a veterinary practice within the previous 12 months and the British veterinary practices contacted were randomly selected from a national list.
  • Dogs were then randomly selected from the computer databases of the 28 participating practices. On receipt of the owners' completed questionnaire, details of the dogs' vaccination history was confirmed with the practice.
  • The survey found that older dogs in general exhibit more signs of illness, including chronic lameness, stiffness and bad breath; and that the frequency of these signs increases with age.
  • The results showed that recent vaccination (within a period of 3 months) did not increase signs of ill-health. This result was statistically significant - so the Animal Health Trust concluded that vaccination does not increase ill-health in dogs.

Dog image - The POOCH study

animal health trust