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 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