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Annual shots.....or not?

April 18th, 2007, 07:59 AM
Here is some interesting info on vaccines.

A vaccine does not attack disease….A vaccine IS a disease.
1. A vaccine contains a weakened (diluted) version of an actual disease such as Distemper or Parvovirus.
2. When your dog is injected with this vaccine, his immune system is supposed to react by forming antibodies against that disease.
3. These antibodies (created by his own immune system) are what protect him in case he comes in contact with the real disease.
Please read those three points again.

Because you may have thought it was the vaccine that protected your dog, perhaps by hiding somewhere in his bloodstream until needed, then leaping up to attack the disease if it ever tried to sneak its way into your dog.
No. No. No.
A vaccine is simply the original catalyst that "encourages" your dog's immune system to produce antibodies. It is your dog’s own immune system that protects him against disease. The vaccine's job is ONLY to show the immune system what a specific disease looks like -- so the immune system can produce the correct antibodies to defeat it -- if it ever shows up for real.
The question then becomes:
"How many vaccinations are necessary to "imprint" the memory of a disease on your dog's immune system?"

The old answer used to be: One per year…..The "annual booster shot".
But it turns out that answer was WRONG.
Annual booster shots are not needed
A practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual revaccinations. Almost without exception there is no immunologic requirement for annual revaccination. Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal. Successful vaccination to most bacterial pathogens produces an immunologic memory that remains for years."

That was written by Dr. Tom Phillips D.V.M. Ph.D. and Dr. Ronald Schultz Ph.D., immunologist and Professor/Chairman of the Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin.

April 18th, 2007, 08:03 AM
Great advice. Rosco is going to be due in July for his 12month booster. I plan on doing titers for him. They take a sample of blood and test the immunity to what ever they're giving the shot for.

April 18th, 2007, 08:13 AM
I stopped getting vacc's for my cat's quite a few years ago, they are indoor and senior now so I feel they may actually detrimental to their health now. (stress, potential to exposure to sick animals)
JMO, I guesss everyone has to decide for themselves whats best for their pets.

It's great that your vet does blood tests for Rosco, I think all vets should.

April 18th, 2007, 08:35 AM
I agree that over vaccination may be a problem and titers are a great idea but vaccines are very important when used correctly.

There are always risks but sometimes the risks outweigh the benefits IMO.

I never had chicken pox as a kid so getting vaccinated as an adult was very important since it can be a very serious disease later in life - but there were risks to getting it. In my case, I believed that the risks were small compared to the actual disese. What if I contracted it while pregnant - even worse!

So, I think their comment about the vaccine being a disease is a little strong. That may make people fearful of vaccines. Not all vaccines are the actual disease. The vaccine I receieved was attenuated which means it is the virus but it is broken up - not able to cause the disease itself. The dose is also very small - just enough to create those important antibodies.

I think it also depends on the animals ability to respond to the vaccine. Some may actually need a booster - some may beable to go without. It all depends on the response of the immune system and that is a very individual thing.

April 18th, 2007, 10:56 AM
SuperWanda is correct, vaccines are not always the disease. What the animals (and people) get injected with can be subunits of the virus - not the whole virus itself, 'killed' or 'inactivated' virus, and attenuated virus (meaning the virus has had its virulent properties disabled). Or, I believe some are actually antibodies (such as IgG), which would not be needing the animals immune system to do any work. I'm glad there are vaccines available to protect us and our animals. Many of us in 'civilized' countries probably do not remember what it is like without them. That said, our pets are being over-vaccinated, which is causing many health problems. Many of these problems are not from the actual active component in the vaccine, but are likely caused by the formulation, which contains adjuvants and other substances.

April 18th, 2007, 11:37 AM
I agree with Superwanda and Kirstin7- vaccines are not a disease. The only vaccines that can cause "disease" are live, attenuated vaccines (which are commonly used as veterinary vaccines) and only a small, small minority of animals will be "infected" with the vaccine- these are animals with weakened immune systems to begin with. Killed and subunit (usually proteins of the virus) vaccines are better options, but don't always stimulate enough immunity to be a successful vaccine. However, in terms of pets, I do believe that we are over vaccinating. A lot of vets in the US have moved to a 3 year booster rotation after the 1 year puppy boosters are complete. This is what we will likely do for Helix. And I think that antibody titres are a great way to determine if your dog is still immune- they can be expensive though, so generally it's just a lot cheaper to get the $10 vaccine.

A lot of misinformation is on the internet about vaccines to scare people into thinking that vaccines are evil and not effective. Be careful what you believe! If people stop vaccinating their children and their pets altogether there will be horrible consequences as currently rare illnesses re-emerge. There is very little risk to vaccination, and any good vet or doctor will inform you of what to look for in an adverse reaction.

April 18th, 2007, 12:37 PM
I am currently debating the call for the annual shots, we are suposed to have DHP/P/Lepto/Rabies booster??
I have run across these couple of sites while deciding what route to take.

April 18th, 2007, 12:51 PM
AAHA's vaccine protocol

They recommend the 1 year booster for DHPP, and then every three years..

April 18th, 2007, 01:38 PM
Here is more:

VACCINATION NEWSFLASH Dr. Jean Dodds’ vaccine protocol

I would like to make you aware that all 27 veterinary schools in North America are in the process of changing their protocols for vaccinating dogs and cats. Some of this information will present an ethical & economic challenge to vets, and there will be skeptics.
Some organizations have come up with a political compromise suggesting vaccinations every 3 years to appease those who fear loss of income vs those concerned about potential side effects. Politics, traditions, or the doctor's economic well-being should not be a factor in medical decision.

NEW PRINCIPLES OF IMMUNOLOGY "Dogs and cats immune systems mature fully at 6 months. If a modified live virus vaccine is given after 6 months of age, it produces immunity, which is good for the life of the pet (ie: canine distemper, parvo,feline distemper). If another MLV vaccine is given a year later, the antibodies from the first vaccine neutralize the antigens of the second vaccine and there is little or no effect. The titer is not "boosted", nor are more memory cells induced. "Not only are annual boosters for parvo and distemper unnecessary, they subject the pet to potential risks of allergic reactions and immune-mediated haemolytic anemia. "There is no scientific documentation to back up label claims for annual administration of MLV vaccines "Puppies receive antibodies through their mother’s milk. This natural protection can last 8-14 weeks. Puppies & kittens should NOT be vaccinated at LESS than 8 weeks. Maternal immunity will neutralize the vaccine and little protection (0-38%) will be produced. Vaccination at 6 weeks will, however, delay the timing of the first highly effective vaccine. Vaccinations given 2 weeks apart suppress rather than stimulate the immune system. A series of vaccinations is given starting at 8 weeks and given 3-4 weeks apart up to 16 weeks of age. Another vaccination given sometime after 6 months of age (usually at 1 year 4 mo) will provide lifetime immunity."

Over the years many pet owners and Veterinarians have become concerned about the potentially harmful practice of annual re vaccination. As immune disease, cancer and chronic disease in canines increases, new studies on the duration of immunity are being done. All 27 veterinary schools in North America are in the process of changing their protocols for vaccinating dogs and cats. Those that are working for change have a long road ahead of them. Old habits die hard; fortunately things are starting to change for the better thanks to a few dedicated Veterinarians and researchers who are willing to make a difference!
The following quote, from Ron Schultz, Ph.D., and Tom Phillips, DVM, appeared in Current Veterinary Therapy XI in 1992 (This is a purely conventional textbook, and Drs. Schultz and Phillips are respected veterinary immunologists in the academic community):

A practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual revaccinations. Almost without exception there is no immunologic requirement for annual revaccination. Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal. Successful vaccination to most bacterial pathogens produces an immunologic memory that remains for years, allowing an animal to develop a protective anamnestic (secondary) response when exposed to virulent organisms. Only the immune response to toxins requires boosters (e.g. tetanus toxin booster, in humans, is recommended once every 7-10 years), and no toxin vaccines are currently used for dogs and cats. Furthermore, revaccination with most viral vaccines fails to stimulate an anamnestic (secondary) response as a result of interference by existing antibody (similar to maternal antibody interference). The practice of annual vaccination in our opinion should be considered of questionable efficacy unless it is used as a mechanism to provide an annual physical examination or is required by law (i.e., certain states require annual revaccination for rabies).

Vaccine Schedule, Vaccination Protocol, Vaccine Protocol
Revised 4/00

Dr Jean Dodds’: "This schedule is the one I recommend and should NOT be interpreted to mean that other protocols recommended by a veterinarian would be less satisfactory. It's a matter of professional judgment and choice."
For breeds or families of dogs susceptible to or effected with immune dysfunction, immune-mediated disease, immune-reactions associated with vaccinations, or autoimmune endocrine disease (e.g., thyroiditis, Addison's or Cushing's disease, diabetes, etc.), the following protocol is recommended:

Age of Pups Vaccine Type
9 weeks MLV Distemper/Parvovirus only (e.g. Intervet Progard Puppy)
12 weeks MLV Distemper/Parvovirus only (e.g. Intervet Progard Puppy)
16-20 weeks MLV Distemper/Parvovirus only (e.g. Intervet Progard Puppy)

(Total of 3 doses ONLY first 3)

24 weeks or older
24 weeks or older, if allowable by law Killed Rabies Vaccine

1 year MLV Distemper/Parvovirus only booster
1 year give 3-4 weeks apart from Dist/Parvo booster) Killed 3 year rabies vaccine

MLV=modified-live virus

After 1 year, annually measure serum antibody titers against specific canine infectious agents such as distemper and parvovirus. This is especially recommended for animals previously experiencing adverse vaccine reactions or breeds at higher risk for such reactions (e.g., Weimaraner, Akita, American Eskimo, Great Dane). Another alternative to booster vaccinations is homeopathic nosodes. This option is considered an unconventional treatment that has not been scientifically proven to be efficacious. One controlled parvovirus nosode study did not adequately protect puppies under challenged conditions. However, data from Europe and clinical experience in North America support its use. If veterinarians choose to use homeopathic nosodes, their clients should be provided with an appropriate disclamer and written informed consent should be obtained.

I use only killed 3 year rabies vaccine for adults and give it separated from other vaccines by 3-4 weeks. In some states, they may be able to give titer test result in lieu of booster.

I do NOT use Bordetella, corona virus, leptospirosis or Lyme vaccines unless these diseases are endemic in the local area per specific kennel. Furthermore, the currently licensed leptospira bacterins do not contain the serovars causing the majority of clinical leptospirosis today.

Do NOT recommend vaccinating bitches during estrus, pregnancy or lactation.

Do not vaccinate during times of stress such as: surgery, travel, illness or infection.

April 18th, 2007, 04:15 PM
happycats, can you provide a link for that info, please?

-and, thanx for the post!

April 18th, 2007, 04:45 PM
I have read with great interest all the posts concerning vaccinations. My vet likes to vaccinate annually (DHPP) and rabies every other year. When I adopted Cookie from a rescue in Quebec in 2005, she was vaccinated by the vet there and all her vaccines were good for 3 years. My vet here in Ontario (any many other vets in my area) strongly encourage yearly vaccinations for DHPP. I find this disturbing and will not over vaccinate my pets.:mad: Thank you to everyone who has posted here on this subject as you have provided much valuable information. I also have a senior lab/spaniel and a senior cat, so I am also reviewing their vaccinations. I am wondering if the Ontario Veterinary College has any information out there concerning this subject? If anyone knows of a good holistic vet in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), please pm me.

April 18th, 2007, 09:14 PM
I could get into all kinds of info about vaccines - lots of medical jargon et al and my feelings about it and the history (both human and feline and canine and and,,, lol0 but it is late. But yes, a vaccine is a kind of microbial preparation of killed or modified microorganisms that can create immunity in the body so that the body it was injected into (usually injected, there are other ways as well - obviously, think back to the TB and other forms of distribution, some now given nasally) is protected in theory at least from future infection with similar microorganisms. (There are sometimes variables that will prevent a vaccination from working and some ppl develop a natural resistance which is why some ppl lived prior to the development of vaccines to certain illnesses like polio or smallpox.)

And some ppl do have reactions to the live organisms in the vaccine so that is another problem. That said, it is far better to have a child (and a pet) vaccinated against a life threatening disease than NOT!!! Spend some time (as I have ) in countries where vaccination is not the norm necessarily and you wil never be opposed to it again - it is horrible to watch a baby die of an illness we in the west take for granted as something we lomg ago "defeated."

That said - and that is my mini rant for the nite - I do not have my cats vaccinated every year. There is no need. They were vaccinated as kittens and I will have them every 3 yrs but they are indoor cats, it is unlikely they will come into contact with cats who are not vaccinated. (Tho yes, the remote possibility does exist). But they do not care much for the outdoors and when they do, are on a leash or in their cat walker (am trying to think of the name but I am bloody tired, the word escapes me, time to go to bed when THAT happens!!). So , no, I do not have them vaccinated every year! I think that is not necessary - a minor unacceptable risk. And needless. (Now, if YY is catnapped tomorrow and comes into contact with some cat that is not vaccinated with some horrible illness, I may change my mind but that is in the realm of 99% unlikely.)

But 3 yrs is usually pretty good. I myself feel miserable when I have my vaccines for Drs without Borders so I do wonder how my kitties feel but I do think the basic vaccines are absolutely necessary - I had some patients as part of the long term research into vaccines and there was no correlation found with any questionable illnesses but that is a whole other story.

I do worry when they have their vaccines about the lumps that can develop and YY did have one but she was fine but that is my work day and day out with kids with all kinds of neoplasms and my own over protectiveness as a meomy acting itself out. I think all cats must be vaccinated but not every year! I think 3 yrs is enough of a time frame depending on your cat.

I would never have a cat that roamed but if I did, I suppose I might have to reconsider that but of course that is merely theoretical.

April 18th, 2007, 09:39 PM
heres a link to alot of stuff from dr. dodds

April 18th, 2007, 09:54 PM
My vet staggers them and Willow only gets the shots every other year. So this year she got her DHPP/L/B and next year she'll get her rabies/L/B (I'm pretty sure Lepto and Bordatella are annual). I don't have the certificate in front of me at the moment, so I don't know the exact order, but I know she definitely didn't have the rabies this year. My mom's vet does the same thing. They came to the same conclusion as what Happycats is saying a few years back.

April 19th, 2007, 06:18 AM
happycats, can you provide a link for that info, please?

-and, thanx for the post!

Sorry for the wait:o

And thank you Wayne:)

April 26th, 2007, 09:06 PM
This is great info! Since my dog has a load of allergies, he is being titer tested every other year to see if he needs to be revaccinated. My holistic vet believes that all puppies should have their boosters (after a certain age, I can't remember the exact age, but she feels that puppies are vaccinated too early) and then do titer testing from then on.

April 26th, 2007, 11:15 PM
My cats are due for their annual vaccines too.

I think I'm really only going to give them the annual rabies shot (since apparently its against the law if I don't) because they're never outside and not even really in enough contact with anything to GET half the diseases all the shots are supposed to protect them against.

Added to which if the disease is going to survive on the bottom of my shoe up three flights of stairs and a decent walk down the hall then the vaccines really might not even help! If its that hardy nothing can kill it! heh.

Maybe I'll give them another set of full boosters next year...depends on my monetary situation...


April 27th, 2007, 01:04 PM
Sable has vaccinosis, I will never vaccinate her again (she had a severe reaction to her last set of shots, in 2005). I have to get a note written by my vet saying she cannot tolerate vaccines to get around the rabies shot law.

I am nervous having any animals vaccinated after the initial puppy/kitten shots now, Sable was fine for 4 years getting her shots, no reaction, then boom! very very ill. :sad: