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Old February 4th, 2010, 07:22 PM
c_down c_down is offline
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Vaccinating DM dogs and can't figure out cause of diarrhea

I have a 7/8 year old Siberian Husky with Degenerative Myelopathy that I adopted almost a year ago from Greece. I am concerned about having him vaccinated when the time comes as I have heard from other DM owners and articles on the net that vaccinating a DM dog can do more harm than good. Is this true? How often do dogs really need to be vaccinated? are you over vaccinating?

My second problem is with my 6/7 year old german shepherd cross that suffers from chronic diarrhea. She has been to the vet, been on prescription diets, a multitude of commercial diets, homemade diets, and medications that just don't seem to help. The diarrhea comes and goes on a regular basis. I have also noticed recently that she is drinking and urinating a lot more. She will go several times in the house overnight (as she doesn't like to tell me when she needs to go out) which is something that she doesn't normally do. There was a period of time about 6 months ago that she had lost a lot of weight and the vet couldn't find a solution. We had her tested for EPI which came back negative. So I don't know. Any ideas/advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 04:05 PM
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Dr Lee Dr Lee is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Bay Area California
Posts: 1,058
Welcome to the forum.

There are many risks and many benefits of vaccinations. First of all we need to make sure that the vaccines are indicated based off of lifestyle, demographics etc... There are so many vaccines available. Some are needed in some instances and not in others. Also just an FYI, combination vaccines (DHPP or DAPP) are good for at least 3 years. Here is a link to the AAHA 2006 Vaccine Protocols. Here is a link my summarization of them: Acerlux.

There are several problems with vaccines. Here are just a few:

1) We do not know how well they work in older pets or especially in older pets with illness. All the testing is done on young healthy laboratory dogs. In some cases the vaccines can make diseases worse and in other cases, the pet's immune system is non-responsive to the vaccine for reasons either of age or illness.

2) Vaccines are designed to stimulate the immune system. If there are any disorders that involve the immune system, then they have a higher rate of creating a disturbance within the disease.

3) All parenteral vaccines can make pets feel sore, grumpy and uncomfortable. For pets that may have impaired mobility, this can be a big deal.

Should you pet get vaccines? I cannot say. I would recommend that you look at my suggested links and talk to your veterinarian. You may also want to talk to her or him about vaccine titers. They are blood tests that can look at blood antibody levels for specific vaccines. If they are high enough, then your pet does not need the vaccine as the main goal of the vaccine is to obtain high antibody levels. There is a little controversy based on the fact that a high titer level does not confirm that the pet would meet a challenge of disease inoculation but then again, vaccinated do not confirm that either. Thus I am a great supporter of the use of vaccine titers.

As far as your other pet. There is a long list of disorders that will cause chronic diarrhea. There is a fairly straight forward sequence of diagnostics and therapeutic trials that your veterinarian can perform to solve and/or diagnose the cause of the diarrhea. If you want more information on this, perhaps start another thread that has some more specifics on the situation.

Hope that helps.
Christopher A. Lee, D.V.M., C.V.L.S.
Promoting surgical options and pet comfort through the use of lasers.
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Old February 8th, 2010, 10:05 PM
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mummummum mummummum is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: The Hammer
Posts: 8,534
Excellent advice Dr. Lee

I don't vaccinate other than as mandated (rabies) any longer. I spent acres of time agonizing and researching and couldn't find enough info to support vaccinating my dogs and certainly not now that they're 10 years old. I do titer every year though and would think in your DM's case that would be the safest course.

As for the occasional case of cannonbutt. I would start another thread and make sure to note the fecal test results you have had in the past if any. Did you keep a journal during any of these episodes? Food ingredients, changes in mood and behaviour, environment, the grosser TMI details of the "output" etc. I have a dog who had chronic issues as well. I found a journal to be REALLY helpful in trying to find commonalities during the episodes.

And, unless you see it being related to the diarrhea, I would start a second thread for the excessive thirst and incontinence. That also could be a gazillion or two things.
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