Friday, January 27, 2012

Vaccination: How Often Should It Be Done?

I've been wondering how often vaccinations should be given. Most veterinarians advice annual vaccination. However, some owners have explicitly disagreed with this type of routine. For one, because it upsets the dog's natural antibody capabilities. And two, because some pets have severe reactions during vaccinations.
Dr. Ronald D. Schultz, Ph.D..- "Annual revaccination provides no benefit and may increase the risk for adverse reactions. The percentage of vaccinated animals (those vaccinated only as puppies) protected from clinical disease after challenge with canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus and canine adenovirus in the study was greater than 95%." Source
The third reason would be because there's such a thing as chronically induced diseases obtained from vaccination e.g. skin allergies. auto-immune.

Why aren't puppies given vaccinations too early?

The mother's milk is rich in maternal antibodies. Colostrum provides the initial protection for the first 12 weeks.

If the vaccine is given earlier than 8 weeks, the mother's antibodies will neutralize the vaccine leaving the puppy with little protection.

I picked up a more detailed explanation from NEW PRINCIPLES OF IMMUNOLOGY. Credit also goes to srdogs.com from which I tracked its original URL.
Puppies receive antibodies through their mothers 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.
It doesn't sound so complex when you think about it, does it.

Why do you need to stick to the schedule?

A couple of days ago, Peanuts had her third shot. The vet had sent me a reminder message to follow up her vaccination since we didn't come in the day before ( it was raining pretty strong so I decided to go the next day).

In the shortest explanation possible, having the shots too early will over stimulate your puppies immune system hence making its antibodies "think" that any foreign object entering the body should be destroyed.

Having the shots too far apart could leave the puppy susceptible to these diseases.

Is annual vaccination required?

No. According to the American Animal Hospital Association, adult dog booster shots are better given every three years rather than annually. This is just because researchers have discovered that immunity from boosters can last up to three years.

Some vets have noted an increase in cases of  dogs and cats having auto-immune diseases, especially the ones who've been given annual vaccinations.

Any thoughts? Objections? How often do you get your doggies vaccinated?

31 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It is, isn't it? I've always thought yearly vaccination was the best thing to do.

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  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I just needed to approve your comment for it to show up. :) In answer to your question, we are feeding 4x a day because our puppy is getting a lot of food (2 cups of kibble, plus soft, plus yogurt) and his little stomach is just not big enough yet to accommodate that amount of food. As he grows we will go to 3x and eventually 2x.

    Interesting post, but I disagree with the approach of waiting on vaccines. I have known whole litters of puppies lost at 6 or 8 weeks to parvo because they did not have their immunizations started. For me the benefits of yearly vaccines far out weigh the risks. I do not think there is enough research data to change the established protocol as far as my dogs are concerned. I guess it all goes down to whether the dog is at risk to be exposed to these diseases (which as active hunting dogs mine are). Whenever there is a parvo, distemper, or lepto outbreak (all have happened in my area), the first thing the vet hospitals tell dog owners is to re booster their dogs vaccines if older than a year. Why is that it the vaccines last?

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    1. Standard protocol here in most vet clinics where I live start with 6 weeks and are done yearly.

      And there are actually things we should consider before assuming that the puppies should not be vaccinated at 6 weeks, e.g. has the mom completed her booster shots as there will be instances that the mom is the carrier and the puppies' immune system could not protect themselves yet. So I'm also trying to research further on the "6 weeks too early dilemma"

      When it comes to parvo, I'm really particular with that. Some vets give 6-in-1 while others separate the parvo vaccine from all the other shots. I personally prefer the separate parvo shot.

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  3. It is a difficult subject and I agree that too many vaccinations are not good for any living creature. The reason given for early vaccination of puppies here in the UK was so that puppies could be safely taken out and about and socialised at the important early stage when they are open to new experiences and less fearful than they become as they reach 12+ weeks. I think it is true that vaccinations should be less frequest - eg every three years. Our vets do give one of the vaccines only every other year but if you do have a dog that has a bad reaction (my Mum had a dog like that) it is better not to vaccinate than do something that's making them ill. Leigh (Magic's Mum)

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    1. Hi Leigh and Magic.

      Yes,

      It does depend on the cases. Some dogs have really bad reactions to vaccinations. So one of the rules that most vets advise is to have the dog stay in the clinic for about 30 minutes before you left.

      So far, I am thankful that all my dogs have not had bad reactions with it.

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  4. Thisis one of those questions that can be argued on both sides. We gat annual vaccinations with the exception of Phantom. He always gets his rabies shot annually, but some of the others he receives every couple of years or more often if we know he s going to spend a lot of time being boarded. It really is one of those decisions that every pet owner has to think about and make their own best judgment.

    Mom is doing better, we will try to get a post up soon, thanks for your concern.

    Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

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    1. I see. So it's a bit a matter of who gets out often or who gets more exposed.

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  5. I agree with the OP Pack. There are two sides and the best way to handle it is to find a vet you trust and work with them to find out what's best for your individual dog or cat.

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    1. Hi Pip. The vet gave you goopy ears. The problem with vet standard protocols here in the Philippines, some have different schedules when it comes to vaccinations. So now, I'll be following the one from my most recent vet.

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  6. If you manage to get your jabs cancelled please let us know so we can avoid the stabby routine next year.
    Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

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    1. Wow, that's a nice way to put it. Well guys, unfortunately I can't just tell you to have your stabby routine cancelled because I don't know how often you are exposed (e.g. cat dates, cat outings and cat gatherings) and besides I'm no expert, so the vet knows better than I do.

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  7. This subject has been tormenting me for months and I can't figure out the best course of action yet for our furry family. Since we foster we risk exposing our dogs to unhealthy animals, therefore I get many vaccinations, but I fear overvaccination as we get it done yearly.

    Yes, definitely something to ponder.

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    1. I know what you mean Mel. I'm also wondering how to deal with it. Since Peanuts doesn't leave the house, Coal and Ginger are taken our for walks, but B.D. goes everywhere and has congregations with other dogs. And he can approach everybody.

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  8. I just wanted to let you know I put you on my award list for "Kreativ Blogger". (I noticed you didn't have one :D) Check it out!

    http://helenpavlac.blogspot.com/2012/01/apparently-kreatively-blogging.html

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    1. Haha, hey Helen. Thanks. I'll get back to that award this week. Thanks. ^_^

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  9. I'm on both sides of the fence with this. I think kennel cough and distemper should be yearly, as well as parvo if you have young pups in the house. Lyme disease should also be yearly if you live in a heavy tick area. Otherwise, I do VERY careful research and multiple vet options before allowing a needle anywhere near Nola. Great post!
    Dachshund Nola's Mommy

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    1. Hey DN Mommy.

      I totally agree with Parvo. I haven't heard cases of Lyme disease in our area, maybe we don't have them. But surprisingly, no other dog outside our home got infected Parvo, even though they used to mingle with my now deceased babies. It's like all of them have eventually built immune systems on it.

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  10. The reason puppies are given 3 shots, sometimes 4 if your dog is of a certain breed, is not to build an immunity with all of them. You only need one to work. The problem is, like you have mentioned, the puppy has maternal antibodies. They believe they begin to leave them around 6-8 weeks, but can interfere with any of the three boosters. So the 3 puppy shots are more of a hit or miss. The final one is given at 16 weeks because it is believed that there should be no more anti bodies interfering with the vaccinations. That is why many vets recommend not walking your dog until 2 weeks after the final shot, because it can take some dogs immune systems 2 weeks to respond. Also, there are 2 types of rabies boosters, the 1 year and 3 year. If you don't get to your vet on time, you must get the 1 year booster and their 1 year appoinment. If you make it on time, you qualify for the 3 year vaccination. The distemper is only offered (at least to me) as a 3 year booster. I say do what you feel is right for your pup, but I really like the 3 shots. Too bad I was late for the rabies 3 year, because I have to go back next year, but this time I'll make an appoinment on time to get the three year rabies.

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    1. Hey Y&R, we actually don't have the 3 year booster here in the Philippines. I asked our vet if he knew about it, he told me he was aware but it hasn't been implemented here. I wish I also had an option to get the 3 year booster, it would definitely make vet visiting easier.

      I didn't know that the vaccination was a hit and miss. Well, or I probably misunderstood what the vet said that the booster shot's possibility of effectiveness will depend on how many times it was administered. He requires us 4 shots.

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  11. Hey guys. These are all interesting thoughts, I am once again overwhelmed yet happy for knowing that us bloggers DO THINK OF IT. And I was expecting as much from everybody. So just give me one more day to rest because I'm a little tired at the moment.

    But I will definitely read and reply to each and everyone of it.

    Will get back to you tomorrow.

    Huggies and Cheese,

    Haopee

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  12. Interesting post.

    Nubbin wiggles,
    Oskar

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  13. My mum just finds a really good V-E-T and does what he/she says when it comes to needles. That generally means boosters once a year for me. Mum had a cat who after her annual shots had clumps of fur fall out...then she had to go on steriods! After a while mum felt so sorry for her she didn't make her get any more vaccinations.... she led a full and happy life (lucky for us!)

    Tail Wuggles, Rubie

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  14. It is a very tough call...and we agree with the Op Pack that it is an individual decision for each family. We are very thankful that we haven't had any bad reactions.
    xoxo Chloe and LadyBug

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  15. Another great post Haopee,

    I think we should NEVER have shots - cos I don't like them!! BUT Mum and my vet disagree - doh!! Oh well, at least I get some treats - Uh oh, is that a reminder from the vets I can see on Mum's desk?.......

    Have fun,

    Your pal Snoopy :)

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  16. That is very interesting. Austin has a booster shot every year, but I have read before of this affecting the animal's immune system adversely! Will give it some thought!! Thanks

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  17. Here in the US there are laws regulating some of the vaccinations dogs and cats receive. Where I live a dog must have a regular vaccination for rabies. Most vets give annual vaccines but a few do not give a 3-year vaccination.

    The others may not be required by law, but if the animal is boarded or goes to a daycare or even some groomers, certain vaccinations are required.

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  18. I've just done a lot of reading on this subject, because I'm a big germaphobe and parvo is really bad in my area. Yuki almost had to have a 4th shot, because she was a few days away from 16 weeks. But, since it was just a few days the vet said she'd be okay. Normally the breeds that require the 4th booster are the ones more prone to parvo. Since I have mentioned I was about 1-2 weeks late to Yuki's first booster as an adult, I asked if I had to to take special precautions like when she was a puppy. The answer was, no because these shots actually last a lot longer then we tell you they do.

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  19. Hi, nice blog and thanks for visiting our blog also. Here in our area they do the every three years rabies after the first one and we do not do yearly shots we do them every other. Have read too many bad things on yearly shots and our vet agrees that every 2 to 3 years are good. Thanks for putting this great info on your blog. The emptynester spaniels

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  20. Thanks everyone. Our vet wants to do the Parvo every 6 months without even asking about our dog's social life. Probably a little money hunger since he is adding on to his office. Sad but true.

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    1. That's CRAZY!!! Every six months? Is he trying to kill your dog?

      I do hope you didn't follow his advise. That's some money grabbing scheme.

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