Thankfully, vaccines have greatly reduced the numbers of dogs contracting and dying from fatal diseases such as Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvo-virus and many younger vets today, may not even have seen a dog with Distemper.
Vaccination is a necessary - and usually - the lesser of two evils, but it is astonishing how little most owners care or learn about what is put in to their dogs, and how they blindingly trust their vet without any question! There are such strong feelings about the combined MMR vaccines for children, but the same families will annually 'boost' their family dogs without even a second thought. Is it really too much to expect owners to ask what is going into their dogs?
The owner of a bitch we bred who celebrated her 10th birthday in great health recently, recently asked – ‘Jay, why are so many dogs getting cancer these days’? I wonder how much of it is due to a biologically totally inappropriate diet, over vaccination and from the application of chemicals such as tick, flea treatments which in the large part are wholly unecessary, and from chemical worming up to each 3 months? Why are so many owners and vets literally chemically overloading dogs?
In the late 90’s, due to pressure from consumers, drug companies raced to be the first to offer tri-annual vaccinations and 50% of vets (2010 Annual Vet Congress figures), now use tri-annual vaccination regime, but even when the leading pharmaceutical companies have developed fully licensed 3 year vaccine protocols, some vets are still pushing annual ‘boosters’ and 're-starts' AND pushing the 3 year licensed vaccine annually! Yes, you read right - a vaccine licensed and designed to be given every 3 years, given annually!!!!!!
THERE IS COMMON SENSE! The Vaccination Guidelines Group (VGG) stated in 2006 “We should aim to vaccinate every animal with core vaccines and to vaccinate each individual less frequently by only giving no-core vaccines that are necessary for that animal”. That's not me writing that, not just my opinion - FACT.
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Australian Veterinary Association, and the American Animal Hospital Association have all announced that once dogs and cats are immune to viral disease, they are immune for years or life. Repeated vaccinations provide no more immunity.
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) recommends every 3 years or less for boosters, and not always required”. HOWEVER, the BSAVA (British Small Animal Veterinary Association) subscribes to the WSAVA, but still promotes annual boosters?
SHAME ON THE BRITISH VETERINARY INDUSTRY !
The BSAVA (British Small Animal Veterinary Association) is a member organization of the WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) which has a Vaccination Guidelines Group. The BSAVA states it endorses the WSAVA Guidelines for the Vaccination of Dogs and Cats (2007).
Quote from WSAVA 2010 guidelines: "Vaccines should not be given needlessly. Core vaccines should not be given any more frequently than every three years after the 12 month booster injection following the puppy/kitten series, because the duration of immunity (DOI) is many years and may be up to the lifetime of the pet". Again, not just my opinion - FACT.
BSAVA still ignores this advice! On the issue of extended booster intervals, the Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) which reports to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) recommends that "until such time as more extensive scientific evidence is presented, there is 'insufficient basis to alter the current data sheet recommendations for companion animal vaccines'". The report suggests, however, that owners might request veterinary surgeons to use re-vaccination intervals different from those recommended by the manufacturer following an informed discussion of the relative risks and benefits. (a cute get out clause). The BSAVA ignores the facts that here is 'insufficient basis' to support annual vaccination and ignores all the over-riding advice from other world bodies.
Why then, are some vets still vaccinating dogs annually with the full booster? Why are they not considering vaccination for life, or why not at the least antibody test to identify the level of antibodies present to determine the necessity to vaccinate? The answer lies partly in the pyramid system of drug promotion, the relationship between Pharma Co’s, the VPC, the VMD, DEFRA, Vet schools etc, partly financially; certainly some vets would not survive without clients returning for annual vaccination plus the average dog owners' total ignorance about what is put into their dogs who ask for Rover's booster jab. The only defence that vets use is 'it has not been proven to be harmful'. NOT TRUE!
What do other owners do? We personally stop vaccinating our older dogs (who are already on a 3 yr regime), after the age of 6, and then antibody test (£30-£80 depending on vet) to establish the need for a booster. At Aritaur we do believe in the need for vaccination and all our puppies are vaccinated with a tri-annual vaccine protocol (we help locate a vet in each owner’s area who uses that vaccine) and we do ask owners of Aritaur dogs not to vaccinate annually. Of course the choice of when or whether to vaccinate is ultimately of course up to each owner, and owners need to be confident enough to challenge their vet. Armed with this information, thankfully ours are.
BOUQUETS Research presented at the 2010 British Small Animal Veterinary Congress reveals that just over 50% of vets in the UK no longer vaccinate annually. BRICKBATS This leaves nearly 50% who still do, with thousands of pets who are over-vaccinated and subjected to life-threatening immune damage. Many British vets continue to take part in ‘National Vaccination Month’ – a sales and marketing campaign which pulls the owners of dogs and cats into the veterinary surgery in the belief that their pets have ‘lapsed’ if they haven’t been vaccinated in the last 18 months. Lapsed vaccines are useful only for rescues' or strays whose vaccination history is completely unknown, but for dogs vaccinated within protocol of 3 years, are an utter disgrace!
BOARDING...One reason given by some owners for annual routine vaccination regardless of necessity, is that some boarding kennels refuse dogs who are not vaccinated annually, and some insurance companies refuse cover to those not vaccinated annually.
I would personally not board my dog at kennels or insure with any society who insist on such potentially harmful practices for a dog, but it is not always easy for the individual to argue this without knowledge. If you do come across boarding kennels with this policy, challenge it, ring the local council and demand to know why they are insisting on kennel policies being out of date! If you don't want to, let me know the council and kennel details, or insurance company and I'll do it or help you. It's not enough to just accept the status quo - we owe more to our dogs than that.
NOT ALL VETS ARE CREATED EQUAL. NOT ALL VACCINES ARE CREATED EQUAL! Parvo-virus was first identified in the late 1970's, and spread internationally within a couple of years. Parvo-virus is a very slow mutating virus, but tTwo more strains of canine parvovirus CPV2a and CPV2b were identified in 1979 and 1984 respectivelyin 1979 and 1984. You may well want to ensure that your vaccine covers your dog against Parvo Type 2a, 2b otherwise your dog is not getting the protection that they should. What is going into your dog? If you don't know, you should!
Jean Dodds (USA) is One of the greatest and most qualified ladies, always extremely busy but so generous with her time - it's a real honour to meet or speak with her. Her report below answers many questions:
ALL ABOUT VACCINE ISSUES & VACCINATIONS* Dodds & Schultz 2/10
W. Jean Dodds, DVM 1 and Ronald D. Schultz, PhD 2 Permission granted by Dr. W. Jean Dodds to post and repost this article.
There is little doubt that application of modern vaccine technology has permitted us to protect companion animals effectively against serious infectious diseases. Today, we can question conventional vaccine regimens and adopt effective and safe alternatives primarily because the risk of disease has been significantly reduced by the widespread use of vaccination programs, which convey underlying population or herd immunity.
For many veterinary practitioners canine vaccination programs have been “practice management tools” rather than medical procedures. Thus, it is not surprising that attempts to change the vaccines and vaccination programs based on scientific information have created significant controversy. A “more is better” philosophy still prevails with regard to pet vaccines.
Annual vaccination has been and remains the single most important reason why most pet owners bring their pets for an annual or more often “wellness visit.” Another reason for the reluctance to change current vaccination programs is many practitioners really don’t understand the principles of vaccinal immunity. Clearly, the accumulated evidence indicates that vaccination protocols should no longer be considered as a “one size fits all” program.
Giving annual boosters when they are not necessary has the client paying for a service which is likely to be of little benefit to the pet’s existing level of protection against these infectious diseases. It also increases the risk of adverse reactions from the repeated exposure to foreign substances.
So, have veterinarians really embraced the national policies on vaccination guidelines from the American Animal Hospital Association, American Veterinary Medical Association and Academy of Feline Practitioners? Does the public trust veterinarians to be up-to-date on these issues or are they unsure? Do they believe veterinarians have a conflict of interest if they seek the income from annual booster vaccinations? Given current media attention to vaccination issues, the public is more aware and worried about vaccine safety.
Some veterinarians today still tell their clients there is no scientific evidence linking vaccinations with adverse effects and serious illness. This is ignorance, and confuses an impressionable client. On the other hand, vaccine zealots abound with hysteria and misinformation. None of these polarized views is helpful.
Further, veterinarians are still routinely vaccinating ill dogs and those with chronic diseases or prior adverse vaccine reactions. This is especially problematic for rabies boosters, as many colleagues believe they have no legal alternative, even though the product label states it's intended for healthy animals. For more information, see www.RabiesChallengeFund.org
Alternatives to Current Vaccine Practices
1) measuring serum antibody titers;
2) avoidance of unnecessary vaccines or over vaccinating;
3) caution in vaccinating sick or febrile individuals; and
4) tailoring a specific minimal vaccination protocol for dogs of breeds or families known to be at increased risk for adverse reactions.
5) considerations include starting the vaccination series later, such as at nine or ten weeks of age when the immune system is better able to handle antigenic challenge;
6) alerting the caregiver to pay particular attention to the puppy’s behavior and overall health after the second or subsequent boosters; and
7) avoiding revaccination of individuals already experiencing a significant adverse event. Littermates of affected puppies should be closely monitored after receiving additional vaccines in a puppy series, as they too are at higher risk.
Some Frequently Asked Questions – Some questions are part of the Guidelines for Vaccination of Dogs and Cats compiled by the Vaccine Guidelines Group (VGG) of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA)
Q. Do dogs competing in agility or other events need more vaccines for protection than other pet dogs?
A. No, although if the event location has an exposure risk for Leptospirosis or Lyme disease , annual vaccination for these diseases should be considered.
Q. Is there risk of overvaccinating with vaccines not needed for a specific animal?
A. Yes. Vaccines contain material designed to challenge the immune system of the pet, and so can cause adverse reactions. They should not be given needlessly, and should be tailored to the pet’s individual needs.
Q. Are the initial series of puppy core vaccines immunosuppressive?
A. Yes. This period of immunosuppression from MLV canine distemper and hepatitis vaccines coincides with the time of vaccine-induced viremia, from days 3 to 10 after vaccination.
Q. Can anaesthetized patients be vaccinated?
A. This is not preferred, because a hypersensitivity reaction with vomiting and aspiration could occur and anaesthetic agents can be immunomodulating.
Q. Is it safe to vaccinate pregnant pets?
A. Absolutely not.
Q. Should pets with immunosuppressive diseases such as cancer or autoimmune diseases, or adverse vaccine reactions/ hypersensitibvity receive booster vaccinations?
A. No. Vaccination with MLV products should be avoided as the vaccine virus may cause disease; vaccination with killed products may aggravate the immune-mediated disease or be ineffective. For rabies boosters that are due, local authorities may accept titers instead or accept a letter from your veterinarian.
Q. If an animal receives immunosuppressive therapy, how long afterwards can the pet safely be vaccinated?
A. Wait at least 2 weeks.
Q. Should vaccines be given more often than 2 weeks apart even if a different vaccine is being given?
A. No. The safest and most effective interval is 3-4 weeks apart.
Q. At what age should the last vaccine dose be given in the puppy series?
A. The last dose of vaccine should be given between 14-16 weeks regardless of the number of doses given prior to this age. Rabies vaccine should preferably be given separately as late as possible under the law (e.g. 16-24 weeks).
Q. Should the new canine influenza vaccine be given routinely?
A. No. It is intended primarily for pounds and shelters and high density boarding facilities, as nose-to-nose contact and crowding promote viral transmission.
Q. Can intranasal Bordetella vaccine be given parenterally (injected)?
A. No. The vaccine can cause a severe local reaction and may even kill the pet.
Q. Will a killed parenteral Bordetella vaccine given intranasally produce immunity?
Q. Are homeopathic nosodes capable of immunizing pets?
A. No. There is no scientific documentation that nosodes protect against infectious diseases of pets. The one parvovirus nosode trial conducted years ago did not protect against challenge.
Q. Should disinfectant be used at the vaccine injection site?
A. No. Disinfectants could inactivate a MLV product.
Q. Can vaccines cause autoimmune diseases?
A. Vaccines themselves do not cause these diseases, but they can trigger autoimmune responses followed by disease in genetically predisposed animals, as can any infection, drug, or chemical / toxic exposures etc.
Q. Can a single vaccine dose provide any benefit to the dog? Will it benefit the canine population?
A. Yes. One dose of a MLV canine core vaccine should provide long term immunity when given to animals at or after 16 weeks of age. Every puppy 16 weeks of age or older should receive at least one dose of the MLV core vaccines. We need to vaccinate more animals in the population with core vaccines to achieve herd immunity and thereby prevent epidemic outbreaks.
Q. If an animal receives only the first dose of a vaccine that needs two doses to immunize, will it have immunity?
A. No. A single dose of a two-dose vaccine like Leptospirosis vaccine will not provide immunity. The first dose is for priming the immune system. The second for boosting the immunity has to be given within 6 weeks; otherwise the series has to start over again. After those two doses, revaccination with a single dose can be done at any time.
Q. Can maternally derived antibodies (MDA) also block immunity to killed vaccines and prevent active immunization with MLV vaccines?
A.Yes. MDA can block certain killed vaccines, especially those that require two doses to immunize. With MLV vaccines, two doses are often recommended, particularly in young animals, to be sure one is given beyond the neutralizing period of MDA.
Q. How long after vaccination does an animal develop immunity that will prevent severe disease when the core vaccines are used?
A. This is dependent on the animal, the vaccine, and the disease.
· The fastest immunity is provided by canine distemper virus (CDV) vaccines -- MLV and recombinant canarypox virus vectored. The immune response starts within mins - hrs and provides protection within a day without interference from MDA.
· Immunity to canine parvovirus (CPV-2) develops after 3-5 days when an effective MLV vaccine is used.
· Canine adenovirus-2/hepatitis (CAV-2) MLV given parenterally provides immunity against CAV-1 in 5 to 7 days.
Q. Can dogs be “non-responders” and fail to develop an immune response to vaccines?
A Yes. This is a genetic characteristic seen particularly in some breeds or dog families. Boosting them regularly will not produce measurable antibody. Some of these animals may be protected against disease by their cell-mediated and secretory immunity.
Q. Are there parvovirus and distemper virus field mutants that are not adequately protected by current MLV vaccines?
A. No. All the current CPV-2 and CDV vaccines provide protection from all known viral isolates, when tested experimentally as well as in the field. The current CPV-2 and CPV-2b vaccines provide both short and long term protection from challenge by the CPV-2c variant.
Q. Are serum antibody titres useful in determining vaccine immunity?
A. Yes. They are especially useful for CDV, CPV-2 and CAV-1 in the dog, FPV in the cat, and rabies virus in the cat and dog. Rabies titers, however, are often not acceptable to exempt individual animals from mandated rabies boosters in spite of medical justification. Serum antibody titers are of limited or no value for (many of) the other vaccines.
1 President, Hemopet, 938 Stanford Street, Santa Monica, CA 90403; 2 Chairman, Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706.
* Excerpted from: AKC Health Foundation, St. Louis, MO, 2007; J Sm An Pract 48, 528–541, 2007; 5th IVVDC Conference , Madison, WI , 2009.
● Day MJ, Horzinek MC, Schultz RD. Guidelines for the vaccination of dogs and cats. J Sm An Pract, 48, 528-541 2007
THE MYTH OF AN EXTRA 'BOOSTER' FOR BLACK AND TANS (How much more can they stuff into one dog?!)
It may also be suggested to you that you should have a third ‘booster’ because ‘black and tans’ are more susceptible to Parvo. I have been researching the origins of this claim for some time but even with three of our owners who are vets having also tried to find it, we have still not found the basis for this claim. When it was suggested to us around 8 years ago that we have this done, I said if the vet wasn’t confident in the vaccine, we wouldn’t use it. We asked the Pharma-Co to fund antibody tests – which they kindly did. All our dogs had high titre counts for Parvo. We re-tested on their advice – at their cost, 6 months later. All were still high. We did not continue the study as our dogs could obviously not be controlled subjects (thankfully).
It is believed but unproven, that the high susceptibility to CPV-2 recognized in certain Rottweilers and Dobermans during the 1980s (regardless of their vaccination history) was due to a high prevalence of non-responders. In the USA today, these two breeds seem to have no greater numbers of non-responders to CPV-2 than other breeds, possibly because carriers of the genetic trait may have died from CPV-2 infection. Some dogs of these breeds may be low or non-responders to other antigens. For example, in the UK and Germany, the non-responder phenotype is prevalent amongst Rottweilers for CPV-2 and rabies virus as recent studies have shown this breed to have a higher proportion of animals failing to achieve the titre of rabies antibody required for pet travel.
Unless your vet has reason to believe that there is a significant local/regional threat from Parvo, you should not need to have this done, however, that is at you and your vet’s discretion - although you could of course antibody test to see what your dogs' status is.
Following is a mail copy from the Pharmaceutical company.
From: Helps, J (John)
Sent: 01 December 2010 10:31
Cc: Elliott, Ken
Subject: Rottweilers and 16 week finish
Ken has asked me to comment on your question in my technical capacity as veterinary manager.
Early literature on parvovirus identifies black and tan breeds with a possible predisposition to canine parvovirus and I believe that there was a concern that the breed may have not been as responsive to early vaccines against this disease. Data from clinical trials specifically looking at serological responses shows no significant difference in responsiveness in face of maternally-derived antibodies. Against this pharmacovigilance data still seems to show two breeds which consistently seem make up an increased proportion of the few cases reported as suspected lack of efficacy- namely the rottweiler and the staffordshire bull terrier. Recent work looking at PDSA cases of the disease sponsored by us and published in the veterinary record whilst showing more cases with both these breeds but when compared to the proportion of these breeds that visited these premises the breed effect disappeared. My explanation for this is that the so-called predisposed breeds are more common in areas with a higher incidence of disease. On this basis a different protocol specifically for these breeds seems counter-intuitive.
On the 16 weeks issue, recent guidelines from the WSAVA suggest that this may still be considered a prudent step to avoid any chance of interference from maternally-derived antibodies. In our view and based on primary vaccine courses finishing at 10 weeks or later will adequately protect the overwhelming majority of dogs and at the same time gives the benefit of ability to socialized dogs from an early age. In our view the proportion of puppies that would benefit from a later additional dose is small but there are situations where veterinary surgeons consider the disease risk great where additional doses particularly for parvovirus are being considered. As a company we do not consider such use as “off-licence” since 10 weeks is a minimum finish age and we are happy to support vets who make a rational decision to vary the vaccine protocol they use based on their local assessment of risk and benefit
Hope this information is of help to you and happy to assist should you have any further queries
John Helps BVetMed CertSAM MRCVS
Veterinary Manager -Companion Animal Business Unit
Intervet/Schering Plough Animal Health
Walton Manor, Walton
Milton Keynes MK7 7AJ