This page has much information on vaccinations, plus - at the very end - and article about allergies and how they may possibly not be allergies at all.

The main thing to take away from all of this information is:
“Limited studies suggest that booster vaccinations for many of the core vaccinations last for at least seven years. However, given the limited number of animals involved in these studies, three years seemed like a reasonable compromise.”

Regarding vaccinations: There have been several studies indicating that annual vaccinations - after the initial puppy shots - are not only unnecessary, but that they are harmful to your dog. Below you will find several articles on the subject.

I do not have all the answers, however going by what I have read, and given the fact that my puppies need to be ready to go to their new homes at age 12 weeks, I recommend the following vaccination schedule:

First shots at age 12 weeks when the immune system is mature enough for Seroconversion to occur. (Breeder will have this done at the time of the pup's first medical).

Rabies plus a Distemper booster at age 16 weeks.

3-year Rabies booster at age 16 months.

Further Rabies shots at 3 year intervals to comply with local by-laws.

Any other vaccination boosted at age 7, then never again. I would add vaccinations if new diseases or issues arise.


When I asked around about titer tests, various vets responded "that's more expensive than just going ahead and giving the dog another shot. You might as well go with the shots."

I disagree!! It will not be cheaper to treat a dog for health issues caused by over vaccination.

Yearly vaccinations are a thing of the past!

THE TROUBLE WITH TITERS

The issue of vaccination and over-vaccination is on many dog owners’ minds today. The case of Dr. John Robb, whose veterinary license has been placed on probation for 25 years for taking a scientifically based ethical stand and administering partial doses of vaccines, has been widely shared. A small dog half-dose vaccine study, which supports Robb’s theory, was published in the Integrative Veterinary Journal in the Spring 2016 issue.  In this study, Dr. Jean Dodds showed that small breed dogs receiving a half dose of distemper parvo vaccine effectively responded, producing sustained increased antibody levels as measured in a titer test. A study concluding that smaller dogs have a higher risk of vaccine reactions, as well as noting other risk factors, was published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2005.

Titer has become a very important and often controversial word in today’s veterinary world. No laboratory test in my memory has been more misunderstood, misinterpreted, misused, and downright maligned, by owners and veterinarians alike. While this simple test is used in determining that a dog has responded to vaccination and is immune to the rabies virus for travel to a rabies free country, it is not accepted as proof of immunity in the United States.

So why are dogs still being vaccinated frequently, when science does not support it? Why is the scientific test demonstrating immunity, the titer, disregarded by many?

A titer is a blood test that determines the level of antibodies (disease fighting proteins produced by the immune system) to a given disease-causing virus in the body. It is expressed as a dilution. This means that the antibody level is measured in the sample as it came from the dog, then diluted in half, then in half again, and so on until the antibody level cannot be detected. The titer is the lowest dilution of the blood sample in which antibodies can be measured.  A high titer is one in which antibodies can be measured in a very dilute sample. We know that a dog is immune to a disease if he has a certain amount of antibodies, and we use the expression “protective titer” to mean enough antibodies are present to fight off disease.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Either the dog has protective antibodies, or he doesn’t?

The answer is yes, and no.

Initially, after a dog is vaccinated, if he is tested and results indicate a protective titer, he should be protected for some time. Research published as long ago as 1998 estimates protection from distemper and parvovirus vaccines as lasting 9-15 years. Yes, years.

Aside from producing antibodies in response to vaccination, the immune system produces memory cells. These long-lived cells retain the information needed by the body to manufacture antibodies. Unfortunately, we have no way to measure them, but we know they are produced if antibodies are produced.  And this is the key point you need to remember about titers – if a dog has titered at a protective level, he has been proven to be immunocompetent. His immune system is working properly, responding to the vaccine that was given, producing antibodies and memory cells.

At this point, when you have proven that the dog’s immune system is competent, and has responded correctly to the vaccine given, YOU ARE DONE. There is no scientific need to re-titer. Most titers do not change significantly in less than 3 years. And, since memory cells persist for life, the normal dog’s immune system will be able to produce more antibodies in the face of disease exposure.

And this is the point where most veterinarians and owners lose their way when it comes to fully understanding titers.

There are three key points to remember:

  • Repeating titers yearly is a waste of money
  • Repeating titers every three years is not necessary
  • Re-vaccinating a dog who has previously titered as protected, but now tests below the minimum is unnecessary

Yes, you do NOT need to vaccinate a dog if his titer falls from the protected to the low range – because he still has memory cells!

The typical dog whose titer falls below threshold is the healthy senior dog, who stays at home and has little exposure to any diseases. It would be a waste of his body’s energy to keep producing antibodies to viruses he was not being exposed to. So, his circulating antibody level falls. Should he be exposed to the virus, his immune system will begin to make antibodies with the information encoded in the memory cells. And he will be protected against the disease in question. (Note: I am speaking of a normal dog – dogs with immunosuppressive diseases or neoplasia may be at risk for contracting disease, and decisions regarding vaccination for them must be made on an individual basis.)

You may be asking now how you get your dog titered.  Many veterinary laboratories offer titers. Costs vary greatly.  My preference is for a numerical value for the titer, rather than a protected/not protected result.  Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Lab has joined forces with the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association to provide DAP and rabies titers at an affordable rate. I prefer this program over any other test.

Many owners have heard of an in-house titer check kit. I do not encourage use of this kit, for several reasons. First, it relies on the interpretation of colors of test and control dots. Lighting and visual acuity of the technician can influence results. Second, it provides only semi-quantitative results. Third, running the test takes about 30 minutes of technician time, during which they are not available to help with other hospital duties.  This adds to the fee for the test, without any benefit to the owner. It’s much more efficient and cost effective for a veterinarian to utilize KSU’s laboratory. For owners wishing to send their dog’s blood sample out themselves, I recommend Hemolife Diagnostic Laboratory, run by Dr. Jean Dodds.

So when do you start using titers? If you have a puppy, check out my vaccination protocol.

If you have an adult dog, you can run a titer at any time that is at least four weeks after a vaccination, and then follow my vaccination protocol, providing the dog is normal. Decisions about vaccinating dogs with chronic disease or conditions should be made on a case by case basis.

2016 VACCINE PROTOCOL FOR DOGS

By Doctor Laurie S. Coger
(http://healthydogworkshop.com/2016-vaccine-protocol-for-dogs/)

October 3, 2016 

I’ve recently revised my canine vaccination protocol for 2016. Read it below.  You can download a PDF copy here.

Best Practices for Vaccination of Dogs

  1. In accordance with fundamental medical principles and vaccine manufacturers’ recommendations, vaccinate only healthy dogs. If there is a health condition present, it should be treated, and the vaccine administered at a later date, when the condition is resolved.
  1. If blood testing, such as 4Dx or a complete blood count and body chemistry profile, is being run, wait for results before vaccinating the dog. If results are abnormal, resolve the abnormality before vaccinating.
  1. Do not administer more than one vaccine at a time.
  1. When spreading out vaccines, use a 4-week interval.
  1. A puppy’s initial vaccine is ideally administered no earlier than 10 weeks of age.
  1. Do not vaccinate females in season. Hormonal changes can alter a normal response to vaccines.
  1. Do not vaccinate at times of stress, such as during boarding, grooming, or at the time of surgery. Do not vaccinate dogs with a previous history of adverse reactions. Use titers.

 

Recommended Vaccination Protocol

Age                                                        Vaccine                                   

10 weeks                                                Parvovirus

14 weeks                                                Distemper/Parvovirus only

18 weeks                                                Distemper/Parvovirus titer

                                                             If inadequate, vaccinate and

                                                             re-titer in 4 weeks.

22 weeks                                                Rabies

1 year post last vaccination                      Distemper/Parvovirus titer

1 year post initial Rabies vaccination         Rabies Vaccine 3 year,

                                                              according to applicable laws

 

Perform vaccine titers for distemper and parvovirus every three years thereafter, if desired. Vaccinate for rabies virus according to applicable state laws.

As common sense and good medical practice would dictate, do NOT vaccinate females during heat, pregnancy or lactation. Do not vaccinate during times of stress such as surgery, travel, boarding, grooming, illness or infection. Do not vaccinate puppies earlier than 8 weeks.

Note: This schedule is one I recommend. All protocols should be tailored to the individual patient’s needs and/or situation.

For more understanding, here are several great articles on the subject:

2016 DODDS VACCINATION PROTOCOL FOR DOGS

The following vaccine protocol is offered for those dogs where minimal vaccinations are advisable or desirable. The schedule is 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.

9 - 10 weeks of age
Distemper + Parvovirus, MLV 
e.g. Merck Nobivac (Intervet Progard) Puppy DPV

14 – 15 weeks of age

Distemper + Parvovirus, MLV

18 weeks of age

Parvovirus only, MLV
Note: New research states that last puppy parvovirus vaccine should be at 18 weeks old.

20 weeks or older, if allowable by law

Rabies – give 3-4 weeks apart from other vaccines

1 year old

Distemper + Parvovirus, MLV
This is an optional booster or titer. If the client intends not to booster after this optional booster or intends to retest titers in another three years, this optional booster at puberty is wise.

1 year old

Rabies – give 3-4 weeks apart from other vaccines


Perform vaccine antibody titers for distemper and parvovirus every three years thereafter, or more often, if desired. Vaccinate for rabies virus according to the law, except where circumstances indicate that a written waiver needs to be obtained from the primary care veterinarian. In that case, a rabies antibody titer can also be performed to accompany the waiver request. Visit The Rabies Challenge Fund for more information.

W. Jean Dodds, DVM
Hemopet / NutriScan
11561 Salinaz Avenue
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Table 1: Minimum Duration of Immunity for Canine Vaccines

Vaccine (Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM)

Canine Vaccination Guidelines

UC DAVIS VMTH CANINE AND FELINE VACCINATION GUIDELINES - (Revised 11/12)

Introduction

The UC Davis VMTH vaccination guidelines below have been based on recently published studies and recommendations made by task forces (including the AAFP/AFM Advisory Panel on Feline Vaccines, AAHA Canine Vaccine Task Force, and the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents), which include representatives from academia, private practices, governmental regulatory bodies, and industry. These groups have evaluated the benefits versus risks of the vaccines currently available on the market. Interested readers are referred to documents published by these groups for further information (see References and Resources listed at the end of this document). The document below has been generated by a group of faculty and staff at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine for the purposes of VMTH veterinary student education and as a reference for referring veterinarians. These are only general guidelines, as the vaccine types recommended and the frequency of vaccination vary depending on the lifestyle of the pet being vaccinated, i.e. indoor vs outdoor pets, travel plans, kennel/boarding plans, and underlying disease conditions such as immune-mediated diseases or pre-existing infections such as FIV infection. Because these factors may change over time, we recommend the vaccination plan for each individual pet be decided by the owner at routine annual examinations, following a discussion between the veterinarian and the client regarding the animal’s lifestyle in the year ahead. Guidelines for vaccination in shelter situations can be accessed at the Center for Companion Animal Health's shelter medicine website. A previous history of vaccination reactions in an individual pet will also affect recommendations for vaccination. For all vaccines given, the product, expiration date, lot number, route and location of injection is documented in the record.

It should also be noted that much research in the area of companion animal vaccinology is required to generate optimal recommendations for vaccination of dogs and cats. As further research is performed, and as new vaccines become available on the market, this document will be continuously updated and modified.

Canine Vaccination Guidelines

Canine Core Vaccines

Core vaccines are recommended for all puppies and dogs with an unknown vaccination history. The diseases involved have significant morbidity and mortality and are widely distributed, and in general, vaccination results in relatively good protection from disease. These include vaccines for canine parvovirus (CPV), canine distemper virus (CDV), canine adenovirus (CAV), and rabies.

Canine Parvovirus, Distemper Virus, and Adenovirus-2 Vaccines

For initial puppy vaccination (£ 16 weeks), one dose of vaccine containing modified live virus (MLV) CPV, CDV, and CAV-2 is recommended every 3-4 weeks from 6-8 weeks of age, with the final booster being given no sooner than 16 weeks of age. For dogs older than 16 weeks of age, two doses of vaccine containing modified live virus (MLV) CPV, CDV, and CAV-2 given 3-4 weeks apart are recommended. After a booster at one year, revaccination is recommended every 3 years thereafter, ideally using a product approved for 3-year administration, unless there are special circumstances that warrant more or less frequent revaccination. Note that recommendations for killed parvovirus vaccines and recombinant CDV vaccines are different from the above. These vaccines are not currently stocked by our pharmacy or routinely used at the VMTH. We do not recommend vaccination with CAV-1 vaccines, since vaccination with CAV-2 results in immunity to CAV-1, and the use of CAV-2 vaccines results in less frequent adverse events.

Canine Rabies Virus Vaccines

In accordance with California state law, we recommend that puppies receive a single dose of killed rabies vaccine at 16 weeks or 4 months of age. Adult dogs with unknown vaccination history should also receive a single dose of killed rabies vaccine. A booster is required one year later, and thereafter, rabies vaccination should be performed every 3 years using a vaccine approved for 3-year administration.

Canine Non-Core Vaccines

Non-core vaccines are optional vaccines that should be considered in light of the exposure risk of the animal, ie. based on geographic distribution and the lifestyle of the pet. Several of the diseases involved are often self-limiting or respond readily to treatment. Vaccines considered as non-core vaccines are canine parainfluenza virus (CPiV), canine influenza virus, distemper-measles combination vaccine, Bordetella bronchiseptica,Leptospira spp., and Borrelia burgdorferi. Vaccination with these vaccines is generally less effective in protecting against disease than vaccination with the core vaccines.

Canine Parainfluenza Virus and Bordetella bronchiseptica

These are both agents associated with kennel cough in dogs. For Bordetella bronchiseptica, mucosal vaccination with live avirulent bacteria is recommended for dogs expected to board, be shown, or to enter a kennel situation within 6 months of the time of vaccination. We currently stock the intranasal vaccine containing both B. bronchiseptica and CPiV. For puppies and previously unvaccinated dogs, only one dose of this vaccine is required (recommendations differ for the parenteral, killed form of this vaccine). Most boarding kennels require that this vaccine be given within 6 months of boarding; the vaccine should be administered at least one week prior to the anticipated boarding date for maximum effect. Although some kennels require immunization every 6 months, annual booster vaccination with B. bronchiseptica vaccines is considered adequate for protection.

Canine Influenza Virus (CIV)

Canine influenza virus (H3N8) emerged in the United States in greyhounds in Florida in 2003. The virus is now enzootic in many dog populations in Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. The virus causes upper respiratory signs including a cough, nasal discharge, and a low-grade fever followed by recovery. A small percentage of dogs develop more severe signs in association with hemorrhagic pneumonia. A vaccine is commercially available, which at the time of writing has a 1-year conditional licensure. Based on evidence provided by the manufacturer, the vaccine may reduce clinical signs and virus shedding in dogs infected by CIV. It may be useful for dogs traveling and intermingling with other dog populations in areas where the virus is enzootic. The performance of the vaccine and its duration of immunity in the field are unknown. At the time of writing, only a few cases of CIV infection have been documented in northern California and the infection has not been widely documented in the general dog population, so we do not recommend routine vaccination for dogs expected to board, be shown, or enter a kennel situation within northern California. Vaccination may have the potential to interfere with the results of serological testing, which in non-endemic areas are useful to assist diagnosis. The UC Davis VMTH does not stock the CIV vaccine or recommend it for use in dogs residing solely in northern California.

Canine Distemper-Measles Combination Vaccine

This vaccine has been used between 4 and 12 weeks of age to protect dogs against distemper in the face of maternal antibodies directed at CDV. Protection occurs within 72 hours of vaccination. It is indicated only for use in households/kennels/shelters where CDV is a recognized problem. Only one dose of the vaccine should be given, after which pups are boostered with the CDV vaccine to minimize the transfer of anti-measles virus maternal antibodies to pups of the next generation. The AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines state that ‘recent unpublished studies have shown that the recombinant CDV vaccine immunizes puppies in the face of passively acquired maternal antibodies. Therefore, the distemper-measles vaccine is no longer the preferred option’. The UC Davis VMTH does not stock these vaccines as situations requiring their use do not arise commonly in our hospital population.

Canine Leptospira Vaccines

Multiple leptospiral serovars are capable of causing disease in dogs, and minimal cross-protection is induced by each serovar. Currently available vaccines do not contain all serovars, efficacies against infection with the targeted serovar are between 50 and 75%, and duration of immunity is probably about 1 year. However, leptospirosis is not uncommon in Northern Californian dogs with exposure histories involving livestock and areas frequented by wild mammals, the disease can be fatal or have high morbidity, and also has zoonotic potential. Therefore, we suggest annual vaccination of dogs living in/visiting rural areas or areas frequented by wildlife with vaccines containing all four leptospiral serovars (grippotyphosapomonacanicola and icterohemorrhagiae), ideally before the rainy season, when disease incidence peaks. The initial vaccination should be followed by a booster 2-4 weeks later, and the first vaccine be given no earlier than 12 weeks of age. In general, leptospiral vaccines have been associated with more severe postvaccinal reactions (acute anaphylaxis) than other vaccines. Whether the recent introduction of vaccines with reduced amounts of foreign protein has reduced this problem is still unclear. Vaccination of dogs in suburban areas with minimal exposure to farm animals or forested areas is not recommended. Anecdotally, the incidence of reactions has been greatest in puppies (< 12 weeks of age, and especially < 9 weeks of age) and small-breed dogs. A careful risk-benefit analysis is recommended before considering vaccination of small breed dogs at risk of exposure to leptospires.

Canine Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme) Vaccine

The incidence of Lyme disease in California is currently considered extremely low. Furthermore, use of the vaccine even in endemic areas (such as the east coast of the US) has been controversial because of anecdotal reports of vaccine-associated adverse events. Most infected dogs show no clinical signs, and the majority of dogs contracting Lyme disease respond to treatment with antimicrobials. Furthermore, prophylaxis may be effectively achieved by preventing exposure to the tick vector. If travel to endemic areas (ie the east coast) is anticipated, vaccination with the Lyme subunit or OspC/OspA-containing bivalent bacterin vaccine could be considered, followed by boosters at intervals in line with risk of exposure. The UC Davis VMTH does not stock the Lyme vaccine or recommend it for use in dogs residing solely in northern California.

Other Canine Vaccines

Several other canine vaccines are currently available on the market. These are vaccines for canine coronavirus, canine adenovirus-1, and rattlesnake envenomation. The reports of the AVMA and the AAHA canine vaccine task force have listed the first three vaccines as not generally recommended, because ‘the diseases are either of little clinical significance or respond readily to treatment’, evidence for efficacy of these vaccines is minimal, and they may ‘produce adverse events with limited benefit’. Currently, information regarding the efficacy of the canine rattlesnake vaccine is insufficient. The UC Davis VMTH does not stock or routinely recommend use of these vaccines.

Canine Enteric Coronavirus Vaccine

Infection with canine enteric coronavirus (CCV) alone has been associated with mild disease only, and only in dogs < 6 weeks of age. It has not been possible to reproduce the infection experimentally, unless immunosuppressive doses of glucocorticoids are administered. Serum antibodies do not correlate with resistance to infection, and duration of immunity is unknown. In mixed infections with CCV and canine parvovirus (CPV), CPV is the major pathogen. Vaccination against CPV therefore protects puppies from disease following challenge with both canine enteric coronavirus and CPV. Thus, the UC Davis VMTH does not routinely recommend vaccination against canine enteric coronavirus and the vaccine is not stocked by our pharmacy.

Canine Rattlesnake Vaccine

The canine rattlesnake vaccine comprises venom components from Crotalus atrox (western diamondback). Although a rattlesnake vaccine may be potentially useful for dogs that frequently encounter rattlesnakes, currently we are unable to recommend this vaccine because of insufficient information regarding the efficacy of the vaccine in dogs. Dogs develop neutralizing antibody titers to C. atrox venom, and may also develop antibody titers to components of other rattlesnake venoms, but research in this area is ongoing. Owners of vaccinated dogs must still seek veterinary care immediately in the event of a bite, because 1) the type of snake is often unknown; 2) antibody titers may be overwhelmed in the face of severe envenomation, and 3) an individual dog may lack sufficient protection depending on its response to the vaccine and the time elapsed since vaccination. According to the manufacturer, to date, rare vaccinated dogs have died following a bite when there were substantial delays (12-24 hours) in seeking treatment. Recommendations for booster vaccination are still under development, but it appears that adequate titers do not persist beyond one year after vaccination. Adverse reactions appear to be low and consistent with those resulting from vaccination with other products available on the market. The product license is currently conditional as efficacy and potency have not been fully demonstrated. Based on existing evidence, the UC Davis VMTH does not currently recommend routine vaccination of dogs for rattlesnake envenomation, and the vaccine is not stocked by our pharmacy.



REFERENCES AND RESOURCES/SUGGESTED FURTHER READING

Day MJ, Horzinek MC, Schultz RD. 2007. Guidelines for the Vaccination of Dogs and Cats. Compiled by the Vaccination Guidelines Group of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. J Small Anim Pract. 48(9): 528-541

Klingborg DJ, Hustead DR, Curry-Galvin EA et al 2002. AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents' report on cat and dog vaccines.  J Am Vet Med Assoc.  221(10):1401-1407

Klingborg DJ, Hustead DR, Curry-Galvin EA et al 2001. AVMA's Principles of Vaccination.  J Am Vet Med Assoc.  219:  575-576 (also http://www.avma.org/policies/vaccination.htm )

Paul MA, Appel M, Barrett R et al. 2003. Report of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Canine Vaccine Task Force: Executive Summary and 2003 Canine Vaccine Guidelines and Recommendations. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc. 39(2):119-131 (also http://www.aahanet.org  via the AVMA Login  (green))

Srivastav A, Kass PH, McGill LD, et al. Comparative vaccine-specific and other injectable-specific risks of injection-site sarcomas in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2012;241:595-602.

What You Should Know About Vaccination: a client brochure that emphasizes the importance of vaccines while explaining the factors veterinarians consider when making customized vaccine recommendations. 

You will need to search the AVMA site to find the brochures. https://www.avma.org/Pages/home.aspx

Wallis DM and Wallis JL. 2005. Rattlesnake Vaccine to Prevent Envenomation Toxicity in Dogs. Proceedings of the 77th

Annual Western Veterinary Conference, Las Vegas, NV.

Marketplace episode about veterinary "upselling'" habits:

http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/episodes/2013-2014/barking-mad


STUDY ON DURATION OF IMMUNITY TO CANINE VACCINES

by Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

WHAT VACCINE COMPANIES DON’T WANT DOG GUARDIANS TO KNOW

There have been many debates on vaccination in dogs.  I hope that this study will make you change your mind if you still vaccinate yearly.

_______________________________________

Ronald D. Schultz, Professor and Chair

Department of Patho-biological Sciences
School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison

It has been common practice since the development of canine vaccines in the late 1950′s to administer them annually. The recommendation to vaccinate annually was based on the assumption that immunity would wane in some dogs, thus to ensure immunity in the population, all dogs required revaccination since it was not practical to test each animal for antibody. Little or no research has been done to demonstrate that the practice of annual revaccination has any scientific value in providing greater immunity than would be present if an animal was never revaccinated or was revaccinated at intervals longer than one year.

In 1978 we recommended an ideal vaccination program would be one in which dogs and cats would be revaccinated at one year of age and then every third year thereafter (1). That recommendation was based on a general knowledge of vaccinal immunity, especially the importance of immunologic memory and on duration of protection after natural sub clinical or clinical infections as well as on limited studies we had performed with certain canine and feline vaccines.

Since the mid 1970′s we have done a variety of studies with various canine vaccines to demonstrate their duration of immunity. From our studies it is apparent, at least to me, that the duration of immunity for the four most important canine vaccines (core vaccines) that the duration of immunity is considerably longer than one year.

Furthermore, we have found that annual revaccination, with the vaccines that provide long term immunity, provides no demonstrable benefit and may increase the risk for adverse reactions. We have assessed duration of protective immunity primarily by two procedures; the first is held to be the “gold standard and that is to challenge the vaccinated animal with the virulent organism, the second method is to measure antibody and compare the antibody titer to that which is known to prevent infection (e.g. provide sterile immunity). The studies we report here include challenge studies as well as studies that determine antibody titers.

The minimum duration of immunity data does not imply that all vaccinated dogs will be immune for the period of time listed, nor does it suggest that immunity may not last longer (e.g. the life of the dog). The percentage of vaccinated animals protected from clinical disease after challenge with canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus and canine adenovirus in the present study was greater than 95%.

Although there is much more that we need to know about duration of immunity to canine vaccines the information we have at present provides adequate justification for the vaccination recommendations that I and others have made and continue to make regarding frequency of vaccination (2)

 

1. Schultz, RD. and F.W. Scott. Canine & Feline Immunization. In: Symposium on Practical Immunology. R.D. Schultz, Ed., Vet Clinics of N. Am., Nov. 1978, W.B. Saunders Co.

2. Schultz, R.D. Current and Future Canine and feline vaccination programs. Vet Med 3: No. 3, 233-254, 1998.

Still vaccinating every year?

By Kim Campbell Thornton

Side effects from vaccinations range from mild itching and swelling to anaphylactic shock leading to death. Cats may develop vaccine sarcomas, which are cancers that develop at the site of the injection. And dogs may develop certain autoimmune diseases.

Veterinarians have suspected for years that annual vaccinations for cats and dogs aren’t necessary, but large, well-controlled studies just didn’t exist to prove it one way or the other. With the exception of rabies vaccine, the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t require data beyond one year for any vaccine.

With that being the case, vaccine manufacturers arbitrarily recommended annual vaccinations, and most veterinarians, concerned about liability issues, concurred.

Sometimes immunity lasts a lifetime 
More recently, however, several published studies have shown that immunity provided by some vaccines lasts for much longer than one year and in some cases for a lifetime.

"We know that for [canine] distemper and parvo, for example, the immunity lasts a minimum of five years, probably seven to nine years, and for some individuals for a lifetime,” says veterinarian Jean Dodds, founder of Hemopet, the first nonprofit national blood bank program for animals, located in Santa Monica, Calif.

“For cats, so far we have challenge data out nine years showing that immunity is still protective," says Dodds. And with rabies vaccine, new data indicate the immunity lasts for at least seven years, she says.

What does all this mean for your dog or cat? As with many other aspects of veterinary medicine, vaccinations are becoming individualized, but in most cases, fewer and less frequent vaccinations are the way to go. Most animals need only what are known as core vaccines: those that protect against the most common and most serious diseases. In dogs, the core vaccines are distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis and rabies. In cats, they are panleukopenia, calicivirus, rhinotracheitis (herpesvirus), and rabies as required by law.

Three-year interval recommended 
“Current vaccine protocol is to properly immunize puppies and kittens with two or three doses, starting later than we used to, maybe at eight weeks and not earlier than six weeks,” Dodds says. “Then you can give a booster at one year and either repeat it every three years, stagger it by giving one vaccine per year instead of combination vaccines, or do titers instead.” Titers are tests that measure the level of antibodies in the blood, which would indicate that immunity still exists.

That recommended three-year interval was a compromise decision. “Annual boosters for the core vaccinations are excessive for most dogs and cats,” says veterinarian Link Welborn of North Bay Animal and Bird Hospital in Tampa, Fla., and a member of the most recent panel of veterinarians that revised vaccination guidelines for dogs and cats. “Limited studies suggest that booster vaccinations for many of the core vaccinations last for at least seven years. However, given the limited number of animals involved in these studies, three years seemed like a reasonable compromise.”

There’s also an advantage to giving single rather than combination vaccines. “Giving more vaccinations increases the likelihood of side effects,” Welborn says. “Separating vaccinations allows the veterinarian to determine which vaccine caused a side effect if one occurs.”

If you’re concerned that your dog or cat will develop a vaccine-related health problem, but you want to make sure they’re protected against disease, annual titers are an economical alternative.

They’re reliable and costs are comparable to those for vaccinations. For instance, at Canyon Animal Hospital in Laguna Beach, Calif., the rate for a combination distemper/parvo titer is $39. If the dog turns out to need a vaccination, it’s given at no additional charge. Titers are also available for cats.

Consider changing veterinarians if yours claims that titers are too expensive to perform, charges $50 or more for them or wants to vaccinate because a titer level is “too low.”

“Any measurable titer to a specific antigen means you’ve got immune memory cells,” Dodds says.

Skip the annual exam, too? 
So do these new recommendations mean that your dog or cat no longer needs an annual veterinary exam? Don’t get your hopes up.

The physical exam your veterinarian performs is far more important than vaccinations. In a recent study on longevity, 16 percent of dogs and 20 percent of cats were found to have subclinical — meaning signs weren’t yet obvious — diseases that were diagnosed through an exam and routine lab work.

“Many people, because the animal is living with them, don’t notice subtle changes in the behavior or the clinical state of the animal that a veterinarian would notice,” Dodds says.

Welborn likes to see veterinarians and pet owners working together to perform an annual lifestyle risk assessment. That means looking at the animal’s environment and habits to decide whether it needs such non-core vaccines as those for feline leukemia or Lyme disease or canine cough (probably not, unless the exposure risk is high) and whether it needs changes in diet or exercise levels to prevent obesity and its attendant problems, which include arthritis and diabetes.

“Care should be individualized for each pet,” Welborn says. “The days of treating all dogs and cats the same are gone.”

Kim Campbell Thornton is an award-winning author who has written many articles and more than a dozen books about dogs and cats. She belongs to the Dog Writers Association of America and is past president of the Cat Writers Association. She shares her home in California with three Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and one African ringneck parakeet.

Purdue Vaccination Study text:

The Purdue Vaccination Studies and Auto-antibodies

A team at Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine conducted several studies (1,2) to determine if vaccines can cause changes in the immune system of dogs that might lead to life-threatening immune-mediated diseases. They obviously conducted this research because concern already existed. It was sponsored by the Haywood Foundation which itself was looking for evidence that such changes in the human immune system might also be vaccine induced. It found the evidence.

The vaccinated, but not the non-vaccinated, dogs in the Purdue studies developed autoantibodies to many of their own biochemicals, including fibronectin, laminin, DNA, albumin, cytochrome C, cardiolipin and collagen.

This means that the vaccinated dogs — ”but not the non-vaccinated dogs”– were attacking their own fibronectin, which is involved in tissue repair, cell multiplication and growth, and differentiation between tissues and organs in a living organism.

The vaccinated Purdue dogs also developed autoantibodies to laminin, which is involved in many cellular activities including the adhesion, spreading, differentiation, proliferation and movement of cells. Vaccines thus appear to be capable of removing the natural intelligence of cells.

Autoantibodies to cardiolipin are frequently found in patients with the serious disease systemic lupus erythematosus and also in individuals with other autoimmune diseases. The presence of elevated anti-cardiolipin antibodies is significantly associated with clots within the heart or blood vessels, in poor blood clotting, haemorrhage, bleeding into the skin, foetal loss and neurological conditions.

The Purdue studies also found that vaccinated dogs were developing autoantibodies to their own collagen. About one quarter of all the protein in the body is collagen. Collagen provides structure to our bodies, protecting and supporting the softer tissues and connecting them with the skeleton. It is no wonder that Canine Health Concern’s 1997 study of 4,000 dogs showed a high number of dogs developing mobility problems shortly after they were vaccinated (noted in my 1997 book, What Vets Don’t Tell You About Vaccines).

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Perhaps most worryingly, the Purdue studies found that the vaccinated dogs had developed autoantibodies to their own DNA. Did the alarm bells sound? Did the scientific community call a halt to the vaccination program? No. Instead, they stuck their fingers in the air, saying more research is needed to ascertain whether vaccines can cause genetic damage. Meanwhile, the study dogs were found good homes, but no long-term follow-up has been conducted. At around the same time, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Vaccine-Associated Feline Sarcoma Task Force initiated several studies to find out why 160,000 cats each year in the USA develop terminal cancer at their vaccine injection sites.(3) The fact that cats can get vaccine-induced cancer has been acknowledged by veterinary bodies around the world, and even the British Government acknowledged it through its Working Group charged with the task of looking into canine and feline vaccines(4) following pressure from Canine Health Concern. What do you imagine was the advice of the AVMA Task Force, veterinary bodies and governments? “Carry on vaccinating until we find out why vaccines are killing cats, and which cats are most likely to die.”

In America, in an attempt to mitigate the problem, they’re vaccinating cats in the tail or leg so they can amputate when cancer appears. Great advice if it’s not your cat amongst the hundreds of thousands on the “oops” list.

But other species are okay – right? Wrong. In August 2003, the Journal of Veterinary Medicine carried an Italian study which showed that dogs also develop vaccine-induced cancers at their injection sites.(5) We already know that vaccine-site cancer is a possible sequel to human vaccines, too, since the Salk polio vaccine was said to carry a monkey retrovirus (from cultivating the vaccine on monkey organs) that produces inheritable cancer. The monkey retrovirus SV40 keeps turning up in human cancer sites.

It is also widely acknowledged that vaccines can cause a fast-acting, usually fatal, disease called autoimmune haemolytic anaemia (AIHA). Without treatment, and frequently with treatment, individuals can die in agony within a matter of days. Merck, itself a multinational vaccine manufacturer, states in The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy that autoimmune haemolytic anaemia may be caused by modified live-virus vaccines, as do Tizard’s Veterinary Immunology (4th edition) and the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.(6) The British Government’s Working Group, despite being staffed by vaccine-industry consultants who say they are independent, also acknowledged this fact. However, no one warns the pet owners before their animals are subjected to an unnecessary booster, and very few owners are told why after their pets die of AIHA.

A Wide Range of Vaccine-induced Diseases

We also found some worrying correlations between vaccine events and the onset of arthritis in our 1997 survey. Our concerns were compounded by research in the human field.

The New England Journal of Medicine, for example, reported that it is possible to isolate the rubella virus from affected joints in children vaccinated against rubella. It also told of the isolation of viruses from the peripheral blood of women with prolonged arthritis following vaccination.(7)

Then, in 2000, CHC’s findings were confirmed by research which showed that polyarthritis and other diseases like amyloidosis, which affects organs in dogs, were linked to the combined vaccine given to dogs.(8) There is a huge body of research, despite the paucity of funding from the vaccine industry, to confirm that vaccines can cause a wide range of brain and central nervous system damage. Merck itself states in its Manual that vaccines (i.e., its own products) can cause encephalitis: brain inflammation/damage. In some cases, encephalitis involves lesions in the brain and throughout the central nervous system. Merck states that “examples are the encephalitides following measles, chickenpox, rubella, smallpox vaccination, vaccinia, and many other less well defined viral infections”.

When the dog owners who took part in the CHC survey reported that their dogs developed short attention spans, 73.1% of the dogs did so within three months of a vaccine event. The same percentage of dogs was diagnosed with epilepsy within three months of a shot (but usually within days). We also found that 72.5% of dogs that were considered by their owners to be nervous and of a worrying disposition, first exhibited these traits within the three-month post-vaccination period.

I would like to add for the sake of Oliver, my friend who suffered from paralysed rear legs and death shortly after a vaccine shot, that “paresis” is listed in Merck’s Manual as a symptom of encephalitis. This is defined as muscular weakness of a neural (brain) origin which involves partial or incomplete paralysis, resulting from lesions at any level of the descending pathway from the brain. Hind limb paralysis is one of the potential consequences. Encephalitis, incidentally, is a disease that can manifest across the scale from mild to severe and can also cause sudden death.

Organ failure must also be suspected when it occurs shortly after a vaccine event. Dr Larry Glickman, who spearheaded the Purdue research into post-vaccination biochemical changes in dogs, wrote in a letter to Cavalier Spaniel breeder Bet Hargreaves:

“Our ongoing studies of dogs show that following routine vaccination, there is a significant rise in the level of antibodies dogs produce against their own tissues. Some of these antibodies have been shown to target the thyroid gland, connective tissue such as that found in the valves of the heart, red blood cells, DNA, etc. I do believe that the heart conditions in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels could be the end result of repeated immunisations by vaccines containing tissue culture contaminants that cause a progressive immune response directed at connective tissue in the heart valves. The clinical manifestations would be more pronounced in dogs that have a genetic predisposition [although] the findings should be generally applicable to all dogs regardless of their breed.”

I must mention here that Dr Glickman believes that vaccines are a necessary evil, but that safer vaccines need to be developed.

Vaccines Stimulate an Inflammatory Response

The word “allergy” is synonymous with “sensitivity” and “inflammation”. It should, by rights, also be synonymous with the word “vaccination”. This is what vaccines do: they sensitise (render allergic)an individual in the process of forcing them to develop antibodies to fight a disease threat. In other words, as is acknowledged and accepted, as part of the vaccine process the body will respond with inflammation. This may be apparently temporary or it may be longstanding.

Holistic doctors and veterinarians have known this for at least 100 years. They talk about a wide range of inflammatory or “-itis” diseases which arise shortly after a vaccine event. Vaccines, in fact, plunge many individuals into an allergic state. Again, this is a disorder that ranges from mild all the way through to the suddenly fatal. Anaphylactic shock is the culmination: it’s where an individual has a massive allergic reaction to a vaccine and will die within minutes if adrenaline or its equivalent is not administered.

There are some individuals who are genetically not well placed to withstand the vaccine challenge. These are the people (and animals are “people”, too) who have inherited faulty B and T cell function. B and T cells are components within the immune system which identify foreign invaders and destroy them, and hold the invader in memory so that they cannot cause future harm. However, where inflammatory responses are concerned, the immune system overreacts and causes unwanted effects such as allergies and other inflammatory conditions.

Merck warns in its Manual that patients with, or from families with, B and/or T cell immunodeficiencies should not receive live-virus vaccines due to the risk of severe or fatal infection. Elsewhere, it lists features of B and T cell immunodeficiencies as food allergies, inhalant allergies, eczema, dermatitis, neurological deterioration and heart disease. To translate, people with these conditions can die if they receive live-virus vaccines. Their immune systems are simply not competent enough to guarantee a healthy reaction to the viral assault from modified live-virus vaccines.

Modified live-virus (MLV) vaccines replicate in the patient until an immune response is provoked. If a defence isn’t stimulated, then the vaccine continues to replicate until it gives the patient the very disease it was intending to prevent.

Alternatively, a deranged immune response will lead to inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, pancreatitis, colitis, encephalitis and any number of autoimmune diseases such as cancer and leukaemia, where the body attacks its own cells.

A new theory, stumbled upon by Open University student Gary Smith, explains what holistic practitioners have been saying for a very long time. Here is what a few of the holistic vets have said in relation to their patients:

Dr Jean Dodds: “Many veterinarians trace the present problems with allergic and immunologic diseases to the introduction of MLV vaccines…” (9)

Christina Chambreau, DVM: “Routine vaccinations are probably the worst thing that we do for our animals. They cause all types of illnesses, but not directly to where we would relate them definitely to be caused by the vaccine.” (10)

Martin Goldstein, DVM: “I think that vaccines…are leading killers of dogs and cats in America today.”

Dr Charles E. Loops, DVM: “Homoeopathic veterinarians and other holistic practitioners have maintained for some time that vaccinations do more harm than they provide benefits.” (12)

Mike Kohn, DVM: “In response to this [vaccine] violation, there have been increased autoimmune diseases (allergies being one component), epilepsy, neoplasia [tumours], as well as behavioural problems in small animals.” (13)

A Theory on Inflammation

Gary Smith explains what observant healthcare practitioners have been saying for a very long time, but perhaps they’ve not understood why their observations led them to say it. His theory, incidentally, is causing a huge stir within the inner scientific sanctum. Some believe that his theory could lead to a cure for many diseases including cancer. For me, it explains why the vaccine process is inherently questionable.

Gary was learning about inflammation as part of his studies when he struck upon a theory so extraordinary that it could have implications for the treatment of almost every inflammatory disease — including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, rheumatoid arthritis and even HIV and AIDS.

Gary’s theory questions the received wisdom that when a person gets ill, the inflammation that occurs around the infected area helps it to heal. He claims that, in reality, inflammation prevents the body from recognising a foreign substance and therefore serves as a hiding place for invaders. The inflammation occurs when at-risk cells produce receptors called All (known as angiotensin II type I receptors). He says that while At1 has a balancing receptor, At2, which is supposed to switch off the inflammation, in most diseases this does not happen.

“Cancer has been described as the wound that never heals,” he says. “All successful cancers are surrounded by inflammation. Commonly this is thought to be the body’s reaction to try to fight the cancer, but this is not the case.

“The inflammation is not the body trying to fight the infection. It is actually the virus or bacteria deliberately causing inflammation in order to hide from the immune system [author’s emphasis].” (14)

If Gary is right, then the inflammatory process so commonly stimulated by vaccines is not, as hitherto assumed, a necessarily acceptable sign. Instead, it could be a sign that the viral or bacterial component, or the adjuvant (which, containing foreign protein, is seen as an invader by the immune system), in the vaccine is winning by stealth.

If Gary is correct in believing that the inflammatory response is not protective but a sign that invasion is taking place under cover of darkness, vaccines are certainly not the friends we thought they were. They are undercover assassins working on behalf of the enemy, and vets and medical doctors are unwittingly acting as collaborators. Worse, we animal guardians and parents are actually paying doctors and vets to unwittingly betray our loved ones.

Potentially, vaccines are the stealth bomb of the medical world. They are used to catapult invaders inside the castle walls where they can wreak havoc, with none of us any the wiser. So rather than experiencing frank viral diseases such as the ‘flu, measles, mumps and rubella (and, in the case of dogs, parvovirus and distemper), we are allowing the viruses to win anyway – but with cancer, leukaemia and other inflammatory or autoimmune (self-attacking) diseases taking their place.

The Final Insult

All 27 veterinary schools in North America have changed their protocols for vaccinating dogs and cats along the following lines; (15) however, vets in practice are reluctant to listen to these changed protocols and official veterinary bodies in the UK and other countries are ignoring the following facts.

Dogs’ and cats’ immune systems mature fully at six months. If modified live-virus vaccine is giver after six months of age, it produces immunity, which is good for the life of the pet. If another MLV vaccine is given a year later, the antibodies from the first vaccine neutralise the antigens of the second vaccine and there is little or no effect. The litre is no “boosted”, nor are more memory cells induced.

Not only are annual boosters unnecessary, but they subject the pet to potential risks such as allergic reactions and immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia.

In plain language, veterinary schools in America, plus the American Veterinary Medical Association, have looked at studies to show how long vaccines last and they have concluded and announced that annual vaccination is unnecessary.(16-19)

Further, they have acknowledged that vaccines are not without harm. Dr Ron Schultz, head of pathobiology at Wisconsin University and a leading light in this field, has been saying this politely to his veterinary colleagues since the 1980s. I’ve been saying it for the past 12 years. But change is so long in coming and, in the meantime, hundreds of thousands of animals are dying every year – unnecessarily.

The good news is that thousands of animal lovers (but not enough) have heard what we’ve been saying. Canine Health Concern members around the world use real food as Nature’s supreme disease preventative, eschewing processed pet food, and minimise the vaccine risk. Some of us, myself included, have chosen not to vaccinate our pets at all. Our reward is healthy and long-lived dogs.

It has taken but one paragraph to tell you the good and simple news. The gratitude I feel each day, when I embrace my healthy dogs, stretches from the centre of the Earth to the Universe and beyond.

Endnotes
1. “Effects of Vaccination on the Endocrine and Immune Systems of Dogs, Phase II”, Purdue University, November 1,1999, at http://www.homestead.com/vonhapsburg/haywardstudyonvaccines.html.
2. See www.vet.purdue.edu/epi/gdhstudy.htm.
3. See http://www.avma.org/vafstf/default.asp.
4. Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) Working Group on Feline and Canine Vaccination, DEFRA, May 2001.
5. JVM Series A 50(6):286-291, August 2003.
6. Duval, D. and Giger,U. (1996). “Vaccine-Associated Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia in the Dog”, Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 10:290-295.
7. New England Journal of Medicine, vol.313,1985.
See also Clin Exp Rheumatol 20(6):767-71, Nov-Dec 2002.
8. Am Coll Vet Intern Med 14:381,2000.
9. Dodds, Jean W.,DVM, “Immune System and Disease Resistance”, at http://www.critterchat.net/immune.htm.
10. Wolf Clan magazine, April/May 1995.
11. Goldstein, Martin, The Nature of Animal Healing, Borzoi/Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1999.
12. Wolf Clan magazine, op. cit.
13. ibid.
14. Journal of Inflammation 1:3,2004, at http://www.journal-inflammation.com content/1/1/3.
15. Klingborg, D.J., Hustead, D.R. and Curry-Galvin, E. et al., “AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents’ report on cat and dog vaccines”, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 221(10):1401-1407, November 15,2002, http://www.avma.org/policies/vaccination.htm.
16. ibid.
17. Schultz, R.D., “Current and future canine and feline vaccination programs”, Vet Med 93:233-254,1998.
18. Schultz, R.D., Ford, R.B., Olsen, J. and Scott, P., “Titer testing and vaccination: a new look at traditional practices”, Vet Med 97:1-13, 2002 (insert).
19. Twark, L. and Dodds, W.J., “Clinical application of serum parvovirus and distemper virus antibody titers for determining revaccination strategies in healthy dogs”, J Am Vet Med Assoc 217:1021-1024,2000.

Is your dog truly allergic?

Here is a recent (2017) article on the issue. Click here.