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View Full Version : In a quandary about vaccinations



Remali
19th February 2007, 02:39 AM
Well, I'm just so unsure as to what to do. On the one had I want to keep Bentley protected against all of the awful diseases out there. And, on the other hand I am so worried about reactions to the shots. Bentley has had his rabies and puppy shots last year, and now he is due for another rabies and the DA2PP. I made an appointment for his vaccinations, and it is for tomorrow afternoon, but now I really am having second thoughts. One of my previous dogs had a very bad reaction to his shots, so now I am very gun-shy. I am considering calling my vet tomorrow and asking about having a titer drawn instead. Or perhaps I will cancel the appointment and take some time to think it over. We don't go to the dog park, so Bentley doesn't come into contact with any other dogs. Altho I realize that he can pick up something just from being outside on the leash with me. But, well, I just sort of have this uneasy feeling about having vaccinations done.

:?

Karlin
19th February 2007, 02:58 AM
If you don't do the one year booster, there was really no point in doing the puppy shots. Just as kids need boosters to basic injections so a dog needs that initial booster. What you do after that, and what risks you want to take, is your choice after that.

Rabies is a legal requirement. If you can give a three-yearly rabies than look into it. If you can't -- then please don't skip rabies. Rabies is a life and death HUMAN health issue not just something that only might harm your dog. That's why rabies injections are a requirements in the US where rabies is *everywhere*.

If you do not have health issues (eg a suppressed immune system) to make you not want to give injections, the incidence of side effects to vaccines are minute. The rate of death due to what you didn't vaccinate for is much, much higher -- ask anyone who runs a kennels or pound about distemper and parvo. Very few dogs survive either and they are slow painful deaths -- rabies is even worse.

Of all the people I know in rescue who vaccinate thousands of dogs annually I am not aware of a single serious reaction ever to a vaccine. That includes some 50-60 cavaliers I have had vaccinated.

LauraD
19th February 2007, 03:00 AM
Renee, I'm sorry that i don't have any answers for you, but I do share your concerns. Riley is due in March for his annual vaccs too and he has never had the Lepto. vaccine as his mother had a horrible reaction to it. I also am trying to decide the best thing to do for him, however Riley is in contact with a lot of dogs as he goes to daycare 1 or 2x a week and he stays with other dogs when we have to be out of town.
It really is hard to decide what to do isn't it? :huh: I just wanted to let you know that i understand your dilemma. I hope you get some good responses and help you feel better about your decision. I know you just want Bentley to be as healthy as possible. :flwr:

Karlin
19th February 2007, 03:03 AM
I probably wouldnt give lepto to a dog whose mother had a bad reaction. Have you discussed this with your vet? That seems a good place to start. Get a second or third opinion as well to help with the decision if needed. This isn't the kind of decision to make without informed advice. If you don;t give it then find out all the places you should avoid taking Riley to (lakes, creeks, ponds etc).

Remali
19th February 2007, 03:28 AM
Good points to ponder. I do agree....best not to skip the rabies, and we do have the three year rabies vacc here. Perhaps I can talk to my vet about not doing a whole bunch of shots at once, maybe just one or two at a time. I don't like to load up an animal with a lot of shots at once (I also have a horse, and that has been an issue among the horse people too, due to bad reactions). I'm not sure why my other dog had such a bad painful reaction to his shots at the time, but it was pretty frightening, so I am pretty leery of vaccinations as a result of that.

I guess if it were me, I would skip the Lepto, seeing as Riley's mother had a bad reaction to it. It really is a scary issue isn't it?! No easy answers. But, I am seriously thinking of having titers done in the future, rather than vaccinations.

LauraD
19th February 2007, 03:28 AM
Thanks Karlin, yes I talked with our vet about it the first time around. I plan to revisit the issue before vaccs are due now that Riley is a lot older an gets to go more places. I appreciate the advice.

Cathy T
19th February 2007, 03:39 AM
This is such a difficult topic. There are opinions from no vaccinations ever to vaccinate every year. And there is a lot of research and data on both ends. I do the 3 year rabies vaccines. It is a state law in order to license the dogs. I have both of my dogs out in the public a lot and am not comfortable not vaccinating for it. We did core vaccinations for Jake this year. He was boostered at 1 year. I will revisit the whole topic again in 3 years. We don't do lepto on the advice of our vet. I do personally know of one dog who died from a vaccine injection (my friend's 1 year old dog) and it was so sad and scary. But....I really feel it was an isolated incident. The other concern about vaccinations is long term effect. I love that I am able to talk to my vet in an open fashion. She has said that she will follow whatever protocol I choose to follow. She has clients who don't vaccinate at all and others who follow a 3 year protocol. It's really up to me to decide.

Remali
19th February 2007, 04:06 AM
It really is a difficult topic. Right now my plan is to get Bentley's rabies shot tomorrow, and then in another 3 to 4 weeks do the distemper and parvo (his one year booster), just the core vaccs, no lepto. And after that seriously think about having titers done the following year. At least that is how I am feeling about all of it right now. A friend of mine is a vet tech and she has been doing the titers on her dogs, so I may go that route too.

Thank you for all of the input, I really do appreciate it! I am interested in what everyone else does, and appreciate all your suggestions.

Caraline
19th February 2007, 08:48 AM
I know there is some controversy re the vaccinations and here in Australia we typically cover for Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Kennel Cough, Bordetella. Then there is an extra vaccination for heartworm, for those that don't want to give the monthly oral preventative.

Personally, I'll keep going with the boosters until there is very strong & sound evidence that it is not necessary. The risks of a bad reaction are far out-weighed by the tradgedy of dogs becoming terribly sick & dying from these horrible diseases.

Kodee
19th February 2007, 09:17 PM
Every person and vet will have a different opinion. So much depends on your geographical area and known incidence of illnesses there, your lifestyle or rather your dogs, and breed history.

In my case, puppies from similar lines had reactions to the lepto (but many dogs are just fine with it). I fussed forever about what to do. I found a new vet (who leans towards holistic) I really like and she said she would not vaccinate a puppy with lepto before she knew about my puppies issues. But that would be based on OUR area. I always get 3 yr rabies.

Remali
20th February 2007, 12:46 AM
Very true.....every vet and every dog, and each area, is so different. So it really is difficult to say "this way" is best or "that way" is best. You just have to weigh the pros and cons, talk to your vet, and make a decision.

judy
20th February 2007, 12:08 PM
Zack is now at the one year point since his last puppy shot. I was somewhat surprised when the other day, I called his insurance company, PetCare, and asked if they accept titers instead of vaccination as evidence that the dog is adequately protected and was told yes, they accept titers.

I had titers measured and the results showed adequate titers for distemper and parvo. What I've read about duration of immunity research has convinced me that for these diseases, for most dogs, successful immunization is very long, or lifelong, so that i can feel safe when a titer shows evidence that his previous vaccinations were successful in immuizing him. In addition to the research citations nad reports I've seen, i had a personal consultation with Jean Dodds who has performed some of that research, and listened to her opinions, and as a result, i feel assured that Zack is very likely protected for a long time and probably for life. I will repeat the titers later to see if there's any trend toward them declining.

This is my personal decision, that further vaccination for parvo and distemper, given adequate titers, is unnecessary and thus exposes him to unnecessary risk, not just of acute adverse reactions but of long term chronic health risks. I'm particularly worried about long term autoimmune processes showing up later. So, i welcome information from credible sources showing that it takes less vaccination to achieve protection.

Here's what Zack's lab report from the Hemopet lab said, and this wording is typical of other labs, though labs will vary as to their reference values.

"Parvovirus Vaccine Titer (ELISA)
*Parvovirus (IgG) 1:80 ADEQUATE LEVEL Titer
An ELISA result correlated with an HI (hemagglutination-inhibiting)
antibody titer of greater than or equal to 1:80, indicates memory
response immunity. A result of less than 1:80 indicates a low
antibody response and inadequate memory response immunity.

Distemper Vaccine Titer (ELISA)
*Distemper (IgG) 1:16 ADEQUATE LEVEL TITER
An ELISA result correlated with an SVN (serum virus neutralization)
antibody titer of greater than or equal to 1:16, indicates memory
response immunity. A result of less than 1:16 indicates a low level
and inadequate memory response immunity.

Vaccine Titer Serology
Serologic/vaccine titers for parvovirus and distemper show
adequate/adequate humoral immunity indicating that this dog should
respond with a boosted anamnestic effect to afford memory reponse
against these agents upon exposure."

They are saying these results indicate Zack is likely to be immune to getting sick from these diseases, that he will have an adequate "boosted" immune response if exposed to these diseases.

From these experiences, i have come to feel reasonably assured that Zack is protected by the vaccination that he had.

I will share with you an abstract of some research by the Schering Plough research division, they are a vaccine manufacturer, they studied the duration of time that dogs continued to be immune following one puppy shot--the duration was at least 4 years (limited by the length of the study period). The methodology used was disease challenge--that is, the researchers took 10 dogs who had had one vaccination as puppies and kept them under controlled research conditions and then, at much later times, exposed them to the distemper and parvo diseases and hepatitis, and the dogs were still immune. None got parvo or hepatitis after just having one puppy shot. 9 out of 10 did not get distemper, and none died.

Again, this research was sponsored by a vaccine company and done by respected experienced researchers, these facts support, for me, the value of the results. The purpose of the research was to learn more about how long vaccinations remain effective. How long can a vaccine company guarantee the effectiveness of a vaccine, as printed on their label.

Vet Ther. 2004 Fall;5(3):173-86.
Evaluation of the efficacy and duration of immunity of a canine combination vaccine against virulent parvovirus, infectious canine hepatitis virus, and distemper virus experimental challenges.
Abdelmagid OY, Larson L, Payne L, Tubbs A, Wasmoen T, Schultz R.
Schering-Plough Animal Health, Research and Development, 21401 West Center Road, Elkhorn, NE 68022, USA.

The results of this study confirmed that dogs vaccinated subcutaneously with a commercially available multivalent vaccine containing modified-live canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus type 2, canine parvovirus type 2b, and canine parainfluenza virus antigens were protected against sequential experimental challenge 55 to 57 months after initial vaccination given at 7 to 8 weeks of age. All 10 vaccinates were protected against clinical diseases and mortality following parvovirus and infectious canine hepatitis experimental infections. All vaccinates were protected against mortality and 90% against clinical disease following distemper challenge. These data support at least a 4-year duration of immunity for these three "core" fractions in the combination vaccine.

at this link (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=15578450&dopt=Abstract)

Remali
20th February 2007, 04:54 PM
Thank you Judy! I 've been very interested in learning more about titers vs. vaccinations. A friend of mine (she used to be a vet tech) always does titers on her 3 dogs now, after having some troubles with reactions to vaccinations, and she was the person who first told me about titers. So I am now really considering that route. Of course I will do the rabies. So, am I wrong in thinking this....after a dog has had all of his puppy shots, the next year you can have titers done? Bentley went through all of his series of vaccinations as a puppy, I'd have to look at the paperwork again, but I think he had three series of vaccs for his puppy shots. That is great that PetCare will accept Zacks' titers!

:flwr:

Zippy
20th February 2007, 06:17 PM
We spent a lot of time considering what to do about vaccinations.

Due to Lepto being a problem in our area, we are going with the vaccine.

We also had the rabies and core vaccinations.

My main concern is Mary Alices' overall health and keeping her protected from life-threatening diseases.

It's a personal decision, depends on your life style and the area in which you live, as well. Good luck with your dilemma. :flwr: :flwr:

WoodHaven
20th February 2007, 06:23 PM
There are holistic remedies, painkillers, and antihistamines to help with most reactions to innoculations--- I worry about the LONG term ramifications of pumping chemicals and mercury derivatives into their systems so often.

Karlin
20th February 2007, 06:39 PM
There are many experts who do not fully agree with Dr Dodd's research, or with parts of it -- like any researcher, she is not an infallible authority. There is also solid evidence that titers are not accurate. Jean Dodds herself offers her recommended vax protocol as the MINIMUM that should be considered for vaccination.

Please do NOT accept a single perspective on an important issue like vaccinations. There are good reasons why many vets do not consider titers an acceptable alternative to verify adequate or even the actual existence of any antibodies -- false negatives and positives are common. There is a lot of pseudoscientific babble with absolutely no basis in measurable studies for whether to vaccinate or not, as well. The only area as fraught with utter nonsense is the diets and supplements and nutrition area, IMHO, but at least overloading a dog with supplements does not usually risk some terrible possible outcomes.

Whether to vaccinate or not is for SOME vaccinations, a personal choice. On rabies in most countries it is NOT a personal choice. If you have never seen a dog dying from parvo or distemper I suggest talking to your vet about what is involved in that long and painful process before making any final decisions. Especially if you kennel your dog at all or mix it with other dogs in parks. We regularly encounter parvo in particular at the pounds and shelters. :( A lot of it is not officially 'acknowledged' either but we know when they are doing disinfections. Every single dog gets pts if there's a flareup as they cannot then be homed.

The standard vet school recommendation is to do core vaccines every three years. However (and frustratingly!) be aware many kennels will not accept this as adequate and you may have trouble finding anywhere to board your dog if making this choice. Fortunately the kennels I use are fine with three year core vaccines, which is what I do for all mine -- cats and dogs.

Personally I would only choose NOT to vaccinate an immuno-suppressed dog.

If anyone is seriously contemplating not vaccinating then for goodness sakes do not leave it at that but go work with a qualified holistic vet. Vaccinations or an alternative are the most basic form of healthcare for your cat or dog, not a lifestyle choice like a kibble. GET INFORMED ADVICE. DO NOT RELY ON ADVICE FROM A BOARD ON SUCH AN IMPORTANT ISSUE.

judy
20th February 2007, 07:33 PM
....So, am I wrong in thinking this....after a dog has had all of his puppy shots, the next year you can have titers done?....

For me, it's been reassuring that there is research indicating that dogs remain immune for many years from the viral vaccines, and that titers are increasingly considered legitimate ways of testing immune response.

This is a controversial subject and reasonable people can have differing opinions, and can see the available evidence in differing selective ways. I started out assuming i needed to get all the puppy shots in order for Zack to be protected, and then needed to have boosters at one year. If i had it to do over since studying the subject, i would've had titers done when Zack was 16 weeks old instead of having his last vaccination at that time, based on information I've studied.

Last November i was looking ahead to getting Zack's one year booster and i had some questions about the safest way to do that, such as, should i have the different vaccinations done separately instead of in combo. zack had a fairly severe but brief immediate reaction to the one shot i got for him at 16 weeks, and then, about a week later, he got quite sick, and at that time no one said it was from the vaccination, and it didn't occur to me that it mght be. But later, when i was preparing to do the booster, i considered the possibility. I don't know if there was a relationship or not. It's an open question. I decided to consult with Jean Dodds about all my questions, she suggested having titers done, and if adequate, then not re-vaccinating. She has been researching duration of immunity and serologic testing (titers) for years and has published research in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association on the subject, and elsewhere.

So, this is how i've come to have confidence in titers--the acceptance of them by PetCare as evidence of protection has just added reassurance.

I'm just talking about the viral vaccinations, distemper and parvo. The bacterial vaccinations are different. I am not giving those either, for various reasons, but those are different reasons. As someone said, the individual and local circumstances of a dog are important to consider.

Because each dog's particular circumstances need to be taken into account, each dog owner, along with the vets they consult, are in the best position to decide what to do for their own dog. It's a personal matter for people trying to protect their dogs' health in the best ways they know how.

I don't assume that anyone has the final answers about these things, and i'm sure there is no risk free choice. We each have to look at all the information we can and make what we believe is the best choice--and, keep an open mind.

Doggydad
20th February 2007, 09:12 PM
A very difficult topic indeed. In fact, I debated with myself for a mili-second or two before I elected to join in the fray.

Everyone has very good points and valid concerns on this subject.

I would consider all points provided and information given here, consult with my Vet if there is confidence there, and make my own decision.

Some of you may remember seeing my original posts in the Introduce Yourself forum back in September and the reason that initially led me to this site to begin with. At the time, we were dealing with sudden mandatory lung surgery two months after the beginning of our battle with IMT (http://www.cavalierhealth.org/index.html) in our 6-yr. old Blenheim boy “Charley”. Which actually turned out to be unrelated to the IMT.

In June, 06’, when he turned six years old, we gave him his annual round of vaccinations as we had every year prior to that, and as we given to all of our dogs for the past 40 years. At the time, we had never heard of titers and were completely ignorant of the possible ramifications of over-medicating your pet.

One day after receiving his distemper shot, he began to exhibit symptoms of IMT. He was misdiagnosed by a temporary Vet at first check. The IMT wasn’t caught until a week – 10 days later when he started bleeding out at both ends.

Since then, he, doggymom and I have been on a emotional roller-coater ride with the fight to give him quality of life that we so desperately want for him. I’m not going to go into the whole soap opera again with the conventional meds & philosophy vs Eastern meds, acupuncture, & philosophy because that in itself opens another difficult subject. As is the disease IMT itself.

My point to this reply is that, even though there is no conclusive evidence, I will go to my grave believing that the distemper shot triggered the IMT. Of course, along with that goes the weight of guilt on my heart of making an un-informed decision that will probably ultimately shorten the lifespan of my little angel.

I’ve said this before and here it is again, we are not professionals, only pet owners struggling to make the best life possible for our “kids”. This is our belief as a result of our personal experience in our case only.

Remali
20th February 2007, 10:41 PM
As with any decision with my dogs' health, I will always consult my vet...there are many vets who agree that we tend to over-vaccinate our dogs. I am not just relying on advice from this board, or any board...I am only seeking to know what other people do and what their opinions are. That said, I continue to read forums such as this one, and I also continue to work with my vet. I agree with you Judy, it really is a totally personal matter, and also it depends on where you live, and the individual dog and so many other factors. I still lean toward doing titers, and do plan on discussing that further with my vet.

Thank you for your input Doggydad, I hope that your Charley will do OK and have many more wonderful years with you.

Whereas there may be a lot of controversy over Dr. Dodd's way of thinking, there is also a lot of controversy over vaccinations too. And again, we as pet owners just have to make the best possible choice for our pets. Again, I am not talking about rabies, I am talking about the vaccs like parvo and distemper, etc. I do feel that I am getting informed advice, and I'll continue to work with my vet who I trust....I don't think I am comparing my dogs' vaccinations to kibble, I do take my dogs' health quite seriously...obviously if I did not care I would not be having this discussion right now. I do agree that titers aren't perfect, but then neither are vaccinations. I just want what is best for my dogs.

judy
22nd February 2007, 08:31 AM
....I will go to my grave believing that the distemper shot triggered the IMT. Of course, along with that goes the weight of guilt on my heart of making an un-informed decision that will probably ultimately shorten the lifespan of my little angel...

doggydad, i just want to say, even though i know you already know this, when a dog gets sick, it's a sad painful situation no matter what, an owner feels helpless and inadequate and scared and hurting. you and doggiemom have given so much to charley. I hope his life will not be shortened, but what you've done for him has surely lengthened whatever time he would've had when he got sick if you hadn't worked so hard to help him in all the ways you have, and you've shown him such love in the process, i know that has made his life very special for him, all the attention, all the one on one quality time with mom and dad. i just want to express admiration for how you've dealt with Charley's illness and how loved you've made him feel. sorry you have to go through the inevitable emotions of having a sick baby. :(
:hug:

Doggydad
22nd February 2007, 10:35 AM
....I will go to my grave believing that the distemper shot triggered the IMT. Of course, along with that goes the weight of guilt on my heart of making an un-informed decision that will probably ultimately shorten the lifespan of my little angel...

doggydad, i just want to say, even though i know you already know this, when a dog gets sick, it's a sad painful situation no matter what, an owner feels helpless and inadequate and scared and hurting. you and doggiemom have given so much to charley. I hope his life will not be shortened, but what you've done for him has surely lengthened whatever time he would've had when he got sick if you hadn't worked so hard to help him in all the ways you have, and you've shown him such love in the process, i know that has made his life very special for him, all the attention, all the one on one quality time with mom and dad. i just want to express admiration for how you've dealt with Charley's illness and how loved you've made him feel. sorry you have to go through the inevitable emotions of having a sick baby. :(
:hug:

Judy, thank you for the kind words, it means a lot. :flwr: