This recent 2010 article by two of the best known US-based experts on vaccinating pets, Dr Jean Dodds and Dr Ronald Schultz, is an excellent summary of where the experts currently stand on how often and when and IF to vaccinate:
- They say that only HEALTHY pets should be vaccinated. For cavaliers with MVD and SM, this may mean you will wish to consider titers to get an estimate of immunity. NB many feel dogs/cats over 7 (when cavaliers would be likely to be showing MVD) do NOT need vaccination (feeling their puppy/kitten series and three, three-yearly (NOT ANNUAL!) boosters provide more than enough lifetime immunity; titer if unsure)
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.
- They say homeopathic nosodes DO NOT WORK. This may surprise many who think Dr Dodds advocates homeopathic nosodes! She does NOT:
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.
- They say it is CRITICAL to give at least one dose of core vaccine to help protect ALL dogs and puppies (puppies are very at risk from parvo/distemper):
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.
Copy this article and give to your vets and boarding kennels if they are pressuring you to vaccinate annually.