Educate Yourselves and Know Your Options!!!
There has been an explosion of vaccination in the veterinary community. There are several concerns that this raises.
Are Vaccines Effective?
Core dog vaccines typically include parvovirus, distemper, adenovirus, and parainfluenza in a combination 4 in 1. Often times one or many strains of leptospirosis are also in the core vaccine.
Parainfluenza: Designed to protect of one of MANY respiratory pathogens that contribute to kennel cough. If this vaccination was protective then why does your vet or boarding facility require a different vaccine to prevent kennel cough? The vaccine is ineffective at preventing disease. Disease if acquired is typically mild and often self-limiting.
Distemper, Adenovirus and parvovirus: These are devastating diseases and vaccination does provide excellent immunity. These vaccinations have been life-savers. It doesn’t mean however that they need to be boostered every year, or even every three years. Many veterinarians feel that if they don’t send reminders for vaccinations (despite knowing that they are over-vaccinating) that people will not bring their dogs for annual checkups. We choose to believe at the South Bellmore Veterinary Group that our clients are smarter then that and that they are out to provide the best and safest care to their pets
Puppies should be boostered at 8, 12, and 16 weeks. This is the time when our patients are most susceptible to disease. Their protection from maternal antibodies is waning and their own immune systems are not developed. They should be re-boostered at around one year from the final pupy shot to reinforce the animals adult immunity. This protocol provides long term immunity. Adult animals that have received this vaccine protocol are protected in our opinion for the life of the animal (hey when is the last time you went to the doctor for a vaccine booster and your life expectancy is 75 years!) Subsequent exposures to these viruses usually result in clinically mild disease or no disease at all. One could consider reboostering mid -life at around 5 years of age if they are uncomfortable never vaccinating again. The dangers in our opinion outweigh the risks of vaccinating more frequently then this. See below “dangers of vaccine”
Leptospirosis: There are hundres of serovars of leptospirosis and vaccination for one serovar does not necessarily protect against the others. It is also transmissible to people from their pets if infected thru infected urine. Leptospira organisms prefer warm, moist, alkaline environments. They are more likely to be found in stagnant or slow moving water. Lepotospirosis is a bacteria not a virus and bacterial vaccinations do not provide long term immunity. If you decide that your dog has a high exposure to this bacteria then you must booster yearly. Some have suggested that the protective immunity against leptospirosis is even less than one year. Anecdotally, the leptospirosis vaccine is known to cause the most frequent and violent reactions and given the fact that except in extreme circumstances the benefits in our opinion do not outweigh the risks. Limit your pet’s contact with rodent populations and limit your pet’s exposure to stagnant water or flooded soil to minimize chance of infection. If there are known outbreaks in your area you may re-consider. We don’t use this vaccination on our own pets and rarely recommend it to our patients.
Lyme: only consider in heavily endemic areas. Focus on tick prevention and removal (ticks must attach for 12-24 hours before infection occurs). Check your dog twice a day for ticks during tick seaseon. Lyme is a bacterin like lepto so immunity is fleeting (less then a year). There have been reports of Lyme Nephritis, or renal failure induced from the vaccination. These reports have subsequently been largely discounted. We never vaccinate for Lyme in our practices unless the client demands it due to their circumstances.
Giardia: Don’t use… doesn’t work
Ringworm: don’t use doesn’t work
Bordatella: short term immunity and so many organisms contribute to kennel cough efficacy hard to quantify. Disease if contracted typically mild. Can use sparingly if required by a boarding kennel.
Rabies: A nearly 100% fatal disease if contracted. Vaccine is effective. To contract disease must be bitten by a rabid animal. Transmissable to people. State laws require us to booster every 3 years even though immunity is certainly far longer then this. Unfortunately, in most instances pet owners are required to follow state law.
Coronavirus: not needed, not recommended
the typical 3/1 vaccine given to cats contains
Panleukopenia: very effective vaccine… deadly disease if caught and highly contagious. Cats should be boostered at 8, 12 and 16 weeks then boostered at a year and never again (especially an indoor cat).
Calicivirus and Viral Rhinotracheitis: these are typically in the panleukopenia vaccine so if you wanna give panleukopenia often you have to give these. These are upper respiratory diseases. The vaccines DO NOT prevent infection and or disease. At best they decrease severity and course of the disease and reduce shedding. Again, two kitten boosters and one booster at a year. Merck does offer a panleukopenia vaccine that does not contain calicivirus and rhinotracheitis.
FIP: don’t give. Does nothing
Giardia: don’t give Does nothing
Felv: deadly disease and effective vaccine… but your cat needs to come in contact with felv positive cat. Use only non-adjuvented vaccine. Vaccinate at 12 and 16 weeks and then at a year for OUTDOOR cats only or cats within a household that has a positive cat
Chlamydia: don’t give.. does nothing potentially dangerous
Vaccinations… The Dangers That No One Wants You to Know
First let me say that we do believe in certain vaccinations in certain scenarios as stated above. Sometimes they are necessary and have helped to eradicate or minimize some very serious diseases. They are not however without significant risk.
Vaccine Sarcomas: This is mostly a problem of our feline patients (although there have been reports in at least one dog). It is a well known phenomenon that is rare but does occur. Cats that have received (we believe) either ADJUVENTED feline leukemia and rabies are at risk. The sarcomas or cancer that develops at the vaccination sites of these animals are highly aggressive and require aggressive (sometimes multiple) surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy and still most of the time we often don’t cure these cats. If you are considering vaccinating your cat limit to two boosters when kittens and one at one year of age with “recommended” vaccines above. Here is a link to read more about this devastating condition
.Immune mediated disease: Vaccination by definition stimulates an intense immune response. Often times this can result in the body’s immune response turning against itself. The rise of immune mediated conditions such as thrombocytopenia (body destroying it’s own platelets), hemolytic anemia (body destroys it’s own red blood cells), polyarthritis Etc. have all been linked to vaccination.
Allergies, licking paws , chronic puritis, and inflammatory bowel disease… all have a POTENTIAL link to vaccination. More research needs to be done
Acute allergic reaction, fever, pain and swelling at injection site, hives, and DEATH are all potential consequences of vaccination.
There are MANY diseases in people that are either known to or are speculated to cause a variety of diseases….some extremely serious
Vaccination has a place in veterinary medicine. Vaccinate minimally….general rule three vaccines as pup/kitten one booster at one year from that. Many advocate not vaccinating for more than one disease at a time. Don’t vaccinate for diseases where the disease itself is not that serious (coronavirus, viral rhinotracheitis etc)…don’t vaccinate for diseases (lepto and lyme for example) unless there is a large endemic risk in your area and you have done your homework that the benefits outweigh the risks. Focus on GOOD NUTRITION (link), good husbandry ( a clean environment for your pets with )and plenty of exercise. Understand that veterinarians (who make their money by coming in for “yearly vaccination”) and drug companies who sell the vaccines are not going to tell you any of this.