|Experts question whether vaccinating too
often creates more risks than benefits.
Vaccinations probably have done more for the health of
dogs than any other veterinary advances. The lifespan of pets today
is largely the result of our control over preventable diseases. However,
as veterinary-immunology developments emerge and side effects associated
with vaccination become apparent, veterinarians and their clients have
begun to question the need for yearly boosters.
Option vs. necessity
Itís difficult to say which canine vaccines are necessary
and which are of limited or no value. The American Association of
Feline Practitioners, in conjunction with the Academy of Feline Medicine,
issued vaccination guidelines that also can be applied to dogs. They
divide vaccines into two groups: core and non-core. Core vaccines
are those every animal needs. Non-core vaccines are those to be considered
based on various factors, including the risk of disease exposure, disease
severity, the efficacy and the safety of the vaccine, and clien-specific
concerns such as cost and convenience.
Most veterinarians agree every dog should be vaccinated
against rabies, distemper, adenovirus (infectious hepatitis) and parvovirus.
Some also list parainfluenza and bordetella (kennel cough) among core vaccines.
Vaccines against coronavirus, Lyme disease, leptospirosis and giardia are
generally considered non-core.
Commonly, dogs receive vaccinations throughout life if
the disease for which the vaccine protects can affect the animal at all
stages of life and if the immunity produced by
the vaccine is short-lived.
However, recent research has shown dogs vaccinated against
the canine distemper virus as puppies, for example, develop antibody levels
that persist for many years. Studies on dogs vaccinated against parvorirus
have shown that immunity to this potentially fatal disease lasts several
years and may be lifelong in some instances.
Rabies is the most important core vaccine due to the fatal
nature of the disease in animals and itís human-health implications.
Public health authorities set frequency standards for rabies vaccination.
Many studies have shown the three-year rabies vaccine induce immunity.
Some vaccinations offer immunization for three years.
The fact that the duration of immunity for most core vaccines
is three years (and often much longer) has led many veterinary universities
to change their vaccination protocols. Private veterinarians
also have begun to embrace these changes.
The Bad with the good
Any vaccine can induce adverse reactions, including local
pain and swelling, hives, fever, lethargy, and decreased appetite.
But, serious side effects are uncommon. Avoiding
vaccination is not an option. The goal is to vaccinate more dogs,
Arnold Plotnnick, DVM, is vice president of animal
health for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
in New York.
||Consider this as a conservative
This is what is in a DHLPP
Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvo,
A more conservative schedule is to only give core vaccines
and not this combination.
A very concervative shot schedule would be: (please
consider that some areas of the country may require you to give other boosters
to combat diseases that are prevalant. This is for those areas that have
no major outbreak)
6 weeks: parvo only
8 weeks: distemper only
10 weeks: parvo only
12 weeks: distemper only
16 weeks or older: rabies only
Your dog should not need yearly boosters after this series
and only the required rabies shot. Check with your local County to see
whether a 3 year rabies shot is given, and if so, opt for that one. Many
Counties have a 3 year but do not tell the public. You will still be responsible
for purchasing a license yearly though, which is better than having to
give a shot yearly.
Lepto is a rare disease and affects few dogs, plus, many
dogs have reactions to it, including Dachshunds.
Core vaccines for dogs include
Noncore vaccines include
canine adenovirus-2 (hepatitis and respiratory disease)
A smart way to give shots is to only give core vaccines separately.
Only if there is a real risk of exposure to the noncore viruses should
Bordatella bronchiseptica (both are causes of "kennel cough")
Borrelia burgdorferi (causes Lyme Disease)
your dog these vaccines.
My Holistic veterinarian who is President of the American
HolisticVeterinary Medical Association for 2000-2001 is a firm believer
that shots are a tremendous cause for the immune system breakdown by bombarding
the system with unnecessary vaccines and too often. There are enough
articles to substantiate this and I think it will open many people's eyes.
It is imperative though that you know what your dog's risk of exposure
is. Different areas of the country have higher risk to certain diseases
and each dog is different, so, common sense prevails. He says to
discuss your own needs with your vet and choose your vaccine wisely.
(On a note of an analogy, how many booster shots do you,
yourself get a year???)
If your vet has been paying attention to the latest studies,
they may modify their vaccine procedures. It they tell you "they're
all safe" get
On a side note, after the shot is administered, massage
the area. The shot can be in the layers of skin and not absorb correctly
causing a cyst to develop down the road. It only takes a moment to
massage. There is another controversy about the area where the shot
is given and that maybe
it should be given in the rear leg (particularly rabies)
since there has been a correlation with sarcomas developing at the shot
For those of you who get USA Weekend in your paper, two
weeks ago there was an article about vaccinations. An abreviated
version of it is on line, but, there are many studies out there that you
can find on the Internet.