Information on Medical Issues
This is a hot topic for pet owners and veterinarians alike. There are many opinions and philosophies about using chemicals of any sort on animals. Some people don't want to use any chemicals and the other side of the spectrum are those who want to do whatever the vets advise. (There is a wide diversion of opinion even among vets). Since we serve people with different philosophies, we try to minimize the chemicals we use before they pick up their puppy. This way, the new owners can decide what they are going to do with this issue.
We will include three articles about this topic to shed some light on the situation. The second article concerns Titer Testing to see if a dog is carrying the immunities needed before adding more vaccines. The third concerns a vaccination protocol by a respected veterinarian.
Our current position on vaccinations
We are asking the new owners what they would like to do about vaccinations and following their desires.
Since the mother passes immunities to the puppies that can last up to eight to twelve weeks. Her immunities may cancel the vaccination efficacy is some cases. However, the young puppy might be exposed to potentially harmful viruses at the vet office. So, following the Dr. Jean Dodd protocol (shown below) we have decided to ask the new owners if they want their puppy vaccinated before they leave our care. We will be happy to do so but we often advise a Parvo vaccine only and not the more normally used 5-way vaccination.
We are not vets, nor do we pretend to offer medical advise for your puppy. Once you decide to purchase one of our dogs, please confer with a vet you trust and bring up the information listed below to help you learn what is best for your new fur baby.
The Truth About Pet Vaccinations
by Dr. Larry Siegler
Most guardians have never been told the truth about vaccinations. On the contrary, you are likely to get annual notices from your veterinarian that your companion is “due for their annual booster shots”. The evidence against vaccinating, however, is overwhelming. Most veterinarians just choose to ignore the research because they don’t want to lose the income from giving booster shots to all those animals each year.
Vaccinations represent a major stress to the immune system. They can not only cause side-effects and allergic reactions, they also contribute significantly to long term chronic disease. Chronic health problems frequently appear following vaccination including skin allergies, arthritis, leukemia, upper respiratory infections, irritable bowel syndromes, neurological conditions including aggressive behavior and epilepsy, auto-immune diseases and cancer.
I have been practicing veterinary medicine for over 20 years and I see sicker animals at a younger age now than when I began. It is more and more common to see cancer in dogs and cats under 5 years of age. Autoimmune diseases are on the rise as well. Our companions are suffering from generations of over-vaccination, which combined with inadequate nutrition, poor breeding practices and environmental stresses are leaving each generation more susceptible to congenital disorders and chronic disease.
Vaccinations do help prevent serious illnesses, but they should be used with restraint. Before vaccinating, consider the risk. If your cat is indoor only and will never be exposed to unvaccinated animals, the risk of infection is low. The decision about vaccinations is very individual and should be guided by your own research on the subject before you go to the veterinarian.
Puppies and kittens should not be vaccinated until at least 12 weeks of age. Their developing immune systems are especially vulnerable to the stress of vaccines. Request individual vaccines and vaccinate at least three weeks apart if possible. Until 12 weeks of age keep your companion safe by avoiding exposure to public areas such as parks and pet stores. Keep them close to home and only expose them to animals you know are healthy. For puppies consider parvovirus and distemper at 12-15 weeks, and not until after 6 months of age for rabies. For kittens – consider one Panleukopenia combination (FRCP). Again, if available, give the vaccine components separately spaced three to four weeks apart. Feline leukemia and FIP vaccines may not be necessary for your cat. Consider it’s lifestyle and environment. IF your cats go outside and you have rabies in your area, give a rabies vaccine at six months of age. (Legal requirements vary from state to state.)
Vaccinations do not need “boosting”. Studies have shown that a single vaccination for parvovirus, distemper and panleukopenia results in long-term protection from disease. Simple blood tests can determine if your companion’s antibody levels for parvovirus and distemper remain high enough to resist infection. Next time your veterinarian suggests a booster shot, request the blood test first. (Rabies may be required by law every three years. Check the regulations in your state.)
I do not recommend vaccinations for Bordetella, corona virus, leptospirosis or Lyme vaccines unless these diseases are endemic locally or at a specific kennel. The currently licensed leptospira bacterins do not contain the serovars causing the majority of clinical leptospirosis today, so it is generally not a useful vaccine.
Homeopathic Nosodes are an alternative some guardians are using when choosing not to vaccinate. They can also be used before three months of age if an animal is at risk. Many guardians use these homeopathic medicines to help protect their companions against Parvovirus, Distemper, Kennel Cough, Panleukopenia and FIP. Some nosodes seem to work more effectively than others. Homeopathic nosodes are not vaccinations. They do not produce titers against these diseases like a vaccination. They do seem to offer some protection by reducing the severity of illness if the animal is exposed, even if they don’t prevent it.
Never vaccinate a sick or weakened animal. If your puppy or kitten is showing signs of allergies or skin problems, WAIT. Vaccinating an already compromised immune system is almost sure to compound the problem!
Educate yourself. Your veterinarian cannot make this decision for you, nor should they. You are your companion’s guardian. It is your responsibility to give them the best care you can by researching and carefully weighing your decisions about their healthcare.
Considerations for the Titer Testing of Core Canine Vaccines
A report by Ronald D. Schultz, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, Professor and Chair, Department of Pathobiological Sciences School of Veterinary Medicine – University of Wisconsin-Madison
The routine administration of vaccines in dogs has been one of the most significant factors in the consistent reduction of serious canine infectious diseases. This approach has resulted in excellent disease control for infections that were once considered important causes of morbidity and mortality.
Although all veterinarians agree vaccines are necessary, the frequency in which they’re given is debated.
Veterinarians need to administer the rabies vaccine as defined by law, but other core vaccines for canine distemper virus (CDV), parvovirus (CPV-2) and canine adenovirus-2 (CAV), are administered more often than necessary. Vaccines are largely safe, and are intended to improve the health and welfare of animals, but when problems do occur and the animal didn’t even need the vaccine, that’s unacceptable. More puppies and kittens need to be vaccinated with the core vaccines because there are many that never get vaccinated. It is known that dogs often maintain protective antibody to CDV, CPV-2, and CAV-1, (from vaccination with CAV-2) for three or more years and numerous experimental studies support this observation. Core vaccines should not be given any more frequently than every three years after the 12 month booster injection following the puppy/kitten series, because the duration of immunity (DOI) is many years and may be up to the lifetime of the pet. In order to ensure the existence of duration of immunity, titer testing may be used.
Dr. W. Jean Dodd's vaccination protocol is now being adopted by all 27 North American veterinary schools.