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.