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Vaccinating Your Pets – What You Should Know Part 3

In this series (See parts 1 & 2), a lot of information has been presented on rabies vaccines and adverse events from rabies vaccines with a sprinkling of general vaccine adverse reactions. Now, the attention turns to core and non-core vaccines and the length of immunity for animal vaccines.

The core vaccines or ones that most veterinarians recommend your dog should have as a puppy are Distemper, rabies, Parvovirus, and Adenovirus (hepatitis). Rabies is a separate injection, but Distemper, Parvovirus and Adenovirus (hepatitis) may come in a combination injection. These are to protect against viral disease.

Non-Core vaccines are those vaccines that are administered based on several factors – lifestyle, history, environment, etc. These include Bordetella (kennel cough), Lyme Disease, Leptospirosis, Canine Influenza, Canine Parainfluenza, and Adenovirus Intranasal. Sometimes Leptospirosis is given in a combination vaccine with other core vaccines, but should be considered separately as it is not a core vaccine.

In the previous series, DHLPP was used to indicate a combination core vaccine. What does DHLPP mean? It breaks down as follows: D – Distemper; H – Hepatitis (Adenovirus); L – Leptospirosis; P – Parvovirus; P – Parainfluenza. As we have seen only Distemper, Parvovirus and Adenovirus (hepatitis) – DHP – are considered core vaccines. But, Parainfluenza, a non-core vaccine, is usually included in the combination – DHPP. Check with your veterinarian to determine which combination core vaccine is used during annual visits. Core vaccines are usually recommended by all vets regardless of lifestyle. However, some vets will use the DHLPP combination vaccine which includes the non-core vaccine Leptospirosis and Parainfluenza based on their determination of those disease risks in the area to their animal patients.

Another thing to remember is vaccines for dogs are a “one size fits all” treatment measure – a one-pound puppy will receive the same dosage of each vaccine as a 100-pound adult dog.

Distemper is considered a serious virus that spreads through direct contact or airborne exposure such as coughing or sneezing. “Puppies can also get it through their mother’s placenta.” It can affect wild animals as well, usually raccoons, coyotes, skunks, foxes or ferrets. Animals with distemper can shed it into the environment, but it does not last long outside the host.

Early signs of distemper can consist of “fever, lack of appetite, nasal discharge, eye discharge, lethargy, breathing problems, and gastrointestinal issues. “After some time, dogs can develop neurological symptoms such as “Muscle twitching, convulsions, salivation, circling, head tilt, involuntary eye movements, partial paralysis, and seizures.” Unfortunately, Distemper can be confused with other diseases.

Infectious canine Hepatitis is caused by the canine adenovirus and targets organs such as blood vessel linings, liver, kidneys, spleen, and lungs. Symptoms of canine hepatitis include “fever of 104 degrees or more, lasting one to six days, increased heart rate, spontaneous bleeding, apathy, loss of appetite, thirst, eye inflammation – watery discharge, and red or bruised-looking nose and mouth.” Very young dogs suffer from the highest mortality of hepatitis.

As previously mentioned, parainfluenza is not considered a core vaccine, but some vets are using combination vaccines containing parainfluenza. Simply, parainfluenza is the dog version of the human cold. It’s quite contagious, but usually not life-threatening. Just like Bordetella, parainfluenza can cause “kennel cough” and is transmitted through air droplets. It’s mostly a problem in dense dog populations and kennels. Symptoms of parainfluenza include dry hacking/honking cough, nasal discharge, lethargy, and lack of appetite whether caused by a virus or bacteria.

Parvovirus is the big one that scares vets and pet owners, particularly puppy owners. It’s highly contagious and some vets will convince owners their puppy will die from parvo if not vaccinated. Parvo is not common in adult dogs. Parvo is usually contracted through contact with infected feces, another dog, or through contact with a contaminated object. Symptoms of Parvo include bloody feces that smell very unpleasant, vomiting, dehydration, nausea, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain.

Dehydration is the main concern with parvovirus in puppies. Just like in babies, puppies can dehydrate faster than adult dogs. While parvovirus is very scary, “statistics show that vaccinated puppies can get parvo and their survival rates are lower than unvaccinated puppies should they contract parvo.

According to research by Dr. Ronald Schultz, dogs that have been vaccinated at 16 weeks of age or older against rabies, distemper, hepatitis, and parvovirus have been shown to have lifetime immunity meaning repeated vaccinations are unnecessary. Why wait until 16 weeks of age or older to vaccinate your puppy? Dr. Schultz determined it was due to maternal antibodies.

The reason puppies receive so many vaccinations (DHPP at 6 weeks, then every 2-4 weeks until 16 weeks old) is because the puppy still has maternal antibodies from the mother that do not wane until about 16 weeks of age. These maternal antibodies actually prevent “immunization” when vaccinating your new family member.

Antibodies from mother’s milk protect newborn puppies from disease. But these antibodies can also “block” the vaccine’s ability to create immunity. 

Maternal antibodies wear off over time … but vets don’t know exactly when. So they vaccinate repeatedly. They’re trying to catch that window between the maternal antibodies wearing off … and your puppy being exposed to the viruses.

This means that if you follow your vet’s advice, your puppy will get many more DHPP vaccines than he actually needs. He could receive 4 or 5 vaccines when he only needs one!

Dr. Schultz understood and researched over-vaccination risks. To prevent over-vaccination, he formulated the solution of waiting until the puppy is 16 weeks old to vaccinate creating a “one and done” vaccination series creating lifetime immunity. It is also recommended to avoid “combination” vaccines and administer each one separately about three weeks apart for the core vaccines. Titers can be done to determine if the dog’s immune system mounted a response. If the dog has a positive titer, there is no reason to repeat the titer, and no reason to “re-vaccinate”.

Bordetella (kennel cough), Lyme Disease, and Leptospirosis are vaccines (non-core) against bacteria that carry a low efficacy rate and high incidence of adverse reactions. Usually, Bordetella (kennel cough) is required by dog groomers and dog kennels that board dogs for a fee. It is usually given every 6 months “routinely”, but if you do not board your dog or visit a groomer, this intranasal vaccine may not be appropriate for your furry family member. If you do not have the Bordetella administered to your dog and need to board him for some reason, the Bordetella can be given upon entry into the boarding kennel. Moreover, many intranasal Bordetella vaccines can include Parainfluenza.

There are multiple problems with vaccines for Bordetella, Lyme Disease and Leptospirosis – They don’t work as well; don’t protect for very long; and are more dangerous. Remember, the only vaccine mandated by law is rabies; therefore, no one can force you to vaccinate your furry family member with any core or non-core vaccine.

The majority of dogs with known leptospirosis have been found to be without symptoms – they live with it without getting ill.

This isn’t to say that leptospirosis can’t cause illness in dogs. In some cases lepto can be fatal.

However, in the 1996 Canine Health Concern vaccine survey 100% of dogs with leptospirosis had been vaccinated within three months prior to infection. This can only be because:

  1. The vaccine caused the disease, or
  2. The vaccine didn’t contain the serovar that caused the illness, or
  3. The vaccine contained a non-local serovar that the dog hadn’t adapted to, or it just didn’t work.

If your vet recommends a lepto shot, you need to ask him two questions. The first is whether he has seen a case of lepto in the last, say, six months (i.e., is the vaccine necessary?). The second is which serovar is involved, and is that serovar in the vaccine? For if it’s not, the vaccine won’t help. There are over 200 versions of leptospirosis and vaccination against one form will not provide protection against the others.

The WSAVA VGG states,

The leptospirosis vaccine is the one least likely to provide adequate and prolonged protection, and therefore must be administered annually or more often for animals at high risk. Protection against infection with different serovars is variable. This product is associated with the greatest number of adverse reactions to any vaccine.“ [Emphasis mine.]

Leptospira vaccines provide short-term immunity (e.g., 3–12 months) and the efficacy is often less than 70%. Also leptospira products often prevent clinical disease but fail to protect against infection and shedding of the bacteria, especially when infection occurs more than 6 months after vaccination. The immunity among the serovars varies and immunity varies among vaccinated dogs. Persistence of antibody after vaccination will often be only a few months and immunological memory for protective immunity is short (e.g. 1 year or less). Thus, revaccination may be required as often as every 6–9 months for dogs at high risk.“

What is the leptospirosis vaccine doing on the WSAVA non-core list? It has no place there. It should be on the “not recommended” list. Leptospirosis is not even a vaccinatable disease, and the vaccine can kill! [Emphasis Mine]

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria as well but is transmitted through tick bites. It exists in all States in the united States.

As with leptospirosis, not all dogs who test positive for Lyme disease suffer symptoms, and the disease can be treated with antibiotics or good holistic care.

The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM), stated in 2005, “The ACVIM diplomates believe the use of Lyme vaccines is still controversial and most do not administer them.” Neither do the American veterinary schools recommend the Lyme vaccine.

Dr Patricia Jordan writes,

In some cases, dogs develop Lyme disease despite the vaccine, or maybe because of the vaccine. Research dogs develop all the symptoms of Lyme disease up to six weeks after receiving the shot, while tests for the Lyme disease bacteria show up as negative. Left untreated more concerning issues develop.“

Cornell University’s School of Veterinary Medicine researchers suspect long-term side effects are associated with the Lyme disease vaccine for dogs, but nothing definitive has been documented or exhaustively studied, says Allen Schoen, a doctor of veterinary medicine in Sherman, Connecticut. “These side effects may vary from rheumatoid arthritis and all the major symptoms of Lyme disease to acute kidney failure.”

This vaccine should be on the “not recommended” list.

“Kennel cough can be caused by a variety of agents including – but not limited to – parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, and the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacterin.”

The WSAVA informs us that,

It is important to realize that not all members of the Kennel Cough complex have a vaccine. Also, because Kennel Cough is a localized infection (meaning it is local to the respiratory tract), it is an infection that does not lend itself to prevention by vaccination.“

Putting this is plain English, the WSAVA seems to be saying that kennel cough vaccines don’t work, or that kennel cough is not a vaccinatable disease.

Most combination canine vaccines contain injectable parainfluenza as well as adenovirus, expressed as ‘DHPPi = (D) Distemper, (H) Hepatitis/adenovirus, (P) Parvovirus and (Pi) Parainfluenza.

The Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccine is a live avirulent bacteria, given up the nose. It’s generally combined with intranasal parainfluenza. The WSAVA advises that “the Bordetella vaccine may promote transient (3–10 days) coughing and sneezing, and nasal discharge may occur in a small percentage of vaccinates.”

The implication of this is (and the evidence suggests), that kennel cough vaccines cause kennel cough outbreaks.

Kennel cough is not a serious disease for a majority of dogs. However, it has a high likelihood of causing an adverse reaction, particularly those caused by Type 1 hypersensitivity.

“Type I hypersensitivity reactions involve an immune-mediated reaction that releases potent inflammatory mediators and other chemicals that trigger an anaphylactic reaction in the affected animal. The reactions are usually acute, with the clinical signs appearing within minutes or hours of vaccination. Typical signs reported are facial oedema, shock, lethargy, respiratory distress and diarrhea. Severe anaphylactic reactions may result in death. Urticaria (hives), facial edema and anaphylactic shock are specific clinical manifestations of Type I hypersensitivities.”

One has to question whether kennel cough vaccines should be on the “non-core vaccine” list. More than likely, it should be on the “not recommended” list. According to Dr. Ronald Schultz, “Kennel Cough is not a vaccinatable disease”.

This simple downloadable chart explains the core and non-core vaccines and the length of immunity once vaccinated.

First … you’ll see the Minimum Duration of Immunity of the Core Vaccines. Protection against disease from these vaccines has been proven by clinical studies to last from 7 to 15 years (depending on the vaccine). The core vaccine information in the chart is based on clinical studies by Ronald D Schultz PhD and you can read more about his work in this article.

If your dog has had any of the core vaccines at 16 weeks of age or older, he’s most likely protected for life and doesn’t need to be vaccinated again.

Your veterinarian may not agree with this. Unless your veterinarian is truly holistic, she will probably at least follow the AAHA guidelines.

Some veterinarians may imply that the core vaccines are required by law. But, except for rabies, they’re not.

A resource helpful to share with your veterinarian, groomers, boarders, and local and State entities for educational purposes regarding vaccines is “What Every Vet and Pet Owner Should Know About Vaccines” along with the companion article “What Every Vet (And Owner) Should Know About Vaccines.”

In the next series, vaccine-induced disease or “vaccinosis” and more adverse reactions will be covered.


Article posted with permission from Sons of Liberty Media

The post Vaccinating Your Pets – What You Should Know Part 3 appeared first on The Washington Standard.

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