A few thoughts on Vaccinations

It is up to each and every individual to make an informed decision on vaccinations.

When puppies are born they do not have natural antibodies, this is acquired through the colustrum in the first 18 hours. This is passive immunity, which is passed through to the puppy from the “first milk” called colostrum. This is of course based upon the Mother being vaccinated. The antibodies that come through the first milk are called maternal antibodies.

It is important to know if the puppy has had this first milk as they are unable to absorb it after the first 18 hours. (for example a puppy without a mum present should pose a few questions to the buyer such as did they get the first milk which then could lead to health problems later on).

It is questionable as to how long the immunity lasts for, as some say it can last for up to 26 weeks.

Puppies can be vaccinated for core vaccines Distemper (Hard Pard), Hepatitis & Parvo, Leptospirosis.

There are also non core vaccines such as Kennel Cough and Parainfluenza.  (Lepto is a NON core vaccine in other countries, but not the UK)


Currently there are two variations of the leptospirosis vaccination (in two brands of vaccine Nobivac and Canigen). These are Lepto 2 and Lepto 4. The newer vaccine Lepto 4 is is based upon two further strains of the virus being protected for, which have only been present in Europe.

Please note the variation between Lepto 2 and Lepto 4

  • Lepto 2, covers for two strains of leptospirosis:- L. canicola and L. icterohaemorrhagiae infection.
  • Lepto 4 covers for:- L. canicola and L Icteromaemorrhagiae infection (as per Lepto 2), also covering for L. australis and L. grippotyphosa. (Lepto 4 is also a yearly vaccine. The additional two strains in Lepto 4 are meant to only be a problem in Europe).

I have seen reported a variety of problems with the Lepto 4, which leaves me feeling very uncertain in using it.  I personally cannot justify the point in using a vaccine such as the L4, for strains of Leptospirosis that are not present in this country, when there have been problems with the vaccine which have resulted in breathing problems, fits, muscle weakness, collapse and death.

When discussing immunity and vaccines, it is assumed by the owner that vaccinations do equal immunization when in fact it isnt that straightforward. The protection offered from the maternal antibodies is short term, so a vaccination process does need to be considered however once the initial puppy vaccination course has been met this is when titre testing could be considered. Once immunity has been acquired then the immunity for that particular virus can exist for years rather than just a year.

Titer testing  requires a blood sample to be taken to measure the level of antibodies in the puppy/dog’s system. The titer will give a result which is in number form. If any number over zero is given then immunity has been achieved thus is showing positive. If you titer test yearly at some point you may see that the titer levels reduce, this doesnt mean that the immunity is going and it doesnt mean you need to re-vaccinate. It does however mean the antibody levels are waning as there is no requirement to keep making them! However what titer testing doesnt measure is the cellular memory. The cellular memory is still likely to be present and once exposed to a virus is very likely to kick start the antibodies into being produced again. Titer testing is a very useful tool if your preference is to avoid over vaccinating.

There is a lot of debate about frequency of dog vaccinations – with some vets willing to concede the guideline for routine boosters as being every three years for DHP and for Leptospirosis to be repeated yearly.

It is on the Noah Compendium data sheets immunity for Core Vaccines :- Distemper, also known as hardpad (D), Canine Adenovirus- hepatitis (H), and Canine Parvovirus (P) last for three years, and Leptospirosis (L) lasts for one to year.

(Non core) Parainfluenzavirus (Pi) lasts for one year.

Information taken from the Canigen Datasheets:- (which can be found on the Noah Compendium website).

Booster vaccination Canigen DHP

Primary course vaccination
A single injection should establish active immunity in dogs of 10 weeks of age or older. Where earlier protection is required a first dose may be given to puppies from 6 weeks of age, but because maternally derived passive antibody can interfere with the response to vaccination a final dose should be given 2-4 weeks later i.e. at 10 weeks of age or older.
Booster vaccination
To maintain protection a single booster dose is recommended every three years.

Booster vaccination Canigen Lepto 2

Booster vaccination: A single annual booster dose is recommended

Lepto 2, covers for two strains of leptospirosis:- L. canicola and L. icterohaemorrhagiae infection.


Homeopathy is something you could considers as an alternative to vaccinations. I do believe homeopathy works – but couldnt say how I feel about using this as an alternative to vaccinating. However that said, I can confidently offer the advice of trying homeopathy to reduce the negative impact of some side effects a vaccination may have on your dog.

Another thing people need to consider with vaccination is kennelling. Most boarding kennels require yearly vaccines on the dogs vaccination certificate. So it is worth considering this when choosing your kennels and if necessary showing them the data sheets. (Noah Compendium).

A proposed vaccination schedule would be:-

8 weeks Canigen DHP & Canigen Lepto 2 (L2)

10 weeks Canigen DHP + Canigen Lepto 2 (L2)

Boosters can then be continued with either Nobivac or Canigen.  They are compatible with each other.

1st annual booster DHP + Lepto 2

2nd annual booster Lepto 2

3rd annual booster Lepto 2

4th annual booster DHP + Lepto 2

5th annual booster  Lepto 2

6th annual booster Lepto 2

7th annual booster DHP + Lepto 2


Vaccines NOTES

Canigen DHP – only required as one single vaccine if done at 10 weeks. (if the vaccination done at 6 or 8 weeks would still need a second vaccination at 10 weeks), onset of immunity is one week.  Immunity for DHP (Distemper, Hardpad and Parvo) would be acquired by the age of 11 weeks (if starting the programme at 10 weeks).

Canigen L2 – Lepto vaccinate from 6 weeks old 2 – 4 weeks apart ( (no mention on the data sheet of when immunity is anticipated with this particular vaccine)

Canigen KC – Immunity for Bordetella bronchiseptica will be from 72 hours after administration,  immunity for Parainfluenza will take three weeks from the time of administration.  So if KC given at 8 weeks, will be immune at 11 weeks.

Noting… Parainfluenza
If using Nobivac Pi (Parainfluenza – requires two administrations and immunity is acquired four weeks from first administration)




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