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 that the puppy has had this first milk as they are unable to absorb it after the first 18 ours. (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 should be vaccinated at 8 and 10 weeks for Distemper (Hard Pard), Hepatitis, Leptospirosis and Parvo.

Currently there are two variations of the leptospirosis vaccination (in the Nobivac brand). 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, one of which has only been present in Europe.

I personally have an issue in vaccinating dogs that will not belong to me, so I have to take an even more responsible approac which still leaves the owners with the ability to work with their own theories and beliefs on vaccinations.

I have seen reported a variety of problems with the Lepto 4, which leaves me feeling very uncertain in using it. Despite the reports of problems there is also another very relevant problem with the Lepto 4. This is the requirement to have a third vaccination at 16 weeks. This of course means there is a longer delay in getting your puppy out and socialised. This could have ramifications further down the line as to how well adjusted your dog is when taking out for a walk. SO whether the reported claims of problems are justifiable and proven to be caused by the new version of the vaccine, the fact remains the delay in getting your puppy out at approximately 11 – 12 weeks will mean you have lost the opportunity in using that time of having your dog off lead. At that age they are absorbant sponges, so it is an ideal time to train!

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 is something that people give some thought to. It 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 actually in the process of opposing current guidelines of yearly vacciantions with an open letter to publicise the need to change the current guidelines.

Immunity for Distemper, also known as hardpad (D), Canine Adenovirus- hepatitis (H), and Canine Parvovirus (P) last for three years, Parainfluenzavirus (Pi) and Leptospirosis (L) needs to be yearly.

Information taken from the Nobivac Datasheets:-

Booster vaccination Nobivac DHPPi

It is recommended that dogs be revaccinated with canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus and canine parvovirus every 3 years and against canine parainfluenzavirus every year.”

Booster vaccination Nobivac 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.

Please note the variation between Lepto 2 and Lepto 4

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. I believe one of the strains in Lepto 4 is meant to only be a problem in Europe. (I do not have confirmation of this).

There have been problems with Lepto 4 so it is my preferance not to use this particular type of vaccine.

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.

The 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 datasheets.

http://www.msd-animal-health.co.uk/Products_Public/Nobivac_DHPPi/090_Product_Datasheet.aspx

http://www.msd-animal-health.co.uk/products_public/nobivac_lepto2/090_product_datasheet.aspx

http://www.msd-animal-health.co.uk/Products_Public/Nobivac_Pi/090_Product_Datasheet.aspx

From the last link….

A proposed schedule could be:-

6-8 weeks Nobivac DHPPi + Nobivac Lepto 2

10 weeks Nobivac DHPPi + Nobivac Lepto 2

1st annual booster Nobivac DHPPi + Nobivac Lepto 2

2nd annual booster Nobivac Pi + Nobivac Lepto 2

3rd annual booster Nobivac Pi + Nobivac Lepto 2

4th annual booster Nobivac DHPPi + Nobivac Lepto 2

5th annual booster Nobivac Pi + Nobivac Lepto 2

6th annual booster Nobivac Pi + Nobivac Lepto 2

7th annual booster Nobivac DHPPi + Nobivac Lepto 2

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