I have mentioned that I believe in a very limited vaccination protocol for my puppies.This consists of specific vaccinations
at specific intervals, designed to maximise protection and minimize risk.
There is an incredible amount of information out there about vaccines and their side effects. Often previously considered
to be benign and harmless, now we are learning that we were wrong! Vaccines can have very many serious side effects, including
autoimmune disorders, epilepsy, encephalitis, allergies, behavior problems, digestive disorders, cancer and death! With the
Toller breed we have to be particularly careful, as their self-coloring and very limited gene pool puts them at a greater
risk of vaccine-related problems than the average dog.
The number one rule of my vaccination protocol is to NEVER give combination vaccines
(a vaccine that contains more than one virus). The vast majority of vets give these combination vaccines only, so you
will likely have to ask your vet to special-order your puppies vaccines for you. They may tell you its not possible to get
a single-virus vaccine, don't believe them! Many don't want to order it in because it is more work for them! Galaxy makes
the "Galaxy-D" single distemper vaccine; Intervet (Proguard) and Duramune both make single Parvo vaccines.
The all-to-common multi-virus vaccines tend to confuse to immune system rather than stimulate it. Many of these combo-vaccines
contain anywhere from 5-8 diferent diseases! Where in nature would your dog be exposed to that many diseases all at the same
time? You can only imagine the dog would have a very difficult time effectively fighting that many diseases at once! Just
think about the stress on the dog's immune system, and especially on a young puppy who's immune system is still developing.
Excessive vaccination can actually cause the immune system to cease working altogether. I call that the "I can't handle it
anymore, I quit!" response.
Rule number two is limit the total number of vaccinations. There is no valid reason for giving
the same vaccine over and over again to a puppy. The reason this practice was started is because puppies receive maternal
antibodies from their dam while they are nursing, and these gradually wear off after weaning. But they wear off at different
rates in different puppies, so we have no way of knowing for sure when they have worn off....it can be anywhere from 5-16
weeks, although the average is 6-10. Giving a puppy shots while it still has maternal antibodies is useless, as the maternal
antibodies will "block" the vaccine and prevent immunity from being established. So vets in their infinite wisdom decided
to give puppies vaccines over and over again so that eventually one will be given after the maternal antibodies are worn down.
But since we don't know when they were down, it could leave pups unprotected for several weeks, which is why vets will tell
you to keep your young puppy off the streets and away from strange dogs until it "has had all its shots" at 12-16 weeks.
So if we have to keep puppy isolated even if giving all these most-likely useless shots, then why do we both putting all
that extra stress on the poor puppy's system? Doesn't it make more sense to not give those shots (since they likely won't
work anyway) and just be careful with puppy until he is a little older? Stay away from dog parks, petstores and other areas
frequented by large numbers of dogs until after 4 months old. Do your public socializing outside the grocery store, library,
Home Depot, any place you can think about that has lots of people, but few dogs. Invite people over to your house to play
with puppy, they can bring their adult, healthy dogs with them for playtime.
Rule number three is no annual boosters! The practice of giving annual vaccinations is a practice
developed by the vaccine manufacturers, so that they will sell more vaccines. Vaccines don't suddenly "expire" after a year,
that's just when the manufacturer's stopped testing the immunity.ONCE IMMUNITY TO A VIRUS EXISTS, IT PERSISTS
FOR YEARS OR LIFE. There is no need to keep rechecking titers and revaccinating every 3 years or whatever. You cannot
add more immunity to an already immune dog. It is not immunologically possible. All you are doing is increasing the risk of
chronic disease....there is no benefit.
The duration of immunity to infectious disease agents is controlled by memory cells, B & T lymphocytes. Once programed,
memory cells persist for life. Even in the absence of an antibody titer, memory cells are capable of mounting an adequate
immune response in an immunized patient. A negative titer does not indicate lack of immunity, or the ability of a vaccine
to significantly enhance the immune status of a patient.
The USDA Center for Biologic and Therapeutic Agents asserts that there is no scientific data to support label claims for
annual re-administration of modified live vaccines, and label claims must be backed by scientific data.
It is the consensus of immunologists that a modified live virus vaccine must replicate in order to stimulate the immune
system, and antibodies from a previous vaccination will block the replication of the new vaccinate virus. The immune status
of the patient is not enhanced in any way. There is no benefit to the patient. The client is paying for something with insignificant
or no effect, except that the patient is being exposed to unnecessary risk of an adverse reaction.
According to Dr. Ronald D Schultz, head of pathobiology at Wisconsin University and arguably the world expert on this subject,
once immunity to a virus exists, it persists for years or life. I am told that he vaccinated his own Golden Retrievers as
puppies, and then didn't vaccinate them again. He took yearly blood tests. His Goldens are reported to have died naturally
at around 15 years of age, and showed good antibody levels from the first booster until they died. Moral of the story: this
and other research shows that annual shots are not necessary.
Research by Dr. Ronald D Schultz, shows that a vaccine received at or after 12 weeks of age provides immunity in over 95%
of dogs. He also states that the less than 5% which did not have immunity would never get immunity regardless of how many
vaccinations they received. Dr. Schultz is the author of this paragraph in Kirk's "Current Veterinary Therapy XI", the conventional
medicine textbook: "A practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual
revaccinations. Almost without exception there is no immunologic requirement for annual revaccination. Immunity to viruses
persists for years or for the life of the animal. Successful vaccination to most bacterial pathogens produces an immunologic
memory that remains for years, allowing an animal to develop a protective anamnestic (secondary) response when exposed to
virulent organisms. Only the immune response to toxins requires boosters (e.g. tetanus toxin booster, in humans, is recommended
once every 7-10 years), and no toxin vaccines are currently used for dogs and cats. Furthermore, revaccination with most viral
vaccines fails to stimulate an anamnestic (secondary) response as a result of interference by existing antibody (similar to
maternal antibody interference). The practice of annualvaccination in our opinion should be considered of questionable efficacy
unless it is used as a mechanism to provide an annual physical examination or is required by law (i.e., certain states require
annual revaccination for rabies)."
Another interesting point on the vacination issue is that your dog will in fact essentially be "vaccinated" on a regular
basis by being exposed to other dogs that have been vaccinated recently. You see, for a several week period after vaccination
with a modified live virus vaccine, dogs will actually "shed" particles of the virus into their environment. When another
dog is exposed to the shed virus, it stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies, just the same as if it was exposted
to the actual disease. Only this is much safer, since it is through a more natural means of exposure (inhaled or ingested
rather than injected) and with a much smaller dosage. This vaccination through shed virus is known as the "herd immunity effect".
So as long as you keep taking your dog (over 16 weeks) out and about and expose it to other dogs regularly (parks, training
classes, dog shows) it will regularly receive low-level stimulation of its immunity, which is safe and effective.
For addiotional information, I highly recommend checking out the following web pages:
Did you know Vaccines can cause, allergies, hypersensitivity reactions, auto-immune disorders, encephalitis, epilepsy,
personality changes, and even brain damage?
More interesting facts about vaccines in England. In this survey percentages of dogs were tested that have had autoimmune
disorders, and other health issues.
65% of all behavioral problem reported were within 3months of a annual vaccination. 72.5% of dogs surveyed were affected
with worry or nervous behaviour problems within 3 months of their vaccination. 73.1% developed short attention spans
within the three months.
When it comes to getting ill 66% of the dogs became sick within three months. More ashonisting 49% became sick within 30
days. Yet even more amazing is 29% of the ill became sick within 7days of the poke.
Other health problems have also been linked to over-vaccinations. Of all the dogs tested in the survey 69.2% of the
dogs that had allergies had their first reaction within three months after a vaccination. 55.8% developed their auto-immune
disorders within three months of a vaccination. 69.2% of cases of Colitis was within 3 months of a vaccination. As well as
70.2% of dryeye/conjunctivitis and 73% of the cases of epilepsy.
Other high represented diseases were.. 35.1% cancers, 81% chorea, 78.6% encephalitis, 39.2% heart conditions, 53.7%
kidney damage, 61.5% liver damage, 69.2% paralysis of the rear end, and 54.2% pancreas problems all reported within 3 months
of a vaccination.
The survey in England has found, that out off all the dogs in the report. A high percent of the dogs developed diseases
they had been vaccinated against within 3 months of their vaccination. Within 3 months of vaccinations, 64% hepatitis, 50%
parafulenza, 69% parovirus, 56% distemper and all of the leptospirosis cases reported.
For more accurate information on this report/survey check out http://www.bogartsdaddy.com/bouvier/health/vaccination-concerns-uk.htm
Now for the recommended vaccine schedule....
At 12 weeks or older, your puppy will get a vaccination of MLV Parvo only.
At 15-16 weeks (if parvo is given after 12weeks it would be 3-4weeks after your first parvo only vaccine), your
puppy will get a vaccination of Distemper only. While at the vet clinic that day, have the vet draw some blood and have it
sent to Antech Labs for a Parvo Titer test...this will show if the previously given Parvo vaccine has worked. If the Parvo
titer comes back at zero or very low, it means that the puppy still had maternal antibodies at the time of vaccination, and
the vaccine didn't take. In that case, you can give another Parvo only at 18-20weeks.
At 18-20 weeks (3-4 weeks from you distemper only vaccine), you can optionally have the vet draw blood again, and send
off for a Distemper Titer. This titer is optional because by this age and for this disease it would be exceptionally rare
for a dog to not have formed a titer.
If you have ended up giving a Parvo at 18-20 weeks, you may opt to do another Parvo titer 2 weeks later (20-22 weeks) to
make sure that one took, although it almost certainly will be effective by that age. But if it makes you feel better, go ahead
and test it!
Rabies is given after the age of 6 months (8-12 months is better), if required by law in your province/state. Also do not
give the Rabies shot (or any vaccine for that matter) within a 30 day period before or after any surgery (such as spay/neuter)
or within 30 days of any other vaccine or within a week of your puppy being ill.
That is it for the vaccinations! If it makes you feel better, you can run titers at a year old, and every 1-3 years after
that, but it is not necessary, and doesn't really tell all that much, since titer levels will rise and fall through the dogs
lifetime in accordance to their frequency of exposure. Remember, a low titer does not equal low immunity, as it is the memory
cells that are the important part, and we have no way to measure those. So you can pretty safely consider any measurable titer
to be proof of current immunity.