Knowledge IS Power
I find I’m saying the same thing over and over again during my phone consultations. Because vaccines are the biggest contributor to allergies in our pets, it’s important that you understand some scientific facts. That’s so our fuzzy friends don’t get booster shots and other vaccines that they don’t really need. A big bonus is you’ll save money and have a healthier pet to boot!
A Win- Win.
First of all, know that the opinions that I’m going to give you are the opinions of the finest veterinary immunologists along with the AVMA’s conclusions.
Question: The booster shot containing distemper and parvo needs to be done once a year or some say every three years? Answer: NO
Viral vaccinations stay good for life. Think about it. Perhaps your 98-year-old great aunt Agnes had her Polio vaccine 95 years ago. Are you nagging her to get a booster or to get titers?
Distemper – a viral disease
Parvo- a viral disease
Note: All the other components in the doggie ‘booster shot’ are completely unnecessary.
“A practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual revaccination. Almost without exception, there is no immunologic requirement for annual revaccination. Immunity to viruses persists for years or the life of the animal.” Veterinary Immunologists Ronald Schultz, PhD, and Tom R Phillips, DVM, PhD in Kirk’s Current Veterinary Therapy XI.
In 2007, an AVMA committee report stated that the annual revaccination recommendation frequently found on many vaccination labels is based on historical precedent, not scientific data. In fact, the AVMA guidelines now accept that one additional puppy vaccine after 18 weeks of age can protect a dog for life.
That means you don’t need a ‘booster shot’ every year and you don’t even need a ‘booster shot’ every three years.
Question: If I don’t vaccinate my dog for Distemper and Parvo every year or every three-years I will need to take a titer test – a blood test used to measure immunity – every year? Answer: NO
If a titer test reveals any measurable immunity to parvo and distemper, you’ve achieved your goal: your pet has actively made immunity to the viruses with which he or she was vaccinated. One positive titer test indicates that you are the proud owner of an immune pet, and you can confidently decline further vaccines. For how long? For life. Again, this is according to Dr. Schultz, not me!
Question: OK so then, I will need to get titer tests for parvo and distemper every year? Answer: NO
One positive titer test indicates that your pet has full immunity and you do not have to get a titer test once a year or even once every few years. After one positive titer test you can relax and know your pet is immune for life. Think of your great Aunt Agnes and her viral polio vaccine 95 years ago.
Question: The titer test has to be a strong positive for me to feel comfortable as I was told a weak positive means that my pet has to be revaccinated? Answer: NO
The test results don’t need to meet some minimum standard of protection; they just have to be positive. That’s it.
Question: My dog is 4 years old, had puppy booster shots and then a booster shot every year till now. Do I need a titer test to be secure? Answer : NO. Your dog had MANY distemper and parvo vaccines after 18 weeks of age.
Question: My dog is 4 years old and he had puppy shots and then another booster 3 years later. Do I need a titer test to be secure? Answer: NO Your dog had A distemper and parvo shot after 18 weeks of age.
Question: My puppy had her last booster that contained Parvo and Distemper when she was 19 weeks of age? Do I need to do a titer sometime later? Answer: NO The research shows that you do not have to do a titer later on but if you want to feel secure, I would then do a blood titer test for parvo and distemper a year later. It will come back positive and then you are doubly secure.
I have a client who got a new puppy who had her last parvo and distemper vaccination at 12 weeks. She asked if she could do a titer test in an effort to avoid any further vaccinations for this. I said that would be fine and she sent it out to Hemopet.org. It came back as a strong positive test. Therefore, she decided not to give any more distemper or parvo vaccinations for the life of her dog. As this was the first titer tested on a dog so young, I did recommend repeating the titer a year later. If this was fine, she needed to do no more titer tests for these two viruses.
Rabies is also caused by a virus. In India, where Rabies is endemic, veterinarians and assistants grab dogs on the street, notch their ears and vaccinate them. After this, no matter how much time passes, a notched eared dog is considered immune from Rabies.
Once, when I was lecturing to a large group, an animal control officer raised her hand and told me that she thought that dogs were way over-vaccinated for Rabies. When I asked her why she said this she told me that she had to be vaccinated for Rabies due to the nature of her work. Then, after this one time, they took yearly titer tests for 25 years and every year the titers were very high.
With dogs, I have routinely found titers to be high after one Rabies vaccine and to remain high over the years.
On another note, a study in which dogs were exposed/injected with the rabies virus after a vaccination showed that some dogs did get rabies. Yet, the amount of virus injected into these dogs was far above what they would be exposed to naturally.
That said, vaccinating your dog for Rabies is a legal requirement in the United States. I’m going to attach my article, Villians in Vaccines, below for you to read so you can understand the downside of the Rabies vaccination. There are several cancer forming viruses in this particular vaccine.
That’s why, when a patient has a compromising illness, a note can often be written by your veterinarian to the township. When I write a note, I discuss the problem and state that the patient is due but cannot be vaccinated at this time and ask that they please license the pet and note that I will reevaluate over time.
Additionally, I recommend a titer test to confirm an immunity, so they have that on file. Every township is different and in some areas, they just don’t accept a note or a titer. Yet, some do.
The AVMA considers the distemper, parvo and Rabies vaccinations as Core Vaccines. All other vaccinations are not Core and are not recommended to be administered routinely. This includes Bordetella, Lyme and Leptospirosis. Here’s the rub! These are bacterial vaccines and, as such, provide very short periods of immunity- if they work at all. How short? Three to four months! My next newsletter will go over the actual protection along with dangers of some of these non-Core Vaccines.
Hugs and Health to All,
Dr. Deva Khalsa