Annual Boosters: How Necessary Are They?
New Principles in Canine Immunology
Current Recommendations for Dogs
Distemper and Parvovirus
In 1994, Ft. Dodge marketed a new high titer Parvovirus vaccine (RF11). Testing by Dr. Ron Schultz demonstrated that this vaccine and a new high titer vaccine from Immunovet (Proguard) provided much better protection than all other vaccines against canine parvovirus. When studies by Dr Schultz demonstrated that the new high titer vaccines by Fort Dodge and Intervet were much more effective, Meriel improved their product to match. Pfizer came out with a high titer vaccine, Vanguard puppy. Pfizer and Biocor still market the old vaccines, Vanguard 5 and Biocor.
The frustrating experiences we had prior to 1995, with vaccine breaks were largely resolved by the new improved vaccines. Attempts to improve the efficacy by more frequent administration of the vaccine are no longer necessary.
According to Dr. Schultz in the Journal of the AVMA Aug. 15. 1995, when a vaccination series given at 2, 3, and 4 months and again at 1 year(>6m0) with a modified live virus, puppies and kittens program memory cells that survive for life, providing lifelong immunity for diseases like Parvo and Distemper.
Dr. Leland Carmichael at Cornell University and Dr. Schultz have studies showing immunity against challenge at 7 years for canine distemper and 7 years for parvovirus; and immunity by serology out to 15 years for distemper. . Studies for longer duration are pending. *A copy of Dr Schultz’s study is in our pet care library for your convenience.
Adverse events from canine distemper vaccine include vaccine induced distemper, vaccine induced folliculitis, and HOD (hypertropic osteodystrophy). HOD is most common in Wiemaraners.
Virus drift There are no new strains of parvovirus as some would like to suggest. Parvovirus vaccination provides cross immunity for all types.
Dogs will not get Parvo from the vaccine, but when the vaccine is administered at a vet clinic to 6 wk old puppies only 30% will respond to the vaccine with any protection while all will likely be exposed. It is likely some of them will come down with parvo which they caught at the Vet Clinic. For this reason we do not start the initial series of vaccinations until the puppies are 8 wks old and are better able to respond to the vaccine.*** It is not the vaccination at 6 wks that I object to but the increased exposure to the virus at the Vet Clinic at an age when maternal antibodies will interfere with the response to the vaccination. I would encourage breeders who have a problem with Parvovirus to vaccinate puppies at home with Parvo, but not Distemper, and only at 6 weeks and no younger, to aid in cutting losses.
(CAV2) is one of the agents known to be a cause of “kennel cough.” Only vaccines with CAV-2 should be used as CAV-1 vaccines carry the risk of “hepatitis blue-eye” reactions and kidney damage. Hepatitis (CAV1) in dogs is a very rare disease. I see several cases per year of “blue eye” from CAV 1 Vaccine purchased at a feed store. I have never seen a dog with hepatitis.
Bordetella – Parainfluenza
Commonly called “kennel cough,” the Parainfluenza vaccine is recommended only for those dogs boarded, groomed, taken to dog shows, or for any reason housed where exposed to a lot of dogs. The intranasal vaccine provides more rapid onset of immunity with less chance of reaction . Immunity requires 72 hours and does not protect from every cause of “kennel cough”
The vaccine does not contain the serovar of bordetella that a dog would likely be exposed to. It is the parainfluenza portion that is of benefit. Unfortunately an intranasal vaccine for parainfluenza without bordetella is not available.
Although there have been no reported cases of rabid dogs or cats in Harris County, Montgomery County, or Ft. Bend County (in Texas), there have been rabid skunks and bats, so the potential exists.
If a dog or cat bites someone and is not vaccinated, it must be quarantined in a licensed facility. Rabies vaccine is highly recommended for your pets protection. This is a killed vaccine. Killed vaccines provide a shorter duration of immunity than MLV. Duration of immunity for rabies vaccine has been shown to be at least 7 years.
In Texas, rabies vaccination is required to be administered at four months of age, one year later, and then every three years for dogs. To help prevent injection site fibrosarcomas, a one year duration of immunity non- adjuvanted vaccine, Purevac, has been approved for cats. This vaccine must be administered annually. A three year license is pending.
Canine corona virus
This is only a disease of puppies less than eight weeks of age. It is a rare, self-limiting disease (i.e. dogs get well in 3 days without treatment). Corona virus does not cause disease in adult dogs. Cornell University and Texas A&M University have only diagnosed one case each in the last 7 years. For a veterinarian to make a diagnosis of Corona Virus based on clinical signs is highly presumptive. Only electron microscopy of feces can verify the presence of canine corona virus. This is only done at places such as Texas A & M Diagnostic Laboratory, and they report no positive tests. The presence of the virus does not indicate it is the cause of disease. Dogs over 8 wks of age cannot and have not been experimentally induced to exhibit disease from corona virus. This is age related immunity.
Immunologists have reason to believe that the vaccine does not work. Mucosal secretory IgA antibodies would be necessary to protect a dog against this disease & an injectable vaccine will not provide this type of protection. I see no justification for the use of corona virus vaccine.
In 1985 a significant number of dogs died from encephalitis caused by Corona Virus vaccine, combined with the Rockborn strain distemper. An unfortunate & heartbreaking catastrophe caused by an unnecessary vaccine.
This vaccine is a common cause of adverse reactions in dogs ranging from life threatening anaphylactic reactions to mild facial swelling and urticaria.
Leptospirosis is an infection of the kidneys and liver. Dogs and people get it from contact with urine from rats, raccoons, cows and pigs. The risk of contagion from dogs to humans is very low.
Most of the clinical cases of leptospirosis reported in dogs in the U.S. are caused by serovars (or types) L. grippotyphosa, L. pomona and L. bratislava. The most commonly used vaccines contain different serovars-L. canicola & L.icterohaemmorrhagiae. Cross protection is not provided and protection is short-lived (6 – 7 months) New Vaccines recently introduced by Fort Dodge include L. grippotyphosa., and L. pomona .
Although Leptospirosis in dogs seems to be increasing in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and New York, this disease is rare in Texas. Records at Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab show an average of 12 cases of Leptospirosis in dogs in Texas per year. In 2000 the TVMDL recorded L. Icterohaemorrhagiae -3 cases, L. canicola -2, L. pomona -2, L grippotyphosa -1. Texas A&M University reports 31 cases in 21 years. Although this is a serious and life threatening disease, in a state with an estimated dog population of over 7 million, I do not think the risk justifies routine vaccination, with two vaccines twice per year.
This vaccine should not be given to puppies less than 16 weeks of age as it is very immunosuppressive. It can interfere with immunization against parvo & distemper. Reactions are common. Deaths due to immunosupression can occur.
Lyme disease is a tick born disease which can cause lameness, kidney failure and heart disease in dogs and people. Ticks transmit the disease to humans. Eighty five percent of Lyme disease cases in dogs in the USA are found in nine New England area states Michigan and Wisconsin.
We do not have Lyme disease in Texas. In the N.E. U. S. Ixodid ticks acquire the Lyme disease organism from the deer mouse. The Ixodid tick in Texas feeds on lizards which do not transmit Lyme disease.
Confusion as to the occurrence of Lyme disease in Texas exists due to three things. #1. In Texas we have a disease that closely resembles Lyme Disease, Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness or STARI cause by Borrelia lonestari and spread by the Lone Star Tick. ( Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia burgdoferi and spread by Ixodes scapularis.) #2.Lyme disease testing with the most commonly used test can give a false positive reaction to normal spirochete organisms in a dogs mouth. #3 Manufacturers of the vaccine and the test exaggerate the incidence of the disease in order to sell their product.
Texas A&M University has never seen a case of Lyme disease in a dog from Texas.
The advent of a new ,more accurate Lyme disease Test (Snap Test by Idexx) in 2000 will hopefully give us better information about the non-existence of this disease in Texas.
The average dog in Houston would be at no risk of contracting Lyme disease. If you travel to endemic areas with your dog, you may still want to consider the safety & effectiveness of Lyme disease vaccine. Dr. Jacobson, Cornell Diagnostic Lab, reported a temporal relationship of 327 dogs which developed polyarthritis after vaccination with Lyme disease vaccine. These dogs did not show antibody titers suggestive of Lyme disease infection. Other causes of arthritis were ruled out. Lyme vaccine has been demonstrated to cause arthritis in hamsters. There is a class action suit in human medicine for failure to warn people about the possibility of developing polyarthritis from human Lyme disease vaccine.
The main antigen displayed by the Lyme disease organism inside the dogs body is Outer Surface Protein B- OSP B. Newer PCR vaccines by Muriel and Schering only contain OSP A antigens. The importance of OSP B & C antigens were discovered after the new vaccines were developed .
Theoretically OSP A antibodies in the blood of an immunized dog are ingested by a tick. This prevents the bacteria from reproducing within the tick and therefore from being injected into the dog, if antibodies are in high enough concentrations.
Most Colleges of Veterinary Medicine do not recommend Lyme Disease vaccine.
Lyme disease prevention should emphasize early removal of ticks. Ticks must be attached to the dog for 24 hours to transmit the disease. Amitraz (Preventick) collars are more effective than Frontline as Amitraz paralyzes the tick’s mouth parts preventing transmission of disease . Amitraz tick collars should be used with extreme caution, as they are toxic if chewed on or swallowed by a dog or children. Frontline takes 24 – 48 hours to kill ticks, allowing for the possibility of disease transmission. This is an important aid in tick control, but will not prevent the transmission of tick born diseases like Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, Babesia or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Vaccinating pets against Lyme disease does not provide any protection for the owners.
All 27 veterinary schools in North America are in the process of changing their protocols for vaccinating dogs and cats. Some of this information will present an ethical & economic challenge to vets, and there will be skeptics. Some organizations have come up with a political compromise suggesting vaccinations every 3 years to appease those who fear loss of income vs. those concerned about potential side effects. Politics, traditions, or the doctor’s economic well being should not be a factor in medical decision.
NEW PRINCIPLES OF IMMUNOLOGY
“Dogs and cats immune systems mature fully at 6 months. If a modified live virus vaccine is given after 6 months of age, it produces an immunity which is good for the life of the pet (ie: canine distemper, parvo, feline distemper). If another MLV vaccine is given a year later, the antibodies from the first vaccine neutralize the antigens of the second vaccine and there is little or no effect. The titer is not “boosted” nor are more memory cells induced.” Not only are annual boosters for parvo and distemper unnecessary, they subject the pet to potential risks of allergic reactions and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. “There is no scientific documentation to back up label claims for annual administration of MLV vaccines.” Puppies receive antibodies through their mothers milk. This natural protection can last 8-14 weeks. Puppies & kittens should NOT be vaccinated at LESS than 8 weeks. Maternal immunity will neutralize the vaccine and little protection (0-38%) will be produced. Vaccination at 6 weeks will, however, delay the timing of the first highly effective vaccine. Vaccinations given 2 weeks apart suppress rather than stimulate the immune system. A series of vaccinations is given starting at 8 weeks and given 3-4 weeks apart up to 16 weeks of age. Another vaccination given sometime after 6 months of age (usually at 1 year 4 mo) will provide lifetime immunity.
CURRENT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DOGS
Distemper & Parvo “According to Dr. Schultz, AVMA, 8-15-95, when a vaccinations series given at 2, 3 & 4 months and again at 1 year with a MLV, puppies and kitten program memory cells that survive for life, providing lifelong immunity.” Dr. Carmichael at Cornell and Dr. Schultz have studies showing immunity against challenge at 2-10 years for canine distemper & 4 years for parvovirus. Studies for longer duration are pending. “There are no new strains of parvovirus as one mfg. would like to suggest. Parvovirus vaccination provides cross immunity for all types.” Hepatitis (Adenovirus) is one of the agents known to be a cause of kennel cough. Only vaccines with CAV-2 should be used as CAV-1 vaccines carry the risk of “hepatitis blue-eye” reactions & kidney damage. Bordetella Parainfluenza: Commonly called “Kennel cough” Recommended only for those dogs boarded, groomed, taken to dog shows, or for any reason housed where exposed to a lot of dogs. The intranasal vaccine provides more complete and more rapid onset of immunity with less chance of reaction. Immunity requires 72 hours and does not protect from every cause of kennel cough. Immunity is of short duration (4 to 6 months).
There have been no reported cases of rabid dogs or cats in Harris, Montogomery or Ft. Bend Counties [Texas], there have been rabid skunks and bats so the potential exists. It is a killed vaccine and must be given every year. Lyme disease is a tick born disease which can cause lameness, kidney failure and heart disease in dogs. Ticks can also transmit the disease to humans. The original Ft. Dodge killed bacteria has proven to be the most effective vaccine. Lyme disease prevention should emphasize early removal of ticks. Amitraz collars are more effective than Top Spot, as amitraz paralyzes the tick’s mouth parts preventing transmission of disease .
NEW RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CATS
Feline vaccine related Fibrosarcoma is a type of terminal cancer related in inflammation caused by rabies & leukemia vaccines . This cancer is thought to affect 1 in 10,000 cats vaccinated. Vaccines with aluminum adjuvant, an ingredient included to stimulate the immune system, have been implicated as a higher risk.We now recommend a non-adjuvanted rabies vaccine for cats . Testing by Dr. Macy, Colorado State, has shown this vaccine to have the lowest tissue reaction and although there is no guarantee that a vaccine induced sarcoma will not develop, the risk will be much lower than with other vaccines. Program injectable 6 mo flea prevention for cats has been shown to be very tissue reactive & therefore has the potential of inducing an injection site fiborsarcoma. If your cats develops a lump at the site of a vaccination, we recommend that it be removed ASAP, within 3-12 weeks.
FELINE LEUKEMIA VIRUS VACCINE
This virus is the leading viral killer of cats. The individuals most at risk of infection are young outdoor cats, indoor/outdoor cats and cats exposed to such individuals. Indoor only cats with no exposure to potentially infected cats are unlikely to become infected. All cats should be tested prior to vaccination. Cats over one year of age are naturally immune to FeLV whether they are vaccinated or not, so annual vaccination of adult cats is NOT necessary. The incubation period of Feline leukemia can be over 3 years, so if your cat is in the incubation state of the disease prior to vaccination, the vaccine will not prevent the disease.
FELINE PANLEUKOPENIA VIRUS VACCINE
Also called feline distemper is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease of kittens. It’s extremely hardy and is resistant to extremes in temperature and to most available disinfectants. Although an effective treatment protocol is available, it is expensive to treat because of the serious nature of the disease and the continued presence of virus in the environment, vaccination is highly recommended for all kittens . Cats vaccinated at 6 month or older with either killed or MLV vaccine will produce an immunity good for life. Adult cats do NOT need this vaccine.
FELINE CALICIVIRUS/HERPES VIRUS VACCINE
Responsible for 80-90% of infectious feline upper respiratory tract diseases. The currently available injectable vaccines will minimize the severity of upper respiratory infections, although none will prevent disease in all situations .. Intranasal vaccines are more effective at preventing the disease entirely. Don’t worry about normal sneezing for a couple of days. Because intranasal vaccines produce an immunity of shorter durations, annual vaccination is recommended.
VACCINES NOT RECOMMENDED
Chlamydia or pneumonitis. The vaccine produces on a short (2 month) duration of immunity and accounts for less than 5% of upper respiratory infections in cats.The risks outweigh the benefits.
Feline Infectious Peritonitis.
A controversial vaccine. Most kittens that contract FIP become infected during the first 3 months of life. The vaccine is labeled for use at 16 weeks. All 27 vet schools do not recommend the vaccine.
A new vaccine for feline bordetella has been introduced. Dr. Wolfe of Texas A&M says that bordetella is a normal flora and does not cause disease in adult cats. Dr. Lappin of Colorado State says that a review of the Colorado State medical records reveals not one case diagnosed in 10 years.
Giardia is the most common intestinal parasite of humans in North America, 30% or more of all dogs & cats are infected with giardia. It has now been demonstrated that humans can transmit giardia to dogs & cats & vice versa. Heartworm preventative must be given year round in Houston .
VACCINES BADLY NEEDED
New vaccines in development include: Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and cat scratch fever vaccine for cats and Ehrlichia [one of the other tick diseases, much worse than Lymes] for dogs.
THE VIEW FROM THE TRENCHES; BUSINESS ASPECTS
Most vets recommend annual boosters and most kennel operators require them. For years the pricing structure of vets has misled clients into thinking that the inherent value of an annual office visit was in the “shots” they failed to emphasize the importance of a physical exam for early detection of treatable diseases. It is my hope that you will continue to require rabies & Kennel cough and emphasize the importance of a recent vet exam. I also hope you will accept the new protocols and honor these pets as currently vaccinated. Those in the boarding business who will honor the new vaccine protocols can gain new customers who were turned away from vet owned boarding facilities reluctant to change.
Dogs & cats no longer need to be vaccinated against distemper, parvo, & feline leukemia every year . Once the initial series of puppy or kitten vaccinations and first annual vaccinations are completed, immunity from MLV vaccines persists for life. It has been shown that cats over 1 year of age are immune to Feline Leukemia whether they have been vaccinated or not. Imagine the money you will save, not to mention less risks from side effects. PCR rabies vaccine, because it is not adjuvanted, will mean less risk of mediated hemolytic anemia and allergic reactions are reduced by less frequent use of vaccines as well as by avoiding unnecessary vaccines such as K-9 Corona virus and chlamydia for cats, as well as ineffective vaccines such as Leptospirosis and FIP. Intranasal vaccine for Rhiotracheitis and Calici virus, two upper respiratory viruses of cats provide more complete protection than injectable vaccines with less risk of serious reactions. The AAHA and all 27 veterinary schools of North America are our biggest endorsement for these new protocols.
reprinted from pets-haven.com website.