Current thinking on annual vaccines?(12 Posts)
This seems to be another area where there is some debate over which route to take, vaccines are increasingly being associated with a whole range of side effects and health conditions.
What have you decided to do for your dog and why?
Vaccines are not increasingly being associated with side effects and health conditions, where on earth have you got that from.
Current guidelines are to vaccinate against distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza and parvovirus every 3 years, and leptospirosis annually. Kennel cough annually if high risk too. Others depending on lifestyle would be rabies and leishmaniasis if travelling to certain countries, and herpesvirus for breeding bitches.
This is the WSAVA vaccination guidelines. It is what the immunologists believe we should be doing based on the best science currently available.
You need to remember that these are world guidelines so some of the core vaccines such as rabies are not needed in the UK, but non-core vaccines such as Leptospirosis are needed.
In my practice we are trying really hard to follow the guidelines of vaccinating more dogs less.
Immunity to leptospirosis doesn't last long which is why annual vaccines are given for that. The others are done every 3 years usually. Kennel cough is annually if required.
I'm thinking about stopping them for my older dog soon. Read quite an interesting debate on a dog rescue site and a surprising number didn't vaccinate their older dogs so I'm sort of following their opinion. I would ask advice from my vet but I guess the nature of their business means he would automatically recommend it.
I think the majority of pet owners don't realise that vets already only give core vaccines every three years - I get asked about this a lot and clients are often shocked when I point out on their vaccination record card that we're already doing it! Unfortunately in the UK leptospirosis is widespread (not to mention a human health risk) so we still vaccinate against that each year. Annual boosters are required because it's a rubbish vaccine and some people question whether it even gives the 1 year of immunity it claims to - it must be fairly effective or it wouldn't have got a licence but I'm sure for some individuals it is pretty poor. It is the best we can do for the moment though.
If you're really concerned then you can titre test to check immunity levels of the core viral pathogens. Most of my clients decide they're not so concerned after all when they realise it's more expensive than just giving the booster
Yet another topic on which some of the general public are convinced vets can't be trusted <sigh> Like Lonecat, we aim to adhere to the WSAVA guidelines but obviously are guided by what our clients want.
I haven't heard great things about the efficacy of the kennel cough vaccine.
Is it routine to test for immunity rather than blindly vaccinating?
The kennel cough vaccine reduces symptoms and shedding but isn't a 100% guarantee against infection. Once you've had a dog cough day and night for 3 weeks you start to see the benefits of the vaccine though
Titre testing is becoming more common these days. We've done it for years but now there are in-house tests available which make it more accessible, and works out a bit cheaper than using the virus labs.
The other thing I would to craps good advice is that several studies have shown that dogs who are regularly vaccinated are usually diagnosed earlier for chronic health conditions and because of this have considerably longer survival times and better quality of life due to early diagnosis.
The value of booster vaccinations is in the annual health check and discussion with your own vet. Has a certain disease for example lungworm become more common in your area and so have they changed preventative health recommendations to provide cover for this.
Bear in mind, if you don't keep your dog (or cat) vaccinated your insurance will not pay out if they catch one of the illnesses. Not sure how much it would cost in vet fees/medicines to treat a dog for these.
I would agree with lonecat . Recently diagnosed an abdominal tumour at a routine vaccine. It was in the spleen and they have a tendency to rupture and bleed out. We caught it at golf ball size and surgery went well a few days later. The dog had no symptoms. If it hadn't come for vaccs (we always do a full exam at that time) then the outcome would have been very different.
Also agree with the importance of the annual health check- which if done thoroughly is a full review- I discuss behaviour, nutrition, routine parasite control and dental health with all routine checks, and often note changes on general physical exams on these checks which end up revealing problems which would otherwise go unnoticed or present much later. The vaccinations themselves are a teensy part of the annual health check.
Join the discussion
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.