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Vaccination & Health

Below is Information gathered in regards to vaccinations and other health topics.
I will add to this as I come across new and important articles that I use in the care of my dogs
As a Breeder, it is imperative to stay on top of how I take care of my dogs on a daily/monthly/yearly basis
Their health and well-being is always foremost in my mind.

What Is A Titre and Why Should I Measure One?
By Dr Jodie Gruenstern

Titre is correctly spelled titre or titer. It is pronounced tight-er. It is a blood test which measures the immune response to an antigen exposure. The number measured is an antibody level present at different titration or dilution levels of the blood. The antigen that the body has been exposed to in order to stimulate the immune response could have been present in a vaccination or the disease itself. If antibody levels are present in highly diluted blood, then that's a high titre. A high titre level may indicate lots of exposure, lots of protection or perhaps long-lasting immunity. The titre level is one indicator of the body's immune response to an antigenic stimulation.

A lot of research has been performed on dog and cat serum to establish what antibody titre levels are protective against distemper/parvo and distemper/rhino/calici respectively.

Comparable research does NOT exist to assert what titre levels are protective against the rabies virus. Challenge studies based on time interval since last vaccination have been performed for rabies. This is what dictates the 1 year initial, 3 year booster rule. There is an on going study to try to prove the 3 year vaccine for rabies actually protects for 5 years.

It is useful to understand that the titre measures antibody levels in the blood which is part of the body's humoral defense system. In addition to this protection, our body has a cellular defense. This is at the mucous lining level. A body can stop an offending antigen as it enters your nasal passage or mouth for example, before it enters the bloodstream. This protection is NOT measured by a titre. So, if your pet has a low titre, that may increase his susceptibility to disease, but his cellular immunity could still afford him all the necessary protection.

With in the humoral defense are two levels: sterilizing immunity and memory immunity. If your pet has a high number of antibodies in the blood, it may be a sterilizing level. This means if he is exposed to the disease his body will neutralize it so easily, you won't even know he was exposed! If your pet has a low level of antibodies in the blood, it may be a memory level. This means if he is exposed to the disease he may become somewhat ill, but will "remember" and fight and overcome the disease.

Thus, you should realize it is your pet's immune response TO a vaccination, NOT the vaccination itself that protects your pet from disease. There exists the phenomenon of no responders and low responders. Some pets simply don't respond to vaccination. Some pets, even with repetitive vaccinations are low responders. It is important to be aware if your pet is a poor responder. You wouldn't want to assume that just because your pet has been vaccinated that he is protected. Many dog enthusiasts have heard of someone who has lost a pet to parvo even though the dog was vaccinated.

There are many reasons for vaccination failure. A titre is a blood draw that serves as one tool to assure you that your pet companion is protected. Titre levels and recommendations based on them should be very individualized. A pet's lifestyle should be considered when making titre/vaccination recommendations.

If your pet has a high titre, he does not need to be vaccinated with that antigen. If he has a low titre despite a history of lots of exposure to that antigen, then another vaccination is not going to boost him any further. In fact, repeating an unnecessary or ineffective vaccination could be harmful.

Vaccines have been associated with vomiting, diarrhea, fevers, rashes, anaphylaxis, vaccine site tumors, seizures and immune mediated disorders.

A veterinarian who is experienced with utilizing titre information can provide you with guidance as to when to perform a titre and then based on that result, whether or not to boost.

I recommend vaccinating puppies with distemper/hepatitis/parainfluenza/parvo at 8 and 12 weeks. Do an in clinic titre at 16 weeks for rapid results. It measures only distemper and parvo. If it is positive for both then this means there is a sterilizing level of protection. I then give the rabies vaccine. If one or the other is negative there could still be adequate memory or even cellular immunity, however in a puppy who has not been "over vaccinated", who has not had any reaction, and who could have had mother's antibody present at time of prior vaccination, blocking the effectiveness of the vaccine, I would boost again with whichever individual vaccine was needed.

It is of notable interest that in hundreds of puppies/dogs on whom we performed hepatitis/adenovirus titre testing not one was unprotected. Therefore we no longer test for this antibody level.

At the dog's annual wellness exam we perform a titre which delivers actual number results. This takes two weeks. These results tell me if the pet's prior vaccinations have stimulated the pet's immune system to a degree that he has either memory or sterilizing immunity levels. I decide based on the pet's age, lifestyle, other disorders present, previous number of vaccines, guardian's concerns about vaccine reactions, whether or not a booster is recommended. A technician calls the owner to report the results and recommendation.

The most a titre drops in one year is in half. So depending on how high it starts the first time we check it, we can extrapolate and tell a client, a doggy day care, a boarding kennel, how often we feel a titre needs to be checked on an individual to assure that he is protected. Some dogs are checked annually to satisfy a kennel requirement, others have NOT been checked NOR vaccinated for several years and then have still been found to have protective levels. Obviously, this saves the pet a lot of vaccine-associated risk and the client a lot of money. Sometimes a new client whose pet has been vaccinated annually for many years receives his first titre test when older. Despite all that vaccine we determine he's a low responder. This tells us to stop vaccinating! The client has been wasting money and taking unnecessary risk with his pet's immune health. That pet needs to be careful where he goes, what he sniffs and what he eats (i.e. other dog poo).

Specific canine titre parameters are as follows:

Michigan State University reports:

CDV= 32 CPV= 80
(Distemper) (Parvo)
These levels would be considered protective. Roughly equivalent to sterilizing immunity.

Dr. Ron Schultz at the University of Wisconsin-Madison VMTH has explained that his research shows:

CDV= 4 CPV= 20

May also be protective, but roughly equivalent to memory levels of immunity.

Efficacy and legal guidelines for administration of rabies vaccine is based on duration of immunity to challenge studies, not on titre levels. Therefore performance of titre testing for rabies protection does not yield useful results. Keep in mind, vaccine manufacturers state that a vaccine should only be administered to" healthy dogs." Efficacy could be affected by " stress, weather, nutrition, disease, parasitism, concurrent treatments, individual idiosyncrasies or impaired immunological competency." Thus the administration of a vaccine does not guarantee protection.

Ask questions before you consent to the vaccination a pet with allergies, diabetes, otitis, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, hyperadrenocorticism, kidney disease, cancer or other disease.

Dr Jodie is a holistically focused veterinarian in Scottsdale, AZ

Vaccinations Re-examined

Yearly exams are important, but are vaccinations?

The cost for a tiny dogs annual exam, including heartworm checks, dental checks and a barrage of shots depending on where you live can cost up to $400.00.

What many pet owners don't know researchers say, is that most yearly vaccines for dogs and cats are a waste of money-and potentially deadly. Shots for the most important pet diseases last three to seven years, or longer, and annual shots put pets at greater risk of vaccine-related problems.

Veterinarians are charging customers $36 million a year for vaccinations that are not necessary. Not only are these vaccines unnecessary, they're causing harm to pets.

Just as humans don't need a measles shot every year, neither do dogs need annual injections for illnesses such as parvo, distemper or kennel cough (not suggested for dogs that stay at home all the time, but dogs that are boarded or shown should keep up with at least yearly kennel cough vaccinations)

The news has been slow to reach consumers, partly because few veterinarians outside academic settings are embracing the concept. Vaccine makers haven't done the studies needed to change vaccine labels. Vets, who charge $30 to $60 for yearly shots, are loath to defy vaccine label instructions and lose an important source of revenue. In addition, they worry their patients won't fare as well without yearly exams.
The movement to extend vaccine intervals is gaining ground because of growing evidence that vaccine themselves can trigger a deadly blood disorder in dogs.

When rabies shots became common for pets in the 1950s, no one questioned the value of annual vaccination. Distemper, which kills 50 percent of its victims, could be warded off with a shot. Parvovirus, which kills swiftly and gruesomely by causing toxic proliferation of bacteria in the digestive system, was vanquished with a vaccine. Over the years, more and more shots were added to the schedule, preventing costly and potentially deadly disease in furry family members. The animal doctors began noticing something ominous: rare instances of an unusual Immune reaction in dogs. The shots apparently caused canines to develop a vaccine-related disease in which the dog's body rejects is own blood.
As you get more and more vaccines, the possibility that a vaccine is going to cause an adverse event increases quite a bit.

Observing that humans got lifetime immunity form most childhood vaccines, the same logic was applied to dogs by the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine.

Dogs were vaccinated for rabies, parvo, kennel cough and distemper and then exposed to those disease-causing Organisms after three, five and seven years. The animals remained healthy. Antibody levels in the same dogs were measured nine and fifteen years after vaccination. The levels were found to be sufficient to prevent disease.

Many vets are uncomfortable making drastic change in practice without data from large-scale studies to back them up. There is no animal equivalent of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which monitors outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease in people, thus keeping tabs on a vaccine's effectiveness. Federal authorities require vaccine makers to show only that a vaccine is effective for a reasonable amount of time, usually one year.

Vaccination Findings
Veterinary research challenges the notion that pets need to be vaccinated every 12 months. Some of the Findings:

Dog Vaccines / Minimum Duration of Immunity

  • Canine rabies: 3 years

  • Canine parainfluenza: 3 years

  • Canine distemper (Onderstepoort strain): 5 years

  • Canine distemper (Roskborn strain): 7 years

  • Canine adenovirus (kennel cough): 7 years

  • Canine parvovirus: 7 years

Recommendation for dogs

  • Parvovirus, adenovirus, parainfluenza, distemper: Following initial puppy shots, provide booster one year later, and every three years thereafter.

  • Rabies: At 16 weeks of age, thereafter as required by law.

  • Bordatella: Use prior to boarding; may be repeated up to six times per year.

  • Coronavirus: Not recommended in private homes. Prior to boarding, may be given to dogs 8 weeks or older, and repeated every six months.

  • Lyme: Not recommended

  • Giardia: Not recommended

Reprinted in part with permission. Houston Chronicle Publishing Company 2002
Source: Ronald Schultz, University of WI School of Veterinary Medicine

Information on Probiotics

What exactly are Probiotics?

Quite simply, probiotics are the good bacteria found in a dogs digestive tract. Taking a probiotic helps to maintain the natural balance of good and bad bacteria in their body. When good bacteria are added and allowed to multiple, they help replace the bad bacteria - improving digestive health, boosting the immune system and contributing to better overall health.

Since there are many different bacterial strains, it's important to understand that not all probiotics deliver the same health benefits.
Believe it or not, 70% of a body's entire immune system is in the digestive tract. With digestion and immunity so linked, it's easy to see how optimal health starts in the core. So when the bad bacteria in a dogs body multiply (from causes like diet, travel, stress and certain medications), their digestion and immune system are vulnerable.

Digestive issues occur when there is an imbalance of good and bad bacteria. By adding good bacteria (from a probiotic) back to a dogs body and restoring a healthier bacteria ratio, their digestive system can get back on track.

What is Lactobacillus GG (or LGG®)?
Found in LGG is the most clinically researched and proven strain of probiotic for digestive, immune and overall health. Doctors Sherwood Gorbach and Barry Goldin made the discovery in 1985, successfully creating a strain strong enough and sticky enough to survive stomach acids and successfully colonize in the intestines.
Is LGG Safe?

LGG is completely natural and has been studied intensely in over 250 clinical studies to determine its safety and effectiveness.
In study after study, LGG has been proven to survive stomach acid and form a stronger barrier against bad bacteria better than almost all other probiotics.

Most yogurts contain 1 billion live good bacteria. Most yogurts don't contain a strain as hardy and beneficial as LGG. What's more, most yogurt strains are less likely to stick and multiply in the digestive tract, even lessening yogurt's probiotic power.

Good Foods to Feed Your Pet!
We feed our dogs these treats on a daily/weekly/monthly basis

Blueberries are actually a very healthy treat for dogs to have on occasion. They are a great source of many important nutrients that dogs may not get from the other foods they eat. They are a much healthier alternative to the processed treats available for dogs on the shelves of grocery stores and pet stores.
Blueberries are said to be a good source of silicon which is said to help rejuvenate the pancreas.

Many vegetables are fine for a dog to eat, and carrots make a low-calorie alternative to fattening, preservative-filled commercial treats. Dogs can eat raw or cooked carrots with no dire consequences except orange poop.
Not only are raw carrots low-calorie treats for the weight-conscious dog, they can also be helpful in helping "scrub" teeth clean as the dog chews.

There are three main benefits of feeding your dog yogurt periodically. Yogurt contains essential vitamins that are beneficial for your dog's overall health. The calcium found in the dairy treat helps to strengthen your dog's bones and skeletal structure. The friendly bacteria found in yogurt works wonders to improve and regulate your canine's digestion.

There is only one type of yogurt you can feed your dog or puppy. Feed your dog plain, low-fat, unflavored yogurt if you choose to add this dairy product into his diet. Flavored yogurt has too much sugar, which is not safe or healthy for dogs.

There are many nutritional benefits from eating green tripe. It contains a very diverse profile of nutrients including enzymes, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, probiotics, and phytonutrients. Green tripe assists your canine in utilizing their food as well, aiding in the digestion process. It can also be used as an appetite stimulator. In cases where dogs refuse to eat their meal it can aid in stimulating the appetite. Diets that do not contain live enzymes put a greater stress on the pancreas and other organs to help to breakdown food.

Why is green tripe so healthy?

Since tripe is taken from cow’s stomachs, they receive nutrients from grasses and grains that have been already processed naturally by the cow's stomach system. Also present within the tripe are naturally occurring gastric juices, amino acids and live enzymes not found in processed or cooked foods. These gastric juices are excellent cleaners for teeth. Amino acids are necessary for proper muscular development. It is also an excellent source of protein, fiber, fat and delivers equal calcium to phosphorus ratios. Green tripe also contains Lactic Acid bacteria, also known as Lactobacillus Acidophilus which is a good intestinal bacteria and a main ingredient in probiotics.

I feed a can of sardines split between all the dogs on a weekly basis. I buy the sardines packed in water. NOT any of the other flavored kind. The dogs LOVE them!

The sardine is rich in omega–3 fatty acids, of a long chain variety that you can only get in seafood and is not available in vegetable matter. The omega–3 fatty acids play a major role in the function of the immune system and the maintenance of all hormonal systems. With added protection against heart disease, progressive retinal atrophy, and support for brain development in the unborn puppies, these are just a few of the benefits found in the sardine. Other essential fatty acids are in abundance in the sardine helping with arthritis, lowering cholesterol and is a strong cancer fighter. DHA (Doco-sahexaenoic acid) is an omega–3 essential fatty acid found in abundance in the sardine; puppies need sufficient amounts of DHA before birth in order for them to develop the brain and the nervous system as well as the immune system and the endocrine system. If the mothers diet is lacking in DHA she will give of her own store to the developing puppies as best she can but may never recover to her own optimum level and the puppies may not get enough and may not reach their full potential. Lysine is also found in abundance in the sardine, repairing soft tissue from disease and infections as well as supporting the activity level of most of the organs and other systems of the body.

Coenzyme Q10 is also found in abundance in this fish, being a powerful antioxidant and is known to promote a strong immune system as well as increasing circulation throughout the body. Let’s not forget the importance of Calcium and Vitamin D in a very naturally occurring form, easily absorbed and used by the dog. (see Calcium and Regulation Vitamin D in the October Canine Chronicle) Other vitamins found of value are the water-soluble B’s, which encourage appetite balance, “to hunger and to be full”. Vitamin A and K are also found at optimum levels to encourage healthy skin, and maintain blood functions throughout the body of the dog. The mineral levels are also impressive such as; magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium and the tiny bones are easily digested and used as another source of available Calcium.

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