Are You Over Vaccinating Your Pets? Part 2

By Julie Anne Lee DCH RscHom & David Ruish DVM
As published in Pet Connection Paper

For many years we have had clients feel guilty that they have been over vaccinating their animals, we would like to stress that this article is not about guilt but it is about education. Everyone tries to do their very best for their animal companion and while we believe that all Veterinarians have the well intention of your animals at heart; it is very hard to keep up with the latest research in Veterinary Medical Science.

Below are quotations from Dr. Jean Dodd’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and the information she has written on vaccine reactions.
The long-term cumulative affect of over vaccination can be devastating to the health of your pet. It is our sincere hope that we have shed some light on this controversial topic and have provided quality information that will help to keep your beloved animal friend as happy and healthy as we can (as possible) and as they truly deserve to be. Titer testing for Parvo, Distemper and Rabies are available for dogs, Panleukopenia (feline distemper), Calici and Herpes testing are available for cats. results for both Canine and Feline vaccine titer panels are 2usually back from the lab in 24-48 hours.

Adverse Vaccine Reactions
“Viral disease and recent vaccination with single or combination modified live-virus (MLV) vaccines, especially that containing distemper virus, adenovirus 1 or 2, and parvovirus is increasingly recognized contributors to immune-mediated blood disease, bone marrow failure, and organ dysfunction. 1-11 Potent adjuvanted killed vaccines like those for rabies virus also can trigger immediate and delayed (vaccinosis) adverse vaccine reactions.”

“Beyond immediate hypersensitivity reactions, other acute events tend to occur 24-72 hours afterwards, or 7-45 days later in a delayed type immunological response. Even more delayed adverse effects include mortality from high-titered measles vaccine in infants, canine distemper antibodies in joint diseases of dogs, and feline and canine injection-site fibrosarcomas. The increasing antigenic load presented to the host individually by modified-live virus (MLV) vaccines during the period of viremia is presumed to be responsible for the immunological challenge that can result in a delayed hypersensitivity reaction.”

“The clinical signs associated with vaccine reactions typically include fever, stiffness, sore joints and abdominal tenderness, susceptibility to infections, neurological disorders and encephalitis, collapse with autoagglutinated red blood cells and icterus (autoimmune hemolytic anemia) (AIHA), or generalized petechiae and ecchymotic hemorrages (immune-mediated thrombocytopenia) (ITP). Hepatic enzymes may be markedly elevated, and liver or kidney failure may occur by itself or accompany bone marrow suppression. Furthermore, MLV vaccination has been associated wth the development of transient seizures in puppies and adult dogs of breeds or cross-breeds susceptible to immune-mediated diseases especially those involving hematologic or endocrine tissues (ie. AIHA, ITP, autoimmune thyroiditis). Post-vaccinal polyneuropathy is a recognized entity associated occasionally with the use of distemper, parvovirus, rabies and presumably other vaccines. This can result in various clinical signs including muscular atrophy, inhibition or interruption of neuronal control os tissue and organ function, muscular excitation, incoordination and weakness, as well as seizures. Certain breeds or families of dogs appear to be more susceptible to adverse vaccine reactions, particularly post-vaccinal seizures, high fevers and painful episodes of hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD).”

“Vaccination of pet an research dogs with polyvalent vaccines containing rabies virus or rabies vaccine alone was recently shown to induce production of antithyroglobulin autoantibodies, a provocative and important finding with implications for the subsequent development of hypothyroidism. Furthermore, injection site fibrosarcomas have recently been documented in dogs as well as cats.”

“The recently weaned young puppy or kitten being placed in a new environment may be at a particular risk. Furthermore, while the frequency of vaccinations is usually spaced 2-3 weeks apart, some veterinarians have advocated vaccination once a week in stressful situations, a practice makes little sense scientifically or medically.”

“For these special cases, appropriate alternatives to current vaccine practices include: measuring serum antibody titers; avoidance of unnecessary vaccines or over vaccinating; caution in vaccinating sick or febrile individuals; and tailoring a specific minimal vaccination protocol for dogs of breeds or families known to be at increased risk for adverse reactions. Considerations include starting the vaccination series later, such as at nine or ten weeks of age wen the immune system is more able to handle antigenic challenge; alerting the caregiver to pay particular attention to the puppy’s behaviour and overall health after the second or subsequent boosters; and avoiding revaccination of individuals already experiencing a significant adverse event. Littermates of affected puppies should be closely monitored after
receiving additional vaccines in a puppy series, as they too are at a higher risk.”