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Established 1925

Incorporated 1929


Current Recommendations for Dogs

Critter Fixer Pet Hospital, Inc

 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 (19,23). Prior to 1995 parvovaccines contained 5 x 10 to the 5th antigen particles. ( 500,000 live viruses.) When studies by Dr Schultz demonstrated that the new high titer vaccines were much more effective, most manufacturers improved their products to match. The new vaccines contain 1 x 10 to the 11th antigen particles. 100,000,000,000 live viruses. The frustrating experiences we had prior to 1995 with vaccine breaks were largely resolved by the new improved vaccine. 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 (6, 15, 20, 21,23).

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. (22,23 b). Studies for longer duration are pending (5, 13, 14, 15, 18, 22,23 b, 23c.) *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 hypertropic osteodystrophy. These occur primarily when the vaccine is given too early, ie < 6-8 weeks.

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.

Hepatitis (Adenovirus)- (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 more cases of       "hepatitis vaccine blue eye" than hepatitis in my practice.

Bordetella - Parainfluenza  Commonly called "kennel cough," this 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 (23). Immunity requires 72 hours and does not protect from every cause of "kennel cough" or every serovar of bordetella. Immunity to bordetella is of short duration (4-6 months), so vaccination should be repeated as needed. Dogs kept at home are at very low risk for these diseases, so vaccination is not necessary. Bordetella is not the only cause of "kennel cough." There is some question as to the correct serovars of this bacterin and its efficacy. The Bordetella on the street may not be the same as the Bordetella in the vaccine.

Rabies Although there have been no reported cases of rabid dogs or cats in Harris County, Montgomery County, or Ft. Bend County, 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 families protection. This is a killed vaccine.  Killed vaccines provide a shorter duration of immunity than MLV (19). Duration of immunity for rabies vaccine has been shown to be at least 7 years.(23b)

In Texas,  rabies  vaccination with a three year duration of immunity vaccine is required to be administered annually 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.

 There have been animals who developed rabies that had only one vaccination. There has never been a dog or cat develope rabies that has had at least two rabies vaccinations.

Vaccinations Not Recommended For Dogs

Multiple components in vaccines compete with each other for the immune system and result in lesser immunity for each individual disease as well as increasing the risk of a reaction.(19)

Canine corona virus is only a disease of puppies less than six weeks of age (15- p20). It is a rare, self-limiting disease (i.e. dogs get well in 3 days without treatment)(3). 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 6 wks of age cannot be 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.(13, 19- p18, 21)  I see no justification for the use of corona virus vaccine.

In 1985 a significant number of dogs (>189) died from encephalitis caused by Corona Virus vaccine, combined  with the Rockborn strain distemper. (3, 21) An unfortunate & heartbreaking catastrophe caused by an unnecessary  vaccine.

Leptospirosis  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) grippotyphosa, L. pomona and L. bratislava.(1, 9, 15-p20, 21) 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)(19)  New Vaccines recently introduced  by Fort Dodge include  L. gryppothyposa., and L. pomona .

Although Leptospirosis in dogs  seems to be increasing in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa and New York, disease is rare in Texas. Records at Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab showed only 8 cases of Leptospirosis in dogs in Texas in 2000. L. Icterohaemmorrhagiae -3 cases, L. canicola -2, L. pamona -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. The risk of side effects outweigh the benefits.

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 states and Wisconsin. In 1998, there were 28 cases of human Lyme disease & 60 dogs which tested positive in Texas. It is not know how many of these cases were acquired while pets were traveling in other states. Most cases were found in North East Texas. Lyme disease testing with the most commonly used test can give a false positive reaction to normal spirochete organisms in a dogs mouth. The advent of a new ,more accurate Lyme disease Test (Snap Test by Idexx) in 2000 will hopefully give us better information about the prevalence of this disease in Texas.

The average dog in Houston would be at very  low 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. A report by Dr. Jacobson recorded 790 dogs which developed polyarthritis after vaccination with Lyme disease vaccine. These dogs did not show antibody titers suggestive of  Lyme disease infection. 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 Meriel  and Schering only contain OSP A antigens. The importance of OSP B & C antigens were discovered after the new vaccines were developed (2, 11)  Studies by Dr. Richard Jacobson at Cornell University suggest that the claim that  the whole bacterin  by Ft Dodge is more protective lacks merit. Dogs vaccinated with the whole cell bacterin had no antibodies to the OSP B or C antigens either. This is because bacteria grown on cell culture  to produce the vaccine would not be expressing OSP B or C antigen.

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. 

It is thought that the OSP A antigen may be so similar to the dogs own cartilage that the antibodies induced by the vaccine will attack the dogs own cartilage, causing arthritis. 

 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 (11). 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.