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Old 04-09-2008, 08:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Vaccine FAQ and General Information

Why do Baby Animals Need a Series of Shots and how many do they Need?

When a baby kitten or puppy is born, its immune system is not yet mature; the baby is wide open for infection. Fortunately, nature has a system of protection. The mother produces a type of milk called colostrum that is rich in all the antibodies that the mother has to offer. As the babies drink this milk, they take in their mother's immunity. After the first couple of days, regular milk is produced and the baby's intestines undergo what is called closure, which means they are no longer able to take antibodies into their systems. These first two days are critical to determining what kind of immunity the baby will receive until its own system can take over.

How long this maternal antibody lasts in a given puppy is totally individual. It can depend on the birth order of the babies, how well they nursed, and a number of other factors. Maternal antibodies against different diseases wear off after different times. We DO know that by 16 to 20 weeks of age, maternal antibodies are gone and the baby must be able continue on its own immune system.

While maternal immunity is present in the puppy's system, any vaccines given will be inactivated. Vaccines will not be able to take hold until maternal antibody has sufficiently dropped. Puppies and kittens receive a series of vaccines ending at a time when we know the baby's own immune system should be able to respond. We could simply wait until the baby is old enough to definitely respond as we do with the rabies vaccination but this could leave a large window of vulnerability if the maternal antibody wanes early. To give babies the best chance of responding to vaccination, we vaccinate intermittently (usually every 2 to 4 weeks) during this period in hope of gaining some early protection.

When a vaccine against a specific disease is started for the first time, even in adult animal, it is best to give at least two vaccinations. This is because the second vaccination will produce a much greater (logarithmically greater) response if it is following a vaccine given 2 to 4 weeks prior.

If a Vaccine Lasts a Person his or her Whole Life, Why do I have to Vaccinate my Pet Annually?

In this country, vaccines are licensed based on the minimum duration they can be expected to last. It is expensive to test vaccines across an expanse of years and it is not generally done. We know our vaccines last at least one year and without knowing for sure we have not been willing to take a chance on whether they might last longer.

It is also important to realize that some diseases lend themselves to prevention through vaccination while others do not. For a vaccine to generate solid long-lasting immunity, the infection must be fairly generalized to the entire body (like distemper or parvovirus) rather than localized to one organ system (like kennel cough or feline upper respiratory viruses). Vaccination for localized infections tend to require more frequent boosting whereas there is potential for vaccination for systemic disease to last for many years.

Recently, several veterinary teaching hospitals have restructured their vaccination policies to increase the duration of some vaccines from 1 year to 3 years. Many private veterinarians are following those guidelines for these vaccines. The important thing to realize is that this kind of extension is not possible in all situations or for all vaccines.

What Vaccines Should I get for my Pet?

What vaccines are recommended to an individual pet depend on many factors: what kind of exposure to disease the animal has, what diseases are common in the area, what kind of stress factors are present, etc. When you consider the multitudes of vaccine types and combinations and the many different situations dogs and cats live within, it is not too surprising to find that almost every veterinarian recommends a different group of vaccines. The best advice is to hook up with a veterinarian who you trust and go with their recommendation. Some veterinarians do not recommend lepto b/c it wasnt always as effective and caused many reactions. the new lepto vaccine causes less reactions and is more effective. even though your pup does not go near large bodies of water it can contract lepto in your backyard if any type of rodent can pass through it. it is spread through rodent urine and through skin abrasions of your pup.

What Vaccines Should I get if my Pet is Indoors Almost Completely?


For primarily indoor dogs, we recommend the basic distemper/parvo combination, rabies vaccination, and kennel cough vaccination. You never know when you will be bringing a dog to the vet (even if the dog never goes to a groomer or boarding facility) and anytime a dog is in a room with other dogs, kennel cough is a risk.

What is the Difference Between a Live and a Killed Vaccine?

Vaccines present virus to the immune system for processing. The idea is to present the virus in as natural a way as possible so as to best mimic the stimulation obtained by natural infection, yet skip the illness experienced by the patient.

There are two ways to achieve this goal. One way is to use killed vaccine. Here, large amounts of dead virus are injected into the patient. They filter into the immune system and lead to stimulation. The other way is to use a live virus that has been modified such that actual disease does not result in infection. By using live virus, a more natural stimulation is obtained as the live viruses follow through the same steps of replication that the real virus would.

Which method is best remains somewhat controversial. Some experts feel that killed vaccine is best as there will never be a chance that the patient can contract the actual disease from the vaccine if a killed vaccine is used. Proponents of live vaccines have been able to demonstrate that far stronger immunity can be generated by the live vaccines. While my hospital stocks some killed vaccine available upon request, I feel that the live vaccine indeed produces better protection so this is what we use on a routine basis.

Can a Pregnant Pet be Vaccinated?

It is important that live vaccines (see above) NOT be used in pregnant pets. This is because a modified virus that will not cause illness in the mother, may still be strong enough to infect the unborn puppies or kittens. Killed vaccines may be given during pregnancy although as a general rule it is best not to give any medical treatments during pregnancy if it can be avoided. While killed vaccines are commonly given to large animals and food animals, it is not routine for dogs or cats.

Can I Give Vaccines Myself?

It is physically possible to give vaccines yourself if you know how to give a subcutaneous injection. In many areas pet vaccines are considered over-the-counter medications and you can get them from your local pharmacy. We do not recommend this practice for the following reasons:
  • It may be difficult for you to properly dispose of the needles.
  • If there is any type of acute allergic reaction, you will not be prepared to address it.
  • The source of vaccines may not handle the vaccines appropriately and that may reduce effectiveness
  • You may not keep records of vaccination in order should proof of vaccination be needed. Facilities requiring proof of vaccination may be unwilling to accept your own word that your pet is vaccinated adequately.
If you are looking for a low cost method of vaccination, we suggest a low cost vaccination clinic.

Can Vaccines Hurt my Pet?

Some muscle soreness, lethargy and mild fever persisting for a day or two are considered common reactions to stimulation of the immune system. Vaccine reactions beyond this are unusual but possible. Allergic reactions characterized by facial swelling and hives are a strong sign that special care should be taken in administering vaccinations in the future. Since allergic reactions can potentially become worse with each episode, it is important to take heed of these signs as severe reactions can result in shock or even death.

Vaccine reactions can be reduced by premedicating your pet with benadryl. this can either be done at your vet visit by the veterinarian, or you can ask your veterinarian for a benadryl dose.



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Old 04-09-2008, 09:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Wow wow wow! Thank you so much for doing all this Dr. Jaime!
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Old 04-09-2008, 09:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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[attachment=36207:bravo.gif]

Thank you so much for pinning all these health topics for us, Dr. Jaimie!




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Old 04-10-2008, 08:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you!
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Old 04-10-2008, 11:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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And a BIG thank you from me, too! I'm going to print and put in Sophie's health folder. Great information!!!!

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Old 04-11-2008, 01:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you! All the important information all in one place. This is great!
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Old 04-13-2008, 12:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you so much. This is great information. As soon as I get the "all clear" from Ava's surgeon, I need to take her to my vet for her vaccinations. The only thing we gave her before her surgery was her rabies, because there have been rabies outbreaks at Penn. The surgeon and my vet did not want her to have anything else because they did not want to cause her liver any strain. Thank you again!
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Old 05-05-2008, 09:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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What are your opinions about the rabies vaccine?

I know that many dogs have had reactions and have had auto immune problems after having the rabies vaccine. There is now a three year vaccine and a huge group of people are fighting for a seven year vaccine.

I told someone that has one of my puppies that I did not give the vaccine unless it was absolutely necessary. I know that it is required by state law . Her vet wants to see proof that it has caused problems in maltese. Do any of you have any proof of that?

It really bothers me that they give a little maltese the same dose as they give a big dog.

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Old 05-08-2008, 02:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
What are your opinions about the rabies vaccine?

I know that many dogs have had reactions and have had auto immune problems after having the rabies vaccine. There is now a three year vaccine and a huge group of people are fighting for a seven year vaccine.

I told someone that has one of my puppies that I did not give the vaccine unless it was absolutely necessary. I know that it is required by state law . Her vet wants to see proof that it has caused problems in maltese. Do any of you have any proof of that?

It really bothers me that they give a little maltese the same dose as they give a big dog.

pburnette
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Old 05-08-2008, 02:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Quote:
What are your opinions about the rabies vaccine?

I know that many dogs have had reactions and have had auto immune problems after having the rabies vaccine. There is now a three year vaccine and a huge group of people are fighting for a seven year vaccine.

I told someone that has one of my puppies that I did not give the vaccine unless it was absolutely necessary. I know that it is required by state law . Her vet wants to see proof that it has caused problems in maltese. Do any of you have any proof of that?

It really bothers me that they give a little maltese the same dose as they give a big dog.

pburnette
Ga-Li Maltese[/B]
[/B]
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