We at Pawsitively Petastic understand our fur-parent's concerns regarding over-vaccinating.
We do not wish to promote unnecessary or over vaccination, but must make every effort to protect our babies from illness when visiting. Our decision is based on keeping up to date with recent news articles and veterinarian recommendations.
DAPP / DHPP... (D) distemper, (A) adenovirus, (H) hepatitis, (P) parainfluenza, (P)parvovirus
Bordetella... (kennel cough)
Fecal Exam... (negative results for intestinal parasites required)
Canine Influenza... *Encouraged, but not mandatory at this time. Owner discretion
*Please consult your veterinarian
*Titers accepted for immune compromised dogs or senior dogs
Canine Bordetella (Kennel Cough)
Bordetella vaccine is recommended only for those dogs boarded, groomed, taken to dog shows, dog parks or for any reason housed where exposed to a lot of dogs. The intranasal vaccine provides more complete and more rapid onset of immunity with less chance of reaction. Immunity requires 72 hours and does not protect from every cause of kennel cough. Immunity is of short duration (4 to 6 months). Kennel cough is known as tracheo-bronchitis, an inflamation of the trachea and the bronchial tubes. Kennel cough is contagious. Its major symptoms are sneezing and a hard, choking cough. There are two different forms of the vaccine on the market. The original and still widely used vaccine is given intra-nasally. A modified live para-influenza virus is aspirated into the dog’s nose. Unfortunately, the dog may be contagious for three weeks after being vaccinated. The newest vaccine is given in an injectable form. This is a killed virus. Therefore, your dog will not be a threat to others. This decision was made after numerous discussions with different veterinarians and a lot of research including speaking with the vaccine manufacturer. Many veterinarians claim “When a dog contracts kennel cough it actually boosts the immune system and makes the dog stronger. Unless your dog is severely debilitated, kennel cough is similar to the common cold”.
*** Even in the most hygienic, well ventilated, spacious kennels, the possibility of a dog acquiring Kennel Cough exists. Kennel Cough can be acquired from your neighbor's dog, from a Champion show dog at a dog show, from the animal hospital where your dog just came in for treatment of a cut paw, etc. Please try not to blame the kennel or boarding facility operator if your dog develops Kennel Cough shortly after that weekend stay! There may have been an infected dog, unknown to anyone, that acted as a source for other dogs in the kennel.
Canine Influenza (Dog Flu)
Canine influenza (CI), or dog flu, is a highly contagious respiratory infection of dogs that is caused by an influenza A virus. In the U.S., canine influenza has been caused by two influenza strains. The first strain reported in the United States, beginning in 2004, was an H3N8 influenza A virus. This strain is closely related to the virus that causes equine influenza, and it is thought that the equine influenza virus mutated to produce the canine strain. In 2015, an outbreak that started in Chicago was caused by a separate canine influenza virus, H3N2. The strain causing the 2015 outbreak was almost genetically identical to an H3N2 strain previously reported only in Asia – specifically, Korea, China and Thailand. In Asia. This H3N2 strain is believed to have resulted from the direct transfer of an avian influenza virus – possibly from among viruses circulating in live bird markets – to dogs. Since March 2015, thousands of dogs have been confirmed positive for H3N2 canine influenza across the U.S.
Two clinical syndromes have been seen in dogs infected with the canine influenza virus—a mild form of the disease and a more severe form that is accompanied by pneumonia.
Mild form — Dogs suffering with the mild form of canine influenza develop a soft, moist cough that persists for 10 to 30 days. They may also be lethargic and have reduced appetite and a fever. Sneezing and discharge from the eyes and/or nose may also be observed. Some dogs have a dry cough similar to the traditional "kennel cough" caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica/parainfluenza virus complex. Dogs with the mild form of influenza may also have a thick nasal discharge, which is usually caused by a secondary bacterial infection.
Severe form — Dogs with the severe form of canine influenza develop high fevers (104ºF to 106ºF) and have clinical signs of pneumonia, such as increased respiratory rates and effort. Pneumonia may be due to a secondary bacterial infection.
Cats infected with H3N2 canine influenza show signs of upper respiratory illness, such as runny nose, congestion, malaise, lip smacking, and excessive salivation.
Q: Are all dogs at risk of getting canine influenza?
A: Because this is still an emerging disease and dogs in the U.S. have not been exposed to it before, almost all dogs, regardless of breed or age, lack immunity to it and are susceptible to infection if exposed to the active virus. Virtually all dogs exposed to the virus become infected, and nearly 80% show clinical signs of disease, though most exhibit the mild form described above.
However, the risk of any dog being exposed to the canine influenza virus depends on that dog’s lifestyle. Dogs that are frequently or regularly exposed to other dogs – for example at boarding or day care facilities, dog parks, grooming salons, or social events with other dogs present – are at greater risk of coming into contact with the virus. Also, as with other infectious diseases, extra precautions may be needed with puppies, elderly or pregnant dogs, and dogs that are immunocompromised. Dog owners should talk with their own veterinarian to assess their dog’s risk.
Q: Do dogs die from canine influenza?
A: Fatal cases of pneumonia resulting from infection with canine influenza virus have been reported in dogs, but the fatality rate is low (less than 10%). Most dogs recover in 2-3 weeks.
Q: How widespread is the disease?
A: The first recognized outbreak of canine influenza in the world is believed to have occurred in racing greyhounds in January 2004 at a track in Florida. From June to August of 2004, outbreaks of respiratory disease were reported at 14 tracks in 6 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Texas, and West Virginia). Between January and May of 2005, outbreaks occurred at 20 tracks in 11 states (Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin). The canine influenza virus has been reported in at least 40 states and Washington, DC.
The H3N2 strain of canine influenza virus had been reported in Korea, China and Thailand, but had not been detected outside of those countries until 2015. In April 2015, an outbreak that started in Chicago was determined to be caused by an H3N2 strain that was genetically almost identical to the one one in Asia. Since May 2015, thousands of dogs have been confirmed positive for H3N2 canine influenza across the U.S.
Q: Is there a vaccine?
A: The first canine vaccine for H3N8 canine influenza was approved in 2009, and there are several H3N8 canine influenza vaccines available. It is not known whether the H3N8 vaccine will offer any protection against the H3N2 strain. Canine influenza vaccines are considered "lifestyle" vaccines, meaning the decision to vaccinate is based on a dog’s risk of exposure. Dog owners should consult their veterinarian to determine whether vaccination is needed.
In November 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture granted a conditional license to Zoetis for the first commercially available H3N2 canine influenza vaccine. Later that month, Merck Animal Health announced the availability of an H3N2 canine influenza vaccine, also conditionally licensed by USDA. None of the currently available vaccines are approved for use in cats.
Unlike distemper and parvo, rabies is a disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans, which is why rabies vaccinations are required by law throughout North America. The virus infects the central nervous system, causing encephalitis and death. Symptoms can include confusion, partial paralysis, aggressive behavior, excessive salivation and other neurological signs. Although rabies occurs worldwide, including in Asia, Africa and Latin America, some countries such as the U.K. are rabies-free. In North America, rabies is most prevalent in the eastern portions of the continent, although cases can occur anywhere. Wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes are the major carriers. Because rabies isn’t age-related, mammals at all stages of life can be affected with the same degree of severity. The chief means of transmission is by a bite from an infected animal.“ There are multiple strains of rabies, but the important thing is that the vaccine prevents infection with all those different strains,” says Dr. Schultz. “Although the risk of infection in domesticated animals is generally low, the public health concern is the issue. That’s what drives the regulations for rabies vaccines.” As with the other core vaccines, puppies and kittens should be vaccinated at 12 weeks. Although some states and provinces have approved a three-year rabies vaccine, some still require annual re-vaccination for dogs and cats, even though the duration of immunity based on challenge studies has been shown to be three to seven years. “The regulations vary from state to state and province to province, and even from municipality to municipality.” It’s also important to realize that a municipality might have a more restrictive requirement than the state or province it’s a part of, although not the other way around.“ Rabies titers are effective, but there’s no point running them because you’re going to have to vaccinate your animal by law anyhow,” says Dr. Schultz. However, titer testing for rabies is useful in cases where the animal has had an adverse reaction to the vaccine, or has a medical condition that could be aggravated by the vaccination. “In these situations, local municipalities will sometimes accept a letter from the vet as a reason not to vaccinate every three years, but the guardian has to understand that the animal is still considered to be non-vaccinated, and if it bit someone, it would be treated as such if it’s gone beyond the three years, irrespective of the vet’s letter. Even so, if you have a dog that for health reasons shouldn’t be given a rabies vaccine, it’s better to take the chance of it being quarantined for biting someone than to give the vaccine and kill the dog.
Canine Distemper (CDV)
CDV is a highly infectious and often fatal disease that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous systems. Although dogs of any age can contract distemper, puppies up to six months of age are most susceptible to the disease, which can cause a range of symptoms from fever, loss of appetite and eye inflammation in its early stages, to diarrhea, vomiting, pneumonia, and neurological complications such as ataxia, seizures and paralysis. Canine distemper occurs around the world not only among domesticated dogs, but also in many wild carnivores such as raccoons, skunks and foxes. “Wildlife is actually now more of a reservoir for distemper than dogs are,” says Dr. Schultz. “The virus is spread mainly by air, or by direct contact with secretions from the infected animal. The mortality rate among puppies with distemper is 50% or higher.” On the plus side, the distemper virus is very fragile and easily destroyed by outside influences. “It doesn’t live very long in the environment,” says Dr. Schultz. “It dies very quickly because it is what we call an enveloped virus. These kinds of viruses are highly susceptible to water, disinfectant and sunlight.” Although there is only one distemper serotype, there are several genotypes. “What this means is that, from an immunologic standpoint, it doesn’t matter which distemper infects the animal, they’re all similar; the vaccine for canine distemper can protect against the different genotypes.” Dr. Schultz adds that modified live vaccines (MLV) are most effective for distemper. “In fact there’s no question in my mind that you should be using live vaccines for most of the cores. Although attenuated, live vaccines infect and replicate, and that’s how you get immunity.” Although AAHA recommends vaccinating against distemper every three years after the initial puppy shots, challenge studies have shown that the minimum duration of immunity can last five to seven years and perhaps even longer. In fact, titers have indicated that dogs can be protected for nine to 15 years. “To be honest, although canine distemper is a core vaccine, I think a dog only needs to receive it once in his life,” says Dr. Schultz. “The same goes for canine parvo and adenovirus-2. That’s the vaccination program I’ve been practicing on my own dogs without any difficulty whatsoever. We’ve never had a vaccine-preventable disease occur. ”Titer testing is highly effective for canine distemper, but according to Dr. Schultz, the best time to do it is at two weeks or more after the last puppy vaccination to ensure that the animal responded to its initial vaccines. “To my mind, that’s the only time it’s of medical benefit to use a titer test for canine distemper. After that, you don’t really need to titer the animal since you can easily go five or seven years before the next vaccine.
Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that can affect all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies younger than four months old are the most at risk. Dogs that are ill from canine parvovirus infection are often said to have "parvo." The virus affects dogs' gastrointestinal tracts and is spread by direct dog-to-dog contact and contact with contaminated feces (stool), environments, or people. The virus can also contaminate kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs. It is resistant to heat, cold, humidity, and drying, and can survive in the environment for long periods of time. Even trace amounts of feces from an infected dog may harbor the virus and infect other dogs that come into the infected environment. The virus is readily transmitted from place to place on the hair or feet of dogs or via contaminated cages, shoes, or other objects.
Canine Parainfluenza (CPIV)
CPIV is a highly contagious respiratory virus and is one of the most common pathogens of infectious tracheobronchitis, also known as canine cough.
Canine Adenovirus (CAV)
Infectious canine hepatitis is an acute liver infection in dogs caused by canine adenovirus type-1 (CAV-1). CAV-1 also causes disease in wolves, coyotes, and bears, and encephalitis in foxes. The virus is spread in the faeces, urine, blood, saliva, and nasal discharge of infected dogs.
Feline Panleukopenia (FPV)
Although FPV is sometimes referred to as feline distemper, this terminology is misleading. “When I talk about feline ‘distemper,’ I always talk about it as feline parvo or panleukopenia,” explains Dr. Schultz. “The virus that causes this disease is essentially identical to the canine parvo virus, but not the canine distemper virus. If a dog has parvo, it can infect a cat, but this doesn’t happen with distemper.” Most often found in kittens, FPV is a contagious and deadly disease that attacks and destroys growing cells in the intestine, blood and nervous system. It causes diarrhea, vomiting, a lowered white blood cell count, and neurological symptoms such as tremors. Kittens up to six months of age can easily die from the disease, while older cats may develop much milder signs. “There’s a tremendous age-related resistance to parvo,” says Dr. Schultz. “If the animal is less than a year old, mortality is 80% to 100%. However, I rarely see mortality in animals over a year of age, although I might see mild morbidity. Nevertheless, feline parvo is the one cat vaccine I absolutely insist on. ”Like canine distemper, feline parvo has worldwide distribution with outbreaks occurring most commonly in urban areas during the summer months. The disease is transmitted by direct contact, although cats can also contract FPV from the fecal matter of an infected feline. Unlike canine distemper, the parvo virus is extremely long-lived, and can remain active in the environment for months or even longer. “Parvo is what we call a naked virus and is one of the most resistant,” says Dr. Schultz. Soil contaminated with the parvo virus still has the ability to infect an animal a year later. “In fact, parvo is more often caused by environmental contamination than direct contact with an infected animal. You don’t need the infected cat to be in the environment for very long in order for it to leave the virus behind.” As with canine distemper, MLV vaccines are very effective for preventing feline panleukopenia. “With parvo, in fact, you’d better be using live vaccines, because the killed don’t work.” As with other core vaccines, kittens should be vaccinated at 12 weeks. Titer testing is very effective for this disease, although challenge studies indicate that a vaccinated kitten can remain protected from feline parvo for eight years.
New Principles of Immunology
“Dogs and cats immune systems mature fully at 6 months. If a modified live virus vaccine is given after 6 months of age, it produces an immunity which is good for the life of the pet (ie: canine distemper, parvo, feline distemper). If another MLV vaccine is given a year later, the antibodies from the first vaccine neutralize the antigens of the second vaccine and there is little or no effect. The titer is not “boosted” nor are more memory cells induced. “Not only are annual boosters for parvo and distemper unnecessary, they subject the pet to potential risks of allergic reactions and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. “There is no scientific documentation to back up label claims for annual administration of MLV vaccines “Puppies receive antibodies through their mothers milk. This natural protection can last 8-14 weeks. Puppies & kittens should NOT be vaccinated at LESS than 8 weeks. Maternal immunity will neutralize the vaccine and little protection (0-38%) will be produced. Vaccination at 6 weeks will, however, delay the timing of the first highly effective vaccine. Vaccinations given 2 weeks apart suppress rather than stimulate the immune system. A series of vaccinations is given starting at 8 weeks and given 3-4 weeks apart up to 16 weeks of age. Another vaccination given sometime after 6 months of age (usually at 1 year 4 mo) will provide lifetime immunity.
Current Recommendations for Dogs
"Distemper & Parvo According to Dr. Schultz, AVMA, 8-15-95, when a vaccinations series given at 2, 3 & 4 months and again at 1 year with a MLV, puppies and kitten program memory cells that survive for life, providing lifelong immunity. “Dr. Carmichael at Cornell and Dr. Schultz have studies showing immunity against challenge at 2-10 years for canine distemper & 4 years for parvovirus. Studies for longer duration are pending. “There are no new strains of parvovirus as one mfg. would like to suggest. Parvovirus vaccination provides cross immunity for all types. “Hepatitis (Adenovirus) 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 & kidney damage.
Multiple components in vaccines compete with each other for the immune system and result in lesser immunity for each inpidual disease as well as increasing the risk of a reaction. Canine Corona Virus is only a disease of puppies. It is rare, self limiting (dogs get well in 3 days without treatment). Corona virus does not cause disease in adult dogs. “Leptospirosis vaccine is a common cause of adverse reactions in dogs. Most of the clinical cases of lepto reported in dogs in the US are caused by serovaars (or types) grippotyphosa and bratsilvia. The vaccines contain different serovaars eanicola and ictohemorrhagica. Cross protection is not provided and protection is short lived. Lepto vaccine is immuno-supressive to puppies less than 16 weeks.
What Are Core Vaccines?
Core vaccines are those that every dog or cat should receive, regardless of geographic location or lifestyle,” says Dr. Ron Schultz, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathological Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine.For dogs, the four core vaccines are canine distemper (CDV), canine parvovirus-2 (CPV-2), canine adenovirus-2 (CAV-2) and rabies. Those for cats are feline panleukopenia or parvovirus (FPV), feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1), also referred to as feline viral rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus (FCV) and rabies. In this article, the first in a three-part series, we’ll be taking a close-up look at canine distemper, feline panleukopenia and rabies. The eight vaccinations listed above are considered core because the diseases they protect against are distributed over a wide area and have a high mortality rate. “These vaccinations are absolutely necessary,” says Dr. Schultz. “You want the vaccine to be the first antigens to prime the immune system. You don’t want to leave it up to natural immunization or exposure.” This is because, when compared to the actual disease-causing virus, the vaccine is a safer way to protect the animal. “If the vaccine is live, it’s attenuated. If it’s killed, it can’t cause disease,” explains Dr. Schultz. “It’s true that many puppies that never see a vet get naturally immunized by exposure to distemper, as an example, but for every one that gets vaccinated, probably another would have died if the first encounter with distemper occurred prior to vaccination.
Although core vaccines are necessary to protect your companion from infectious disease, even these do not need to be given on an annual basis. “That’s what we’re trying to change,” says Dr. Schultz. “What we recommend is that both puppies and kittens get the core vaccines at least once at or over the age of 12 weeks.” The 12 weeks is significant, because prior to that, many animals still have passive maternal antibodies that block immunization, which means they may not respond to the vaccine and are therefore unprotected against the disease.American Association Hospital Association (AAHA) guidelines recommend vaccinating again at one year, and once every three years after that, although even that may not be necessary. “I have studies that show duration of immunity at seven to nine years for all the core vaccines except rabies, and even on an antibody basis I can show that rabies gives much longer protection than three years,” says Dr. Schultz
"Vaccinations definitely have their place in disease prevention, but knowing where to draw the line is key. “I’ve seen it go from no vaccines back in the mid-1960s, to where we just kept adding one after the other,” says Dr. Schultz.
The pendulum has since started swinging back again as organizations such as AAHA and American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) began looking more closely at which vaccines out of the 12 for cats and 16 for dogs were really needed and why.
T. J. Dunn, Jr., DVM says "Among pet caretakers few topics are more debated than that regarding the vaccination of dogs (and cats). In years past, vaccinations for all sorts of diseases were recommended to be given annually ... year after year. That protocol was followed by veterinarians because they were told to do so by the vaccine manufacturers in order to ensure optimal immunity for as many pets as possible. If a veterinarian independently decided not to follow the label recommendations on the vaccines, and an animal subsequently developed a disease that the veterinarian decided vaccination for wasn't needed, the veterinarian was vulnerable to being sued. Ethically and legally the veterinarian must follow label recommendations for the administration of biologicals."