Smokey’s Life and Death Struggle With Vaccination
After “annual vaccination” for parvovirus, Leptospira, Bordetella and a rabies vaccination given long before it was due, Smokey fell terribly ill. “Smokey was diagnosed with Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia (ITP) — extremely low platelets — as well as Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA) — a serious blood disease. The combination together is called Evans’ Disease. Smokey’s immune system is attacking both his platelets and his red blood cells, bringing his platelet level down to about 4.6% of normal and his red blood cell count far below normal, though we won’t know how far below until this afternoon. As the vet explained it, our 95 pound German Shepherd has the platelet and blood cell count of a sick Chihuahua.”
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Zsazsa before the tumor erupted
Zsazsa, Angela Moran’s much-loved Chihuahua, developed an injection-site tumor after rabies vaccination.
Angela writing Monday, October 12, 2009
I had to have my Zsazsa put down this past week. The vet who helped me care for her said the only way to determine 100% her cancer was from the rabies vaccine was to do a biopsy. We agreed to have it done just for our piece of mind and to have her count if this vaccine caused her death. Dr. Amy went to the company who created the vaccine … and she feels the vaccine caused it and explained we have her brother who we are concerned about as well. [The manufacturer] has agreed to pay for the biospy and claim they have no reports of this vaccine causing this cancer in dogs. They are interested in the results. I applaud the Dr for contacting the company and getting them to agree to pay. She warned we couldn’t sue the company but it’s not about that, it’s about the dangers of the rabies vaccine and the numbers not being accurate.
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MINIMAL VACCINE USE
Note: The following vaccine protocol is offered for those cats where minimal vaccinations are advisable or desirable. The schedule is one I recommend and should not interpreted to mean that other protocols recommended by a veterinarian would be less satisfactory. It’s a matter of professional judgment and choice.
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For many veterinary practitioners canine vaccination programs have been “practice management tools” rather than medical procedures. Thus, it is not surprising that attempts to change the vaccines and vaccination programs based on scientific information have created great controversy and unique methods of resistance to the proposed changes have been and are being developed. For some practitioners the issues are not duration of immunity for the vaccines, nor which vaccines are needed for the pet, instead it is felt that every licensed vaccine should be given to every pet on an annual or more often basis. Ironically this is fostered by the fact that multivalent products with 7 or more vaccine components can be purchased for the same price or less than a product with one or two vaccine components. A “more is better” philosophy prevails with regard to pet vaccines. On many occasions practitioners say that “I know many of the vaccines I administer probably aren’t needed but it won’t hurt to give them and who knows the animal may need them some time during their life because of unknown risk.” I have also been told by many practitioners that “I believe the duration of immunity for some vaccines like distemper, parvovirus and hepatitis is many years, but until I find another way to get the client into my office on a regular basis I’m going to keep recommending vaccines annually. Annual vaccination has been and remains the single most important reason why most pet owners bring their pets for an annual or more often “wellness visit.” The importance of these visits for the health of the pet is exceptional. Therefore, dog owners must understand the vaccines are not the reason why their dog needs an annual wellness visit. Another reason for the reluctance to change current vaccination programs is many practitioners really don’t understand the principles of vaccinal immunity.
A significant number of practitioners believe: 1) the annual revaccination recommendation on the vaccine label is evidence the product provides immunity for (only) one year. – Not True
2) that they are legally required to vaccinate annually and if they don’t they will not be covered by AVMA liability insurance if the animal develops a vaccine preventable disease – Not True. Furthermore, certain companies will not provide assistance if practitioners don’t vaccinate annually with core vaccines. Not True – In fact most of the companies have now demonstrated their core products provide at least 3 years of immunity.
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How long does immunity from a vaccine last? Here are the results of canine duration of immunity (DOI) studies by Ronald Schultz, PhD.*
The study warns: “The minimum duration of immunity data does not imply that all vaccinated dogs will be immune for the period of time listed, nor does it suggest that immunity may not last longer (e.g. the life of the dog). The percentage of vaccinated animals protected from clinical disease after challenge with canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus and canine adenovirus in the present study was greater than 95%.”
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In our studies aimed at assessing the minimum duration of vaccinal immunity (DOI), approximately 1000 dogs have been vaccinated with products from all the major US veterinary biological companies. The DOI for the various products is determined by antibody titers for all dogs and, by challenge studies in selected groups of dogs. Recently, all major companies that make canine vaccines for the U.S. market have completed their own studies; published data show a 3 years or longer minimum DOI for the canine core products, canine distemper virus (CDV), canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2), and canine adenovirus-2 (CAV-2).
Studies with feline core vaccines – feline parvovirus (FPV), calicivirus (FCV) and herpes virus type I (FHV-1) have shown a minimum DOI of greater than 3 years. Based on these results, the current canine and feline guidelines (which recommend that the last dose of core vaccines be given to puppies and kittens 12 weeks of age or older, then revaccination again at 1 year, then not more often than every 3 years) should provide a level of protection equal to that achieved by annual revaccination.
In contrast, the non-core canine and feline vaccines, perhaps with the exception of feline leukaemia vaccines, provide immunity for 1 year. In general the effectiveness of the non-core products is less than the core products. Thus, when required, non-core vaccines should be administered yearly, or even more frequently.
# 2006 Published by Elsevier B.V # 2006 Published by Elsevier B.V.
R.D. Schultz / Veterinary Microbiology 117 (2006):75–79. The complete article is available at www.sciencedirect.com