Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday Musings: My Thoughts on Vaccines, and Our Vaccine Protocol (As of Now!)

Hey, everyone! Hope you all had a good weekend. :)

On Saturday, Nola went in for a few vaccines, so I thought now would be a good time to share my thoughts on vaccines, and kind of show our vaccine protocol (which is always changing as I research more!). I'd love to hear y'alls' thoughts on this topic, so please feel free to share in the comments!

Disclaimer: I am not a vet, and this isn't meant as a how-to guide. This is just what works for my dogs at this point in time.

Vaccinations are one of the hottest topics in the dog community (and human, but that's an even bigger can of worms), and it's the one that I'm the most torn on. Unlike with something like food, where you should do what works for your specific dog, vaccines are a bit tougher to gauge.
I constantly go back and forth on my opinion of them as new research comes out, but one thing that never changes is that I am pro vaccine. I'm for vaccines for both animals and humans. Vaccines are life savers, and our world would be a very different place without them. However, I am not okay with the amount of vaccines that are often pushed upon our pets by more "old school" vets, or the people that refuse to look at new research and reevaluate their opinion based on facts. I'm also not okay with every vaccine being given across the board to dogs, without taking the individual's lifestyle and health into account.

Beyond that, my views on the topic aren't solid, and I personally think that's for the best. Not being stuck in my ways allows me to keep up to date with the current studies, and adjust my protocol to fit my individual dog's needs.

My Vaccine Protocol as of May 2015:

There are core and non-core vaccines for dogs. Core are considered necessary for all dogs, and non-core are more optional, and are regional and risk based. 

Core vaccines consist of the following: rabies, canine parvovirus, canine distemper and canine adenovirus-2. 

Non-core vaccines are: canine parainfluenza, canine influenza, distemper-measles (according to UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. I haven't heard much about that one, personally), bordetella (kennel cough), leptospira, and Lyme.  There's also canine coronavirus, canine adenovirus -1, and rattlesnake envenomation (not recommended even for dogs that are regularly around snakes from what I'm seeing. Not useful to my dogs, so I haven't looked much into it.

I do not, under any circumstance, give Lepto to the girls (I don't like it at all, but especially not for dachshunds). Dachshunds nearly always have horrible reactions to that particular shot. That said, vaccine reactions are common in the breed, and many other small dogs have the same issue. I give Benadryl 45 minutes before any vaccines per my vet's advice, and haven't had an issue *knocks on wood*.

I have all my puppies vaccinated with the core vaccines, and booster at a year old. I do not utilize the non-core vaccines, with the exception of parainfluenza and adenovirus -1. I've also used Lyme and bordetella in the past, but no longer do so. The rabies vaccine is mandatory here in the US (unless your dog is unable to receive it due to a reaction, and then you must get a written exempt form from your vet), and is either every 1 year or every 3 years. In my area, it's every 3 years. 

On Saturday, Nola was given her 3 year rabies as well as a combo vaccine for distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza and adenovrius 1 and 2. Excluding her rabies, these will most likely be the last vaccines she has. She's currently 4.5 years old, and hasn't had one since her 1 year old boosters and her last rabies. 
The reason I chose to give the DA2P+ Parvovirus is that Nola is the most at risk of all my dogs. She is the one that is out and about the most, and she's the one that travels with me. Therefore, she has the most exposure. In addition to that, Nola will be coming on vacation with me this fall, and will be flying in-cabin with me, so after weighing the pros and cons of revaccinating I decided that it was best for our situation. After these though, I will not be giving her any more, excluding the rabies.

Some may wonder why I chose to give a combo vaccine instead of spacing them out over the course of weeks. There's two reasons for that, and the more major one is that each time your dog gets a shot, there's a risk of reaction. Since Nola is already predisposed to vaccine reactions due to her breed, I feel much more comfortable giving it in one go, rather than spreading and repeatedly chancing a reaction. It's also not fun or comfortable for dogs to get their shots, just like with people. I'd rather her be sore for a day and be done with it. Second and much less important reason is that Nola just does not like the vet. It's one of the few places that actually stresses her out.

My other dogs, who are more homebodies than Nola is, will not be getting any more vaccinations (as of my thoughts now!) after the one year booster, and excluding the 3 year rabies. Their risk is minimal.

Side note that has nothing to do with vaccines: our vet can't believe that Nola is now 4.5 years old. Judging by her teeth, he guessed her to be around a year old. I was praised for the condition that her teeth are in, and preened like a proud peacock. :D

Poor girl was worn out after her shots.

So those are my thoughts in a nutshell, and what I currently do for shots. What do you think of vaccines? Are you for or against them? What is your dog's vaccine schedule like?

- Dachshund Mommy


  1. We go the Titer route
    Lily & Edward

  2. Hi Nola, Nola's mom & the rest of the gang!
    I pretty much agree with you on most of what you said. I am pro-vaccine, I think that there are definitely ones that are needed and ones that aren't. You have to do what is right for you, your dog and the lifestyle you live together. Unfortunately, Jasper can no longer be vaccinated due to reactions after his shots in 2013. He got the basics (rabies and bordetella - because I used to have to board him) and about a week or 2 after I started noticing the symptoms: lethargic, loss of appetite, not drinking enough water, pale gums. After taking him to his reg vet I wasn't comfortable with her diagnosis, so we sought a second opinion and he was diagnosed with IMHA - Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia. The vet and the specialist are both certain that it was a result of the vaccines, but of course there is no way to test for sure. After a year and a half of tests & meds & worrying day and night, he is finally healthy again. But one of the results is that he can never be vaccinated again. Most people would think that this would turn me off of vaccines in general, but it doesn't. I, like you, think that the positives outweigh the negatives, and in most cases they save lives and the spread of diseases.

    Just my 2 cents!! :)

  3. Thanks for sharing this! I am conservatively pro-vaccine.

    Nola's teeth do look amazing! Can you remind me what you feed and if you do any kind of dental care?

  4. My feelings are pretty close to yours. I initially give the core vaccines, and of course rabies as required by law, but after immunity is set, I no longer keep repeating the shots. When in doubt, I will do titers to verify immunity. The one thing I won't do is double up on shots like a rabies and the combo on the same day. Way too hard on their immune system, IMHO. I stay away from the non-core ones.

    That being said, I do feel humans should get all their core vaccines needed as a child. However, I don't bother with the annual flu shot. My aging body doesn't need that insult year after year.

  5. I do pretty much the same thing as you. That is, initial vaccine series as puppies (if I have the dog that young), booster after 1 year, and then only the rabies boosters every three years, as that is the legal requirement in my state. We did lepto once for both of my dogs, and Pallo had a vaccine reaction, though luckily it was a mild one compared to what it could have been. But since I know he reacts to that vaccine, he absolutely won't be getting it again. Lepto is present in our area, especially if we find dead seals/sea lions on the beach, which happens at least a few times a year. But I do my best to just keep the dogs away from dead things like that.

  6. There are so many varying opinions on this topic. I am also pro-vaccine. I think they are a great invention!!! 100% agree there!!

  7. My feelings on shots mirror yours. I update the core vaccines occasionally but will most likely titer in the future. They will always get their rabies because it's required by law.

  8. I think you are on the right track. Vaccines are a must to keep your pets healthy. I agree about being cautious and not giving every vaccine that comes on the market. I do not give Lepto, ever, as I almost lost Baylee because I let the vet talk me into it. I do give the core vaccines, plus Bordetella every 6 months. I board the dogs frequently and expose my dogs to so many other dogs that they need protection. Good post, thank you!

  9. My thoughts on vaccines are very similar to yours. I am pro vaccine, but do minimal, staggered vaccines.


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