Posted by Elizabeth (Adelaide, Australia) on 03/13/2009
People who are concerned about the health of their pets should read the latest international guidelines for dog and cat vaccination.
In 2007 the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) published Dog and Cat Vaccination Guidelines (built on the US AAHA (Canine) and AAFP (Feline) guidelines) for global application. Ref: http://www.wsava.org/PDF/Misc/VGG_09_2007.pdf
The WSAVA guidelines include a number of significant statements:
- We should aim to vaccinate every animal, and to vaccinate each individual less frequently. (p. 2)
- we should aim to reduce the 'vaccine load' on individual animals in order to minimise the potential for adverse reactions to vaccine products. (p. 3)
- Vaccines should not be given needlessly. Core vaccines should not be given any more frequently than every three years after the 12 month booster injection following the puppy/kitten series. (p. 2)
- In the case of dogs, the Fact Sheets of the WSAVA guidelines note that duration of immunity after vaccination with MLV vaccines is 7 years or longer, based on challenge and serological studies, for Canine Parvovirus Type 2 (CPV-2), Canine Adenovirus (CAV-2) and Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) vaccines. (pp. 15-17)
In regards to duration of immunity, Professor Ronald Schultz, an expert in immunology and a member of the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group, notes:
"I believe that dogs and cats vaccinated as puppies and kittens should be revaccinated at 1 year of age with the vaccines used earlier. After that I do not believe there is an immunologic need to revaccinate annually with CDV, CPV-2, CAV-2..." (Ref: Current and future canine and feline vaccination programs. Veterinary Medicine, March 1998, pp. 233-254).
In an article published in August 1995 (nearly 14 years ago!), Professor Schultz stated:
"I don't think there is a need to vaccinate adult dogs, since early vaccination will be sufficient to stimulate memory cells." (Ref: Are we vaccinating too much? JAVMA, Vol 207, No. 4, August 15, 1995).
If your vet sends you an annual reminder to have your adult dog revaccinated with the core MLV vaccines for parvovirus, adenovirus and distemper, challenge him. The latest scientifically based guidelines state that it is not necessary for adult dogs to have these vaccinations every year of their life. It is of no benefit and actually puts the dog needlessly at risk of an adverse reaction.
I learned this the hard way when my dog (Sasha - an eight year old Maltese x Silky terrier) became very sick with what was diagnosed as "haemorrhagic gastroenteritis" eight days after her last unnecessary revaccination with core MLV vaccines (C5 booster). My dog had six annual boosters during her life, most of which were unnecessary, and needlessly put her at risk of an adverse reaction. Sasha is now dead, put to sleep four days after the visible onset of her illness. The veterinarian who vaccinated her refused to consider her illness (and subsequent death) might have been caused or influenced by the vaccination. I am now in the process of preparing my own "adverse event" report.
I have been researching this subject since Sasha's death last September and I am shocked by what I have discovered. Australia is way behind on this issue. A culture of unnecessary and possibly harmful over-vaccination with core MLV vaccines has become entrenched. The whole system is weighted against acknowledging and reporting delayed reactions that might have been caused by vaccination. I am currently trying to fight this system.
According to a paper by an expert in this area, Dr Jean Dodds, vaccination reactions can occur up to 45 days later, or even longer. (Ref: Vaccination Protocols for Dogs Predisposed to Vaccine Reactions. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, May/June 2001, Vol 37, pp 211-214.)
Who knows how many other people's pets have gotten sick or died a week, a month or even longer after a revaccination and they haven't made the connection that the revaccination could have been at fault? The veterinarians aren't likely to mention it are they? The WSAVA guidelines make the point that adverse events are grossly under-reported.(p. 8). So dogs and cats can end up with chronic illnesses, or even die, and the pet owners would never know that over-vaccination may have been the cause - a case of veterinarians "burying their mistakes". If I hadn't decided to do some research after Sasha died, I wouldn't have found out about this. Sasha would have been just another unknown and uncared for statistic.
As more and more people discover that there are veterinarians who are actually putting their beloved pets needlessly at risk with unnecessary over-vaccination with core MLV vaccines, there is likely to be a significant backlash against the veterinary profession.
Those veterinarians who value the integrity of their profession need to address this untenable situation and work to ensure that the practice of unnecessary over-vaccination is ceased immediately. This has been going on for years and important scientifically based information has been withheld from pet owners.
I am trying to have this situation addressed by the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) and Australian Veterinary Schools. So far it is proving very difficult to get effective action to address this serious problem...
Read the WSAVA Dog and Cat Vaccination Guidelines and decide for yourself.
People should be informed before they make the decision to revaccinate their pets. There are serious - and unnecessary - risks involved with over-vaccination.