Our Library of Dog Health ArticlesVaccinations and the immune system
Lee Windeatt, top international dog agility handler and trainer gives his views on vaccination for your dog.
Lee is renowned for speaking his mind and this article is no exception. Lee’s research and fervour shine through in this article
I have always been a reader, by that I mean I read up on every subject, sometimes just a little bit so I have an insight and opinion and sometimes extensively…. much to the disappointment of those around me that have to listen to me bleat on about a particular topic. The main subject I seem to constantly be coming back to and reviewing is Health. I have always had an “unhealthy” interest in health, both human and animal. The majority of my reading is nutrition and exercise, most nights I am digesting information on this (pun intended)
The last few years I have spent a lot of time researching in any way I can the topic of vaccinations, mainly canine vaccinations. This has been through google, youtube, books, articles, online seminars, even arranging seminars with more up to date vets on the subject. I am not qualified in any way regarding treatment of animals but from my research it seems qualifications do not mean knowledge !
Here are my conclusions on canine vaccinations ;
In the UK most Vets tend to give the core vaccines ( adenovirus, parvo, distemper) at around ten weeks old and then give the same dose 2 weeks ish later. Then a booster for these again a year later. It used to then carry on EVERY year for the dog’s life. Then WSAVA (world small animal veterinary association ) encouraged every 3 years so most vets have recently started alternating but still giving these same shots every 3 years for the dog’s life.
The reason why they give the same dose at around 12 weeks as they did at 10 weeks is because the one at 10 weeks probably didn’t work due to the pup’s mother’s antibodies. This varies depending on the immunity of the mother but will generally be out of the pup’s system between 6 and 14 weeks, up to 22 weeks. The reason they give a “booster” is because potentially the vaccines at 12 weeks didn’t work either (again depending on antibodies). The reason they continue to give vaccines every 3 years for the dog’s life can only be for one of two reasons. Either they do not understand how the vaccinations and immunity work or they are running a business and are doing it to sell you a product and therefore a monetary gain ! Did you know that a tiny Yorkshire terrier puppy will get the same dosage vaccines as a fully mature Great Dane would?
Did you know it’s estimated that 99 per cent of adverse reactions to vaccinations go unreported? Did you know that vaccines have heavy metals in them that can be extremely damaging to the dog causing many issues from toxicity, fitting to hormonal issues? Most importantly did you know that vaccinating and over vaccinating is a major player in the cause of auto immune diseases in dogs? When I say autoimmune disease I am talking about literally hundreds and hundreds of different disease and illnesses too numerous to list from allergies, cancers to addison’s disease. Please have a read up on it.
Every unnecessary vaccine you put into your dog will not only be wasting money but more importantly damaging your dog.
So regarding the core vaccines, what is appropriate vaccinating?
If I got a puppy tomorrow the vaccination protocol I would use is this….. No vaccinations until 15 weeks, at 15 weeks I would give the parvo vaccine only. (yes you can buy it singularly) This vaccination at this age will work and cover this dog for the whole of it’s life and will never need another vaccination of parvo again. Why just this one? Distemper and adenovirus are very rare in the UK and your vet is very unlikely have ever seen these in the UK. If they do then it makes headlines nationally as it did when two puppies had distemper in 2014 in the south west of England. So why vaccinate against something they are likely to never see and risk a reaction to the vaccine which is a higher risk than catching the disease? If I only had the parvo vaccine at 15 weeks then I am risking my puppy from around the age of possibly 6 weeks until 15 weeks, (more than likely from 9 weeks to 15 weeks) this is a very real risk. If you read up the stats it reads as this …(bear in mind there are two strains of parvo, one more severe than the other) .. Mortality rate is 91 per cent in UN–
Dogs that catch Parvo usually die from the dehydration it causes or secondary infection rather than the virus itself.
So would I do anything to help prevent the puppy catching the disease? Yes of course, firstly limit the high risk places he goes to which makes socialization more difficult but possible. Also and more importantly I would be trying to keep the pup in top condition by boosting it’s immune system by feeding fresh raw foods and some super-
Nobivac L4 is the vaccine they use which covers up to four strains of Lepto, shame there are about 230 strains !! Of all the vaccines, the Lepto vaccine is the highest risk for vaccine reactions and issues and is generally given annually or more frequently . Most dogs that catch Lepto have been vaccinated for the disease, up to 80 per cent of dogs with Lepto were vaccinated for Lepto! Lepto of course can be fatal but it is treatable if caught in time, your vet probably sees about 2 cases in their whole practice each year which shows how rare it is for our dogs to catch this. The vaccine if it works is estimated to wear off after just months and in this country vets do not offer a titre test for this (and yes you can titre for Lepto) . So basically your dog has a much higher chance of reacting to the vaccine than actually catching Lepto, yes it is a real risk but the vaccine is even more of a real risk. Back to my previous statement, a healthy dog can fight these diseases. Vaccines do not make dogs healthy. I would never give my dogs a Lepto vaccine.
Kennel cough vaccine !! Really? I might have a vaccination myself for the common cold, oh it doesn’t exist does it. Kennel cough is not a vaccine preventable disease and should be in the same sentence as chocolate teapot. A Healthy dog can brush off kennel cough no problem, a sick dog may really suffer when it gets kennel cough but as wsava guidelines state a sick dog should never be vaccinated. One of the things that really annoys me is that vets do not tell you that after vaccinating for kennel cough, your dog is shedding kennel cough for six weeks after so if you have the vaccine then please keep your dog away from ALL unvaccinated dogs for that strain for six weeks after. This is ironic as kennel owners ask for the dog to be vaccinated and do not understand that very dog is now spreading kennel cough throughout their kennels to all the other dogs. Similar to our flu vaccine, there are different strains every year which makes the vaccine useless.
People’s excuses to vaccinate…. Insurance companies wont insure you. Yes they will , nearly all insurance companies have in the smallprint you will not be insured against the three core diseases if the dog isn’t vaccinated which isn’t really an issue is it? The other excuse…. I put my dog in kennels and they require them to have the vaccinations. My answer is….don’t risk your dog’s health while you have a nice little holiday or.. Find a sensible kennels that understand and accept titre tests.
My vets say they need to be vaccinated. Well question your vet , do not just take their word for these things.
So here is my advice …………
Do you own research which doesn’t mean asking your vet. Titre test, a titre test is a test in which they take a blood sample and test the immunity to the core vaccines. This test is used all over the world in humans and if your vet tells you it is not accurate then change your vet as they have no idea what they are talking about. Many vets would rather vaccinate than offer you a titre test, many have put the price of titre test up to over £50 to deter people of this route. The titre should cost no more than £0 usually around £8. In this country when they give the titre result they give it a measure usually from 1 to 8 depending on the company you use. Let me say this and please understand it….. ANY measurable reading means you are covered, if the reading comes back as zero then your dog may be a non responder or you gave the vaccines too young. Even if the reading comes back as 1 which means low, all that means is they haven’t been near the disease and if they do then memory cells will kick in and the reading would zoom up to a 6 . So please do not give any more vaccinations, titre test and if it comes back as you are covered then you have saved hundreds of pounds for the rest of the dog’s life but more importantly you have likely saved the dog’s life.
Would like to state one more time, I am not a vet or trained professional but I do research stuff and although some bits might not be accurate they wont be far from the truth. Question everything. Chemical wormers and flea treatments can be thrown away, wormcount the dogs instead and use natural wormers. I haven’t used chemicals on my dogs in five years and they are worm free. Throw away processed food and feed a raw fresh diet. Supplement wisely, use a good probiotic and look for ways to strengthen immune systems. Google can be dangerous but if you sift through enough you can find facts.