I had a new client come in today for her pet’s yearly check up and the “necessary vaccines”. She wasn’t certain what was needed based on the reminder card she received from her previous vet. This is what the reminder card looked like.
Vaccine Given Due
Rabies 6/2015 6/2018
DAP 6/2016 6/2019
Parainfluenza 6/20/16 6/20/17
Leptospirosis 6/2015 6/2016
Bordetella 6/2016 12/2016
Lyme 12/2015 12/2016
After looking at the reminder card I could understand why she was a little confused. My vaccination schedule is simple and it has been very effective at preventing infectious diseases in my patients for the last 35 years. In a dog friendly neighborhood like ours, dogs are exposed to infectious agents on the street, in the parks, in dog runs, along the river, dog walkers, house sitters and in apartment building lobbies. The bacteria and viruses I am most concerned with are all part of the Yearly 6 in 1 (DA2PPLC) Vaccine I recommend. These are the specific vaccines that I recommend at this time.
This vaccine includes:
1. K9 Distemper virus Usually a fatal disease affecting the GI tract and the Central Nervous System
2. Adenovirus type 2: Responsible for Canine Hepatitis and part of the Canine Kennel Cough syndrome.
3. Parvo Virus : An often fatal virus causing a hemorrhagic gastroenteritis syndrome,(vomiting and bloody diarrhea), along with immunosuppression
4. Leptospirosis: a Zoonotic and potentially fatal bacterial disease that affects dogs as well as people. It damages the kidneys and liver of dogs. This organism can be picked up by stepping in puddles outside where animals with Leptospirosis have urinated. The animals includes dogs, cats, raccoons, skunks and rats. Dr.Goldstein from the AMC mentioned at a CE meeting that the AMC in NYC is treating several dogs each month for Leptospirosis. He said he has not seen a case of Leptospirosis in any dogs vaccinated against Leptospirosis. This is only a yearly vaccine.
5. Parainfluenza Virus: Part of the Canine Kennel Cough Syndrome. This is necessary and required if you go to groomers, kennels, play dates or have contact with other dogs.
6. Corona Virus: This is a contagious virus that affects the GI system.
There is a vaccine for Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvo which is a 3 year vaccine BUT there is no 3 year vaccine that includes Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, and Corona viruses. In order to get the complete coverage I want for my own dog and for yours in our neighborhood, I would have to give individual injections for the 3 other yearly vaccines. That means an additional 3 injections for your dog and an extra charge for each of these additional vaccines. The experts also recommend taking expensive blood tests to check titers on the 3 year vaccines to make certain they are still effective for the full 3 years. This creates unnecessary office visits and expense for you and your pet.
IN MY OPINION, vaccinating my dog with 3 additional yearly vaccines and taking blood tests yearly makes no sense. I have never had a problem giving the 6 in 1 injection each year to my dog or my patients. I have never seen any vaccine associated tumors on any dog I vaccinated with my yearly schedule. My patients with normal immune systems have never developed any of these infectious diseases in the last 35 years. At this time, I will continue to use the Yearly 6 in 1 combination vaccine to protect my dog and my patients.
Everyone is familiar with Rabies. We all know how dangerous it is. Skunks, Raccoons, and bats in our neighborhood are potential sources of Rabies. This is the reason the NYC Dept. of Health is so adamant about pets receiving Rabies vaccines. There is a 3 year Rabies vaccine and a 1 year Rabies vaccine. Why have I been using the 1 year all these years? When I first heard about the potential connection with the Rabies vaccine and potential Rabies vaccine associated tumors in cats, I felt it was smarter and safer to use the shortest acting Rabies vaccine for all my pets. I have NEVER had a case of a tumor associated with the Rabies vaccine in any of my cat or dog patients which is why I have been reluctant to change. I do loads of continuing education every year to keep up with the new trends. I am now more confident with the safety of the 3 year Rabies vaccine and I feel it should not cause a problem for my patients. For any of my clients who wish to receive the 3 year Rabies vaccine for their dogs, I will be happy to comply with your requests. There is no problem changing from the one year to the three year vaccine or vice versa for those who wish to change. I will however continue to give my dog, Indiana Bones his Rabies vaccine yearly.
The Optional Vaccines
The Kennel Cough Complex Vaccines
Bordetella and two Influenza viruses, H3N8 and H3N2, vaccines are available to protect your dogs from these Kennel Cough pathogens. Most kennels and grooming parlors are already requiring these vaccines or at least they should be. Kennel Cough is a highly contagious disease complex which is why you may see me examining dogs outside, in front of my office or in client’s cars after hours. I do not allow coughing dogs to enter my office. That would expose all my patients to this very contagious disease complex. Some Bordetella vaccines require a booster every 6 months. The oral Bordetella vaccine I use is a yearly vaccine and does not require a booster every six months. It is also more dog friendly not requiring an extra injection. Safe, effective and less painful. A great combination for a vaccine.
Lyme Disease Vaccine
Lyme Disease is a preventable infectious disease carried by the Deer Tick which is endemic to our area. The heaviest Tick Season starts late November and continues through April. While I recommend using Flea and Tick preventative all year round, the Lyme vaccine gives an extra level of protection to those people who spend time with their dogs in wooded areas, parks, Westchester county, upstate NY, Conn., Penn, Fire Island etc. Where there are Deer ticks, there is Lyme disease. I recommend checking your pet yearly for several tick diseases including Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichia and Lyme disease. Remember if the dog tests positive for any of these diseases, you should have yourself and all family members tested for them.
My Current Vaccine Protocols
8 week old puppies
5 in 1 vaccine without Leptospirosis “DA2PPC”
12 week old puppies
6 in1 vaccine with Leptospirosis “DA2PPCL”
16 week old puppies
6 in 1 vaccine with Leptospirosis and Rabies
Yearly Vaccines for Adult dogs previously vaccinated
DA2PPCL and a Rabies vaccine
Yearly or Three year Rabies depending upon owner’s choice
Bordetella, Influenza and Lyme Vaccines are given for the situations I mentioned above and when they are requested by the owner.
I hope this clarifies my vaccine philosophy and policies. As always, if you would like to discuss individual cases, I am available at phone times. Nothing is etched in granite.