We are passionate about the health and well being of the dogs in our care, which is why we are constantly sharing what we learn to keep your dog happy and healthy! The following is a variety of dog related resources and information that we practice at Dog Trouble and would like to share with you, so that together we can change dog’s lives for the better!
Vaccinations and Titre Testing
Here at Dog Trouble, we believe in the importance of natural health and well-being for dogs, avoiding exposing dogs to unnecessary toxins wherever possible, which includes making you aware of the current research and Vaccination Guide
Vaccinations and Immunity
Before puppies are born approximately 5% of antibody is transferred from the mother to the puppy via the placenta, with the remaining 90% provided from the colostrum milk that the puppy first suckles when it is born. This provides a puppy with PASSIVE immunity to the various viruses and bacteria that the puppy may be exposed to within the first 3 days of birth.
This antibody immunity will then decline gradually to being non-existent by around 14-16 weeks of age. When vaccinating a puppy it is important to understand that in order for the vaccine virus to work we must let the level of natural antibody received from the mother to get to a low/non-existent level in order for the antibody from the vaccine to work, causing a natural immune response in the puppy to ensure immunity. If not the natural antibodies received from the mother will prevent infection from the vaccine virus and will not provide immunity. This is why it is important that the last dose of vaccine needs to be given at 14-16 weeks of age to provide ACTIVE immunity. To ensure puppies have responded you can then get a titre test done 2 or more weeks after their last vaccine at 14-16 weeks, to ensure the vaccine has worked. If they test for a negative level of antibodies then you can re-vaccinate, however it is important to know that some dogs never respond to vaccines and are termed a ‘non-responder’. The old practice of repeating a vaccination to try to ‘get it to take’ is pointless and dangerous. If your dog is a non-responder it is a non-responder and no amount of vaccination will change that.
For many years now we have been led to believe that we have to vaccinate our dogs yearly, however according to the The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) protection from puppy and kitten shots is likely to be 3-5 years and in some cases life-long. In other words, the core vaccinations given to our pups can, in most cases, be expected to create lifelong immunity.
While grateful for the protection that vaccines offer, much research has been carried out to provide dog owners with the facts about vaccinations and the alternative options available, enabling us to now make informed decisions about providing protective immunity for our dogs and the appropriate use of vaccinations. The most reliable and successful option is the use of Titre testing.
A “titre” is a method of measuring antibodies in a blood sample for specific diseases – Canine Hepatitis, Canine Parvovirus and Canine Distemper, to help minimize the risks of disease and unnecessary vaccinations. A vet will draw a small amount of blood and then run that blood through the test. An antibody titre is not a snap shot in time as some veterinary professionals will report, however it gives an insight into the life of the animal. Simply put, these tests will provide evidence of whether or not your dog is positive (protected) or negative (not protected) for antibodies to protect them for the core illnesses we vaccinate for. If you get a negative test result you have the choice to either re-vaccinate your dog for that disease ONLY or administer homeopathic nosodes and then re-test for immunity with a titre test at least 2 weeks after receiving the vaccine/nosode.
Some vet practices will lead you to believe that your dog requires the combination vaccine yearly which covers all 3 diseases, which is incorrect and can lead to an adverse reaction in your dog. If re-vaccination is given where the dog is already immune then the vaccination can actually cause adverse reactions, whereas a titre blood sample will never give an adverse reaction. So surely it is better for the health of your dog to get a titre test to check the level of antibodies before you consider vaccinations?
The most recent Canine Vaccination Guidelines say that reported side effects from vaccines vary from injection-site reactions, lethargy, lack of appetite and fever to more serious adverse events, including allergic reactions, auto-immune problems, behaviour changes and, rarely, sarcoma, tumours or death. The decision about when to vaccinate requires a risk benefit analysis. Most experts agree that vaccines are critical to the overall health and wellness of our dogs (and cats), but many also agree that giving a vaccine when it is not needed exposes animals to unnecessary hazards.
An alarming fact is that small dogs are given the same amount of vaccine as large dogs! Dogs Naturally article reports that Researchers (Moore, Guptill, Ward et al) looked at veterinary records gathered from Banfield veterinary clinics for two years to find any trends in reactions suffered three days after vaccination. What they found was that small breed dogs (especially if they were young or neutered), were at the greatest risk. In fact, the risk increased as the body weight went down, just like a sliding scale. Overall, dogs weighing 11 pounds or less were four times more likely than dogs over 99 pounds to suffer an adverse event (and medium sized dogs also had an increased risk over larger dogs).
So it is important to provide Protective immunity for your puppy by giving vaccinations at 14-16 wks, then giving a titre test to check for antibodies 2-4 weeks after, then again every 5 years or more to test Immunity. With older dogs 10+ years you may want to test yearly as old dogs may lose their antibodies. If you get a Negative result you can either vaccinate against that one disease or treat with a homeopathic nosode.