One year vaccine boosters - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-29-2016, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
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One year vaccine boosters

Just thought the rest of you would be interested. When Kodi (who is now 7) was a puppy, and I knew less, I allowed him to be vaccinated more than I would now. He had 3 rounds of the core vaccines as well as several I now consider unwise as well as unnecessary. Since then he has only had Rabies vaccine at 4 years old and been titered for core vaccines. With Pixel, I used a more conservative approach. She had only two rounds of core vaccines (Parvo and Distemper) and her Rabies shot the day she turned 6 months, as required in our state.

A couple of weeks ago, both Kodi and Pixel had their annual physicals. Fortunately, my vet is completely on-board with titering rather than automatically vaccinating. So when I told her I wanted to titer Pixel rather than giving her "one year boosters", she was fine with that. I have also been titering Kodi for several years now. Both dogs came back with high immunity. Kodi hasn't received a booster since his one year boosters (except for his Rabies, at one and 4 years, again, as required by law) and Pixel has had nothing but those two first baby shots.

Just two more pieces added to the mountain of evidence on how much dogs are being over-vaccinated in so many cases. I'm really glad I've chosen to follow the same minimal protocol with Panda. Unless your dog has a poor immune system to start with (in which case you have much bigger fish to fry) they just don't need it. Yes, titering is a bit more expensive than just hitting them with another vaccine, but my dogs are worth it.


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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-29-2016, 12:58 PM
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In our 20 years as dog owners we have also only vaccinated to the minimal requirement of the law. Our dogs have never had any major health problems. Luckily my husband was on the Town council when a local vet wanted to pass a bylaw requiring every vaccine every year in order to be issued a dog license but my husband managed to beat it back to just the rabies every three years.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-29-2016, 02:18 PM
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Hi Karen,
What lab does your vet use for titers? My vet says the results are either positive or negative for immunity, no values are given for "in between". Next time I'll have to ask what lab they are using and why. She did tell me from now on she is recommending titering every 3 years instead of yearly. Good news! Also good news Pixel has immunity from only 2 sets of core vaccines.

On another OT note, I started riding lessons again after 30+ years. What helmet do you recommend? I need good ventilation/ low profile, hopefully under $100.00. Thanks!

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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-29-2016, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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In our 20 years as dog owners we have also only vaccinated to the minimal requirement of the law. Our dogs have never had any major health problems. Luckily my husband was on the Town council when a local vet wanted to pass a bylaw requiring every vaccine every year in order to be issued a dog license but my husband managed to beat it back to just the rabies every three years.
In MA, the ONLY thing required by law is Rabies, because it affects humans. (Which I understand, even though I don't think we should need to give it to dogs so often) However, I DO still think that puppies deserve to be immunized against both Parvo and Distemper. Parvo kills so many puppies, and Distemper can kill dogs of any age. Again, there is a big difference between not vaccinating at all and vaccinating just enough to protect the dog.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-29-2016, 05:54 PM
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Kodi's Sire, Posh, has only had Titers since his puppy shots at 9 and 16 weeks. He's close to 12 now, in great health, and still titers strong.

With any dog we've kept since Posh, and it's a fair number, all still titer strong since the same two puppy shots. In short, we've not had a single one to need any more shots past the two puppy shots, except of course Rabies as required by law.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-29-2016, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Karen,
What lab does your vet use for titers? My vet says the results are either positive or negative for immunity, no values are given for "in between". Next time I'll have to ask what lab they are using and why. She did tell me from now on she is recommending titering every 3 years instead of yearly. Good news! Also good news Pixel has immunity from only 2 sets of core vaccines.

On another OT note, I started riding lessons again after 30+ years. What helmet do you recommend? I need good ventilation/ low profile, hopefully under $100.00. Thanks!
I'm not sure which lab they use... But I know they get actual numbers, and below a certain number, they vaccinate again. (Which is still probably more than necessary, if I understand it correctly, but I also understand their caution). Next time I'm there, I'll try to remember to ask what lab they use.

My vet prefers to titer yearly. i know Dr. Dodds suggests every 3 years, but in our area, you have to do a blood sample at least yearly (I actually do it twice) to check for tick borne diseases, and I take my guys off Heart Worm meds in the winter, so they need to be checked for that. So it's not an extra poke for the vaccine titers, and I just let them do it yearly to make them feel comfortable.

Good for you for starting riding again! As far as helmets are concerned, I love my Charles Owen... It fits me better than anything I've ever owned. But they are expensive... Over $300. Both Tipperary and Troxel make good, safe schooling helemts under $100. The fit is quite different between models, though, so a lot depends on your individual head. If at all possible, I'd fo to a local tack shop and try them on. The biggest problem tends to be rocking back and forth, which is not only annoying, but can be dangerous, if it blocks your vision. So find one that fits without rocking.

The big difference between the inexpensive schooling helmets and the better ones like CO and GPA is that the more expensive ones are actually available in different shapes as well as sizes, so you can get as good a fit as possible without having to shim them with foam (provided with the schooling helmets, but it doesn't completely prevent rocking in all cases)


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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-29-2016, 06:27 PM
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Ugh! Expensive habit! I have found a good tack shop, they spent almost 2 hours with me getting a proper boot. I'm hard to fit. The salesperson is my age so I got to say things like "In my day there was no such thing as a paddock boot" and "There were no zippers on boots", and she actually knew what I was talking about. I'll ask for the same person. She wasn't trying to "sell" me, just finding the right fit.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-29-2016, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RitaandRiley View Post
Ugh! Expensive habit! I have found a good tack shop, they spent almost 2 hours with me getting a proper boot. I'm hard to fit. The salesperson is my age so I got to say things like "In my day there was no such thing as a paddock boot" and "There were no zippers on boots", and she actually knew what I was talking about. I'll ask for the same person. She wasn't trying to "sell" me, just finding the right fit.
Sounds perfect! Zippers in paddock boots, and even more, in tall boots are the best thing since sliced bread! For many of us, the ONLY way to get a decent fit in the "old days" was custom boots. I remember the excitement of waiting for my Dehner's to be delivered... and HOPING that I had gotten someone who knew how to measure well in the store. Fortunately, I'm very close to the original Dover Saddlery (my conformation hunter used to be in the catalog as a model. ) so I was also lucky to have good people near by to help me spend my money!

(It makes me laugh when I hear people talking about how expensive it is to trial their dogs... If they ONLY knew! )


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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-29-2016, 08:17 PM
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This past Autumn it was time for 3 year boosters for Porter, 7 years, and Becca, 6 years. I chose titers because I expected that they would be fine as they'd had there puppy shots, 1 year booster and parvovirus/distemper 3 yrs later at age 4 yrs. Porter's immunity was great and I will probably not vaccinate or titer him again other than rabies required by law.
Becca, however, didn't show immunity to distemper. The vet gave her a 3 yr booster for parvo/distemper. I was rather surprised that Becca didn't show immunity and I will check her again this Fall to see if her titers show that she now has immunity.
It is easy to just assume that the vaccines work but it may not be the case for all dogs.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-29-2016, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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This past Autumn it was time for 3 year boosters for Porter, 7 years, and Becca, 6 years. I chose titers because I expected that they would be fine as they'd had there puppy shots, 1 year booster and parvovirus/distemper 3 yrs later at age 4 yrs. Porter's immunity was great and I will probably not vaccinate or titer him again other than rabies required by law.
Becca, however, didn't show immunity to distemper. The vet gave her a 3 yr booster for parvo/distemper. I was rather surprised that Becca didn't show immunity and I will check her again this Fall to see if her titers show that she now has immunity.
It is easy to just assume that the vaccines work but it may not be the case for all dogs.
Which is part of the reason I don't mind my vet wanting to titer yearly.

However, there are several different possibilities. From what I have been told from immunologists, a negative titer does not necessarily mean a lack of immunity. The animal (or person) can still be immune, but the markers for immune response haven't been triggered recently enough to be measured. In this instance, the animal (or human) would still be able to immediately be able to mount an immune response in the presemnce of active disease.

Or... The vaccine may have a limited ability to protect against disease. These studies have been done on some diseases in people, rarely in animals. My sons were among the first children to recieve the chicken pox vaccine, because they had bad asthma as small children, which meant that chicken pox would have been very dangerous for them. In the beginning, no one knew how long the vaccine would be protective. Sure enough, when my older son was in high school, he got a VERY mild case of chicken pox. Although he really wasn't sick, he was contageous, and had to be out of school for 10 days... A big deal in high school. Now they know that kids do need a chicken pox booster for immunity in adolescence.

The other possibility is that the animal is a true non-responder, who will never maintain a solid immune response. (as a result of a compromised immune system) This is a very small percentage of animals. In that case, according to Dr. Dodds, it doesn't matter how many times, or how often you vaccinate, you still won't protect the animal. That sort of animal needs to be carefully protected from contact with these dangerous diseases.

The problem is, when the dog doesn't have a titer, you don't know for sure which category they are in. So vets tend to err on the side of caution and vaccinate again.


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