A friend of mine, Linda Aronson, who is both a Havanese breeder and a vet sent this email out to us today. She gave me permission to share with you:
I put the following together in response to a request from a friend trying to convince one of her friends to delay spaying and not over-vaccinate her new pup. I figured some of you might find this interesting too.
I could send you the scientific papers behind these, but they are referenced in these more reader-friendly ones
EARLY SPAY-NEUTER IN THE CANINE ATHLETE, by Chris Zink, DVM, PHd
Early Spay Neuter: 3 Reasons To Reconsider
Vaccines: Ron Schultz is the veterinarian who has tested the duration of immunity (DOI) in vaccines. Basically the only vaccines dogs need are distemper and parvovirus as well as rabies. Dr Schultz has shown that the DOI for distemper and parvo (and probably rabies too) is over 10 years, so basically good for life. Provided a dog has a vaccine for parvo and distemper at 16 weeks or older they won't need another vaccine for life. So far rabies challenge experiments have shown that DOI is 7 years at least. Too frequent vaccination or giving too many vaccines weaken immunity. I've spent a lot of time talking to Dr Schultz, and he gives his own dogs a single vaccine at 16 or 18 weeks for distemper parvo, and then rabies vaccines although less frequently than the law requires. In terms of non core vaccines, I don't use any of them. The recommendations of American veterinary Medical Association and American Animal Hospital Association do not recommend either coronavirus (by the time dogs are vaccinated it's not a threat) or giardia - totally ineffective vaccine. Lyme vaccine seems pretty ineffective -I see higher Lyme titers (indications of infection) in vaccinated animals than in those not vaccinated. It can cause serious bleeding disorders and does not protect against other tick-borne diseases. Leptospirosis vaccine only protects against 4 serovars (strains) and others may cause disease, DOI is variable and may be as little as 6 months so vets and owners tend to rule leptospirosis out as a potential diagnosis and delay treatment which is more dangerous for the dog. Finally, after rabies, it is most likely to cause adverse vaccine reactions than any vaccine except rabies. The respiratory vaccines - "kennel cough" is a broad description for disease caused by a huge number of viruses including bordatella, parainfluenza and adenovirus 2. These vaccines are only effective if given intranasally, but only the first is available as an intranasal vaccine! In general, the vaccine causes what is supposed to be a mild case of kennel cough, but in actuality, most cases I see are in vaccinated animals, so again not recommended. Canine influenza is caused by two strains. The first was a mutation of equine influenza, the second was introduced into the US (Chicago) with some Korean dogs rescued from the meat trade there. That strain is the more virulent and still mostly seen in Chicago. I would probably only vaccinate if there is a local outbreak, because like human flu vaccines it's not especially effective and may cause disease.
Vaccines suppress general immunity for 3 weeks after injection (and thyroid levels too) and only provide immunity to the disease they protect against after about 2 weeks. If you titer do it three weeks after the puppy vaccine if it shows a response to the distemper and parvo vaccines the dog is covered for life. If you titer later in life you may still find antibodies in the blood, but if they aren't there the dog probably still has cellular immunity and is protected from the disease.
Lifelong Immunity: Why Are Vets Pushing Back?
Vaccines - Whole Pet Vet
Safer Vaccine Guidelines For Dogs - Dogs Naturally Magazine