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Canine Vaccinations

To our Clients

To all clients and friends of the BHVH:

We understand that there has been information circulating that questions the concept and value of vaccinating dogs and cats with absolutely necessary vaccines such as distemper and parvovirus every year.   We do use and recommend the yearly form of these vaccines and would like to share our viewpoint and rationale.

Vaccinations that have been approved to be administered every 3 years instead of once a year are available.  Initially, they seemed to be desirable because they are used less frequently and help avoid “over-vaccination”.  However, to make them last longer, vaccine manufacturers have increased the vaccine virus load five-fold.  This means five times the stimulation to the immune system.  So then, they are actually being exposed to more vaccine virus with the 3 year vaccine than when they received the vaccine yearly.  The USDA is in charge of vaccine approvals.  In order to obtain USDA approval for the 3 year vaccine, 8 dogs were vaccinated and their antibody levels checked at 12 weeks after vaccination.  This was all that was required to be allowed to claim 3 years of protection.  No challenge studies were done, in which vaccinated dogs were exposed to live virus to see if they were truly immune.  We feel that this is not adequate proof of protection and have chosen not to use 3 year vaccinations.

In regard to vaccines causing cancers in cats, that was a phenomenon that arose in the 1990’s when rabies vaccination became required for cats.  Many theories have been advanced to explain the occurrence of cancer as a result of vaccination.  None have been accepted as truth.  But we have seen a tremendous reduction in vaccine induced cancer, as well as other serious vaccine reactions such as hemolytic anemia, and we believe that vaccine technology has improved and significantly reduced risk of any serious reaction to current vaccines.

Many people were strongly influenced by a human medical report in the 1990’s that childhood vaccinations caused autism in children.  How scary is that?  But it was proven completely false, and the physician who wrote the fabricated results has admitted he lied, recanted, and is not able to practice anymore.  Yet, people are still influenced by his lie.  This has spilled over into the thinking of veterinary clients, causing worry about bad things happening from vaccination, and causing bad decisions about withholding vaccines.

Having lived and practiced veterinary medicine during the parvovirus outbreak of the 1980’s when there was no vaccine and a dog’s chances of dying in spite of treatment was 50:50, having seen the devastation in our raccoon and fox populations by a rabies epidemic in the early 1990’s and the required euthanasia of many animals because there was no wildlife vaccine, working to save Lyme and Leptospirosis-infected pets who have not been vaccinated, knowing that their infections and deaths could have been prevented, these life experiences have provided real and personal proof of the value and protection provided by vaccinations.

Please be assured that we are constantly surveying scientific studies so that we only offer the safest and most effective vaccines to the pets we all love so much.  

Regarding Yearly Vaccinations:

Controversy Exists about how to provide the best protection you can and still create the least risk for an adverse vaccination reaction.  On the internet, in the papers, from breeders, friends, trainers, groomers, you may obtain an absolutely certain opinion that may be true, partially true, or completely wrong.  Please ask us your questions and voice your concerns to us.  We are the ones who care the most about you getting the best information.  We constantly seek out the newest reliable information to see if changes in our protocols are warranted.

Our Vaccination Policy:
We do not administer vaccines except as a medical procedure that we feel is properly indicated based on the age, risk of exposure, health status, past vaccine history, and intended life- style of your pet.  We recommend yearly physical examinations for every pet, and we can discuss the appropriateness of vaccination at those times.  There are antibody titer tests that can be run to know whether your pet is properly protected or not.  25% of those we have tested do not have adequate protection and require vaccination boosters, even though some experts have said all pets are protected many years longer.

 For the Future:
There are new vaccines that have been granted 3-year duration by the FDA, but they contain 5 times the regular amount of viral particles, so we are currently waiting to see if they are safe over a long period of time as the ones we currently use.  As information becomes available, as vaccine companies develop improvements in their products, as we understand the immune system and vaccination reactions better, we may recommend less frequent vaccinations, or individually create protocols for each pet.  But for now, we choose the safest vaccines available, which routinely provide the highest level of protection, with the least likelihood for vaccine reaction, and we recommend yearly re-vaccination for most pets, except for rabies which is every 3 years.

Burnt Hills Veterinary Hospital Canine Vaccination Schedule

Many canine diseases are now prevented through vaccination. A vaccination schedule prepared by your veterinarian can greatly contribute to good health and longer life span for your dog. Below are some of the most important diseases for which vaccines are currently available.

Canine Distemper (D) is a viral disease that is wide spread and often fatal even with the best medical treatment.  Symptoms are varied but include respiratory,gastrointestinal and neurologic signs. All dogs should be vaccinated against distemper.

Canine Adenovirus type 1 and type 2 (A2) cause infectious hepatitis and respiratory infection,respectively.Hepatitis caused by adenovirus type-1 may cause severe liver and kidney damage or death. Adenovirus type -2 is an important factor in kennel cough.

Canine Leptospirosis (L) is a bacterial infection that may lead to permanent kidney damage. The disease is easily spread to other pets and to humans.

Canine Parainfluenza (P) is another cause of kennel cough. Although parainfluenza is often a mild respiratory infection in otherwise healthy dogs, it can be severe in puppies or debilitated dogs.

Canine Parvovirus(PV) infection is a disease of widespread distribution that may cause severe dehydrating diarrhea in dogs of varying ages. Parvovirus infection is especially dangerous for puppies.

Rabies is one of the worlds most publicized and feared diseases and is almost always fatal. Rabies virus attacks the brain and central nervous system and is transmitted to humans chiefly through the bite of an infected animal.

Lyme Disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) is a tick transmitted disease. Lyme disease in dogs can cause acute joint pain and inflammation, fever, arthritis and in some cases kidney failure. In this area this disease has increasingly become a concern. We are currently recommending vaccination for all dogs.

Canine Flu (Influenza) Canine flu is a contagious viral disease that can spread quickly among dogs.  It affects a dog's respiratory system and may cause serious illness.  In the US, outbreaks of canine flu were first reported in 2004 and the virus has since spread across country.

Canine Bordetella (Bordetella Bronchiseptica) may contribute to kennel cough. This bacterial infection can occur alone or in combination with distemper, adenovirus type- 2 infection, parainfluenza and other respiratory problems.

The first 5 diseases are included in the DA2PLCPV vaccine.

We Recommended The Following Vaccine schedule:

8-9 weeks: Da2PLCPV first vaccine, Lyme first vaccine, Influenza first vaccine and Heartworm preventive

12 weeks: DA2PLCPV second vaccine, Lyme second vaccine, Influenza second vaccine and intranasal Bordetella (if boarding, puppy class, showing, grooming or daycare), Heartworm preventive

16weeks DA2PLCPV third vaccine, Rabies one year, Heartworm preventive

1 year and older: DA2PLCPV yearly, Lyme yearly, Rabies three year, Heartworm Test 2 year, Continue Heartworm Preventive, Bordetella and Influenza (if boarding, puppy class, showing, grooming or daycare).


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