That Time of Year Again - Annual Exams and vaccinations

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Postby pocketpit » April 3rd, 2009, 9:36 pm

See my dogs always have come to work, as well, 5-7 days a week in a vet's office and/or boarding, daycare, or training facility each week since the day I brought my first dog home (Wally). Other than deworming more regularly I don't do anything different. And I especially don't vaccinate for kennel cough. That vaccine is the bane of my existence


That pretty much sums up my point of view. I have to vaccinate for Rabies to get over the border for competitions, training, etc but otherwise I don't vaccinate on a regular basis. As puppies they get their complete set of vaccines according to protocol and after that I do it every 3 years or so. We have lepto in this area so I do make sure that it's included when I do have it done. The kennel cough vaccine is a bunch of crap IMO.
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Postby Mickle » April 3rd, 2009, 9:43 pm

Agreed on the kennel cough...Seamus was vaccinated and brought it home...really I dont see the point to doing it if they can get it anyway...plus its easy to treat..Slippery elm works great and has always knocked it out in 4 days!
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Postby BigDogBuford » April 3rd, 2009, 9:48 pm

Mickle wrote:Agreed on the kennel cough...Seamus was vaccinated and brought it home...really I dont see the point to doing it if they can get it anyway...plus its easy to treat..Slippery elm works great and has always knocked it out in 4 days!


There's a really nasty strain of KC that was going around here for a while. Lost a couple of dogs to it. :shock: Definitely not the norm, tons of florescent green snot and takes about 3-4 weeks to fully recover. Almost lost my rottie foster to it. After going through that, I vaccinate but only once yearly.
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Postby call2arms » April 3rd, 2009, 11:20 pm

We had a shih tzu at work (older guy, dumped at the SPCA and just adopted out) who REALLY had bad bordetella... Not eating, losing weight, coughing and hacking constantly... The vet even recommended slippery elm along with antibiotics and it helped, and he eventually got over it, but it was a hard blow for him. He was a totally different dog when he recovered though, the elderly owners were in for a surprise.

Had he been vaccinated at some before being dumped, he might have got it still but not nearly as badly.

Kennels in my area require it, too. I've heard discussions about how when vaccinations stop, for a while, often there are wicked strains that develop or the disease just suddenly reappears (and this really happened last summer here, quite a few horses died from encephalitis, and the vaccination stopped for it a while ago since we weren't seeing any of it)... People got bit in the ass by it, and it sucked. Anyway... Just a tought on disease control in general, since we think of our individual animals but it also is about spreading of disease - about how one animal catches it, and one other vaccinated animal is often one less carrier. Diseases suck.

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Postby BullyLady » April 4th, 2009, 1:17 am

I didn't read thru all the responses. I just wanted to throw in that I faithfully vaccinate and run bloodwork annually for all pets over seven. Sirius isn't over seven, but gets annual bloodwork because the bloodbank does it for free. :)
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Postby Mickle » April 4th, 2009, 7:48 am

BigDogBuford wrote:
Mickle wrote:Agreed on the kennel cough...Seamus was vaccinated and brought it home...really I dont see the point to doing it if they can get it anyway...plus its easy to treat..Slippery elm works great and has always knocked it out in 4 days!


There's a really nasty strain of KC that was going around here for a while. Lost a couple of dogs to it. :shock: Definitely not the norm, tons of florescent green snot and takes about 3-4 weeks to fully recover. Almost lost my rottie foster to it. After going through that, I vaccinate but only once yearly.


That sucks and I guess would make me a little nervous too. It comes down to what risk either way are you willing to take and are you able to do what it takes if something happens.
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Postby maberi » April 4th, 2009, 10:41 am

CinderDee wrote:How much are the titers?


Just got back from the vet for Kayden's diarrhea and while we were there vaccinations were brought up.

They suggested I booster him since he came from a shelter and had an unknown vaccination history. He was vaccinated for everything before he left the shelter but because he may not have gotten the proper puppy vacc. they suggested boostering.

I had them run titers for distemper and parvo instead

The distemper titer was $60 and the Parvo was $60 as well.

They said the follow the AAHA guidelines that I posted earlier in this thread and they do not suggest yearly boosters for the core vaccs
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Postby pocketpit » April 4th, 2009, 1:43 pm

There's a really nasty strain of KC that was going around here for a while. Lost a couple of dogs to it. Definitely not the norm, tons of florescent green snot and takes about 3-4 weeks to fully recover. Almost lost my rottie foster to it. After going through that, I vaccinate but only once yearly.


I lost a foster dog to it as well. He brought it home with him. But my other dogs did not catch it since they've already had kennel cough. The only dog who did come down with KC was another foster that came from the same place as him. He did not develop the same mutated form even though they were in direct contact with one another the entire time they lived with me. He recovered like normal even though the other dog never did and eventually had to be euthanized. KC is tricky but I think overall that naturally aquired immunity is better than trying to replicate it with a vaccine. It's just been my personal experience and observation.
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Postby airwalk » April 4th, 2009, 1:54 pm

pocketpit wrote:KC is tricky but I think overall that naturally aquired immunity is better than trying to replicate it with a vaccine. It's just been my personal experience and observation.


My head agrees with you...but I've seen too many dogs in the shelter catch K/C multiple times (if they are there long enough) and at some point we brought it home to Charlie (before he passed) even though he had come to work with me and so had the younger boys for 2-3 years...I got sloppy with Charlie's vaccinations because of his age, he never went anywhere...I ended up spending almost 4 weeks trying to get him well again. After that, twice yearly, every year.
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Postby airwalk » April 4th, 2009, 1:56 pm

btw Matt, glad to hear Kayden is okay
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Postby DemoDick » April 4th, 2009, 2:18 pm

pocketpit wrote:That pretty much sums up my point of view. I have to vaccinate for Rabies to get over the border for competitions, training, etc but otherwise I don't vaccinate on a regular basis. As puppies they get their complete set of vaccines according to protocol and after that I do it every 3 years or so. We have lepto in this area so I do make sure that it's included when I do have it done. The kennel cough vaccine is a bunch of crap IMO.


This is basically what I do as well. If titers were all that was required to get the dog across the border, that is all I would do.

I was not aware that vaccinosis was the end diagnosis for Yoda, and am sorry to hear that. Vaccinating is a personal decision and I do feel that most vets are not as up front as they should be about the risks of vaccinosis.

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Postby call2arms » April 4th, 2009, 3:38 pm

They are possibly not so upfront because cases like Yoda's are quite rare and most vets never see one. Which does not mean that they should not talk about it, but doing so may scare a large part of their clients, and then who gets blamed for not pushing vaccines when animals come in with parvo, KC or lepto? They're between a rock and a hard place.

My first dog died of distemper, and she was 6 years old. It sucked. I would never want to have my kids to go through that, it's easily prevented...

I'm totally on the fence... I undrestand that there is a risk to vaccinate, and titers are probably the best way to go but a good puppy vaccination base seems like it's definitely key, and if titers are low, then vaccinating that one time is also important.
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Postby DemoDick » April 4th, 2009, 3:56 pm

call2arms wrote:They are possibly not so upfront because cases like Yoda's are quite rare and most vets never see one.


I could be wrong, but I don't believe they are as rare as is commonly assumed. Yoda's would not have been discovered were it not for very close examination. How many cases go undiagnosed? That's a question that rarely gets asked, and to my knowledge it has never been answered.

Which does not mean that they should not talk about it, but doing so may scare a large part of their clients, and then who gets blamed for not pushing vaccines when animals come in with parvo, KC or lepto? They're between a rock and a hard place.


I agree. I think the answer might be a pamphlet that includes risk information for owners. If I go to the doctor and get medication, he'll discuss potential side-effects with me. I don't see that happening often enough with vets. Most owners would be shocked to find out that vaccinosis even exists.

My first dog died of distemper, and she was 6 years old. It sucked. I would never want to have my kids to go through that, it's easily prevented...


Was the dog vaccinated for distemper?

I'm totally on the fence... I undrestand that there is a risk to vaccinate, and titers are probably the best way to go but a good puppy vaccination base seems like it's definitely key, and if titers are low, then vaccinating that one time is also important.


It sounds like you think this is an individual owner decision. If so, I agree.

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Postby maberi » April 4th, 2009, 8:23 pm

DemoDick wrote:
call2arms wrote:They are possibly not so upfront because cases like Yoda's are quite rare and most vets never see one.


I could be wrong, but I don't believe they are as rare as is commonly assumed. Yoda's would not have been discovered were it not for very close examination. How many cases go undiagnosed? That's a question that rarely gets asked, and to my knowledge it has never been answered.


I have no doubt that people think I'm biased about vaccinations at this point because of Yoda but I have to agree with Demo here. Even today after being pushed by the vet to vaccinate Kayden I expressed my concern in vaccinating him because of losing Yoda to vaccinosis.

The response I receive was "Oh, is that what they determined was the cause of his death?". After I said yes, the vet seemed very uneasy and left the room to call Cornell about some questions I had regarding the titers I requested. I received a call from the neurologist who treated Yoda while he was in Michigan expressing his sadness in Yoda's passing a few days after Yoda was put down, but this information was never passed along to my vet. My guess is that a lot of these cases are lost along the way because of unknowns. I remember asking my vet if Yoda's reactions could have been the result of vaccinations and her telling me no, reactions to vaccines usually happen within a few hour or days. Yoda's reactions didn't manifest until weeks later. After doing a lot of research on my own and speaking with the specialists who treated Yoda, they all confirmed acute reactions 14-45 days after a vaccination were actually not rare at all.

I do not blame my vet or the emergency vets that treated him, but I do feel there was a learning experience to be gained through all of this and even that never surfaced. If nothing else I would have liked the case to have been reported to the AAHA or the manufacturers of the vaccines so they could have documented this (the AAHA actually requests that vets do this).
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Postby Malli » April 5th, 2009, 1:20 am

call2arms wrote:They are possibly not so upfront because cases like Yoda's are quite rare and most vets never see one. Which does not mean that they should not talk about it, but doing so may scare a large part of their clients, and then who gets blamed for not pushing vaccines when animals come in with parvo, KC or lepto? They're between a rock and a hard place.

totally. rock and a hard place. And how many clients would totally understand completely both the risks and the benefits? slim to none. I don't even fully understand them :|

call2arms wrote:My first dog died of distemper, and she was 6 years old. It sucked. I would never want to have my kids to go through that, it's easily prevented...

crap; hearing about the end stages of distemper, that is awful :(
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Postby furever_pit » April 5th, 2009, 7:46 am

I give my animals the extended year vaccines - 3 year rabies, distemper, and FVRCP (for the kitties) - and Dylan gets the bordetella once a year. He comes into work with me pretty frequently but has had no issues with kennel cough yet so I have not made the switch to the 6 month schedule. As far as bloodwork, Dylan had a CBC before I started him in WP and then he had another CBC done prior to his surgery about 6 months ago. Once he turns 7 he will receive annual bloodwork, but until then only if he seems sick.

I work for a vet and every once in a while we will have someone who wishes to decline vaccination. The doctor will usually try gently persuasion but at the end this is something that is totally up to the client. We have a few clients who have indoor cats that they do not vaccinate at all, not even for rabies. We let them know about the legal issues that go along with not getting a rabies but we do not report anyone for not getting the vaccine. Also, our Lyme and Lepto vaccines are separate, so we only give them to the dogs that actually need them - those that are going out into the woods or swamps - just because there is such a risk associated with these vaccines.
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Postby maberi » April 5th, 2009, 7:54 am

I can totally understand a vet pushing vaccines but pushing yearly boosters makes zero sense to me. Even the AAHA indicates that core vaccs cover dogs at a minimum of 3 years and most are likely to cover a dog for 5-7 yrs :|
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Postby Marinepits » April 5th, 2009, 9:17 am

I don't know of any vet around here that still recommends yearly vaccines, unless the vaccine is specifically designed to be yearly (such as Lyme or Bord). We do every three years as long as the dog is healthy.

Shorty is actually overdue for her rabies right now because the last two times we went in for it, she was running a fever and Dr Blabs didn't want to give it to her "just in case". Katy no longer gets core vaccines because she's much older -- she does still get her rabies and Lyme, due to the area we live in and the constant contact we have with wildlife. I'm not sure what we're going to do for Indy's vaccines now that he has cancer, but he's not due until 2011 so I have time to do research.

Another thing to consider is that many clients are "one time deals". The vet may see that client's animal only once or twice in the animal's lifetime, so yes vaccines are "pushed" -- not only for the health of that animal, but also for the health of any animal that dog or cat comes in contact with, as call2arms said:

call2arms wrote:Kennels in my area require it, too. I've heard discussions about how when vaccinations stop, for a while, often there are wicked strains that develop or the disease just suddenly reappears (and this really happened last summer here, quite a few horses died from encephalitis, and the vaccination stopped for it a while ago since we weren't seeing any of it)... People got bit in the ass by it, and it sucked. Anyway... Just a tought on disease control in general, since we think of our individual animals but it also is about spreading of disease - about how one animal catches it, and one other vaccinated animal is often one less carrier. Diseases suck.


My dogs seem to be at the vet quite often, LOL, so we don't really do "yearly exams". We're trying to keep up on yearly bloodwork for Katy since she's a senior and has been on anti-inflammatories for years, and it's helpful to have baseline readings in case anything goes wrong. Once Indy is done with his radiation, we'll be doing bloodwork on him more often than we have in the past. Shorty will soon be a senior, so we'll start yearly bloodwork for her, too.

While I do think veterinarians have a responsibility to share information about possible side effects to vaccines, it's also up to the owner to do some research on what they're putting in their animals' bodies. (And that is by no means a "slap" at you, Matt.) JMHO
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Postby hugapitbull » April 5th, 2009, 9:38 am

Another thought on vaccines is to know what effects they can have with medications the animal is receiving on an ongoing basis. One of the warning with Atopica is not to give the dog live vaccines.

We had always given Trouble annual vaccines. She was due in January, but with the chemo in progress the vet didn't want to add vaccines to the equation. Now that she has completed chemo, he still isn't in any hurry with the vaccines. I look for him to recommend a three year cycle, or none at all.
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Postby DemoDick » April 5th, 2009, 10:38 am

malli wrote:totally. rock and a hard place. And how many clients would totally understand completely both the risks and the benefits? slim to none. I don't even fully understand them


If the information is presented clearly it's not that hard to understand. Vaccinate and you risk vaccinosis, decline vaccines and you risk disease. Of course, there would need to be more study and transparency into how many cases of vaccinosis are actually out there. That should be going on any way. I would also expect vets to provide a liability waiver absolving them of responsibility should the dog contract something for which a vaccine exists. No need no expose themselves to punitive lawsuits.

My own vet was very easy to work with on this issue. I mentioned my own concerns about vaccinosis and she immediately gave me a list of alternatives without blinking. I'm fortunate in that regard. And I would never hold her responsible for something out of her control.

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