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Concerned about over-vaccination??


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#1 Carson Crazies

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 03:30 AM

A few weeks ago we were having a discussion here about over-vaccination. I commented that I was afraid to approach my vet about it, because I thought she'd just tell me I was losing my mind.

Well, yesterday on a whim I asked the vet-techs what our Vet's views on it was. Guess what they said to my surprise?? For anyone who ever asks, she recommends giving the dogs titres as opposed to yearly vacc's. However, almost no-one ever asks.

So, June goes in for her yearly in two weeks, and we're going to do rabies and bordatella, and then titre for the rest! I'm so relieved - as I was afraid I'd have a fight on my hands. Yippee! As a side note, the titres weren't as expensive as I expected - $80 total for all of them. So, while it will be a tad more expensive than the actual vaccinations, I think it will be well worth the $$ to avoid over vaccinating!

Thank you Julie and AK Dog Doc for the encouragement!
Laura Carson
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#2 FishinBC

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 03:42 AM

Laura,

I spoke with our new vet here in Arkansas on Saturday about the same thing. We are moving out of city limits next month and here in Arkansas they require annual rabies, etc, where in SO Cal rabies was every three years to be licensed.

Having an epi dog with one kidney, I hate the thought of pumping all that stuff into her if she doesn't need it. The vet has AGREED! And we will titre both dogs on their next annual.

She did recommend annual bordatella because up where we are moving many people let their dogs roam (drives me crazy). But the rest including rabies she will test first.

#3 AK dog doc

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 04:43 AM

Well, glad that worked out well! As a BTW, Bordatella vaccine appears to only give a duration of immuninty of about 9 to 12 months, so yearly vaccination for dogs with exposure risk is a good idea. I'm not sure if the shorter duration of immunity is because Bordatella vaccine is a bacterin (a vaccine directed against bacteria rather than viruses) or if it's some other reason.

FWIW, I would LOVE it if my clients showed up asking me for titers. (Hey... how come YOU guys aren't my clients? What do you MEAN you don't want to commute to AK for your vet visits?) :rolleyes:
It is illegal for me to diagnose your dog over the internet. I respectfully decline to answer e-mail or PM requests for medical advice or diagnosis. I will respond to questions posted in the public fora as I have time and at my own discretion. Thank you for your understanding.

Besides, I have to go make some wine now.

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#4 nancy

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 05:11 AM

What, you don't make house calls?

#5 Carson Crazies

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 05:15 AM

What do you MEAN you don't want to commute to AK for your vet visits?

Silly us! We'll be right over - get the wine out while you're at it. :rolleyes:

Good for you too Cheri! I can certainly understand your concern. I'm just beginning to learn about this whole subject. Where ya movin to?
Laura Carson
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RIP Zippy (Jan 11, 1994 - April 9, 2012)


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#6 juliepoudrier

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 05:37 AM

AK Dog Doc,
While I have been known to travel 3+ hours to visit a favorite vet, I think traveling to Alaska is a bit above and beyond the call of duty, though maybe if Laura wants to get a road trip up (and if you're offering wine), then perhaps summer would be a good time to visit?

Alternatively, we could get together and fly *you* down here to sunny NC--we can also supply wine (sorry, not home made) and even sheep so you can work your dogs! :rolleyes:

J.

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#7 FishinBC

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 09:15 AM

We are moving out to the country near the lake, which is the same county but with no licensing laws for dogs that are not in city limits.

PS AK - I would love to have you as our vet, thaks for all your time and advise here on the boards!

#8 Miztiki

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 09:48 AM

Didn't you just move there Cheri? Are you really moving again?

I agree, your time on the boards is appreciated by many Doc!

#9 FishinBC

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 10:48 AM

We moved here to Arkansas from So Cal in June of last year and were renting all this time. WE HAVE FOUND THE PERFECT HOUSE and bought it! We close next week. So, one more move and we are home for good!

#10 Miztiki

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 11:16 AM

Well congratulations! I'm really happy for you!

#11 Dixie_Girl

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 03:17 PM

Okay, no one start moaning and groaning, but what is bordatella? And what is it given for? Also, what is titers? Appreciate it!
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#12 Rhborder

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 03:24 PM

Bordatella is Kennel cough, I have never heard of titers

#13 AK dog doc

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 04:56 PM

Snerk! :D :D Thanks for the kind words, and as a general thing, for most people summer is not just a good time to visit AK, it's the BEST time to visit AK (for some people, the ONLY time to visit, as the dark and cold are for some mysterious reason deterrents for some folks. Can't figure why. :rolleyes: )

Now, if I were to fly south, what I'd REALLY be excited about (apart from meeting y'all and your dogs in person, naturally!) would be your excellent training advice. Once we've thoroughly humiliated me in the stock pens, :D we can collapse and rest the rest of the righteous and sheep-manure-covered, saluting our victories (assuming I had any!) with whatever comes to hand (and I could be persuaded to bring a few bottles in my carry-on.... Speaking of which I just started a new batch which I think will be extra-fabuloso and I'm kind of excited about it.) Sadly I'm down to a narrow variety of selections lately, so perhaps we should wait til my cellar is re-stocked... currently on hand I have only a red zin, a pinotage, one port and one sherry. Oh, and two reserve bottles of Eileen's favorite Buddy-wine (another sherry), so if I were to show up there we'd have to make sure she could stop by. That sounds like a lot, but the port and the sherry(s) are bottled in splits, so that's really not so much.

Back to the vaccine thing...
Bordatella IS kennel cough, but there are a variety of "kennel coughs" which can have a variety of different causative agents. By convention when we say "kennel cough" we mean a bacterial infection caused by Bordatella bronchiseptica . Can be nasty and hard to clear up, but usually will respond to antibiotics.

"Running titers" (simplified, for the sake of ease of explanation) means to do a blood test and see what level of immunity the dog has toward any specific pathogen. The titer is the level of antibody. So, if you want to see if your dog is immune to rabies, you do a rabies titer and see if the amount of antibody present would be considered protective. This picture is complicated by the fact that there is what is called humoral immunity - antibodies - and what is called cellular immunity, another (very important) branch of the immune system... but this could get pretty intricate, so I'll stop there.
It is illegal for me to diagnose your dog over the internet. I respectfully decline to answer e-mail or PM requests for medical advice or diagnosis. I will respond to questions posted in the public fora as I have time and at my own discretion. Thank you for your understanding.

Besides, I have to go make some wine now.

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#14 airbear

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 05:42 PM

Originally posted by AK dog doc:
...This picture is complicated by the fact that there is what is called humoral immunity - antibodies - and what is called cellular immunity, another (very important) branch of the immune system... but this could get pretty intricate, so I'll stop there.

If you don't mind, could you give me some links on this bit? I've titered my dogs this year, they have acceptable levels of whatever is tested, but the vet did explain that there is another component to the whole titering thing.

Also, Vancouver is much closer than North Carolina, so if you are heading south, come here! We have a few places to work sheep, and Finn can play with Wicked the wonder tongue! (hmm, that just sounds wrong :eek: )

Thanks!
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#15 Guest_grscott_*

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 06:30 PM

For those of you who may be curious , I read this article a year or two ago, and found it interesting regarding the vaccination issue. If the link or address don't work, I'll paste the article.

http://www.metropett..._every_year.htm


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#16 AK dog doc

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 04:41 AM

Airbear, I'll se if I can locate some appropriate links. I don't get my info on this off the 'net :rolleyes: so I don't have any handy already, but there's bound to be something that explains this without getting too complex. You just want the basics, yes?
It is illegal for me to diagnose your dog over the internet. I respectfully decline to answer e-mail or PM requests for medical advice or diagnosis. I will respond to questions posted in the public fora as I have time and at my own discretion. Thank you for your understanding.

Besides, I have to go make some wine now.

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http://vetontheedge.blogspot.com

#17 airbear

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 05:37 AM

Originally posted by AK dog doc:
... You just want the basics, yes?

Yes please! The part that flummoxes me the most is the delineation between what titre tests indicate as appropriate levels of anitbodies in the dog, versus the other mechanisms of the immune system that protect the dog.

I've tried reading articles on the Internet but this topic seems to engender as much passion and wackiness as the raw food debate.

Thanks!
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The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams - Eleanor Roosevelt

#18 Dixie_Girl

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 05:56 AM

Thanks so much for info. Am I reading this correctly to say if you do the test it can come back falsly due to dogs natural immunities?
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#19 AK dog doc

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 08:18 AM

Okay, if it's just that you want to know what the defenses are, I'll outline that. (As best as I can off the top of my head).

There are three lines to disease resistance: nonspecific defenses, the cellular defenses and the humoral defenses. The nonspecific defenses are partly comprised of things like mucus and cilia in the airways, the acid mantle and the keratinzed surface of the skin, etc. They provide pysical barriers or mechanisms to prevent pathogens from getting into the body in the first place and are not specific to any given agent, but just a general defense against all comers. Some of the cells of the immune system proper are also non-specific, but are part of the "internal" defenses - what needs to come into play after the pathogen has entered the body.

The specific defenses are part of the immune system. The immune system has multiple types of cells at its command. There are neutrophils (which are non-specific, as in not addressed against any agent in partcular), eosinophils (which are involved in parasite responses and allergies), monocytes and macrophages (also non-specifc, but important in presenting antigens to the "specific" arms) and lymphocytes, which are the specific, directed-against-particular-agent cells. The lymphocytes are divided into two main groups, the B cells and the T cells (of which there are mulitple types, to be mentioned later). B cells produce antibodies, of which there are five classes: M,D, G, E and A (in that order on the genome) - and there are subsets of each class, although that's probably more detail than you need. On first seeing an antigen, a B cell is generally presented with it by a macrophage (+/- a helper-T cell). A B cell which can respond to that antigen will then begin to replicate (clone) itself (clonal expansion) and produce antibodies against the antigen it was presented. At first it makes IgM, which is a big, slow, 5-pronged antibody. This may be adequate if you don't see the pathogen again. However, if the pathogen reappears (as occurs when you boost a vaccine), the clone changes over to (usually) IgG (this is called class-switching). IgG is a small, fast, highly agressive antibody which is much more efficient in fighting the pathogen. Generally the clone also expands itself again to handle the threat, and each of the daughter cells is also making antibodies like mad. In effect you've let the immune system know this is an important threat and it should take it seriously. Once the threat is gone, however, the cells gradulally down-regulate and die out... mostly. :rolleyes:

Just to make things more fun, there are memory cells. They are why you don't get chicken pox and mumps every year. These are cells that develop out of the expanded clone and hang around for years (sometimes the lifetime of the animal, or nearly that long; sometimes a lot less long). If there is a memory cell hanging around, and the pathogen turns up again, it immediately switches on the clone again and the immune system gears up to kill the pathogen before it causes disease. (BTW, the reason your lymph nodes swell up and get tender when you're sick is that they're crammed with busy little immune cells all replicating and communicating and working like crazy to keep you from being killed by something about a billionth of your size.)

The arm that is usually referred to as "cellular immunity" (even though these are ALL cells we've been talking about) is the T cell line. Those are killer T, helper T, Natural Killer (NK) and other sets and subsets of T cells (the immune system is unbelievably complex, if you hadn't gathered - and we haven't even talked about the variable and hypervariable regions of the genome, or any of the subcellular mechanisms, or chemical communications between cells, or immune system modifiers, or interleukins or interferons or cytokines, or...!) :D Back to the T cells. T cells also have specificity to given agents, but act by directly killing the agent rather than producing an antibody which exits the cell and then kills the agent. When T cells kill, they also release the "dead" in processed form to help stimulate the other parts of the immune system, as well as relseasing chemical mesengers which call up more cells (of various kinds). T cells may attack the viral agent directly, or attack the cells that are infected by the virus. This seems counter-intuitive at first (since it means your immune system is killing your own cells) but since viruses replicate by hijacking the cell's production machinery and forcing the cell to make new viruses for release, this disrupts the virus's means of replicating. The cell dies before it can make a lot of new virus which would then go out and infect more cells, so killing the infected cell saves a huge bunch of uninfected cells.

The controversy about titering is probably mainly about the thought that we're testing antibody levels and not cellular immunity. (Or at least so I assume, as I have not visited the sites where the controversy apparently rages.) It is true that cellular immunity is important to immunity in general. However, it is ALSO true that humoral immunity is important to immunity in general, and in some ways could be viewed as the "front line" defense (since you always have some circulating antibodies in your system.) Naturally these will eventually fade into lower and lower quantities if there's no "reminder" to your immune system that some pathogen is a Bad Actor that needs to be watched out for. At that point you may be "falling back on" your cellular immunity - which might be more than adequate for the job, but it could be viewed as one step back from the front line, so it may allow a little more invasion before you see the threat and gear up. Also, bear in mind that sometimes memory cells DO die out or are otherwise lost (as in splenectomy, which removes a significant number of white cells from the body), and then where are you? It's rare, but we do occasinally see people who (for instance) get measles or chicken pox more than once in a lifetime. Presumably this is because the memory clone died out and so the immune system "forgot" it should be watching out for that. So, unless you can survey every last white cell in the body and be sure that you still have adequate numbers of B and T cells that remember the pathogen of interest, how do you decide if there's adequate protection? Titers. Until something better comes along, that's where we go to find out.

There's a lot of stuff we could go over about immunity against bacteria VS. viruses and how other systems may affect immune system function and so on, but that's the basics. Does that address the question(s) you had? If not I'll try to locate some links for you (but it was easier just to expound a little out of my own head for the basics, since I had that info "on hand" already!) :D
It is illegal for me to diagnose your dog over the internet. I respectfully decline to answer e-mail or PM requests for medical advice or diagnosis. I will respond to questions posted in the public fora as I have time and at my own discretion. Thank you for your understanding.

Besides, I have to go make some wine now.

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#20 Valhalla

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 08:35 AM

Originally posted by AK dog doc:
... immunity against bacteria VS. viruses

I'd love to hear about this, too!
Christine Koval
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