I went to a very informative meeting last week in regards to vaccinations in pets. Dr Richard Ford from North Carolina State University gave a talk titled "2012 Vaccines & Vaccination: The FACTS vs. the FICTION". Dr. Ford helps write the guidelines for AAHA. I think the thing that pleased me the most was hearing Dr. Ford say "Chronic Lyme Disease exists". As some of you may know many humans are dealing with lyme disease, and the human medical community does not fully acknowledge this fact. I am glad that the veterinary field can admit it!
If you would like to see how lyme disease is spreading in our pets check out this web site: http://www.dogsandticks.com/diseases_in_your_area.php
The full text of the AAHA guidelines can be found at www.aahanet.org.
Canine Core Vaccines:
-Distemper, Parvo, Adenovirus - 8, 12, 16wks of age. Booster 1yr following the last dose in the series (or IMHO...check a titer) & then every three years or longer.
-Rabies- single dose at 12 or 16 weeks. Booster in one year (and then the booster is good for 3yrs legally)
Canine Non-Core Vaccines:
-Bordetella, Parainfluenza- single dose (intranasal) at 12 or 16 weeks of age.
-*Leptospirosis- 2 doses 2-4 wks apart AFTER 12 weeks of age.
-*Lyme- 2 doses 2-4 weeks apart AFTER 12 weeks of age. In Maine we also gave a dose at 6mo after the 2nd dose, and Dr. Ford thought that was likely a good idea. The main thing that makes me hesitate to recommend the lyme vaccine is that there are MANY co-infections that we can not vaccinate for. The common ones we hear about in veterinary medicine are ehrlichia & anaplasmosis. Deer ticks can also carry babesia and rocky mountain spotted fever...to name a few. When deciding whether to give your dog the lyme vaccine or not consider checking www.veterinarypartner.com for more information.
-*Canine Influenza- 2 doses 2 to 4 weeks apart AFTER 12 weeks of age.
non-core vaccines are boostered annually where risk of exposure is sustained.
*Small breed dogs (adult 20lbs or less) should have a delay in administration until after completion of the CORE series.
Feline Core Vaccines:
-Panleukopenia, Herpesvirus, Calicivirus-8, 12, and 16 weeks. Booster 1 year following the last dose (or check a titer IMHO) & then every three years.
-Rabies- dose give at 12 or 16 weeks. I am currently recommending the purevax (non-adjuvanted) rabies for cats and it is licensed for a one year vaccine. See www.veterinarypartner.com for vaccine associated sarcoma. We can greatly decrease the risk in our furry friends by using the purevax vaccine.
Feline Non-Core Vaccines:
-Leukemia Virus - 'highly recommended' for all kittens (inside/outside) at 12 & 16 weeks and then 1 yr later (if going outside)
-Feline Immunodeficiency Virus- 3 doses 2 to 4 weeks apart. Initial vaccination will cause cats to have a false + FIV test result. Kittens having nursed from a vaccinated cat may also have a false + test.
-Feline Bordetella bronchiseptica- one dose intranasally as early of 4 weeks of age if indicated. Booster annually where the risk of exposure is present.
-feline chlamydophila felis- 2 doses 3 to 4 weeks apart, if indicated. Booster annually where the risk of exposure is present.
-virulent systemic calicivirus- 2 initial doses 2 to 4 weeks apart, if indicated. Disease prevalence is considered low & limited to high-density housing environments (esp shelters)
Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) vaccine is 'Not Generally Recommended" by the AAFP Vaccine Advisory Panel (2006)
Dr. Ford's handout states: "Other non-core vaccines are seldom administered and should be considered only after asessing and defining a clear risk of exposure. All other non-core vaccines are recommended for annual administration as long as the risk of exposure persists."
The vaccine guidelines group of the WSAVA recommends against the FIV vaccine. AAHA recommends cats getting the FIV vaccine be tested 'negative' first. They also recommend a microchip or tattoo to be able to ID their vaccination status.
People are aware that vaccines in kids are very controversial. We are starting to see that there is not one 'cookie cutter' program to pets either. Thankfully these guidelines have the pet's best interest in mind, and they are put together by AAHA - not by the vaccine companies.
Well...it is time to admit that I bought into the 'education' hook, line, & sinker while I was in vet school. I was a student representative for a major food company. For $1000/yr I organized functions for my boss to come to the school to talk to the students about why their company was 'the best'. We routinely offered free food for lunch presentations. We also gave out stethoscopes (with the company label on it of course), surgical equipment, and pet food at a reduced cost. The money generated with pet food sales was given back to the school, and there was a 'feeding committee' that determined how the money would be dished out (and how the company name would be 'honored'). Through vet school and up until 2005 (for approx 7-8yrs) I fed my poor dog this food. I say poor dog because it was not a good choice on my part. I remember telling people when I graduated from vet school that 'your dog is not a cow...it does not need so much corn' when someone told me that they fed Old Roy. I felt like such a BRAT when I finally read the label on the food that I feeding poor Chance. Corn was one of the first ingredients on my bag of food too. Well...life happens & I did not change Chance's food until I got fed up with it while we were living in Maine. I had enough 'aa ha' moments in regards to pet foods that I sheepishly went into The Animal House in Damariscotta, Maine to learn about animal nutrition. I had less than one week of small animal nutrition in vet school (besides what was spoon fed to us by the major food companies), and I had a lot to learn. I was reminiscing with my husband about the choices I made in regards to Chance's food, and he was shocked to hear me say "I thought I was doing the right thing, so I didn't read the label." What is in your pet's food? If you would like some suggestions please let me know, and we can set up a consultation.
Dr. Strobbe lives with her Son, Ethan, in Ames Iowa.