This section will try to summarize some of the AAHA vaccine guidelines. This is not a direct recommendation for your pet but intended to be used to help you understand what vaccines are available and how they are being viewed by AAHA. There are many opinions and controversies over vaccines. There are studies suggesting that some of the MLV Parvo vaccines may provide protection for up to 7 years despite manufacturer recommendation of yearly vaccination. This has lead to much confusion. Furthermore whether the vaccine is Killed, MLV or Recombinant; and whether it protects against a virus, bacteria, protozoa or toxin also plays an important role in its duration of vaccine action. The understanding of pet vaccine responses to all the different and even emerging vaccines, is still being developed. Currently AAHA recommendations are viewed by many for some clarity in finding ways of responsibly protecting their pets without over-vaccinating. AAHA splits the available vaccines into four categories: Core, Non-Core, Not Recommended and vaccines that do not have enough information for AAHA Task Force to make a determination. The combo vaccination becomes a little confusing here because they split each part of the combination up and due to the variance of the vaccines, there are some types that are not recommended. For simplicity, I will keep the 'good' combo as one vaccine (as it is usually delivered) and then non recommended vaccinations at the end.
Click here for the complete 2006 Vaccine Guidelines
Below are free audio downloads that you can play on your computer or MP3 device. They are interviews that were conducted by Pets.ca's Marko Kulik. They cover some basic information on vaccinating our pets. Please feel free to listen in!
Dog Vaccines #50. features an interview with our podcasting veterinarian Dr. Lee. In this podcast we discuss most of the important topics that surround
vaccinating pet dogs. We cover topics like what is a vaccine, why we
vaccinate, when to vaccinate, over-vaccination, vaccines that are no
longer recommended etc. Thanks to Winston from our Pets.ca Forum for suggesting this topic. This is a two part podcast and the next show will be devoted entirely to vaccinating cats.
Vaccines are designed to 'confuse' the body's immune system into thinking that the body has an infection when actually it does not. This is how the body creates a proper immune response to help prevent infection. Currently there are four ways that vaccines work: Killed, Modified Live Virus (MLV), Recombinant Technology and Naked DNA (this last form is not used in general vaccines at this time). Killed is the oldest method and involves taking a normal virus, chopping it up and taking out 'bits' that trigger the immune system. These trigger (antigenically stimulating) proteins are injected as the vaccine. Often killed vaccines will require the addition of something called an 'Adjuvant' which helps stimulate inflammation at the injection site to help provide an immune response. These adjuvants have been shown to have some side effects - especially in cats! See VAS article. Furthermore, it should be noted that while Killed vaccines typically will stimulate antibody formation, it does not stimulate Cell Mediated Immunity which is another important component of pet protection.
Modfied Live Virus (MLV) vaccines use an attenuated, inactive form of the virus. Since MLV acts and behaves like an actual virus, MLV often work better than killed vaccines as it stimulates Cell Mediated Immunity. However, since it is a truly live virus of a disease that we are trying to prevent, there is a small risk that the inactive virus can revert into the true form of the virus. For this reason, there is NO MLV Rabies vaccine made. As a general rule, 'reversion' to a virulent viral form is very, very rare.
Recombinant Technology is relatively new and been shown to have some wonderful advantages. It uses a live virus from another species, for example a canary pox virus, so that true infection is not possible. It then takes only the portions of the RNA of the virus that we wish to protect against and places them within the canary virus (the canary pox virus is a DNA virus. Thus the RNA portions of the virus (canine distemper, rabies, feline leukemia) is reverse transcribed into DNA so that it can be placed within the virus. Just a technical point.) The only portions of the original virus RNA that is used are those that make the proteins that the body's will recognize. As the rest of the virus RNA is never used, there is not ability for a complete virus to form. The live canary virus will then be used in the vaccine, and cause replication of these proteins within the local macrophages and other cells. The proteins become expressed on the cell surface leading to both a strong humoral and cell mediated immunity.
Benefits of Recombinant Technology. One of the great benefits of Recombinant Technology is that the vaccine cannot become inactivated by maternal antibodies like the other vaccines. This is very important for puppies and kittens who are under 16 weeks of age. Under this age, the antibodies that the pets have gotten from their mother can inactivate the Killed and MLV vaccines and render the vaccination useless. Thus Recombinant Technology vaccines may be more appropriate for younger animals. It is suspected that some Weimaraner puppies can have a debilitating disorder called HOD (Hypertrophic OsteoDystrophy) that may be linked to MLV distemper vaccines. There are some specialists that recommend the recombinant vaccine technology for this breed. The use of the modified live distemper and adenovirus vaccines (both contained in most MLV combination vaccines) has been shown to create several days of immune suppression. This immune suppression within the pets can predispose the pets to infection. Since the initial expression of the recombinant vaccine takes place locally, there is much thought that this immune suppression is absent with the use of recombinant vaccines.
AAHA Core Vaccines
While Combo Vaccines can be a variety of mixtures, most will containg the three Core vaccines: Parvo Virus CPV-S (Modified Live), Canine Distemper (CDV) (either Modified Live or Recombinant), and Adenovirus (CAV-2) (Modified Live). In the non-recommended section, we will see which variations and other options you might find contained in a Combo Vaccine. Then we will have a list of Combo Vaccines that are recommended.
Initial Puppy Vaccination: "All puppies should receive a minimum of 3 doses between the ages of 6 and 16 weeks at intervals of 3 to 4 weeks." " The final dose should be administered at 14 to 16 weeeks of age."
Revaccination Thereafter: "All puppies should receive a 1-year booser vacciation 1 year after completion of the initial puppy series, regardless of he product used. Followig this vaccination, revacccination is recommneded at intervals of every 3 years or longer."
All quoted text on this page is from 2006 AAHA Canine Vaccination Guideline whose complete link is available at the bottom.
For the initial vaccination of rabies, either a 1 or 3 year vaccine may be used once.
Initial Puppy Vaccination: "Administer one dose as early as 3 months of age."
Revaccination: "The second rabies vaccination is recommended 1 year following administration of the initial dose, regardless of the animal's age at the time the first dose was administered. Booster vaccines should be administered every 3 years. State, provincial, and/or local laws apply."
AAHA Non Core Vaccines
Parainfluenza virus (CPIV) is a common addition to the Combo Vaccine. It is not usually seen as a solitary vaccine. It has comparative low risk of reactions.
Initial Puppy Vaccination: "Administer at 6-8 weeks of age, then every 3-4 weeks until 12-14 weeks of age."
Revaccination: After a booster at 1 year, (unless manufacturer label recommends otherwise) revaccination once every 3 years is considered protective."
AAHA mentions 3 separate Bordetella vaccines. Two are available as an injection and one (which also included parainfluenza) as an intranasal spray. There is some thought that the intra-nasal form might be more effective as it stimulates an immunity at the site of where infection would occur. Both forms are considered both safe and effective and there is NO known advantage to administering both types together.
Initial Puppy Vaccination: "Administer one dose at 8 weeks of age and one dose at 12 weeks of age." (while the phrasing between each Bordetella guideline is slighlty different - this statement can be applicable to each type). It should be noted that the intranasal form can be safely administered as early as 3 weeks of age.
Revaccination: "Annually or up to every 6 months in high-risk environments."
Leptospirosis is a bacterial spirochete disease that is endemic to some tropic and subtropic regions around the world. This vaccine has been associated with a higher rate of vaccine reactions, especially in acute anaphylaxis in toy breeds. This vaccine is recommended by AAHA to be "...restricted to use in areas where a reasonable risk of exposure has been established."
There is currently some controversy over this vaccine as the strains (called serovars) that are being clinically recognized are not always those that are being vaccinated for. There are new leptospirosis vaccines, including Recombinant Technology, coming out soon.
Important Information on Leptospirosis: The vaccination of this disease can stop the clinical signs of leptospirosis to the dog however will NOT stop infection. A vaccinated pet, if infected with leprospirosis, can and will shed this bacteria in the urine. Thus vaccinating for this disease has the potential to create 'asymptomatic carriers'. This becomes very important when we remember that people can get leptospirosis from their dog. It is a zoonotic disease. Initial Puppy Vaccination: "Administer one dose at 12 weeks of age and again at 14-16 weeks of age." Revaccination: "Annually."
Lyme disease is tick borne disease caused by bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. This vaccine should only be used with dogs that are in a known high risk of exposure. Initial Puppy Vaccination: "Initial dose may be given at 9 or 12 weeks of age (depending on manufacturer's recommnedation) with a second dose 2-4 weeks later."
Revaccination: "Annually. Revaccinate just prior to start of tick season as determined regionally."
Vaccines too new for AAHA Guideline Recommendation
While there is not enough current experience for AAHA to have an official stand, there is a lot of scientific support for this vaccination. As it in a vaccination against a toxin and not an infectious agent, it does NOT provide as LONG a duration of antibodies. The peak of the antibody levels is typically during the first 4 to 6 months.
IMPORTANT: This vaccine should be given by a veterinarian familiar with this vaccine. Some pets will develop a benign seroma formation. For this reason, there is special administration recommendations for this vaccine that are different from other vaccines.
Having worked in Arizona and Cailfornia, I have been used this vaccine and do recommend it for some dogs.
Initial Vaccination: two doses at 2 - 4 weeks apart.
Revaccination: Annually, just prior to rattlesnake season. May be given every 4 - 6 months depending upon risk exposure.
Click here for Rattlesnake Manufacturer Website
Dental Disease Vaccine
This vaccine is designed to help prevent peridontitis caused by the bacterias Porphyromonas denticanis,
P. gulae and P. salivosa. This may help prevent some of the bone damage that is commonly seen with periodontal disease.
Initial Vaccination: Administer two doses, three weeks apart.
Revaccination: According to Pfizer, the duration of immunity has not been established however current recommendation for revaccination is every 6 to 12 months.
Click here for Pfizer Dental Vaccine Website
Vaccines Not Recommended by AAHA
It should be noted, that just because AAHA Guidelines places a vaccine in 'Not Recommended' Status does NOT mean that its administration is either malpractice or harmful. If your pet is being recommended this vaccine, you might want to ask why. Is there an endemic or high risk to this disease? Corona used to be given because it was thought to be a prevalent infection in puppies. Currently some shelters still advocate its use to help address puppies who might obtain concurrent infections ofboth parvo virus and corona virus. However, if it is 'just being given' to say, a solitary eight year old indoor dog, such a vaccine might be completely unnecessary.
Corona is a virus that is similar to the Parvo virus as it can create intestinal inflammation. However its clinical significance is much less than Parvo. Why is it Not Recommended: "Prevalence of clinical cases of confirmed CCV disease does not justify vaccination. Clinical disease rarely occurs and when seen is typically mild and self-limiting. Experience has shown no additional increase in infectious enteritis among adults or puppies subsequent to discontinuing CCV vaccination. "
Possible Reasons to Use it: Dogs that are simultaneously infected with both Parvo Virus and Corona Virus may have a lower chance of survival. Some puppies and young dogs that are in high risk of contracting both parvo and corona simultaneously might benefit from this vaccine.
Giardia is a protozoal parasite that affects many mammals including dogs, cats and humans. While the strain (for Giardia, called Molecular Assemblages) that affect humans is usually not the molecular assemblage seen in dogs, canine Giardiasis can be transfered to humans. Why is it Not Recommended: "The vaccine may prevent oocyst shedding but does not prevent infection. There is insufficient data to warrant routine use of this vaccine. Infection in puppies and kittens is often sublinical. Most animal strains of Giardia duodenalis are not infective to an immunocompetent human host." Possible Reasons to Use it: It can reduce oocyst (the infective form) shedding. For some pets thar are re-self-infecting or infecting other, this vaccine may help aid with the treatment of disease. Some pets at high risk of exposure or who have had severe clinical effects from Giardia (severe bloody diarrhea) may benefit from this vaccine.
There are a few vaccines that were seen either as a solitary or part of a combination vaccine that are no longer recommended. These are not common to find however if you come across them, you might want to think twice! For people that purchase and administer your own vaccines, make sure that you are not accidentally using one of these by accident.
Canine Parvovirus (CPV-2) (Killed): "Killed parvoproducts have been shown to be susceptible to maternal antibody interference in puppies as old as 16-18 weeks."
Canine Adenovirus-1 (CAV-1) (MLV and Killed): "Significant risk of "hepatitis blue-eye" reactions is associated with CAV-1 vaccines. CAV-2 vaccines very effectively cross-protect against CAV-1 and are much safer." Canine Adenovirus-2 (CAV-2) (killed or MLV-Topical): "CAV-2 (MLV parenteral) vaccines produce a more effective immune response than CAV-2 (killed parenteral) vaccines do. CAV-2 (MLV-parenteral) vaccine is commonly combined with CDV and CPV-2 parenteral vaccines, an in general, there is no advantage to adminsgtering both CAV-2 (MLV-parenteral) and cav-2 (MLV-topical) vaccines."