VACCINATION AND TITER
By Guardian Angel Pat
are some dogs who react to vaccinations with more seizure
activity, and because of growing evidence that vaccines themselves can
trigger a deadly blood disorder in dogs, the movement to extend vaccine
intervals and running titers is gaining ground.
Not everyone is familiar with the issues of overvaccination. There are many
advocates (veterinarians) who advise against
overvaccination and are running serum antibody titers
instead to test for immunity.
Many of us (including me, personally) have given our dogs puppy shots and
rabies boosters only, and are running serum titer levels to check
immunity instead of vaccinating. In New York State, if
proof of immunity can be demonstrated for rabies,
exemption from boosters is granted. When my dog, Dixie,
was recently due for her rabies booster I had Dr.
Dodds run titers and her immune level was excellent
for rabies. Our Vet wrote a note of exemption, and
filed a copy with New York State. I then took a copy to our village
offices, where Dixie's license is issued, and they just put it on file.
IMMUNE TITER TESTING:
W. Jean Dodds, DVM, says that in her own practice, she only vaccinates when
necessary. Rather than automatically giving boosters, Dodds gives annual
titers, or tests, to check the level of antibodies (disease fighting
cells) in the blood to determine if a vaccination
booster is necessary. Though she expects that immunity
would last for life, she says that titers offer "an
added measure of security."
Dr. Dodds also says "Except where vaccination is required by law, all
animals, but especially those dogs or close relatives that previously
experienced an adverse reaction to vaccination can have serum antibody
titers measured annually instead of revaccination. If adequate levels of
titers are found, the animal should not need revaccination until some
future date. Rechecking antibody titers can be performed annually,
thereafter, or can be offered as an alternative to pet owners who prefer
not to follow the conventional practice of annual boosters."
OPINIONS ON VACCINES AND ILLNESS:
Ronald Schultz, a veterinary immunologist at the University of Wisconsin
School of Veterinary Medicine says: "As you get more and more (vaccines),
the possibility that a vaccine is going to cause an adverse event
increases quite a bit. If we can cause harm with a
vaccine ... are we vaccinating too much?"
Dr. Dodds has the following to say about overvaccination, running serum
titers, and vaccination guidelines in her article entitled "CHANGING
VACCINE PROTOCOLS". For those who are interested in
reading or printing it out for your vet, Dr. Dodds'
complete article can be found at the following link
"In veterinary medicine, evidence implicating vaccines in triggering
immune-mediated and other chronic disorders (vaccinosis) is compelling.
The onset of adverse reactions to conventional
vaccinations (or other inciting drugs, chemicals, or
infectious agents) can be an immediate hypersensitivity
or anaphylactic reaction, or can occur acutely (24-48 hours afterwards),
or later on (10-45 days) in a delayed type immune
response often caused by immune-complex formation.
Typical signs of adverse immune reactions include fever, stiffness, sore
joints and abdominal tenderness, susceptibility to infections, central
and peripheral nervous system disorders or
inflammation, collapse with autoagglutinated red blood
cells and jaundice, or generalized pinpoint
hemorrhages or bruises. Liver enzymes may be markedly elevated, and liver
or kidney failure may accompany bone marrow suppression.
Furthermore, recent vaccination of genetically susceptible breeds has been
associated with transient seizures in puppies and adult dogs, as well as
a variety of autoimmune diseases including those
affecting the blood, endocrine organs, joints, skin
and mucosa, central nervous system, eyes, muscles,
liver, kidneys, and bowel.
It is postulated that an underlying genetic predisposition to these
conditions places other littermates and close relatives at increased
risk. Vaccination of pet and research dogs with
polyvalent vaccines containing rabies virus or rabies
vaccine alone was recently shown to induce production
of antithyroglobulin autoantibodies, a provocative and important finding
with implications for the subsequent development of hypothyroidism
(Scott-Moncrieff et al, 2002)."
"Vaccination also can overwhelm the immunocompromised or even healthy host
that is repeatedly challenged with other environmental stimuli and is
genetically predisposed to react adversely upon viral exposure. The
recently weaned young puppy or kitten entering a new
environment is at greater risk here, as its relatively
immature immune system can be temporarily or more
permanently harmed. Consequences in later life may be the increased
susceptibility to chronic debilitating diseases."
CHANGING VACCINATION PROTOCOL:
"As combination vaccines contain antigens other than those of the clinically
important infectious disease agents, some may be unnecessary; and their
use may increase the risk of adverse
reactions....Annual revaccination for rabies is
required by some states even though there are USDA licensed rabies
vaccine with a 3-year duration. Thus, the
overall risk-benefit ratio of using certain vaccines
or multiple antigen vaccines given simultaneously and
repeatedly should be reexamined."
STUDIES ON IMMUNE RESPONSE:
Dr. Dodds goes on to say that "a study of 1441 dogs showed that a recent
study (Twark and Dodds, 2000), evaluated 1441 dogs for CPV antibody titer
and 1379 dogs for CDV antibody titer. Of these, 95.1 % were judged to
have adequate CPV titers, and nearly all (97.6 %) had
adequate CDV titers. Vaccine histories were available
for 444 dogs (CPV) and 433 dogs (CDV). Only 43 dogs
had been vaccinated within the previous year, with the majority of
dogs (268 or 60%) having received a booster vaccination 1-2 years
beforehand. On the basis of our data, we concluded that annual
revaccination is unnecessary.
Similar findings and conclusions have been published recently for dogs in
New Zealand (Kyle et al, 2002), and cats (Scott and Geissinger, 1999;
Lappin et al, 2002).", and that when an adequate
immune memory has already been established, there is
little reason to introduce unnecessary antigen,
adjuvant, and preservatives by administering booster vaccines. By titering
annually, one can assess whether a given animal is humoral immune
response has fallen below levels of adequate immune
memory. In that event, an appropriate vaccine booster
can be administered.
Dodds WJ. More bumps on the vaccine road. Adv Vet Med 41:715-732, 1999.
Dodds WJ. Vaccination protocols for dogs predisposed to vaccine reactions.
J Am An Hosp Assoc 38: 1-4, 2001.
Hogenesch H, Azcona-Olivera J, Scott-Moncreiff C, et al. Vaccine-induced
autoimmunity in the dog. Adv Vet Med 41: 733-744, 1999.
Hustead DR, Carpenter T, Sawyer DC, et al. Vaccination issues of concern to
practitioners. J Am Vet Med Assoc 214: 1000-1002, 1999.
Kyle AHM, Squires RA, Davies PR. Serologic status and response to
vaccination against canine distemper (CDV) and canine parvovirus (CPV) of
dogs vaccinated at different intervals. J Sm An Pract, June 2002.
Lappin MR, Andrews J, Simpson D, et al. Use of serologic tests to predict
resistance to feline herpesvirus 1, feline calicivirus, and feline
parvovirus infection in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc 219: 38-42, 2002.
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antibody titers among dogs brought to a veterinary hospital for
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Paul MA. Credibility in the face of controversy. Am Anim Hosp Assoc Trends
Magazine XIV(2):19-21, 1998.
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Med 93:233-254, 1998.
Schultz RD, Ford RB, Olsen J, Scott F. Titer testing and vaccination: a new
look at traditional practices. Vet Med, March 2002, pp 1-13.
Scott FW, Geissinger CM. Long-term immunity in cats vaccinated with an
inactivated trivalent vaccine. Am J Vet Res 60: 652-658, 1999.
Scott-Moncrieff JC, Azcona-Olivera J, Glickman NW, Glickman LT, HogenEsch H.
Evaluation of antithyroglobulin antibodies after routine vaccination in pet
and research dogs. J Am Vet Med Aassoc 221: 515-521, 2002.
Smith CA. Are we vaccinating too much? J Am Vet Med Assoc 207:421-425,
Tizard I, Ni Y. Use of serologic testing to assess immune status of
companion animals. J Am Vet Med Assoc 213: 54-60, 1998.
Twark L, Dodds WJ. Clinical application of serum parvovirus and distemper
virus antibody titers for determining revaccination strategies in healthy
dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 217:1021-1024, 2000.