Sunday, December 13, 2015

In case you wondered why we blood test your dogs at vaccine time...

Regular visitors to our clinic will know that when it comes to your dog's 'booster vaccination' visit, we are more likely to have a conversation with you about taking a vaccine antibody test before deciding whether to vaccinate or not.

What you might not realise is just how unusual this is for a veterinary clinic to take such a strategic and well-considered approach to vaccination, to focus our efforts on making sure that your dogs remain fully protected rather than just vaccinating away with little regard for any possible adverse consequences.

We are proud that for many years we have been so far ahead of the rest of our profession, and it was gratifying this week to read an article this week in the Veterinary Record (the weekly journal of the British Veterinary Association)  about vaccination  against parvovirus, the often fatal virus gastro-enteritis that affects dogs.

Here are just a few direct quotes from the paper and it's accompanying editorial piece:

- vaccination may be unnecessary if an animal already has antibodies against the infectious disease, but usually vets do not know the immune status of their patients

- antibody status against canine parvovirus should be determined instead of periodic 'blind' vaccination  to ensure reliable protection with unnecessary vaccination

- such an approach could prove useful in reducing the adverse effects of vaccination, such as hypersensitivity and immunosuppression

- obesity is considered a chronic inflammatory state that can lead to impairments in innate and adaptive immune functions

- Riedl and others have helped to develop a new concept; to evaluate the immunity of a dog before it's first and subsequent vaccinations

- with cat calicivirus (flu) infections, serological data in predicting protection are limited

- transient side effects to vaccination are common and can be indicative of an adequate immune response

- transient side effects occurred in 37% of dogs: lethargy 17%, gastro-intestinal signs 12%, increased thirst 1% or a combination of problems 5%. Injection site reactions with local swelling or pain 2% and lymph node enlargement 20%

The final recommendation was that:

- antibody status should determined instead of periodic re-vaccinations to avoid unnecessary vaccinations in adult dogs.

The Hyde Park Veterinary Centre - way out ahead in appropriate pet health care!

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