|Barked: Tue Sep 12, '06 10:51pm PST |
|Kaiser, if it helps settle your mind any, my vet (and most of the ones in my area, I believe) recommend vaccinations every three years for adult dogs. Three-year vaccinations are -exactly- the same as annual ones (in regards to what's in them), it's just that the trials were only one year long for the annual ones. It wasn't that the vaccinations became ineffective after a year, it's just that they stopped the trials at that point. So they can say the vaccines last at least a year--but in reality, they last a whole lot longer. In my not-so-professional opinion (though I have done tons of research on this issue), I believe that once immunity to a disease is formed, that immunity exists for life. Unfortunately, lots of initial puppy vaccinations are given when the mother's antibodies are still in the puppy's blood, which will kill the disease in the vaccine without allowing the dog to form its own immunity. This is why puppy vaccinations are given (usually) three times in a span of a month or so--it's basically a guessing game, and they're guessing when the maternal antibodies will stop being effective.
And just so you know, there are plenty of dogs who "catch" diseases that they were vaccinated for. Vaccinations are not full-proof. It's the body's response to the disease in the vaccine that creates immunity, not the vaccine itself. So if the dog's immune system just wasn't up to the task of developing immunity when the vaccination was given, then basically the vaccine didn't "work".
Check out this link from the AVMA website. I quote: "While annual vaccinations have been highly successful in curbing disease, the one-year revaccination frequency recommendation found on many vaccine labels is based on historical precedent, not scientific data." Also, "Revaccination of patients with sufficient immunity doesn't add measurably to their disease resistance, and unnecessary revaccination may increase the risk of adverse postvaccination events in some animals."
Titer testing is becoming more common nowadays. This site explains what titer tests can and can't measure. They measure the amount of antibodies for a certain disease that's in the dog's blood. It's important to realize, though, that antibodies are formed whenever the dog is exposed to the disease, but presence of them doesn't necessarily mean the dog is "immune". Conversely, absence of antibodies does not mean that the dog is not immune, it just means that the dog was not recently exposed to the disease. Antibodies do not stick around in the blood if they are not needed. If immunity exists, there are "memory cells" that will create antibodies if the disease appears again.
I do believe titers are useful if the test is taken about two weeks after a vaccination. Then, you know the dog was recently exposed to the disease, and can see if antibodies were created. If so, you can probably assume that immunity has been formed. Titers can also be useful after the dog recovers from a natural disease, to see if he/she is now immune.
I'm not sure if I really addressed any of your concerns, but I hope this will help you to read more. Really, nothing I say shouldn't be taken as gospel, as a lot of this is interpretation of the facts that are out there. You have to do your own research and come to a decision that you're comfortable with. I am comfortable with not vaccinating at all (and I believe that dogs that were never vaccinated end up much healthier as adults--and plenty of these dogs do exist, though they're not common), but I know that not everyone will be comfortable with that decision.
Wow, I sure can ramble, can't I? I wonder if there's a limit to how long messages can be on here.
Edited to add: This link from the AVMA news is also very interesting. It shows how many vets vaccinate more than officially recommended by the AVMA.
Edited by author Tue Sep 12, '06 11:00pm PST
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