Regarding Vaccinations

From List Co-Moderator Shanna, who is employed in a Veterinary Clinic as a Vet Tech.  "Regarding why vaccines are needed for Lepto etc. when the diseases aren't that common: 

 I have to say the decision to vaccinate or not is a personal one.  However, for one to choose properly, they must be well informed.  I believe that MOST dogs are at LEAST a minimal risk of exposure. Even dogs which have fenced yards are at risk of exposure from people tracking feces/germs on their shoes, or even other dogs walking and lifting their leg on the fence.

Lepto is not as commonly seen as it at one time was.  Neither is Parvo or Distemper.  However, I believe this is in response to the increased number of pets who are vaccinated.  I work at an animal hospital in a pretty diverse area of the city.  There are a lot of low income folks, as well as other types of people.  The parvo rate come Spring time however, is STILL staggering.  There's an example of a concentrated area of dogs in which some aren't vaccinated, and you have an explosion of disease.  I was told by the practice owner (Been at same location 35 years) that the number of pets with Parvo is about 1/4 of what they once saw. Distemper is even MORE uncommon, where it was once a very common thing.

My cats are vaccinated only for the "bare necessities" which is Rabies and the Distemer/Combo shot.  They are strictly indoors and I do not bring strange cats in and out of the house.  My dogs however, are vaccinated for everything, including a spare booster for Parvo.  My reasons for this is due to the fact that Parvo is highly contagious, and the fact that my dogs visit "community" dog walking areas.  I risk bringing diseases home with me from work as well, so I opt for more protection.

We believe Lepto is the vaccine most commonly reacted to (and my Schnauzer has this reaction in his lines) so he is not vaccinated for Lepto.  I'm talking Anaphylactic reactions here... not just puffiness or allergic reaction which can be controlled with Benadryl shots.

One must weigh the risks accurately, because of one thing I am SURE...the preventive is far less tragic than the disease."


I personally, never give Lepto vaccine to my dogs, any more.  I did give it to adults (only) until about 5-6 years ago when I began hearing of people having problems with it.

I advise any of my puppy buyers to not give it, unless  there is a problem of Lepto in their area and/or their veterinarian advises that it is necessary.

In the case they must get it, I encourage them to take the dog to their Veterinarian early in the morning (no late Friday afternoon visits for this) and stay at the office or in the parking lot, for at least an hour.  Later that day, I would keep the dog under observation at all times. Most have no reaction, but when they do, the reaction can be fast, or slower and mild, or deadly!

Gwen Mulheron
Daree Miniature Schnauzers

When we first gave Prancer her puppy shots...I would sit in my vet's office for at least an hour afterwards! Did that on all three sets of puppy shots.....then on the 1 yr shot......So at 2 yrs we brought home the shot and wham! She was hit within 5 mins....started shaking, then threw up, then went rigid, and just fell over stiff....I was on the phone with my vet (he was still in his office working!) and my hubby ran her over.....she still has a spot on her rump that's different colored and different hair texture from where Doc gave her the injections (2) to counter act the reaction....Georgie was due his 2 yr shots in Sept.....was terrified...only gave it to him last week (in the morning) and they did NOT contain Lepto he had no trouble at NONE of my dogs will get it (Lepto) anymore...unless titer and we are going where it may be a danger to them.....Even thou my Lhasa is almost 11 and had lepto yearly since puppy hood with no reactions....I have almost decided that she won't get anymore shots except the rabies (3 yr shot). I think I will have titers run on her instead. Also Cricket is 4, may see how her titers are also.

Dear Listers,
This letter is in response to a letter telling about a dogs allergy to its injections. I would like to suggest that everyone who has a dog or a baby should ALWAYS have a supply of Benedryl in two forms - the capsules (which come in strengths from 5 mg. to 25 mg.) and the liquid.  These preparations stop, or at least slow down, the allergic reaction.  Murphy's law says that most allergic reactions are on Sundays, your vets day off, or at night.  Many things can cause an allergic reaction, the most common being to injections and bee stings.  If your dog has a past history of allergies to anything, make sure you state it to anyone wanting to inject the dog.  No one is a mind reader.  Be sure your regular vet has a notation to this affect written in BIG RED LETTERS on front of your dog's chart, or your child's. That way they can eliminate a factor in their vaccinations (such as Lepto,) or give epinephrin with the shot to eliminate a reaction if they feel the protection is necessary, or if it hasn't been determined what the allergy is to.

Let me say that the liquid Benedryl ( known generically as an allergy elixer) is absorbed into the system much faster than the capsules, and is what our vet suggests using at the first sign of an allergy.  We administer it in a syringe without needle right into the mouth, trying if possible to get some under the tongue where it is absorbed MUCH faster than thru the stomach alone.  This rapid dosing can save a life, and possibly even a long cold trip in the middle of the night to strangers at an emergency hosp.  Talk to your vet about it and the amounts to use.

Peggie Blakley

Dear Listers,
I would like to add my 2 worth about puppy shots and boosters, adult shots, Leptospirosis, boarding kennel requirements, and frequency of innoculations.  I will stress that this information is based on what our vets came up with and many years of experience, and what has worked for us.

Because we have a boarding kennel, we feel we are a high exposure site for possible infectious and communicable diseases, we start our puppies out earlier than usually recommended with Parvo/Corona vaccine alone at 6 weeks.  Our vet recommends starting usual pups at 8 wks.  They are given  DHPPC (you will notice that there is NO L[lepto] included) at 9 weeks, 3 months, and DHLPPC at 4 months.  Since starting that program, we have had A.) no breakthrough with parvo, and B.) no further reactions to Lepto.  Research has shown that ommitting the Lepto factor from the multiple puppy shots and not administering it until the  4 mo. shot  removes the risk of allergic reaction in puppies, and greatly eliminates it from adults.  It is felt that the frequency of that easily allergic faction of Lepto in puppy shots that sets up a lifetime allergy to it.

What is Lepto and do you really need to give it?  Lepto is a spirochete riccitsia carried in the urine of rats, mice, and other little rodent critters, and by the coyotes and dogs which prey on them.  It is a serious disease, and if you live where your dog may come into contact with it, or go to dog shows where who knows might be carrying it, certainly be sure your dog has a titer for it.  Discuss with your vet who should have knowledge if it is ever seen in your area, and whether he feels it is important to your dog.

When our dogs are showing, they are innoculated because of a high risk to exposure.  At home they are only innoculated every other year.  

Boarding kennel regulations usually require a dog to be fully vaccinated against Rabies, and DHLPPC (commonly called the distemper shot, but is in fact the combination shot) and bordatella (kennel cough). So if your kennel says Rabies and distemper only, ask them if they really mean the combination shot.  We feel that for the protection of our dogs and those of others who board here, incoming boarders should have fairly recent boosters because who knows incoming dog is carrying what.  If the owners don't feel like playing that game, then they can go somewhere that doesn't care.  I don't want anyone who comes here to catch anything here.  Rabies is a MUST since it can be transmitted to humans and is fatal if contracted.

Just my 2 (maybe 5) worth.
Peggie Blakley

Vaccination Information  by Dr. Jean Dodds