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When considering at what age a puppy should begin receiving its core vaccines, consider the information from the American Animal Hospital Association stating that the maternal antibodies in a puppy younger than 16 weeks may interfer with the immune response. Bear in mind that there are risks associated with vaccinating as well as risks associated with not vaccinating. Making an informed decision is important. Also, be aware that giving combo vaccines (multi-valent) and/or several shots at once increases the risk of adverse reactions as well as the risk that the vaccines will interfere with each other, resulting in neutralization or negation.
On Page 16 of the of the American Animal Hospital Association's 2003 Canine Vaccine Guidelines, it reports that: When vaccinating an animal, the age of the animal, the animal's immune status, and interference by maternal antibodies in the development of immunity must be considered. Research has demonstrated that the presence of passively acquired maternal antibodies significantly interferes with the immune response to many canine vaccines, including CPV [parvo], CDV [distemper], CAV-2 [hepatitis] and rabies vaccines."
They further state on Page 17 that: "Multiple vaccinations with MLV vaccines are required at various ages only to ensure that one dose of the vaccine reaches the puppy's immune system without interference from passively acquired antibody. Two or more doses of killed vaccines (except rabies) and vectored vaccines are often required to induce an immune response, and both doses should be given at a time when the passively acquired antibody can no longer interfere. Thus, when puppies are first vaccinated at 16 weeks (or more) of age (an age when passively acquired antibodies generally don't cause interference), one does of an MLV vaccine, or two doses of a killed vaccine, are adequate to stimulate an immune response."
The AAHA Canine Vaccine Guidelines also declare on Page 17 that: "If a pup fails to respond, primarily due to interference by passively acquired maternal antibody, it is necessary to revaccinate at a later time to ensure adequate immunity."
On Page 13 of the 2006 American Animal Hospital Association's Canine Vaccine Guidelines, it lists as the most common reason for vaccination failure is "the puppy has a sufficient amount of passively acquired maternal antibody (PAMA) to block the vaccine…..." They elaborate by reporting that at the ages of 14 to 16 weeks of age, "PAMA should be at a level that will not block active immunization in most puppies (>95%) when a reliable product is used."
It is commonly held that puppies need a certain number of vaccines for protection to be achieved (usually either 3 or 4 is the “magic” number). The number of vaccines given has nothing to do with protection. In order for protection to be achieved, vaccine must be given when it can penetrate maternal antibody.
Combination Vaccines, Multiple Shots–on Page 16 of the 2003 AAHA Guidelines under Immunological Factors Determining Vaccine Safety, it states that: "Although increasing the number of components in a vaccine may be more convenient for the practitioner or owner, the likelihood for adverse effects may increase. Also, interference can occur among the components. Care must be taken not to administer a product containing too many vaccines simultaneously if adverse events are to be avoided and optimal immune responses are sought. "
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association's 2007 Vaccination Guidelines state on Page 3 that: In situations where, for example, a decision must be made that an individual pet may have to receive only a single core vaccination during its lifetime, the VGG [Vaccination Guidelines Group] would emphasise that this should optimally be given at a time when that animal is most capable of responding immunologically, i.e., at the age of 16 weeks or greater."
Duration of Immunity: The Rabies Vaccine Challenge - Show #185 Animal Talk Radio Show 7/30/08 http://www.blogtalkradio.com/animaltalknaturally/2008/07/30/Duration-of-Immunity-The-Rabies-Vaccine-Challenge-Show-186
Duration of Immunity to Canine Vaccines: What We Know and Don't Know, Dr. Ronald Schultz http://www.cedarbayvet.com/duration_of_immunity.htm
What Everyone Needs to Know about Canine Vaccines, Dr. Ronald Schultz
Vaccination: An Overview Dr. Melissa Kennedy, DVM360 http://veterinarycalendar.dvm360.com/avhc/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=568351
World Small Animal Veterinary Association 2007 Vaccine Guidelines http://www.wsava.org/SAC.htm Scroll down to Vaccine Guidelines 2007 (PDF)
The 2003 American Animal Hospital Association's Canine Vaccine Guidelines are accessible online at http://www.leerburg.com/special_report.htm .
The 2006 American Animal Hospital Association's Canine Vaccine Guidelines are downloadable in PDF format at http://www.aahanet.org/PublicDocumen…s06Revised.pdf .
Veterinarian, Dr. Robert Rogers,has an excellent presentation on veterinary vaccines at http://www.newvaccinationprotocols.com/
October 1, 2002 DVM Newsletter article entitled, AVMA, AAHA to Release Vaccine Positions, http://www.dvmnewsmagazine.com/dvm/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=35171
July 1, 2003 DVM Newsletter article entitled, What Do We Tell Our Clients?, Developing thorough plan to educate staff on changing vaccine protocols essential for maintaining solid relationships with clients and ensuring quality care http://www.dvmnewsmagazine.com/dvm/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=61696
July 1, 2003, DVM Newsletter article, Developing Common Sense Strategies for Fiscal Responsibility: Using an interactive template to plan service protocol changes http://www.dvmnewsmagazine.com/dvm/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=61694
Animal Wellness Magazine Article Vol. 8 Issue 6, How Often Does he REALLY Need A Rabies Shot Animal Wellness Magazine - devoted to natural health in animals
The Rabies Challenge Animal Wise Radio Interview
Listen to Animal Wise (scroll down to The Rabies Challenge 12/9/07)
The Vaccine Challenge Animal Talk Naturally Online Radio Show ? The Vaccine Challenge - Show #91
Rabies Shot Killed my Poodle May 28, 2008 Channel 5 News WCVB http://www.thebostonchannel.com:80/news/16410586/detail.html?rss=bos&taf=bos
US Declared Canine-Rabies Free – CDC Announces at Inaugural World Rabies Day Symposium CDC Press Release - September 7, 2007
Rabies Prevention – United States, 1991 Recommendations of the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP), Center for Disease Control's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly March 22, 1991 / 40(RR03);1-19 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00041987.htm "A fully vaccinated dog or cat is unlikely to become infected with rabies, although rare cases have been reported (48). In a nationwide study of rabies among dogs and cats in 1988, only one dog and two cats that were vaccinated contracted rabies (49). All three of these animals had received only single doses of vaccine; no documented vaccine failures occurred among dogs or cats that had received two vaccinations. "