Vaccine Protocol Follow Up – What Is Really Happening Out There?

I came across an informal survey question in a veterinary group the other day. Now keep in mind, this is not a statistically designed survey given to a representative group, so no firm conclusions can be drawn. But it is interesting food for thought…

The question was, what would you do (as a veterinarian) if you were presented with a 16-week old small breed puppy, in for his first puppy appointment. Seventy-nine veterinarians responded. The results were:syringevialvertical

20% would give DAPP, lepto, rabies, and bordetella

18% would give DAPP, rabies,and bordetella

9% would give DAPP, bordetella, and lepto

14% would give DAPP and rabies

21% would give DAPP and bordetella

18% would do something other than the choices above

Or, looking at it by volume of injection:

20% would give 4 vaccines, 4 ml total volume

27% would give 3 vaccines, 3 ml total volume

35% would give 2 vaccines, 2ml total volume

18% would do something else

Using the American Animal Hospital’s definition of core vaccines (DAPP and rabies) and non-core (bordetella, lepto, lyme, influenza):

68% would choose to give one or more non-core vaccine(s)

14% would give only core vaccines

18% would give something other than the predetermined choices in the survey question

And, despite the study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in October of 2005, which found, “The risk of a VAAE [vaccine associated adverse reaction] significantly increased as the number of vaccine doses administered per office visit increased; each additional vaccine significantly increased risk of an adverse event by 27% in dogs < or = 10 kg (22 lb) and 12% in dogs > 10 kg.” So those small breed puppies given 4 vaccines in one office visit would be 81% more at risk of an adverse reaction! I cannot believe this would be acceptable to a veterinarian or an owner, yet at least 82% of the veterinarians responding to this informal survey would raise this patient’s risk of adverse reaction by 27% – 81%!

Now, as I mentioned, this survey was casual, and may not properly represent the whole population of veterinarians. And there was no mention of the specifics of the proposed case. But when I review records from patients coming to me from other hospitals, I often see 3 vaccines given at one time, and as many as 5. Why are veterinarians ignoring research published in major journals and textbooks, and taught in our veterinary colleges?

Do your dog a favor. Go back to my 2016 Canine Vaccination Protocol blog post, and re-read my vaccination protocol. Stay tuned for future posts, where I will discuss titers and how long our vaccines actually last (scientifically called duration of immunity), as well as core versus non-core vaccines.


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