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Vaccinating Your Cairn
  Introduction
 The CSU Recommendations
  More Information on why this Problem Exists
  What You Can Do
  Introduction
The subject of Canine immunization is currently undergoing a number of changes that challenge and modify currently accepted practices. These challenges stem from evidence that much of the vaccination done today is unnecessary and can produce harmful and even fatal adverse reactions. Colorado State University has been a pioneer in studying this problem and has recently published the following set of recommendations for immunization protocols. We strongly support these recommendations.

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  The CSU Recommendations
"New Vaccination protocol being recommended by Colorado State University"

A recent survey by one of the largest vaccine manufacturers (Pfizer) of small animal vaccination practices found 1,700 different vaccination recommendations for dogs and cats from veterinarians across the US. In January 1998 the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital will be offering it's clients one additional vaccination program. We are making this change after years of concern about the lack of scientific evidence to support the current practice of annual vaccination and the increasing documentation that over-vaccinating has been associated with harmful side effects.

Of particular note in this regard has been the association of autoimmune hemolytic anemia with vaccination in dogs and vaccine-associated sarcomas in cats.....both of which are often fatal. Boosters, the annual revaccination recommendation on the vaccine label is just that....a RECOMMENDATION, and is not a legal requirement except for Rabies The only commonly used vaccine that requires duration of immunity studies be carried out before licensure in the US is Rabies. Even with rabies vaccines, the label may be misleading in that a 3 year duration of immunity product may also be labeled and sold as a one year duration of immunity product.

Based on the concern that annual vaccination of small animals for many infectious agents is probably no longer scientifically justified, and our desire to avoid vaccine-associated adverse events, in January of 1998 we will be recommending a new immunization protocol to our small animal clients.

This program recommends the standard 3 shot series for puppies (parvovirus, adenovirus 2, parainfluenza, distemper), and kittens (panleukopenia, rhinotracheitis, calicivirus) to include rabies after 12 weeks of age in cats and 16 weeks of age in dogs. Following the initial puppy and kitten immunization series, cats and dogs will be boostered one year later and then every 3 years thereafter for all the above diseases.

Similar programs to this one have been recently adopted by the University of Wisconsin, Texas A & M and the American Association of Feline Practitioners.

Other available small animal vaccines may need more frequent administration (Bordetella, feline leukemia, Lyme, etc) and may be recommended for client animals on an "at risk" basis. Recent studies clearly indicate that not all vaccines perform equally and some vaccine products may not be suitable for such a program.

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  More Information on why this Problem Exists
A lot of this problem was caused by well-intentioned efforts to provide full coverage to pet Owners at a relatively low cost. The first step in this direction was to adopt a "One Size Fits All" approach. Vaccines were distributed in a single dosage to all animals. I.e. the same amount of vaccine was given to small Terriers as was to Great Danes. This was far more than the smaller dogs needed. The second step was to package multiple vaccines in a single injection. As many as seven different vaccines were given in the same shot. Both of these measures reduced costs to Owners.

This approach, though, invited two problems. First was that this massively overdosed the smaller animals, overwhelming their immune systems. While most dogsí systems recovered quickly, others who were prone to immune system problems or those who were infected with diseases during this period suffered severe or even fatal reactions. At SeaJay, we have seen three instances of this in Cairn Terriers; all were severe, one was fatal.

The second problem is that some of these vaccines, themselves, can be dangerous. While most dogs can handle all of the vaccines in current use, others are not tolerated and cause other severe reactions.

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  What You Can Do
First, you should insist that your Veterinarian follow the new CSU protocols; vaccinating every three years instead of annually.

Second, donít allow your dog to be given those vaccines that are known to be potentially dangerous to the Cairn or are not necessary in your area. How can you know what to avoid? First, ask your Vets what vaccinations they want to administer. The names of vaccinations are coded according to the different vaccines contained in them. For example: For many years the standard injection was DHLPPC. This means that the shot contained vaccines for six different diseases, Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza, and Corona Virus. Of these, the Leptospirosis and Corona vaccines are known to be potentially dangerous to Cairns. Furthermore, neither of these diseases are seen in the Northwest and therefore it isnít generally necessary to vaccinate against them. We no longer permit our dogs to be given DHLPPC. Instead, they are given just DHPP(also know as DH2P).

Furthermore, under ordinary circumstances, you should avoid several other vaccines. These include vaccines for Lyme Disease, Bordetella(Kennel Cough), and Heart Worm disease. These are unnecessary if your Cairn stays at home in the Northwest. Only if your dog goes to areas in which these diseases are endemic should they be vaccinated against them. Consult with your Vets before heading South or East with your dog or before placing them in a commercial Kennel.

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