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Discussion Starter #1
Being I am scheduling my dog (6 1/2 yr old shih tzu mix) for a checkup, I am curious as to what people feel about booster shots for dogs.  I have read so many different things on the intenet and much of what I've read state they are not necessary-that boosters are not based on actual study but when to give a booster is based on what the vaccine manufacturer states.  Many articles say that there is no need to revaccinate with the exception of rabies.  They say that boosters do not stimulate another round of antibodies against the disease like the first vaccinations do and that other vaccinations can be given as needed- lyme, heartworm...

Additionally, being I am looking to bring a Boxer puppy into our home, if my dog doesn't receive boosters this year (and she has had boosters every year prior to this year), could the puppy be at risk for anything?  

I don't bring her to places like Petco, the dog park...
 

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There is not and never has been a scientific or immunologic basis for annual revaccination.  Even the AVMA agrees on this.  Annual boosters were given partially based on the vaccines' *minimum* duration of immunity of one year - meaning not that vaccines didn't provide immunity after one year, but simply that the manufacturers never tested past one year.  (Another reason for annual vaccinations was to ensure animals were seen by vets at least annually; these days we have heartworm testing to fulfill that purpose.)

More recent studies by independent immunologists have shown that canine vaccines have a minimum duration of immunity of *seven years* - quite a big difference! - and again, it is not that the immunity is gone after that time, but that the studies ended.  It is the opinion of the researchers that immunity is likely lifelong.  (I have read one study, I can't remember whether it was for parvo or distemper, that found duration of immunity lasted fifteen years; but I can't find the study again to verify the details.)  Recent studies by vaccine manufacturers have shown minimum duration of immunity to be four or five years (depending, again, on when the study ended).

The AAHA, and most vet schools, have compromised by recommending boosters every three years; the 2006 AAHA guidelines changed that to "three years or longer".  They also recommend a 'core vaccine' protocol for all dogs (parvo, distemper, adenovirus, rabies), and a 'non-core' protocol based on individual risk factors (this includes lepto, Lyme, bordatella).  They do not recommend coronavirus or giardia vaccine for any dog.

Here's a good article with references on revaccination issues:
http://www.caberfeidh.com/Revax.htm

These are the AAHA guidelines:
http://www.aahanet.org/PublicDocuments/ ... evised.pdf

Rabies is, of course, mandated by law in most of the US and some of Canada (and various other countries) - most states have a three-year protocol after the first booster, but some still have one- or two-year intervals.  A study is in the works to determine duration of immunity for the rabies vaccine, with the goal of increasing the revaccination interval to five and then seven years.  More on the study here:
http://www.rabieschallengefund.org/

Your puppy wouldn't be at increased risk if you don't have your older dog vaccinated again this year.
 

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What Jennifer said. :p

I have my vet do something called "vaccine titers" to measure the level of immunity that my dogs have to a given virus. If titers come back low, then I have them revaccinated, but I've been titering for about 5 years now and have yet to have a dog come back low on a titer. My eldest is 7 and hasn't been vaccinated for 6 years.
 

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I asked my vet when I had Bayla in for her rabies shot in May.  He said it is ultimately your decision, but past 6-7 years are not needed.  I don't have the terminology he used, but basically the dog builds an immunity or partial immunity to the diseases they are vaccinated for.
 

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I asked my vet when I had Bayla in for her rabies shot in May.  He said it is ultimately your decision, but past 6-7 years are not needed.  I don't have the terminology he used, but basically the dog builds an immunity or partial immunity to the diseases they are vaccinated for.
 

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I think that if you have had the dog vaccinated for the last 6 years with all core vaccines there would be no need to do anything other then the rabies (if your state is a yearly mandate).  After 6 years your dogs titers should be high.  It is your choice though and what you feel comfortable with.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the responses!  I think I am going to hold off on the revaccinations with the exception of rabies obviously for now.  I will have to check the reminder card to see if rabies is listed.  I think NYS has a 3 yr revaccination requirement.

If my dog has continually been on Heartguard, is a heartworm test still necessary?  Is heartworm preventative neccessary?  This is what my friend who was very active with a breed rescue told me.  She said that she did not give her personal dogs Heartguard (or anything of the like) as she does not like giving medication to the dogs that is not needed to immediately cure something.  And she said the incidence of heartworm cases in NYS are low.  She said that a heartworm test is what she does and if a test ever showed up postive, they get treated with the same heartworm meds.  

The one thing that I want to do some reading on is the Lyme  Disease vaccination...  This has been a bad year with ticks for us.   None on my dog, but I found one on me, two on my 2 yr old and one on my 4 yr old.  Before this year, I had never been bitten by a tick, nor had anyone else in my family...
 

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I live in the south and ticks are a problem, so I do have mine vaccinated for Lyme. The Heartguard I also give regularly as well...the only other things I have Samson vaccinated for is rabies & parvo, due to his age. Angel, being only 2, I gets more for now, until she builds up more of an immunity...
 

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The heartgard issue:  Here (the south) the pesky skeeters are our state bird.  So it is a fact that if a dog is not on it and outside (even though insiders can get it too) they will get it if not on something for heartworms.  It is certainly less expensive to prevent then treat not to mention the damage that is done (heart/lungs and liver) that can not be reversed.  It is also true that heartgard can be used as a treatment BUT it is a Sllllooooowwwwww process can take up to 3 years to kill off the heartworms and in that time they can do alot of damage.

If you are SURE that you have not missed doses or skipped around on them then there is NO NEED to test.  Heartgard is pretty fool proof as long as it is given and you are sure the pet is eating it and not spitting it out somewhere....

Lyme disease is a nasty thing so if you are prone to ticks I would get a Lyme disease.  It can cause non-reversible nerve damage (the twitch) really bad.
 

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There are some very specific climate conditions that need to be met before a mosquito can infect a dog with heartworm larvae - in most of the US year-round medication is not needed.  (If it ever dips below 57F, you don't need year-round meds.)  The American Heartworm Society has the specifics, in the Veterinary section on canine heartworm epidemiology (www.heartwormsociety.org).  An important note is that heartworm meds don't prevent the dog from getting infected; they prevent any larvae with which the dog might have been infected from maturing.  There is FDA approval for a product called "SafeHeart", which is Interceptor at 1/5 the current dosage; as far as I know the product hasn't been released yet, but you may talk to your vet about giving the smaller-size dose.  As well, there are studies showing that heartworm meds are effective at 45- and 60-day intervals, rather than the 30-day intervals recommended.  This article discusses heartworm meds, and the SafeHeart and extended intervals, with references:
http://b-naturals.com/Oct2003.php

Lyme depends a great deal on area and risk of exposure, so is an individual thing.  Most dogs that test positive for Lyme never show any symptoms, but it can be problematic for the minority of dogs who are affected.  The Lyme vaccine can cause a form of Lyme disease, as well, so that's certainly something to keep in mind.  Here's an article about Lyme considerations, with a few links to more information:
http://www.caberfeidh.com/Lyme.htm
 
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