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This was a question I received through PM and thought it was a good one, so I wanted to share it with everyone else too.....

[u:14118q5l][i:14118q5l]I was talking to the woman leading my dog obedience class and she said that she thinks dog parks are a breeding ground for diseases like Parvo, etc.
 

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Re: Great question...on Parvo/Dog Parks....Thought I'd Share

That is great information! I almost took Harleigh to a dog park. We were there and before entering wanted to read the rules that were posted. Never did the thought cross my mind that because she hasn't finished her series of shots that she was not allowed. Thankfully those rules were posted because if they were not, we would have been in there. I felt awful but I just plain wasn't informed.

Our vet is in a PetSmart so we took her in the store before she was vaccinated. Now I know better.

Again, Thank you for posting this.
 

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Re: Great question...on Parvo/Dog Parks....Thought I'd Share

A dog who had a parvo shot at 6 weeks and never had another one is not protected.  
That's not entirely true; many dogs who have never had any parvo shots are protected because they develop natural immunity.  I do agree, though, that if you're giving parvo vaccinations there's no point in only giving one at six weeks; if you're only going to give one, give it at or after 12 weeks.

Though I have to say, everything I've read states that parvo is *not* airborne; it is spread through the feces of infected dogs, and is extremely hardy so can live in the environment long after the feces themselves have disappeared.  It can be carried on hands, feet, soles of shoes, tires, by other animals walking through a parvo-infected area and coming into your yard, etc. - it is endemic, there's really no way to avoid exposure to parvo unless you keep the dog in a plastic bubble.

Vet's offices and animal shelters are probably the riskiest places to take a puppy, because there's a high likelihood that there will be sick dogs there; dog parks and pet stores do have the possibility of sick dogs but a higher possibility of recently-vaccinated dogs, which means your puppy can pick up the virus that they shed - this can be either good or bad, though with modified-live virus vaccines generally this just means the puppy may develop immunity without the associated risks of vaccination. ;)  

However, more dogs are killed because of behavior problems related to inadequate early socialization than die due to vaccinable diseases, so there needs to be a risk-management approach as well.  I'm not personally a fan of dog parks in any case, so I see no reason not to avoid them, but you do want to get your puppy out to meet friendly people and healthy dogs while they're still young.
 

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Re: Great question...on Parvo/Dog Parks....Thought I'd Share

[quote="Newcastle\";p=\"92150":ngvm3zgp][quote:ngvm3zgp] That's not entirely true; many dogs who have never had any parvo shots are protected because they develop natural immunity.
 

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Re: Great question...on Parvo/Dog Parks....Thought I'd Share

You are not allowed at our dog park without a license, which means they have all their shots.  The women who patrols the park always checks for tags.
 

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Re: Great question...on Parvo/Dog Parks....Thought I'd Share

So, I am curious if you can site where you have found this information that they can build a natural immunity at that age?
Every dog is different, so some might have maternal antibodies still at six weeks and some might have none; likewise some may be able to mount an immune response at six weeks and some may not.  I didn't say, though, that puppies develop natural immunity to parvo at six weeks - you'd mentioned a dog who was vaccinated only at six weeks and never again not being protected, which to me meant that it was a) an adult ("dog" vs. "puppy") or at least b) older than six weeks (otherwise how would you know they'd only had that one parvo shot?).  I just said that there are dogs (again, adult or at least older than six weeks) who have never received a parvo vaccination that have developed natural immunity to the virus.  (I have two of them living in my house.)  

You are not allowed at our dog park without a license, which means they have all their shots.
In most areas licensing depends only on rabies vaccination, not parvo or distemper.  (Actually I don't know of any areas where licensing depends on vaccination other than rabies.)
 

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Re: Great question...on Parvo/Dog Parks....Thought I'd Share

Sure the antibodies against Parvo which can be passed from the mother to the puppies through the colostrum, may or may not work.  It is possible for some pups even within the same litter to receive these antibodies and for others to not receive it.  There are many reasons why and why not...Loss of Colostrum, failure to nurse are just a few.... These are only passive immunity and also only temporary.

I was discussing puppies in general and recalling the number of cases that the owner has stated....."it got it's first shot at 6 weeks and then did not receive another" contracting parvo between 10 and 16 weeks.....  So, I stand on the fact that I feel in general....puppies who have had one shot at 6 weeks are not protected the 6 week shot could be noneffective due strictly to the antibodies from the mother.

On your specific dogs I find it interesting and am happy to hear that they have natural immunity to parvo and they have never had a parvo shot in their life.  It is safe to say they dont have immunity from the mother, and they dont have immunity from a vaccination so do you feel that at some point they were exposed to a lower level of the parvo virus or have they had it in the past?
 

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Re: Great question...on Parvo/Dog Parks....Thought I'd Share

[quote="sharonL\";p=\"92351":2k0xma55]On your specific dogs I find it interesting and am happy to hear that they have natural immunity to parvo and they have never had a parvo shot in their life.
 

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Re: Great question...on Parvo/Dog Parks....Thought I'd Share

our dog had parvo a year ago- the area we live in is "known" (as new developments are creeping up everywhere) as the breeding ground for parvo. Our dog recovered but if i had known before i got my dog we would'nt have gotten any animals!!! We never went to petsmart the park- just to the vet before and after his diagnosis.

The vet and neighbors told us that our area is notoriuos for parvo since hey are stirring up a lot of dirt- same reason a lot animals and people are getting valley fever here in arizona! anyone wanna visit? kidding! we have a happy family of humans and animals-but at what cost to live in a new development?
 

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Re: Great question...on Parvo/Dog Parks....Thought I'd Share

It is safe to say they dont have immunity from the mother, and they dont have immunity from a vaccination so do you feel that at some point they were exposed to a lower level of the parvo virus or have they had it in the past?
They're six years and almost three years old, so you're right, they don't have maternal immunity any longer. :)  They haven't had parvo but I'm quite sure they've been exposed to it on a lower level pretty much anytime they leave the house, given the endemic nature of the virus.  As well, they've been at vet's offices, dog shows, pet stores, walks around the neighborhood, other breeders' homes, etc. - so not only have they been low-level exposed to the wild virus, but they've also been exposed to shed virus from recently vaccinated dogs.  

It's not a practice I recommend for everyone - there are many other things I do to ensure my dogs have optimal vibrant health and immunity, and I am always vigilant for signs of parvo in puppies - but it's certainly testamentary that lack of vaccinations is not always a death sentence. ;)  Now that I think of it, I have another almost three year old who only had one vaccination but I don't remember what age - either six, seven, or nine weeks old - I'm leaning toward seven weeks.  

How can someone know that their dogs have a natural immunity to something?
Same way they know their dogs have vaccine-induced immunity to something. :)

Do titer tests show that if they have never been immunized?
Yes, they can - titers show circulating antibodies, and if a dog has antibodies they have immunity.  (Some feel that only certain levels of antibodies are "protective", but that's debatable.)  If a dog doesn't have antibodies, they may or may not have immunity - it may just mean that they haven't been recently exposed to the virus, so haven't needed to produce antibodies.
 

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Re: Great question...on Parvo/Dog Parks....Thought I'd Share

[quote="Newcastle\";p=\"92478":3u2wjawr] titers show circulating antibodies, and if a dog has antibodies they have immunity.
 

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Re: Great question...on Parvo/Dog Parks....Thought I'd Share

Not exactly.  The best way to use titers, really, is about two weeks after vaccination (or known exposure to the virus) to see if an immunizing response took effect; if it did, chances are very good that revaccination is unnecessary.  (Ever, as immunity from vaccines lasts at least seven years and probably for life.)  Barring that, you can titer to check for antibodies but then you run the risk of vaccinating on a low titer even if it's not actually necessary.  (Though I will say that in most cases, the people I know who have been titering have yet to have their dogs come back with a low enough titer that vaccination would be indicated in any case; this is I'm sure largely due to the endemic nature of the core canine diseases and the constant low-level exposure most dogs have to them.)  At any rate, the best analogy I've heard is that antibodies are like firemen - just because they're not tearing around town with their sirens blaring (circulating in the blood/detectable on a titer), that doesn't mean they aren't sitting in the firehouse ready to go when the need arises (disease exposure).  :)
 

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Re: Great question...on Parvo/Dog Parks....Thought I'd Share

Yes, very good. Thanks!
 
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