Reduced Vaccination Schedule


In the August 1999 issue, we published an article on the trend toward reduced vaccination schedules. We also published a chart that compared one sample of a more traditional vaccination schedule with a reduced schedule designed by holistic veterinarian and leading veterinary immunologist W. Jean Dodds. Due to an error in layout, the reduced schedule appeared to recommend as many as, rather than far fewer, vaccinations than the traditional schedule. We are printing the correct version of this schedule to clarify Dr. Dodds’ schedule.

Also, please note that the traditional vaccination schedule is somewhat more minimal than those used by some veterinarians. There are still veterinarians who suggest administering the six-antigen DHLPPC vaccine (see below) every TWO weeks to puppies from the age of six weeks through the age of 16 weeks.

The following are Dr. Dodds’ comments on her suggested vaccination protocol:

This schedule is the one I recommend, and it should not be interpreted to mean that other protocols recommended by a veterinarian would be less satisfactory. It’s a matter of professional judgment and choice. The following protocol is particularly recommended for breeds or families of dogs susceptible to or affected with immune dysfunction, immune-mediated disease, immune-reactions associated with vaccinations, or autoimmune endocrine disease.

• An annual booster using distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, killed or modified-live virus parvovirus is given at one year of age. Thereafter, boosters are given every three years until old age. Beyond 10 years of age, booster vaccinations are generally not needed, and may be unwise if aging or other diseases are present. For animals at high exposure risk to parvovirus disease, an additional parvovirus vaccination can be given at the six-month point, if killed parvovirus is used. This extra booster is typically not needed if MLV parvovirus is used.

• I use only killed 3-year rabies vaccine for adults and give it separated from other vaccines by at least two and preferably three to four weeks. A booster at one year of age is usually required, followed by every three years thereafter.

• I do not use Bordetella, corona virus, leptospirosis, or Lyme vaccines unless these diseases are endemic in the local area or specific kennel. Furthermore, the currently licensed leptospira bacteria do not contain the serovars causing the majority of clinical leptospirosis today.

• I do not recommend vaccinating bitches during estrus, pregnancy, or lactation.

• I recommend that distemper-measles vaccine be given without hepatitis between six to eight weeks, because of the reported suppression of lymphocyte responsiveness induced by polyvalent canine distemper and adenovirus vaccines (Phillips et al., Can J Vet Res 1989; 53: 154-160).

• For animals previously experiencing adverse reactions or breeds at higher risk for such reactions (e.g. Weimaraner, Akita, American Eskimo, Great Dane), alternatives to booster vaccinations should be considered. These include avoiding boosters except rabies vaccine as required by law; annually measuring serum antibody titers against specific canine infectious agents such as distemper and parvovirus; and homeopathic nosodes.

Please note: This last option is considered an unconventional treatment that has not been scientifically proven to be efficacious. One controlled parvovirus nosode study did not adequately protect puppies under challenge conditions. However, data from Europe and clinical experience in North America support its use. If veterinarians choose to use homeopathic nosodes, their clients should be provided with an appropriate disclaimer and written informed consent should be obtained.

–By W. Jean Dodds, DVM


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