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    Annual Vaccines
    susanblatz65 posted:
    I took both of my dogs to get their annual vaccines today. They both received DHLP-PV, Coronavirus, Rabies and there was a new vaccine that my vet said that they needed which is LEPTO vaccine. Since they have both been home they are extremely lethargic and very thirsty. What is the LEPTO vaccine for and is it a required vaccine? They did not get it last year. Is this a new vaccine? Are these symptoms that they both have normal to have after getting shots? Should I be concerned? Any information would be greatly appreciated.
    Home2strays responded:
    it's not a new vaccine- my dog has gotten it all of her 16 yrs but it is the most reacted to vaccine... its not a core vaccine and most vets only give it if you are in an area that has an outbreak or your dogs are higher risk ( like hunting dogs) but if you have small dog that live in the house- my opinion you dont need it. they should be fine in a day, they are probably just having a mild reaction to it. discuss with your vet before next time they get it though, if they DO actually need the vaccine they should be pre medicated so they dont have another reaction.
    srstephanie responded:
    Hi susanblatz65,

    The best way to learn info on canine vaccinations is to read the AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) Canine Guidellines. At the moment, the "current" Guidelines were written in 2006. They are being updated right now and the new Guidelines are scheduled for publication by the end of this year.

    I'm more knowledgeable on cat vaccines but I can share a little on canine vaccines. Most of what I have learned is from listening to talks by Dr Richard Ford of North Carolina State Univ. He is one of the co-authors of the Canine Vaccination Guidelines.

    The Guidelines classify all vaccines as:

    1) Core: recommended for ALL dogs - Distemper, Adenovirus 2, Parvovirus and Rabies

    2) Non-Core: recommended ONLY for dogs that are at a significant risk of exposure - Bordetella, Parainfluenza, Leptospirosis, Lyme, Crotalus atrox (Western diamondback rattlesnake) and Porphrymonas (for periodontal disease). The last two only have conditional licenses. The new vaccine for Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) is also considered a Non-Core vaccine

    3) Not Recommended: the experts do not feel any dogs need these vaccines - Coronavirus and Giardia

    The Lepto (i.e. leptospirosis) vaccine is considered non-core and only recommended if there is a risk of exposure. It is a parasite that is found in the urine of infected animals ... which includes rats, raccoons, opossums, deer and other wildlife, as well as other dogs, etc. Dogs become infected when drinking contaminated water (e.g. in the woods or lake, etc) or other contact with contaminated urine or bodily fluids. So, if a dog is spending a lot of time in the woods or around a lake where there may be infected wildlife, there may be a risk of exposure to warrant a vaccination.

    Some vets tend to vaccinate for Lepto even when the exposure risk is low ... because it is a zoonotic disease ... i.e. people can get it too ... though people are more likely to get it from contact with rats or wildlife than from dogs. Left untreated, it can be fatal causing kidney failure among other things. But it usually responds well to antibiotics. I'm not an expert but if you want to learn more, here are two links on Lepto from the Veterinary Partners website (a good place to go for info):



    It should be noted that the Lepto vaccine gives "non-sterile" immunity. That means that it will protect against symptoms of the disease but it will NOT prevent infection ... resulting in the possibility of a non-symptomatic carrier which is still able to infect others (including people). So vaccination simply to protect the possibility of people becoming infected won't work.

    While annual boosters are recommended for Lepto ... the Core vaccines only need to be boostered every 3 years. ... And your dogs NEVER need to have a coronavirus vaccine. Rabies must be given according to state/local requirements.

    You might like to look at the info on Dr Ford's personal vaccination website where he summarizes in a series of charts the info from the AAHA Canine Guidelines ... and also gives some updated info:

    Dr Ford's website also has a link to the AAHA Guidelines.

    As for the post-vaccination reactions ... mild lethargy, etc is common after vaccination and can be a sign that the immune system is responding. But severe reactions should not occur. I'm not a vet but I'd encourage you to call your vet and discuss your dog's symptoms to see if your vet wants to see them. My philosophy is ... when in doubt, call your vet and ask.

    Good luck!

    Stephanie in Montreal
    121sweetie replied to srstephanie's response:
    I grew up on a farm where we gave all of the animals all of their vaccines ourselves. Around here you can still buy the core vaccines at the farm supply store with the exception of rabies, which I understand is now a controlled substance. So, I only take my dog to the vet every 3 years for her rabies shot (unless she gets sick or something). My problem is that my vet (and I have had several over the years) always has a complete fit that I have done the vaccines myself, like I am a bad owner or something, and wants to start the vaccine series all over again like a puppy. I also do not use flea repellant like Frontline nor do I give heartworm pills, because she is never outside except to pee/poop and run right back in, and is never out unattended. I understand it only takes a second to be bitten by a mosquito but I feel that risk is much lower than the side effects of the pills. I'm so tired of arguing with the vets over this, I understand they want to make money, but I am in charge of what is best for my pet, right? If rabies wasn't mandatory I probably wouldn't go at all because I 'm tired of the conflicts.
    Violets_are_Blue replied to 121sweetie's response:
    I can understand where you are coming from but I, as a vet tech, I also understand where your vet is coming from. Vaccines, if not stored properly at any time before use, can become inactive and basically not work. They need to be refridgerated at all times before hand, even during transport. They are often overnighted in insulated boxes with cooling packs to make sure they stay cold when a clinic or feed supply store needs a shipment. Sometimes they are bought, left in the car in the summer for an undetermined amount of time, and then placed in the fridge when the owners remember. I'm not saying that everyone does this but it is a real possibility and has happened with medications that require cold temperatures as well (and then the owners get mad the antibiotics didn't work). Rabies is not as much as a controlled substance as the fact that owners can fudge details on when it was given. In my state, dogs and cats may only be moved to a 3-year track on rabies if they receive 2 vaccines at most exactly one year apart. If you miss it by a day, it does not count and the animal will need to get it next year. What the states are worried about is the owner saying they gave it but actually gave a distemper vaccine accidentally instead.

    On heartworm prevention, I'm more biased because I live in the south where mosquitoes are a year-round issue and have seen dogs come in heartworm positive and watched them go through treatment. It is not a fun treatment at all and places a huge strain on the dog. Mosquitoes are quirky little things and I have found several in my room up on the third floor of a dorm because they come through the doors, windows, and dryer vents in the laundry room. Just because a dog spends 30 minutes outside does not mean the danger does not lie inside as well. Side effects for heartworm prevention are even rarer and more often than not lie with an allergic reaction to beef or soy than the actual medication itself nowadays (there is also topical heartworm prevention for dogs with severe allergies). It is still up to you but in reality, heartworms are a terrible disease to die from because it is so inexpensive to actually prevent much like rabies and distemper.
    Bonnie Beaver, BS, DVM, MS responded:
    The lepto vaccine is not new but another company has just come out with their version of the vaccine. Lepto is a disease that dogs can get from stagnant water into which another species that is infected with lepto has urinated. There are MANY different types of lepto and the vaccines only contain 4 types. There is no protection against the other types, just the 4 types.

    Lepto vaccines work a little differently than other ones in that they prevent disease but not infection. So, dogs can get the infection and shed the lepto organism so other animals can get lepto from them (humans included). The newest vaccine has been advertised as not allowing the shedding or the infection to happen.

    We consider the vaccine to be optional and use it on high risk dogs only.

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