Vaccine overdosing in small dogs

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Vaccine overdosing in small dogs

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Old 10-05-2017, 06:45 AM
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Vaccine overdosing in small dogs

Has anyone heard of this issue? I was not made aware until I adopted a smaller dog, about 13 lbs, and a neighbor turned me onto the problem.

Basically people are saying that all dog vaccines are given in the same dose, whether the dog is a 160lb mastiff or a 3 lb chihuahua. This is really the only species of animal where you have large variations in size so it's only applicable to dogs. The article (link below) goes on to discuss how smaller dogs have a higher likelihood of developing adverse effects to the vaccines because of the doses.

There are several articles on this issue but here is one: Does a Smaller Dog Need a Smaller Vaccine? | petMD

Does anyone know if their vets administer a smaller vaccine dose for their smaller dog?
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Old 10-05-2017, 07:59 AM
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Unfortunately it's very true. The dose is the same whether a chi or a dane, and the fact that they are given these doses year after year is a HUGE cause of immune diesease in dogs. 99% of the time, a dog is immune for life after the first puppy set. All of mine have only had their first puppy set from the breeders, and I have them titer tested after five weeks to check the antibodie levels in their blood to check for immunity. If antibodies are present, no vaccines. If not, they only get a vaccine for whichever one it may be. I'll titer one more time for that one, and with immunity shown no vaccs. Ever. If a dog is already immune, the vaccine isn't going to "boost" it and make more. Either they are immune or they aren't.
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Old 10-05-2017, 09:52 AM
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I know from showing we have to give the core vaccine booster every year. Rabies is a vet choice but I give my dogs the shoot every year. Yes and it's very true that the same vaccines are given to all dogs. The same amount but there are also 4 different things they are fighting against in the one vaccine shot. The annual vaccines is up to the owner not the vet. Most shots go from 1-3 years on it. The vaccines shot is 4cc per dog its a shot for canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis and rabies the main vaccines other vaccination depend greatly on location. The rabies vaccine can be given alone. The vet clinic I work at we tell people with smaller dogs to come every three years not every year. Larger dogs the vaccine runs out of the blood stream and they will need a certain vaccine again the next year. :-)
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Old 10-05-2017, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Markie View Post
I know from showing we have to give the core vaccine booster every year. Rabies is a vet choice but I give my dogs the shoot every year. Yes and it's very true that the same vaccines are given to all dogs. The same amount but there are also 4 different things they are fighting against in the one vaccine shot. The annual vaccines is up to the owner not the vet. Most shots go from 1-3 years on it. The vaccines shot is 4cc per dog its a shot for canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis and rabies the main vaccines other vaccination depend greatly on location. The rabies vaccine can be given alone. The vet clinic I work at we tell people with smaller dogs to come every three years not every year. Larger dogs the vaccine runs out of the blood stream and they will need a certain vaccine again the next year. :-)
No vaccines run out of the bloodstream in a year. That's a common vet scare tactic. Sometimes antibodies may drop off within seven years, so that's why I would do titers later on, just to check. With age sometimes comes lower immune systems. I don't show, but I can see them requiring vaccines every year, like boarding kennels and such. I just wish more were open to titer results showing immunity. Immune is immune, and vaccines don't "increase" that.
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Old 10-05-2017, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by naturalfeddogs View Post
No vaccines run out of the bloodstream in a year. That's a common vet scare tactic. Sometimes antibodies may drop off within seven years, so that's why I would do titers later on, just to check. With age sometimes comes lower immune systems. I don't show, but I can see them requiring vaccines every year, like boarding kennels and such. I just wish more were open to titer results showing immunity. Immune is immune, and vaccines don't "increase" that.
I wish titering were more commonplace, and that kennels would accept the results as well. I do rabies as required by law, every three years, but I probably wouldn't give the boosters except that I need to in order to take my terrier to the groomer.
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Old 10-05-2017, 01:00 PM
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If, per the article linked in the original post, vaccines are dosed based on average sized dogs, and therefore small breeds should get a half a dose, perhaps giant breeds should get a double dose to ensure immunity.

I found the link to the 2005 study referenced on pubmed, but I don't have access to the full version. The study looked at adverse events diagnosed within 3 days of vaccine administration. I'd like to know how they controlled for other causes of those adverse events. I'd like to know what, specifically, the vaccine associated adverse events were, what the severity of those events were, and what the incidence rates were of all events documented. Obviously, I'd rather my dog not have any adverse effects, but if the most common side effects are relatively harmless and not life threatening things such as localized hives or a bit of diarrhea, the benefit of the vaccinations is going to vastly outweigh the risks.

In the 2005 study referenced, 38.2 of every 10,000 dogs vaccinated experienced some sort of vaccination associated adverse event within 3 days of the vaccination (assuming the study did control for other factors and the adverse events noted were without a doubt associated with the vaccine and not other factors). That's a very small percentage of dogs, (0.382%, ~4 tenths of a percent, less than half of one percent), and I'm also inclined to think the majority of those cases were relatively mild adverse events. If 38 out of every 10,000 dogs were dying from vaccine complications, that might give me cause for concern, but I don't believe that's the case, although I'm willing to entertain peer reviewed study based evidence to the contrary.

I'm a skeptic at heart. I question everything. I believe in science and the scientific method and evidence based medicine. I also believe in vaccinations. I believe the risk of adverse effects, even severe adverse effects, is minute compared to the risk of inadequate vaccination. The countries that have eradicated diseases such as rabies, measles, polio, and others did not do so by halving doses or by measuring titers and taking educated guesses as to whether or not immunity was still present. They did so by a strict and aggressive vaccination program with adequate controls to ensure as many individuals were vaccinated as possible to make for super stong herd immunity to protect those unable to be vaccinated.

-----

I thought this article was very interesting and informative and states my stance better than I can. All bolding, italics and other emphasis is mine.

Antibody Titer Testing as a Guide for Vaccination in Dogs and Cats | The SkeptVet

Quote:
If we have had an infection or vaccine in the past, we will often have antibodies against that particular organism. These may last for weeks, months, or years. It is important to realize, however, that having antibodies does not always mean we are immune to an infectious organism. If we have too few antibodies, we may be susceptible. And in the case of some organisms, having antibodies is not enough to fully protect us, so we may be susceptible no matter how many we produce. And since we produce antibodies during an infection, having them may not mean we have been vaccinated or had past exposure to an infectious disease, they may simply mean we are currently infected with that disease!

When we talk about antibodies and vaccination, we have to talk about one specific disease at a time, because the rules that apply to one disease won’t necessarily apply to another.

For dogs, the most important core vaccines are for Canine Distemper Virus (CDV), Canine Parvovirus (CPV), and Rabies. In the case of these diseases, a high antibody titer does usually mean the dog is immune, which would mean additional vaccination for those diseases is not needed at the time the titer is measured. However, the rate at which individuals lose immunity to specific diseases varies quite a bit, so there is no way to predict based on a single titer when that individual will become susceptible again or need additional vaccination.

So a positive or high titer may mean no vaccine is needed right now, but a low titer does not mean a dog should be vaccinated. In the case of a low titer, we have no way of knowing if that dog is susceptible to these diseases or not.
Also interesting is the section under Specific Titer Tests that discusses how it's determined what level of antibiodies is sufficient to indicate that the individual is protected against the disease in question.

Quote:
The answer is that the only way to know is through challenge testing. Most titer tests available have not been validated by challenge testing but have simply been compared to tests which have. This may mean that the values used to determine if an individual is immune to a particular disease are accurate, but it is also possible that they are not. So there is usually some uncertainty about what a “protective” titer really means.

As an example, one popular in-house antibody test sold to veterinarians is called Vaccicheck. This test provides a simple measure of roughly how much antibody an individual dog has against CDV, CPV, and also Canine Infectious Hepatitis. Again, no challenge studies have been done to validate the specific cutoff this test uses, but the test has been compared to what are considered “gold-standard” titer tests. For the canine Vaccicheck test, here are the results of one such study:

B.A. Butler; P.C. Crawford . Accuracy of a Point-of-Care Immunoassay to Determine Protective Antibody Titers For Canine Parvovirus and Canine Distemper Virus. ACVIM Forum, 2013.
Immunoassay sensitivity was 97% for CDV and 99% for CPV. Specificity was 75% for CPV and 79% for CDV. Many of the false positive reactions were in samples with antibody titers near the reference laboratory PAT cutoff. Overall diagnostic accuracy was 90% for CDV and 94% for CPV.
So overall, this test will usually tell us when a dog has a high CDV or CPV titer and does not need to be vaccinated, though it will get some of these wrong. It will more reliably tell us when a dog has a low titer level, but that doesn’t help much us decide if that dog needs to be vaccinated or not. Generally, other in-house titer tests have similar pros and cons.
Note that this article is written by an author who believes in avoiding unnecessary vaccines and by own admission, often recommends less frequent vaccinations than commonly practiced, yet he doesn't believe one should rely on titer tests to reduce vaccination frequency out of fear.

Quote:
While I believe in avoiding unnecessary vaccination, and while my own recommendations to clients often lead to less frequent vaccination than commonly practiced or suggested in some guidelines, I believe that the fear of vaccines that leads many people to desire to reduce vaccination is unjustified. Vaccines are very, very safe, and many of the specific concerns, such as mercury in vaccines, and autoimmune disease from vaccination, are unproven, exaggerated, or just plain untrue. So while I believe the evidence indicates we can safely vaccinate most dogs and cats far less often than has traditionally been recommended, I do not believe we should use titers or other methods to reduce vaccination out of fear.
Note the references at the end of the article. This isn't just some guy's opinion without science to back it up.

-----

He also has a post on vaccine doses for small breeds that is relavent to this thread.

What’s the Right “Dose” of a Vaccine for Small-Breed Dogs? | The SkeptVet

Quote:
Since the dose of the drug is really the concentration in the blood or tissues, the larger an animal, the more drug has to be given to get the same amount in each milliliter of blood or each gram of body tissue.

However, vaccines don’t work this way. For vaccines, there is a minimum immunizing dose (MID), a threshold at which the immune response is fully stimulated. Vaccines don’t work by being distributed throughout the body at a certain concentration, like drugs, but by triggering an essentially all-or-nothing immune response through interacting with special cells in the immune system.

The same logic applies to any adverse effects from drugs and vaccines. In general, harmful effects get worse as the tissue or blood concentration of a drug goes up, which is very closely related to the dose given. With vaccines, adverse effects are unpredictable and not clearly related to dose. It is true that smaller dogs are more prone to allergic reactions to vaccines than larger breeds, but this likely has to do with genetic differences between breeds, not size. Smaller individuals within a breed have not been shown to be more prone to such reactions than larger individuals. The difference in size between members of the same species is almost never great enough to affect the MID, and the idea that a 10lb dog needs half the vaccine of a 50lb dog simply isn’t consistent with the biology of vaccines and the immune system.
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Old 10-05-2017, 01:38 PM
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@Markie what venue do you show in?
I've not heard of any requiring annual core vaccinations.

And rabies is typically dictated by law. Here it's first vacc is a year. All others are 3 years.
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Old 10-05-2017, 04:26 PM
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Has anyone heard of this issue? I was not made aware until I adopted a smaller dog, about 13 lbs, and a neighbor turned me onto the problem.

Basically people are saying that all dog vaccines are given in the same dose, whether the dog is a 160lb mastiff or a 3 lb chihuahua. This is really the only species of animal where you have large variations in size so it's only applicable to dogs. The article (link below) goes on to discuss how smaller dogs have a higher likelihood of developing adverse effects to the vaccines because of the doses.

There are several articles on this issue but here is one: Does a Smaller Dog Need a Smaller Vaccine? | petMD

Does anyone know if their vets administer a smaller vaccine dose for their smaller dog?

Zody, my Chi x Dach, is 8 lbs and he's now 5 years old and his reaction to his annual booster shots got markedly worse this year. Before this year he was just lethargic after receiving the shot, this year he ended up, shaking, hiding the entire evening, and refused his dinner. What really ticked me off was that I had made a point of specifically asking the vet if we could run titers, or at least stagger the shots, and I explained why I was asking, only to have my concerns negated and a lecture on why he thought the shots so important.

What I'm not sure about is what he's reacting to. I'm not sure if it's the dose, or a specific one of the vaccines. What I do know is that I'm not keen to find out what will happen next year if he receives the vaccines. I do understand that titers are not fool proof, but the more I consider it the more I think that it's the way I will choose to go, I'm just not willing to risk a worse reaction to the vaccines.
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Old 10-05-2017, 04:55 PM
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For a dog that has a history of increasingly worse adverse effects to vaccinations, I can understand not wanting to risk it and being willing to rely on titers despite the potential risks associated with that (mainly inadequate immunity). That's different in my opinion from people who go that route and take that risk when there's no evidence that the dog will have any adverse effects at all much less severe ones.

Maintaining herd immunity is vital for this very reason: there are dogs out there who legitimately can't be vaccinated and are relying on all of the other dogs around them being fully immune to protect them. Vaccinating isn't just about protecting your dog, it's about protecting all dogs that your dog may come in contact with.
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Old 10-05-2017, 04:56 PM
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Hmmmm, I knew that for the rabies vaccine, its one size fits all, but didn't know that was true for all vaccines! The year she needs rabies, our Vet always insists on administering them three weeks apart.
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