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Hi Poodle Lovers!
So, I first posted a few weeks ago, and I am spending a ton of time on this forum and on FB researching breeders. I am specifically interested in those that do extensive health testing, and socialization. Recently, I read about this horrible, horrible disease called IMHA. It seems that people believe that it is directly related to pet vaccinations. I'm wondering if you all vaccinated your babies as puppies, and if there is a way that I can safeguard my future puppy from this horror. I realize that there is no way to prevent all health problems in dogs, but I want to do everything I can to insure that my future baby leads a long healthy life!
Thank you so much!
Laura
 

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Hi Laura! There are a few things to consider when doing your research.
There is the risk to benefit ratio. What is the prevalence of IMHA suspected to be from vaccinations? versus the prevalence of contracting one of the other possibly lethal diseases if not vaccinated? Remember, IMHA is a rare condition and there are different factors that may cause this immune response. I don’t have hard numbers here. I would take an educated guess and say the chance of contracting distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus, or rabies is much more likely than the chance of developing IMHA. Different regions of the country have different rates but overall the risk is still there. Generally distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus and leptospirosis are in one combination vaccine.

another thing to consider is if you will be attending dog training classes, using a professional groomer, dog daycare or play days, etc. These business will require you to have these basic vaccines.

Breeders will start off a puppy’s first and possibly second round of vaccines before you take them home. I don’t know if there are reputable breeders who do not vaccinate their puppies?

personally, I want the insurance for my dog going on walks in the neighborhood or playing in the park and not coming across another infected animal, feces, or contaminated soil. I also don’t want to spread illness to other dogs. I gave my dog the basic vaccines I listed above, as well as the oral bordatella vaccine. I will do Lyme disease once it gets out of the dead of winter because I live in an area where ticks are prevalent in the warm weather and Lyme disease is fairly common.

Obviously I’m pro vaccination. It will be interesting to hear other pet parents weigh in on this. One of the best things you can do is ask the vet when you take your puppy for their initial visit about the chances of infection vs the risk of vaccines and decide if you want to hold off or not.

Good luck with your new puppy, and thumbs up for doing your research and asking questions! Poodles are such wonderful dogs.
 

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Porkchop I'm with you. The analogy is the recent occurrence of measles where a loss of herd immunity resulted in several significant and nongeographically contiguous outbreaks including in American Samoa (or it might have been Guam) there were fatalities in children. Later in life I think titering for immunity is okay, but not so much in young dogs.
 

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Here's the thing: vaccines definitely prevent diseases, that are definitely serious or fatal; but have a slight chance of causing IMHA (and this is not really a medically accepted theory).
Working in the veterinary field I have seen lots of dogs die of Parco and many more incur large medical bills and potential long term side effects; I have seen several dogs die of Lepto and several seriously sick from it. I have only seen a handful of cases of IMHA (and at least one of those was treated and recovered well).
To me, those numbers say vaccines are worth it.
Certainly, I am in favor of titres when possible (not for rabies of course) and assessing individual risk.
 

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Yes. In my area parvo kills dogs on a regular basis.

I'm not sure what I will do about lepto. It is a "lifestyle" vaccination. As in, if you are a family that camps and hikes (we do) your dog should probably get this vaccination. However, it is the one vaccination my breeder (who does not camp or hike with her dogs) said to never give to Violet. Decisions, decisions...
 

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Yes. In my area parvo kills dogs on a regular basis.

I'm not sure what I will do about lepto. It is a "lifestyle" vaccination. As in, if you are a family that camps and hikes (we do) your dog should probably get this vaccination. However, it is the one vaccination my breeder (who does not camp or hike with her dogs) said to never give to Violet. Decisions, decisions...
I used to think that hiking/camping/ country roaming was the only real risks, but at least half of the Lepto cases I have seen in the past two years were small, suburban dogs. A Yorkie for one. My guess is that these dogs spent a lot of time in their yards, and also had neighborhood raccoons etc and we're exposed that way. Ironically now that I live in the country I see virtually no wildlife on my property, whereas in the city we did all the time.
My poodle's breeder gave the first Lepto so I did get the booster, I will rethink again next year.
 

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Starvt, it is interesting to have your input since you see so many dogs through your work. Have any insight into Lepto vaccine reactions? Never see it? See it all the time? Severity?
 

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I am pro vaccine. As with anything in life there can be reactions but not vaccinating in my mind is selfish . I have had my own dogs for over 40 years. Every dog I owned has been regularly vaccinated with all recommended vaccines by the vets in the areas I lived. Most every dog I have own lived to be in their mid teens and died of old age, my two shih tau lived to 14 & 17 and my rottie's lived to 11 or 12. My GSD lived only to 8 and he died of stomach cancer, he had stomach problems from day 1 when I purchased him and he had coccidia. Right now my cairn is 8, our boxer is 5, poodle is just 2 and our chihuahua turned 18 last Oct.
 

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Starvt, it is interesting to have your input since you see so many dogs through your work. Have any insight into Lepto vaccine reactions? Never see it? See it all the time? Severity?
I would say that Lepto and Lyme vaccines are the most likely to cause reactions, but typically they are milder forms with lethargy, soreness, vomiting and diarrhea.
I don't do Lyme at all, even though Lyme disease is a risk in my area using a tick prevention has a much better efficacy rate and also protects against other tick borne diseases.
My preference is to pre-treat with Benadryl before giving the Lepto vaccines with a second dose after. This should prevent most reactions, and maybe it would help head off some of the possible repercussions of the body being put into an inflammatory state.
Obviously, like Mufar said, so many other things can cause an inflammatory response as well so it might not make much of a difference.
And some dogs just seem prone to reactions and inflammation, while other dogs never react to anything. That's one of the reasons I find it hard to believe vaccines specifically could be considered a cause of these immune-related diseases.
 

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My Gracie went her whole life without visibly reacting to any vaccinations, and then at 10 - WHAM!! She got hit hard by the rabies vaccine. It was awful to watch. Vomiting, confusion, two trips back to the vet before they administered what I believe was a steroid shot.... All her vaccinations until then had been in Canada, but we were in Wisonsin at the time, in the process of moving to our current home in the Pacific Northwest.

One of the first things we did here was get her set up with a new vet, and after hearing about her reaction, the vet said NO more vaccines. Not at her age, with her history.

All this to say: I'm grateful to everyone who does vaccinate their pets, so my dear old Gracie could go unvaccinated for her last few years without any major risks.
 

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For what it’s worth, I used to give my dogs their vaccines that I bought and then administered. I did a lot of research on different written articles and papers on the subject of vaccinating dogs. These were all written by veterinarians.

Some vets recommended them yearly, like it’s always been. But I kept coming across different opinions. They ranged from doing the puppy vaccinations in full, and then every three years after that, unless needed for boarding, travel etc. And the most extreme was that after the puppy vaccines were all completed, they were vaccinated for life. Of course rabies had to be done yearly, ( now every three years), as required by law.

A holistic vet I saw does not do vaccines except on puppies. IF vaccines are need for things mentioned earlier, she will do (half) the dose of full vaccines. That is what I had settled on before I saw her and am comfortable with that.

I’m sorry I can’t provide links, I just didn’t save any as this was a long time ago and was just for personal knowledge. There were so many that said “once vaccinated, vaccinated for life” I couldn’t ignore it.

But I do think vaccines should be given for various reasons. If you fly a lot with your dog, do it. If it’s a heavily outdoor dog then also. And for many other reasons people have listed here.

In my case my dogs are almost totally indoors and don’t go to pet stores, the woods, on planes, etc.

I think you need to weigh your lifestyle, maybe do extensive research yourself and decide what makes the most sense for your and your dog’s lifestyle.
 

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I’m for thoughtful vaccinations for the same reasons as above. You can titer most to see if you need to revaccinate but I believe the law regarding rabies requires vaccinations according to schedule.
 

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I’m for thoughtful vaccinations for the same reasons as above. You can titer most to see if you need to revaccinate but I believe the law regarding rabies requires vaccinations according to schedule.
Here you don’t have to have any vaccinations to get the rabies. It’s been our choice (for my 59 years). I don’t know of anywhere that it’s different among the people I know.
 

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Here you don’t have to have any vaccinations to get the rabies. It’s been our choice (for my 59 years). I don’t know of anywhere that it’s different among the people I know.
I train and compete with my dog in several different dog clubs and all require certain vaccinations be up date. I also get the pneumonia and Bordetella because we interact with a large number of dogs which travel to other states for competition. I might make different choices for a dog who stayed close to home and only interacted with a small number of neighborhood dogs.
 

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The OP hasn't been back since posting but jic,

I'm pretty sure the only legally required vaccine is Rabies in the US and I think also in Canada (please correct me if needed).

That said there are Core Vaccines (Rabies is one of those) which most vets will, with good reason, want to give your pup. These include Distemper, Parvo and others.

The next level is called Non-Core Vaccines. These are sometimes called Lifestyle Vaccines. These include Lyme, Leptospirosis and others. Sometimes, due to geographic movement of the means of transmission, or change in lifestyle, these may shift to Core status.

(Naturally, I'll add some links lol.)

Research is showing that many/most of these vaccines remain effective beyond the old 1 year legal re-vaccination requirement (after the original and booster series), and many places will now accept a 3 year Rabies vac because of that.

Titering to check antibody levels is gaining ground in place of simply re-vaccinating yearly (or a longer interval) for non-Rabies vaccines but there is still discussion, not about validity in itself, but testing guidelines.


Core/Non-Core



Titering

 

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Lepto and Lyme vaccines are the most likely to cause reactions
My boys both had bad reactions to the Lyme vac. Literally screamed as each was being injected (the tech was in tears over it), and both just hid under the furniture and shook for the rest of the night. No other physical effects, but I'm also not going to do that again. Like Starvt, I'm going to depend on prevention.
 

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I’m for thoughtful vaccinations for the same reasons as above. You can titer most to see if you need to revaccinate but I believe the law regarding rabies requires vaccinations according to schedule.
Absolutely, there is no reason a dog should not be vaccinated for rabies, if that dog ever contracted the virus and was to bite someone it would be terrible. I am not a "sue" person however if ever I was bit by a dog that was unvaccinated for rabies I would . I've had a dog react to vaccine one time, in fact it was my 18 1/2 year old chihuahua , now most times as I have forgotten, we pre medicate him before his vaccinations, just in case. But he hasn't had another reaction.
 
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