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sporting breeds. If terrier breeders appreciate the original qualities of their dogs and want to maintain them, we suggest its important for them to test for those traits and want to have a permanent record of their dog’s hunting abilities on its AKC record.”

The ATCA will continue working with AKC representatives on suitable tests for multi-purpose breeds.

“If you — or better yet, you and members of your breed club — feel this is important,” adds Steve Gilbert, “let’s work together on it. We’re sure there are lots of terriers out there who can do what our dogs do. And they deserve to be recognized for it.” Steve Gilbert can be contacted at 419/991-7430 or steve1004@aol.com

Copyright 2002 by Chris Halvorson Article and photographs reprinted with permission of the author. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the author is prohibited.


The correct regimen for vaccinating dogs currently is one of the most hotly debated topics in veterinary medi- cine. The Wall Street Journal ran 2 articles on vaccination and the issue of titer testing on July 31, 2002. Although the issue has come to the forefront of pet owners and breeders with greater attention over the last 5 years, the investigation of vaccine practices has been ongoing for well more than a decade. At the heart of this vaccine debate is the safety of our dogs. The possibility that in an effort to protect our dogs we could actually expose them to harm is intolerable. Almost every veterinary teaching college or university in this country has some level of study probing the vaccine controversy. The debate is likely to continue for some time until evaluation of frightening case reports and research data bear out sta- tistical risks associated with current practices. It is crucial that we educate ourselves about this debate.

While considering the safety for our dogs we must give special emphasis on those with already compromised immune systems, active disease, or advanced age. There is mounting evidence on the growing dangers resulting from over vaccination. Compelling examples suggest many of our dogs have immune systems that are overwhelmed by the administration of these vaccines. Countless dollars have been spent by dog owners after experiencing adverse immune complex reactions, onset of endocrine abnormali- ties, anaphylactic episodes, central nervous system failure, hematological conditions, multiple organ failure, seizures, and a host of other fatal or near fatal experiences. There have been documented problems with various contaminated

King’s Herald Winter 2003

vaccine lots causing health issues and some deaths since the early 90’s.

Foremost is the experience of most dog owners, the vast majority of whom have followed the traditional regimen of annual vaccinations with no apparent harm. A sponta- neous demand for change is not likely from this source. Reinforcing this belief are laws and requirements of airlines, boarding kennels, training programs, and other entities that routinely demand documentation of current immunizations in order to accommodate the dogs. However, the key to both the maintenance of the status quo and any potential change is undoubtedly the general practice veterinarian.

Of major concern in this controversy is the economic impact of vaccine delivery to the clients of a veterinary prac- tice. In many clinics, vaccinations may be responsible for up to 50% of the entire revenue generated by the clinic. Loss of annual vaccinations would be a devastating reduction of revenues to such a practice. Annual vaccinations are direct- ly associated with additional monies generated from preven- tative check-ups, diagnostics, and potential early detection of illness. Some also mention their concern that a departure from the recommended regimen could expose them to liabil- ity issues. Many clinics are not ready to accept that much of this revenue stream could be recaptured by titer testing for protective immunity levels coupled with annual check-ups. Several diagnostic laboratories are performing titer tests for Rabies, Distemper, Parvo, Corona, Leptosporosis, Lyme, Hepatitis(Adenovirus), Parainfluenza, and Bordetella. Human vaccine manufacturers have gone to exhaustive efforts to evaluate and determine protective antibody levels needed to adequately guard against the challenge of certain diseases for their products. This practice has significantly reduced the vaccinations needed for young children. Some of these same manufacturers have failed to employ compar- ative standards for canine and feline vaccines to ensure effective protection against many diseases and re-access the need for yearly vaccinations.

Some work has been done in the area of measuring immunity levels and duration of antibody protection of some vaccine preparations in dogs. A recent publication from Dr. Larry Glickman of Purdue University, suggest a correlation of significantly elevated thyroglobulin antibody levels to recently vaccinated dogs of 2 populations. More work is needed to demonstrate if this early rise in antibody level sig- nals later thyroid problems in these dogs and what adverse effects may develop. As the vaccine debate grows the num- ber of studies and publications will hopefully bring a clearer directive for future vaccine requirements.

Not vaccinating at all is certainly NOT an alternative.

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