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King’s Herald Winter 2003

Most of the diseases that we vaccinate for are “killers.” Some veterinarians and vaccine manufacturers are begin- ning to offer new recommendations on puppy immunizations as well as different guidelines for the older dog, and those with compromised health. Most agree to give space for the administration of vaccines. Do not get all their shots in a sin- gle visit. Be assertive and proactive with your veterinarian. You may be one of only a few challenging the conventional wisdom for vaccine practices. If your vet chooses to not lis- ten and seems to not be informed perhaps it is time to re- evaluate your relationship. Evaluate the older dogs and con- sider titer testing them before giving shots. We need to keep better records and notes of the experiences that we have with our dogs and the vaccines that they receive. Comparing notes with other breeders and pet owners sometimes can lead to remarkable discoveries. Lastly, one important con- sideration to remember is that veterinarians generally are doctors, not scientists. Most do not possess commanding knowledge of immunology. Only in some larger practices or those offering specialized services may there be on staff a veterinarian that also has a graduate degree in some bio- chemical area. The general practice veterinarian may have little or no understanding of the mode of delivery, biochemi- cal structure and pathways, and physiological roadmap of these compounds and how they may effect our dogs. The next few years will be a tremendous learning curve for vet- erinary medicine, pharmaceutical manufacturers, breeders, and dog owners. With participation from all; hopefully we will attain healthier dogs and a better understanding and respect for all those involved in this changing time.

It is not possible to cover all the theories, hypotheses, and arguments and in the vaccine debate in this one article. Indeed, given the volume of research currently in progress, information changes rapidly, and, accordingly, a glossary of terms frequently encountered in the vaccination literature is appended to assist you in your continuing education. Perhaps in a future article we will look at some of these pub- lished articles in detail to further our knowledge and under- standing of vaccination for our dogs.

Terms important in understanding vaccine protection

ANTIGEN A molecular structure of varied complexity that allows a dog’s body recognizes as an invader ordering the immune system to launch an attack. This attack will be con- ducted by many of the body’s special white blood cells called lymphocytes if the body does not recognize the presence of a protective army already in place from a vaccination against


that particular antigen or a previous encounter with the dis- ease. ANTIBODY Small proteins that are produced by specific B cells as a result of the body’s encounter with different bacte- ria, infections, or virus. These small proteins act as protec- tive shields and attach themselves to antigens of the dis- eases and prevent the diseases from further replicating, thus stopping the production of the disease. MATERNAL ANTIBODY The antibody protection against specific diseases given to puppies from the dam via the pla-











The process of administering protective

compounds to protect a body against infection. IMMUNITY The body’s recall of protection against a dis- ease derived from its response to a foreign attack as pro- duced by the immune system. The body then recalls this immunity or protection when it encounters this disease at a later point in life. ACTIVE IMMUNITY The protection produced by the body’s immune system when it directly encounters a disease, bac- teria, infection, or virus. CELL-MEDIATED IMMUNITY The protection generated by the body’s special line of white blood cells(lymphocytes) that attack a foreign pathogen and destroys the invader. HUMORAL IMMUNITY The protection generated by anti- body production manufactured by B cells. PASSIVE IMMUNITY The protection given to a puppy from its mother at birth to a disease without coming in direct con- tact with the disease, bacteria, infection, or virus. IMMUNE COMPLEX The binding of antigen and antibody systems from vaccines or other compounds that often form products or complements that can indiscriminately bind to specific immune sites sending the body’s defense system misinformation which allows it to be ineffective against some diseases or even cause immune associated conditions which fight the body’s own systems. Sometimes the formation of this by-product or complement can attack the body’s individ- ual cells which can lead to many serious conditions or even organ failure and death IMMUNE SYSTEM The body’s first line of defense or nat- ural barrier against disease. The immune system is also the body’s army that utilizes many different forces to attack spe-

cific foreign bodies as they attack the body.


The specific sites located on














duction or spread of a specific disease. TITER A protective level of antibody present




body to ward off

an attack of

a specific infection, disease, or

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