Saturday, 19 May 2018 07:00

Vaccination Protocols for Geriatric Dogs

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Canine VacciCheck - A Personal Story about Kiwi's Titer Test Experience

I would like to share an incident which occurred when I took Kiwi, my shelter adopted “Rat” Terrier for teeth cleaning. The vet informed me, that prior to anesthesia, he was required to run blood tests. I had been working at Biogal as the Head of the Molecular Biology Department for a few years and had occasional contact with VacciCheck. I also must admit that Kiwi is vaccinated every year, but only for rabies.

In short, she had not received a core vaccine since we collected her from the shelter. This was my chance to test the remaining blood for protective antibodies to Parvovirus, Distemper and Hepatitis. To my surprise, her antibody levels were well in the protective range (and happily so).

My scientific mind required an explanation as I was told that dogs should receive core vaccinations every year.  My investigation began with Google, where I discovered that the World Small Animal Veterinary Association and the American Animal Hospital Association have modified the vaccination guidelines to “intervals of 3 years (or longer)”. I felt slightly less guilty about neglecting Kiwi’s health.  It seems that the vaccinations which she received induced the production of memory cells which are activated whenever she is exposed to these diseases.

I was lucky that she had maintained a significant antibody level but was not sure what to do, so I asked my vet. Now that she is well into her 11th year, he recommended that, as an alternative to automatically giving her the core vaccine, to routinely titer test. Using the results he will be able to determine if vaccination is absolutely necessary in her senior years.



Sarah Maurice Ph.D

Sarah is the head of the Molecular R&D Department at Biogal Galed Labs Acs. She holds degrees in Animal Sciences, Fish Pathology and Biochemistry from McGill University, the University of Georgia and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has filled positions as a Research Fellow in projects relating to molecular biology, protein engineering and recombinant vaccine development. 

2 comments

  • Comment Link Sarah Maurice Wednesday, 23 May 2018 08:06 posted by Sarah Maurice

    Nancy thanks for adding more information from your personal and frightening experience; but we have to remember that core vaccination is very important for our pets. When I was still living in Canada we lost the cutest terrier-mix shelter puppy from distemper. She belonged to a litter of young street pups whose mother had been tragically run over by a car. Prior to introduction to the shelter system, the litter received their primary puppy vaccinations.

    We adopted “Sugar” with instructions to continue with the vaccination schedule after she was settled into her “forever” home. This did not take place as she became very sick after a few days and passed away at the vets from neurological distemper.
    We were told that most likely due to the presence of, what is termed, maternal antibodies in Sugar’s system, the first vaccination was not effective and therefore did not protect her from infection. We were also told that some puppies do not respond as well as expected to vaccination and are not fully protected even after the final shot.

    Today I am so much wiser. I am determined, with the next adoption, I will make sure that the new acquisition not only has been fully vaccination, but also that her antibody level is sufficient to protect from those horrible diseases.

  • Comment Link Nancy Sunday, 20 May 2018 21:19 posted by Nancy

    Thanks for sharing your experience with vaccines. I support titers instead of automatically vaccinating. I almost lost two of my dogs thru immune issues possibly related to vaccinating. I remember my mother stopped vaccinating her dog when she was older. She said that if she wasn’t immune at that point of her life that she never would be.

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