NOTE: Cavaliers were not included in this study due to less than 5000 case studies for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed being available. The size of the dog being vaccinated is the main point, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are on the small side. *We once lost an 8 week old puppy who was vaccinated with DHLPP. We went for a parvo/distemper shot, and they gave him the DHLPP, then explained it was the only vaccine they had. Ten days later he was gone. ...and the vet says, "What do you have against Lepto shots?"*
The Vaccine Controversy
Links at bottom of page updated 2-14-18.
After many decades of yearly combined vaccinations, the general consensus of the majority of veterinarians now say that annual vaccinations may not be needed and are probably harmful to your pet. This opinion is supported by Dr Ronald Schultz PhD who is recognized as a pioneer in clinical immunology and vaccinology and his work is well known in both the allopathic and holistic veterinarian communities.
Dr Schultz and his colleague, Dr. Tom R. Phillips, PhD, wrote the following which is taken from Kirk’s current Veterinary Therapy XI (Small Animal Practice), page 205. Kirk’s manual is the reference “bible” used by most veterinarians:
A practice that was started many years ago and that LACKS scientific validity or verification is annual re-vaccinations. Almost without exception there is no immunologic requirement for annual re-vaccination. Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal. The practice of annual vaccination in our opinion should be considered of questionable efficacy ……………… unless required by law (ie Rabies vaccinations in some States).
Whilst the established veterinary community has differing opinions as to how often and how many vaccines to give a puppy, as well as what types of vaccines and which manufacturers are best for puppies and adult dogs, it is a known fact that more vaccines do not necessarily translate into better protection for your puppy or adult Cavalier. The more vaccines continually and simultaneously injected into your dog, the more his immune system will be compromised. In the long run, your Cavalier's immune system could give up working just at a time when your dog needs it the most -- in old age.
There is no question that your puppy requires his basic puppy vaccinations (distemper, parvo and rabies) up until he is 18 – 24 months old however the question is how valuable are annual vaccinations thereafter. According to Dr. Schultz, puppy vaccinations last for the duration of a dog’s life and re-vaccination can be detrimental to the long term health of a dog. In order to further protect your Cavalier's long term health and immune system, rather than automatically vaccinating your adult Cavalier annually, blood test him every three years for Parvo & Distemper Titers and Rabies Titers. If your dog's Titers are high, there is no need to vaccinate.
What is a Titer? Vaccine titers consist of a blood test which measures specific concentration of antibodies to different diseases (i.e. canine distemper, parvovirus, herpes etc). The only way we can quantitate any kind of measurement on how the immune system responded to the vaccines is by checking the concentration of antibodies in the blood. However, it is important to understand that just because the patient has developed titers in their blood, it doesn’t mean that he/she will be protected 100%. The same holds true for vaccines; just because the animals have been vaccinated, it doesn’t mean that they will be protected at all. In fact, the USDA-Biologics department requires for the vaccine to be only 52% effective (not protecting the animal but increasing the serum antibody titers)!
It is up to the immune system to react to the invading organism and hence maintain the system in the best shape as possible. There have been studies done in which pets that have no measurable humoral antibody titers, have been exposed experimentally to viruses and they have not developed the disease. In these cases, cell mediated and secretory immune functions have presumably conveyed protection. Remember, memory cells are the ones that will carry the “floor plan” on “how to” build up the antibodies needed to fight the infection.
Current Vaccination Recommendations for Dogs:
Distemper & Parvo: According to Dr. Schultz, (AVMA 8/15/95) when a vaccination series given at 2, 3, and 4 months and again at 12 – 24 months with modified live virus vaccine, puppies program memory cells survive for life, providing lifelong immunity. Dr. Carmichael at Cornell and Dr. Schultz have studies showing immunity against a challenge at 2 – 10 years for canine distemper and 4 years for parvo. Studies for longer duration are pending. There are no new strains of parvo as one manufacturer would like to suggest. Parvo vaccination provides cross immunity for all types.
Rabies: It should be a killed vaccine and there are State Laws governing how often a Rabies vaccine should be given.
Turning the world on its head, Catherine O’Driscoll gives ordinary dog owners and lovers the information that vets won’t or can’t tell you. Her aim is to share the truth so that dog lovers everywhere can make informed choices about the well-being of the pets they treasure. There is solid scientific research to demonstrate that vaccines can be harmful. The “tiny minority” of dogs being harmed by vaccination is a significant, significant number.
What Vets don’t tell you about Vaccines. Catherine O’Driscoll ISBN#095230483 X
Available from Our Pets, P O Box 2094, Fort Macleod, Alberta, T0L 0Z0, Canada
Vaccinations NOT Recommended:
Multiple components in vaccines compete with each other for the immune system and result in lesser immunity for each individual disease as well as increasing the risk of a reaction.
Corona: Corona virus is only a disease of puppies. It is rare and self limiting (dogs get well in 3 days without treatment). Cornell and Texas A&M have only diagnosed one case each in the last 7 years. Corona virus does not cause disease in adult dogs.
Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis vaccine is a common cause of adverse reactions in dogs. Cross protection is not provided and protection is short lived. Lepto vaccine is immuno-supressive to puppies less than 16 weeks.
Lymes: Lymes disease is a tick borne disease which can cause lameness, kidney failure and heart disease in dogs. Lyme disease prevention should emphasize early removal of ticks. Amitraz collars are more effective than Top Spot (do NOT use both at the same time) as amitraz paralyses the tick’s mouth parts preventing transmission of disease. Top Spot (Frontline) kills the tick within hours of the bite and an infected tick must be attached for over 8 hours before the disease can be transmitted. Efficacy of the Lymes vaccine is questionable however Cornell supports the one made by Rhone Merieaux/ Merielle. Unless your dog keeps getting re-infected with Lymes disease (even after the aforementioned Frontline is administered), then I would avoid this vaccine and use Frontline as a protection against ticks. Frontline has been known to be very safe and effective.
Bordatella: If you need to board your dog at a commercial boarding establishment, they often require a Bordatella vaccine. In this case, it is recommended that the internasal vaccine, Inter Trac II, be given. If you do not board your dog, then this vaccine is unnecessary. We have found this vaccine to be only effective against a small handful of kennel cough viruses of which there are thousands of these types of viruses floating around. We have also found that healthy, adult dogs just do not contract the virus and if they do, it is extremely mild.
IMPORTANT: Only ONE vaccination per vet visit should be administered to your dog throughout his/her life. Multiple vaccinations compete with each other and can be harmful.
Vaccine Information from W. Jean Dodds, DVM:
Use only killed 3 year rabies vaccine for adults and give it separated from other vaccines by 3-4 weeks. In some states, they may be able to give titer test result in lieu of booster.
Do NOT use Bordetella, corona virus, leptospirosis or Lyme vaccines unless these diseases are endemic in the local area or specific kennel. Futhermore, the currently licensed leptospira bacterins do not contain the serovars causing the majority of clinical leptospirosis today.
I do NOT recommend vaccinating bitches during estrus, pregnancy or lactation.
Vaccination Newsflash [CIMDA support] RE; J DODDS VACCINE PROTOCOL:
Please be aware that all 27 veterinary schools in North America are in the process of changing their protocols for vaccinating dogs and cats. This is welcome news and you should print this out and take it with you to your Vet should you need reinforcement against over-vaccination.
Some of this information will present an ethical & economic challenge to Vets, and there will be skeptics. Some organizations have come up with a political compromise suggesting vaccinations every 3 years to appease those who fear loss of income vs. those concerned about potential side effects. Politics, traditions, or the doctors economic well-being should not be a factor in a medical decision.
New Principles Of Immunology:
Dogs and cats immune systems mature fully at 6 months. If a modified live virus vaccine is given after 6 months of age, it produces immunity, which is good for the life of the pet (i.e.: canine distemper, parvo, feline distemper). If another MLV vaccine is given a year later, the antibodies from the first vaccine neutralize the antigens of the second vaccine and there is little or no effect. The titer is not "boosted" nor are more memory cells induced. Not only are annual boosters for parvo and distemper unnecessary, they subject the pet to potential risks of allergic reactions and immune-mediated haemolytic anemia. There is no scientific documentation to back up label claims for annual administration of MLV vaccines. Puppies receive antibodies through their mothers milk. This natural protection can last 8 - 14 weeks. Puppies & kittens should NOT be vaccinated at LESS than 8 weeks. Maternal immunity will neutralize the vaccine and little protection (0-38%) will be produced. Vaccination at 6 weeks will, however, DELAY the timing of the first highly effective vaccine. Vaccinations given 2 weeks apart SUPPRESS rather than stimulate the immune system. A series of vaccinations is given starting at 8 weeks and given 3-4 weeks apart up to 16 weeks of age. Another vaccination given sometime after 6 months of age (usually at l year 4 mo) will provide LIFETIME IMMUNITY.
W. Jean Dodds, DVM
938 Stanford Street, Santa Monica, CA. 90403
310-828-4804; Fax 310-828-8251
CKCSC Health Registry, 5+ Year Clear Heart
CKCSC Open Health Registry
American Veterinary Medical Association Vaccination Guidelines:
List of links about vaccines:
Look up any Kind of Health Problem:
This highly useful information can be found on the CKCSC-USA web site: