Limited Vaccine Protocols
There is an incredible amount of information out there about vaccines and their side effects. Often previously considered to be benign and harmless, now we are learning that we were wrong! Vaccines can have very many serious side effects, including autoimmune disorders, epilepsy, encephalitis, allergies, behavior problems, digestive disorders, cancer and death! With the Toller breed we have to be particularly careful, as their self-coloring and very limited gene pool puts them at a greater risk of vaccine-related problems than the average dog.
Here is the limited vaccine protocol I advocate here at Tollwest:
Shortly after birth, I will have a titre and nomograph run on the mom so we can estimate when the maternal antibodies will run out (so we know when the vaccines are likely to actually work) Depending on the results of the nomograph, we will determine an appropriate vaccine schedule for each litter. Typically do a 2 way (Parvo/Distemper) vaccine before the puppies head to their new homes. The vaccine we use and recommend is Nobivac Puppy DPv. We have had better effectiveness and less negative reastions to this one compared to others we have used in the past. Often this first vaccine may only be effective for one of the two diseases we are vaccinating for, and depending on nomograph levels, it may or may not be effective at all.
Timing of a second vaccine will typically be around 12-14 weeks old (but again, dependent on the nomograpgh results). Again, we recommend a 2-way vaccine (Distemper/Parvo) for this preferably, but no more than a 3 way vaccine (Distemper/Adenovirus/Parvo) is to be given.
3 weeks after the second vaccine, I recommend having parvo & distemper titres run (this is a blood test), to see if immunity has been achieved after the second vaccines. Often they do have good immunity after the second vaccine, but the occasional pup still has enough residual maternal antibodies to block the vaccine.
If there are good titre levels after the 2nd vaccine, please do not re-vaccinate! If the titres come back low, then re-vaccinate in another 3-4 weeks (and again re-check titres 3-4 weeks post-vaccination)
You can then check titre levels again at 1 year old, and then every 1-3 years, as per your comfort level. In many/most dogs, a pup that has a good titre level will maintain immunity for many years to a lifetime!
As far as Rabies goes, this is another vaccine that can be quite hard on the immune system. If you live somewhere that you need to give Rabies, please wait as long as you can before giving it (hopefully not before at least 6 months of age), and not within a month of any other vaccine, nor within a month of any surgeries or other medical procedures that would put the body under stress
I do not recommend routine vaccination for kennel cough - this is not a very effective vaccine. There are very many strains of bacterias and viruses that can cause "kennel cough", and the kennel cough vaccines cover only 3 strains! (bordetella, adenovirus and parainfluenza). And most often, the strains going around are NOT the forms we have vaccines for! Also, the kennel cough vaccine is not a long-lasting vaccine, at least not for the bordetella portion - this is a bacterial vaccine, and does not usually confer long-lasting immunity - often only 3-6 months! Because of the lack of efficacy and short duration of immunity, I would only recommend giving this vaccine if you can't avoid it. As more people become educated, it is becoming easier to find groomers, daycares, classes and boarding kennels that do not require this vaccine.
As kennel cough tends to be highly contagious and airborne, it is easily passed around in places where there is a high concentration of dogs - like dog shows, training classes, doggie daycares, dog parks, groomers and vet clinics! Like the human version of a cold, kennel cough is usually mild and although they might not feel great for a few days, a normal healthy dog will get better on its own very quickly.
Leptospirosis vaccine I do not recommend, unless you #1:live in an area with a lot of Lepto cases, and #2: the strains of Lepto occuring in your area are actually the same strains in the vaccine! There are many strains of Lepto, and the vaccine does not cross-protect against all strains, it only covers 4 of the most common strains.
So absolutely, if there is Lepto in your area, and if it is of a strain covered by the vaccine, then there is justification to give this vaccine. But, this vaccine is one that is well known for causing reactions, and as it is a bacterial vaccine (not viral like a parvo or distemper or rabies vaccine), it does not usually confer long-lasting immunity - often only 3-6 months! So please do some research before choosing to vaccinate your dog for Lepto.
For more information on vaccinations, how they work, and why I believe in limited vaccinations, please see my other vaccine page, titled More Vaccine Info.