Vaccination protects our pets against diseases which are very hard to treat. The important diseases with vaccines available are Canines Distemper, Canine Parvovirus, Canine Adenoviruses, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza virus, Bordetella Bronchiseptica and Rabies. Leptospirosis is spread by rats and found in rivers and streams.
These vaccines have been available for many years (although no vaccine can guarantee 100% protection) so many pet owners have never seen the devastating effects of these illnesses, which can often be fatal. These diseases have become rarer due to widespread vaccination, but if this is not continued, they could become common again.
As with humans all medicines have potential side effects. However before vaccines are approved must pass stringent tests of quality, safety and efficacy. The Animal Health Trust conducted a survey in 2004 (The Pooch Study) which analysed results 4000 questionnaires and concluded that vaccination does not increase ill health in dogs.
Vaccination consists of an initial course, followed by yearly boosters. Not all of the components of the vaccine are repeated every year, as immunity to some parts is longer lasting than others.
It is possible to do the titre testing for some components of the vaccine, however this just gives a snapshot of the immunity on that day, it gives no indication as to how long that immunity may last. Also, very importantly, titre testing for Leptospirosis is not available as circulating antibodies are short lived following vaccination and not a reliable test for immunity.
Homeopathic “vaccines” are available but there is no scientific evidence that they work.