Tuesday, February 14, 2006

First Vaccination

Because of Savage's vaccination protocol (required by my breeder) I found it will be a lot less hassle to give his shots myself. Therefore, on the 11th he got his parvo vaccination administered by yours truly.The schedule goes like this: At 12 weeks old, Savage gets his parvovirus vaccine. At 14 weeks old, he gets a distemper shot. After he's 6 months old he recieves his rabies vaccination, which, because it is the only one required by law, must be given by a licensed veterinarian. And that's it!The reasoning behind the limited number of vaccines is that as a puppy Savage retains the maternal antibodies to diseases for an unknown amount of time. It makes no sense to give three parvo shots when the first two may be completely useless because his system is still immune anyway. When those antibodies his mother provided him become inneffective, at that time he should be immunized with vaccinations. We can be sure we're vaccinating our dogs effectively by having our vet draw blood and have it checked by a lab to see if the vaccination "took" (titer testing). A low rating on the titer will confirm that maternal antibodies have worn off and the shot has been successfulSavage will have 2 more shots, then.These three total vaccinations are believed to last a lifetime. According to the USDA Center for Biologic and Therapeutic Agents, there is no scientific data that backs up the idea that dogs need annual boosters. Not only does this make common sense, it also costs a pet owner a lot less money, which is an added benefit. I paid $3.75 for Savage's parvo shot, which is a modified live virus administered subcutaneously (under the skin). Because it needs to be refrigerated I ended up paying more for overnight shipping but compare my total cost of $20.75 with a vet clinic office visit. Also, I have to add in driving time (2 1/2 hours) and cost of fuel, as well as loss of a day's wages. Financially, it works great giving your own vaccinations.
Now, a word about the vaccines I plan on giving Savage; these are both simply parvo and distemper shots. Vets give combination vaccines as a rule (a bunch of viruses combined as to make the process quicker and less of a hassle). The problem with combinations is that they may confuse the puppy's immune system and stress it out trying to cope with all that information. Why should I put my puppy through that?I've heard of people getting a single shot (influenza) and getting sick from that. Imagine if that shot also included another vaccination (say, hepatitis) also. Wouldn't that really overwhelm the immune system? I am under contract to follow this vaccination protocol, though I believe in it anyway. I think of my puppy as a baby, and I think over-medicating, over-vaccinating, etc., are unneccessary and probably harmful. However, the above information is a combination of my personal research and reccomendations from my breeder and fellow puppy-owners. Please make your own decisions regarding your own dog(s). As far as administering the shot itself, I was a little (okay, a lot) concerned about hurting my little guy, but my boyfriend R., who takes a more practical approach to these things, assured me that Savage would quickly recover. Which he did. He squealed when I put the needle in but seconds after it came out, he shook it off and wanted to play again. The package came with instructions, so if it's your first time giving a shot just follow the directions. Pretty simple.Also, I have been warned to keep a record of Sav's vaccinations myself, since he won't have a vet record of them. I peeled the label off the vial and stuck it on a 3"x5" piece of card stock, dated and signed it. And I kept the order confirmation. I hope that's sufficient. Savage seems healthy and happy and I feel that I'm doing the best I can for him. I've had a terrible cold for the last week, which is why there haven't been any posts. Taking care of my little blue puppy takes up ALL of my free time.


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