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Dr. D
Dr. D, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 59
Experience:  I am a general practitioner in a busy small animal hospital.
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We missed the third shot with our puppy for distemper and it

Customer Question

We missed the third shot with our puppy for distemper and it has been 6 weeks overdue now. The vet says we need to start over. They say the first 2 shots did nothing is this true? Should we just get a titre test and see if he has antibodies? i dont want to put all that into the puppy with possible side effects.               Buddy
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. D replied 5 years ago.
<p>bham,</p><p> </p><p>I understand your concern and frustration about the prospect of "over vaccinating". In general I would agree with your veterinarians recommendation. With puppies it is best to have at least 2 vaccines given AFTER 12 weeks of age that are separated by 3-4 weeks. If the booster shot is given too late (ie 6 weeks) it will need to be boostered again to be effective. So...in short I think your puppy needs 2 distemper shots separated by 3-4 weeks to be safe. You could check titer levels, the only down side to that is the cost associated with it. You should talk to your veterinarian about titers prior to giving more vaccines and hopefully come up with a plan together.</p><p> </p><p>I hope this was helpful for you - please let me know if you have further questions or concerns.</p><p> </p><p>Dr. D</p><p> </p>
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Didnt answer the entire question.........if i trusted my vet and wanted to talk to them about this issue i would have done that......thanks for nothing
Expert:  Dr. D replied 5 years ago.
excuse me, but I feel that I answered your question and gave you my professional opinion about vaccine recommendations and the option of titers. If there was something else you were looking for please feel free to ask.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I asked if the first two shots did nothing as they said. I find it hard to believe it did not create any antibodies to disease in this puppy. There are infact down sides to these shots I have read about them, i dont want to keep putting this in the dogs body on an assumption. Second, what is and approximate cost of the titre test, and could it show that that first two shots have sufficiently produced enough antibodies?
Expert:  NancyH replied 5 years ago.

How old is your puppy?

What age was your puppy when the first two shots were given?

 

Expert:  Dr. D replied 5 years ago.
When a puppy is born they have what are called maternal antibodies - those protective antibodies begin to decline between 7 and 12 weeks of age. If an animal is vaccinated while those maternal antibodies are present - then that vaccine is essentially destroyed by the maternal antibodies. For that reason it is recommended that dogs be vaccinated twice after 12 weeks of age to assure that two vaccines are effective. Because the vaccine is a modified live vaccine two vaccines must be given to provide an adequate immune response. The reason for vaccines before 12 weeks of age (ie a puppy series) is to protect those puppies whose maternal antibodies have declined early on...say 7 weeks of age and to minimize the time they are potentially unprotected. Cost for an antibody titer would vary in your area - but at my clinic they would cost around $200. That test would tell you if you dog is protected.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
First of all let me thank you for your further and more informative responses. I didnt realize we could message further than the initial response. The first shot was given at 12 weeks 5+lbs, the second at 14 weeks and 8+lbs. It was the third shot at 16 weeks that was missed. He is now 22 weeks old and weighs 10lbs 8oz. If I understand you correctly, after 12 weeks 2 shots would provide some protection even if the third was missed? They have told me not to take him around other dogs as though there is great risk.....
Expert:  Dr Deb G replied 5 years ago.

HelloCustomer

 

I just wanted to chime in (I agree with what Dr D said) but thought perhaps I could give you a little more information to help you.

 

Let's start at the beginning...The mother passes on antibodies to her pups in the colostrum (the first milk produced). If the mother is well vaccinated and healthy, and if the pups are in good shape and get their share of the colostrum, they generally have received enough of the maternal antibodies to protect them for the first few months of their lives. During this time any vaccines we administer probably don't affect the pup's immune system much. We do know that sometime between 7 and 15 weeks the level of maternal immunity starts to decrease - the problem is that you cannot tell from looking at the pup where they stand.

 

On the pups side, their immune systems start maturing as they grow, and somewhere during that 7-15 week period their immune systems are actually able to respond to vaccine and develop the different antibodies needed to protect against these diseases. One type of cell that develops is a "memory cell" and these help the body to remember the diseases. The boosters also help to increase the level and memory of these cells, so we get a much quicker response. Again, this process is also affected by the pup's health: stress from overcrowding, malnutrition, moving to new homes, and parasitism can affect the pup's immune system and their ability to respond to the vaccines. And again, we can't tell just from looking at the pup how well they will respond. Thus, the boostering process.

 

Another factor to also consider is the vaccine itself. Quality vaccine, proper storage & handling, and proper administration are all factors that can affect the level of immune response. Good vaccine companies will also make changes in their vaccine to reflect the changes in the viruses/bacteria in the real world.

 

So, finally to answer your question, I wouldn't say that the initial vaccinations are worthless, we just do not know how effective that they are. Personally, I am not a big fan of titres - not only are they pretty expensive, they information can be very limited (like looking at a poloroid picture and trying to explain the plot of the whole movie). It generally is easier to simply provide extra vaccinations both for efficacy and peace of mind of all involved. As for being around other animals, as long as you know that they are healthy and well-vaccinated, go for it! This is the time when your pup needs as much socialization time as possible (and what fun to go to a friends house for coffee and a play day!)

 

I hope that this helps give you a little more information and helps with your decisions. Have fun with your little boy!

Expert:  Dr. D replied 5 years ago.
<p>I generally recommend boosters be spaced 3-4 weeks apart. The fact that two vaccines were given after 12 weeks of age is good, however my own personal concern would be the close proximity of the two vaccines. Is your dog likely protected....yes. If it were my dog I would probably give another booster to be safe - either that or confirm protection with a titer. Personally - I would keep him from unknown or unhealthy dogs until we know for sure if he is protected. If you have friends or family with vaccinated, healthy dogs then he is OK to be around them.</p><p> </p><p>I hope this was helpful, if you could accept my answer it would be greatly appreciated. </p><p>Let me know if you have further questions or concerns.</p><p> </p><p>Dr.D</p>
Dr. D, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 59
Experience: I am a general practitioner in a busy small animal hospital.
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