Tag Archives: dog vaccination

Over-vaccination of dogs with parvovirus and other vaccines remains prevalent practice

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Dogs in Australia and elsewhere continue to be grossly over-vaccinated.  These companion animals and their owners are being exploited by the veterinary industry.

See below my recent email on this matter to Ms Kareena Arthy, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).  

The APVMA is the body responsible for ‘regulating’ veterinary vaccine products in Australia.

_____________________________________________________________

23 April 2014

Ms Arthy

Further to my previous extensive correspondence with the APVMA and others on the subject of over-vaccination of dogs.  (Please refer to hyperlinked list of correspondence below, including correspondence with Dr Allen Bryce, Executive Director of the APVMA’s Veterinary Medicines Program.  My colleague Bea Mies has also undertaken extensive correspondence on this matter.)

The APVMA’s Position Statement – Vaccination Protocols for Dogs and Cats, last amended in September 2010, notes: “The APVMA does not support the retention of label statements that direct or imply a universal need for life-long annual revaccinations with core vaccines.  The APVMA supports the AVA’s vaccination policy and is of the view that product labels should be amended to align with that policy.  The APVMA is working with vaccine registrants with a view to updating labels.” (My emphasis.)

It is now April 2014 and still core vaccine products with an annual revaccination ‘recommendation’ remain on the market.  For example Virbac Australia’s Canigen C4 DHA2PPI Quadrivalent Living Vaccine states: “An annual booster is recommended”.  (Note: The label for Virbac’s Canigen DHA2P Trivalent Living Vaccine is currently not accessible on the PUBCRIS website.)

On what evidence is this ‘recommendation’ for an ‘annual booster’ with core vaccines based?

In August 2013, I forwarded a letter to Professor Ronald Schultz of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s Vaccination Guidelines Group, challenging the confusing and misleading use of the term ‘booster’ in relation to canine core modified live virus (MLV) vaccines for parvovirus, distemper virus and adenovirus, suggesting that use of the term ‘booster’ is resulting in extensive over-vaccination of already immune dogs.  My letter can be accessed via this link:  http://users.on.net/~peter.hart/Query_re_MLV_boosters.pdf

In his email response of 22 August 2013, Professor Schultz said: “I agree that the term “booster” is misleading in that many of the already immune dogs probably receive no beneficial “booster effect” from an infectious vaccine because the virus (e.g. CDV, CPV-2, CAV-2)* is immediately neutralized.  Therefore, it cannot infect the cells and replicate! It is only in those dogs that have no viral antibody that the vaccine will booster the immune system, both the cellular and humoral response to the virus.  It is these antibody negative dogs that I recommend revaccinating, not dogs with detectable antibody.  There are, however, components of the vaccines that are almost always boostered such as fetal bovine serum components and other extraneous proteins that are in all vaccines.  Obviously, these are components of the vaccine we don’t want to boost especially in a dog that genetically is predisposed to an adverse reaction (e.g. hypersensitivity).  That is why we are trying to prevent annual revaccination with the Core Vaccines that provide long term immunity in a majority of most dogs, but not all!” (*Note: CDV, CPV-2 and CAV-2 are the canine diseases distemper virus, parvovirus and adenovirus [hepatitis]).

It is my strong suspicion that annual revaccination of dogs with core MLV vaccine products remains prevalent practice in Australia.  See for example the attached article published in Dogs NSW in September 2013: “The Deadly Canine Parvovirus – Is Your Dog At Risk?”.  My response to this article is attached.  Also attached is the response by pro-annual vaccination vet Robert Zammit, and Virbac/ASAVA’s Mark Kelman.

See also this ‘Vaccination Guide’ from Greencross Vets which recommends revaccination every year with core vaccines for distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus (and non-core vaccines parainfluenza and bordetella).

Pet owners and their pets are being grossly exploited by the prevalent practice of over-vaccination due to the non-evidence based revaccination ‘recommendations’ on APVMA approved core MLV vaccine product labels.  I also strongly suspect most pet owners are not being informed of the option of in-clinic and lab-based antibody titre testing to verify a response to core MLV vaccination.

Ms Arthy, on what evidence does the APVMA continue to re-register canine core MLV vaccine products which recommend repeated revaccination of adult dogs?

I request your urgent response on this matter.

Sincerely

Elizabeth Hart

See below hyperlinks to some of my correspondence, submissions and articles on over-vaccination of pets:

Key documents:

Correspondence with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), and others:

Correspondence with the UK Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD):

Correspondence with Virbac Animal Health (Disease WatchDog):

Submissions on the subject of unnecessary vaccination of pets:

Correspondence to Members of Parliament:

Articles and summaries re over-vaccination of pets:

Media reports re over-vaccination of pets:

More on over-vaccination of pets…

Recently the magazine Dogs NSW published a fear-mongering article, “The Deadly Canine Parvovirus – Is Your Dog At Risk”, promoting annual revaccination for parvovirus, in other words promoting gross over-vaccination of dogs.

See below my response to Dogs NSW on this matter:

Letter to the Editor of Dogs NSW:

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Charlotte Long’s article “The Deadly Canine Parvovirus – Is Your Dog At Risk?” (Dogs NSW, Sept 2013) promotes annual revaccination for parvovirus and fails to address the controversy about over-vaccination of pets, which exploits companion animals and their owners. 

Over-vaccination of pets was raised by the consumer watchdog CHOICE in 2010 with the article: Pet vaccination: Over-vaccinating your pet could be harmful to their health as well as your own hip pocket.[1]  In July 2013 the Sydney Morning Herald reported on another CHOICE investigation which found “the three common areas for “up selling” by vets were unnecessary diagnostic tests, over-vaccinating and mark-ups on products sold by vet practices”.[2] (My emphasis.)

Many vets are failing to advise pet owners about vaccination ‘best practice’, and are failing to obtain ‘informed consent’ before vaccinating their clients’ pets.

Charlotte Long maintains the lack of information by failing to refer to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s Guidelines for the Vaccination of Dogs and Cats (2010), which advise that after effective vaccination with the core vaccines for parvovirus, distemper virus and adenovirus, duration of immunity “is many years and may be up to the lifetime of the pet”.[3]  The WSAVA Guidelines also warn “we should aim to reduce the ‘vaccine load’ on individual animals in order to minimize the potential for adverse reactions to vaccine products”.[4]

Ms Long also ignores the option of in-surgery or lab-based titre testing to verify a response to core vaccination.  The WSAVA Guidelines 2010 note “the principles of ‘evidence-based veterinary medicine’ would dictate that testing for antibody status (for either pups or adult dogs) is a better practice than simply administering a vaccine booster on the basis that this should be ‘safe and cost less’”.[5]  The latest  WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines for New Puppy Owners (published in May 2013) advise “the presence of circulating antibodies indicates that the dog is immune, and revaccination (with core vaccines) is not required”.[6]

Similarly there is no discussion about the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority’s (APVMA) Position Statement on Vaccination Protocols for Dogs and Cats (first published in January 2010 in response to pet owners’ concerns about over-vaccination) which states “…the aim should be to ensure that all susceptible animals are vaccinated, rather than that already well-immunised animals are re-vaccinated”.[7]  (My emphasis.)

The APVMA is the government regulator of veterinary vaccine products.  In September 2010 the APVMA requested all eight Veterinary Boards in Australia circulate its Position Statement on Vaccination Protocols for Dogs and Cats to veterinarians in their jurisdictions.  It is my understanding that some, if not all, of the Veterinary Boards, ignored this request by the government regulator, an appalling dereliction of duty.[8]  As a result many pet owners still remain unaware of the APVMA’s Position Statement on Vaccination Protocols for Dogs and Cats.

The APVMA’s past failure to ensure that vaccine manufacturers’ revaccination recommendations are evidence based is at the heart of the continuing problem of over-vaccination of pets, coupled with the reluctance of many members of the veterinary profession to keep abreast of and acknowledge the latest science on duration of immunity and vaccination ‘best practice’. No wonder the World Small Animal Veterinary Association warns “there is an urgent requirement for education of practicing veterinarians in this area”.[9]

The APVMA’s Position Statement notes: The APVMA does not support the retention of label statements that direct or imply a universal need for life-long annual revaccinations with core vaccines…The APVMA is working with vaccine registrants with a view to updating labels.”(10)  (My emphasis.) However, more than three years after publication of the APVMA’s Position Statement, core vaccine products with an annual revaccination ‘recommendation’ remain on the market, e.g. Virbac’s Canigen DHA2P (11) and Boehringer Ingelheim’s Protech C3 (12).

Another important omission in Ms Long’s article is discussion about appropriate timing of puppy vaccination, with some vaccine product labels recommending a finish at 10 or 12 weeks(13), which is in conflict with the WSAVA recommendation for a finish around 14-16 weeks. It is possible that, due to the interference of maternally derived antibodies, some puppies may remain unimmunised and unprotected with the earlier finish.  (In this regard, refer to my article Vaccination failure!, published in the dog breeder’s magazine National Dog in 2010.[14])

In short, Charlotte Long’s article fails to include a simple and effective message to promote successful immunisation of puppies to protect against parvovirus, rather than over-vaccinating already immune dogs over and over again.  Instead we are presented with a fear-mongering advertorial promoting lucrative over-vaccination of dogs on behalf of the veterinary vaccination industry.

Readers of Dogs NSW have been poorly served by Ms Long’s biased and ill-informed article.  As a result it is likely many already immunised dogs will be unnecessarily revaccinated.

I request that Dogs NSW take steps to redress the misinformation it has spread in the community.

Sincerely

Elizabeth Hart

References:

1. “Pet vaccination – Over-vaccinating your pet could be harmful to their health as well as your own hip pocket.” CHOICE. Published online August 2010: http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/household/backyard/pets/pet-vaccination/page.aspx

2. Choice urges vets to dump high fees and unnecessary charges. Sydney Morning Herald, 22 July 2013: http://www.smh.com.au/national/choice-urges-vets-to-dump-high-fees-and-unnecessary-charges-20130721-2qck5.html

3. MJ Day, MC Horzinek, RD Schultz. World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s (WSAVA) Guidelines for the Vaccination of Dogs and Cats. Journal of Small Animal Practice. Vol.51. June 2010: http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/VaccinationGuidelines2010.pdf  Also refer to the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines webpage: http://www.wsava.org/guidelines/vaccination-guidelines

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines for New Puppy Owners. (May 2013.): I have highlighted important points in this version of the guidelines: http://users.on.net/~peter.hart/WSAVA%20Puppy%20Vax%20Guidelines%20May%202013.pdf

7. Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority – Position Statement – Vaccination Protocols for Dogs and Cats. 21 January 2010. Revised 25 January, 2 and 13 September 2010. http://www.apvma.gov.au/use_safely/vaccination.php

8. On 19 May 2011 I circulated an email to the veterinary boards in Australia, asking what steps they had taken to forward the APVMA’s Position Statement to registered veterinarians in their jurisdictions: http://users.on.net/~peter.hart/Email_to_Vet_Boards_May_2011.pdf  The veterinary boards of Queensland and the Northern Territory advised they had taken no action to circulate the Position Statement.  My enquiry was ignored by the other veterinary boards.

9. In the ‘read more’ section, the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group webpage notes: “It is clear that the controversy surrounding small companion animal vaccination has not diminished and that there is an urgent requirement for education of practicing veterinarians in this area. The members of the VGG are actively engaged in delivering national and international lectures to help address this demand.” (My emphasis.) http://www.wsava.org/educational/vaccination-guidelines-group

10. Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority – Position Statement – Vaccination Protocols for Dogs and Cats. 21 January 2010. Revised 25 January, 2 and 13 September 2010. http://www.apvma.gov.au/use_safely/vaccination.php

11. Virbac’s Canigen DHA2P label states: “An annual booster is recommended.” and “This product has been assessed as providing at least 12 months protection. Many factors influence the effectiveness if [sic] vaccination and the need for re-vaccination. The vaccination for an individual animal should be determined within a veterinarian-client-patient relationship, taking all these factors into account.”  The label is accessible on the APVMA’s PUBCRIS database: http://www.infopest.com.au/extra/asp/infopest/nra/labels.asp?prodcode=40758

12. The ‘suggested’ revaccination ‘recommendation’ on Boehringer Ingelheim’s Protech C3 label reads: “Annual vaccination Either Protech C3 +Protech C2i and Protech Bronchi-Shield III Or Protech C4 + Protech C2i and Protech Bronchi-Shield I.  Protech C3 and Protech C4 have been assessed as providing at least 12 months protection against canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus and canine parvovirus. Many factors influence the effectiveness of vaccination and the need for revaccination. The vaccination program for an individual animal should be determined within a veterinary-client-patient relationship, taking all these factors into account.”  The label is accessible on the APVMA’s PUBCRIS database: http://www.infopest.com.au/extra/asp/infopest/nra/labels.asp?prodcode=51487

13. For example, Boehringer Ingelheim’s Protech C3 label suggests finishing the primary vaccination program at 10 weeks: http://www.infopest.com.au/extra/asp/infopest/nra/labels.asp?prodcode=51487  MSD Animal Health’s Nobivac DHP Continuum vaccine label recommends final puppy vaccination at 10 weeks:  http://www.infopest.com.au/extra/asp/infopest/nra/labels.asp?prodcode=59043  Virbac’s Canigen DHA2P vaccine label recommends the second primary dose at 12 weeks also stating: “In situations where high maternal antibody and potential challenge is possible an additional vaccination should be considered at 16 weeks of age.” http://www.infopest.com.au/extra/asp/infopest/nra/labels.asp?prodcode=40758

14. Elizabeth Hart. “Vaccination failure! There is a potential for maternally derived antibodies (MDA) to interfere with a puppy’s response to core vaccination.” National Dog. Vol. 14, No.5, pp 29-30 (2010): http://users.on.net/~peter.hart/Vaccination_failure!.pdf

 

UPDATE: Response from Professor Ronald Schultz re vaccination ‘boosters’ for dogs

dreamstime_xs_29221605In a previous post, Over-vaccination of dogs with unnecessary ‘boosters’, I suggest use of the questionable term ‘booster’ in relation to canine core modified live virus (MLV) vaccines for parvovirus, distemper virus and adenovirus is resulting in extensive unnecessary over-vaccination of already immune dogs.

I forwarded a detailed letter on this matter to Professor Ronald Schultz, a member of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s Vaccination Guidelines Group, complaining about the confusing and misleading use of the term ‘booster’ in vaccination guidelines issued by the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group.

I have received a response from Professor Schultz in which he says:

“I agree that the term “booster” is misleading in that many of the already immune dogs probably receive no beneficial “booster effect” from an infectious vaccine because the virus (e.g. CDV, CPV-2, CAV-2)* is immediately neutralized.  Therefore, it cannot infect the cells and replicate!  It is only in those dogs that have no viral antibody that the vaccine will boost the immune system, both the cellular and humoral response to the virus.  It is these antibody negative dogs that I recommend revaccinating, not dogs with detectable antibody.  There are, however, components of the vaccines that are almost always boostered such as fetal bovine serum components and other extraneous proteins that are in all vaccines.  Obviously, these are components of the vaccine we don’t want to boost especially in a dog that genetically is predisposed to an adverse reaction (e.g. hypersensitivity).  That is why we are trying to prevent annual revaccination with the Core Vaccines that provide long term immunity in a majority of most dogs, but not all!”(1)  (*Note: CDV, CPV-2 and CAV-2 are the canine diseases distemper virus, parvovirus and adenovirus [hepatitis]).

hSo I wonder if the WSAVA vaccination guidelines will be amended accordingly?

Meanwhile annual revaccination of dogs for diseases such as parvovirus remains rife in Australia.  A recent article titled “The Deadly Canine Parvovirus – Is Your Dog At Risk?”, published in Dogs NSW magazine in September 2013, works as a fear-mongering advertorial for the veterinary industry, including the key message: “Always have your vaccinations up to date: Make sure dogs are vaccinated as puppies and then annually thereafter.”(2) (My emphasis.)

Business as usual then for the over-vaccinating veterinary industry… 

I am pursuing this matter further.

Postscript:  In his response to me, Professor Schultz refers to “fetal bovine serum components and other extraneous proteins that are in all vaccines.  Obviously, these are components of the vaccine we don’t want to boost especially in a dog that genetically is predisposed to an adverse reaction (e.g. hypersensitivity)”.

Fetal bovine serum is also in the human live Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccine, see for example Merck’s MMR II(3).  So it doesn’t seem like a good idea to have unnecessary doses of MMR vaccine either…  In this regard refer to my letter to Paul Offit: Questioning the ethics of mandated vaccination of children with the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) ‘booster’ second dose.

References:

  1. Email response from Professor Ronald Schultz to Elizabeth Hart, 22 August 2013.  (I have Professor Schultz’s permission to quote him.)
  2. Charlotte Long. The deadly canine parvovirus – is your dog at risk? Dogs NSW, September 2013, pp 21-25.
  3. M-M-R ®II (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Virus Vaccine Live). Merck & Co., Inc. http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/m/mmr_ii/mmr_ii_pi.pdf

Over-vaccination of dogs with unnecessary ‘boosters’

pet vaxFor those people interested in the ongoing over-vaccination of pets scandal, I recently forwarded a letter to Professor Ronald Schultz, a member of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s Vaccination Guidelines Group, and the American Animal Hospital Association’s Canine Vaccination Task Force, complaining about the confusing and misleading use of the term ‘booster’ in vaccination guidelines.

The email below summarises my complaint.  My detailed letter can be accessed via this hyperlink:  Letter to Professor Ronald Schultz re confusing and misleading use of the term ‘booster’

________________________

From: Elizabeth Hart <eliz.hart25@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Aug 20, 2013 at 3:18 PM
Subject: Re: Confusing and misleading use of the term ‘booster’ in relation to modified live virus (MLV) vaccines

Professor Schultz

Please see attached a detailed letter addressed to you criticising the use of the confusing and misleading term ‘booster’ in vaccination guidelines issued by the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group.  This criticism is also relevant to the 2011 AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines.

As noted in my letter, I suggest use of the term ‘booster’ in relation to canine core modified live virus (MLV) vaccines for parvovirus, distemper virus and adenovirus is resulting in extensive unnecessary over-vaccination of already immune dogs.

I suspect that many pet owners are still not being informed that there is no evidence to support revaccination of already immune animals with so-called ‘booster’ shots, nor that there is the option of titre testing to verify a response to core MLV vaccination.

This is especially concerning in light of the WSAVA 2010 guidelines warning “that we should aim to reduce the ‘vaccine load’ on individual animals in order to minimize the potential for adverse reactions to vaccine products”, and the WSAVA 2013 guidelines advice that “it is important to give as few vaccines as possible…” and “…any reaction to a vaccine that is not needed is unacceptable”.

There are serious flaws in the WSAVA guidelines 2010 and 2013 which must be rectified.  In addition, the 2011 AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines should also be subjected to review.

I request your urgent response on this matter.

Sincerely

Elizabeth Hart

*This email and letter is also being circulated to the following:

  • Professor Michael Day, Chairperson, WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group
  • Professor Emeritus Marian Horzinek, previous member of the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group
  • Professor Jolle Kirpensteijn, EB Liasison, WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Committee
  • Professor Hajime Tsujimoto, WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group
  • Professor Richard Squires, WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group
  • Professor Emeritus Richard Ford, member of the AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines Task Force
  • Dr Carmel Mooney, Editor of the Journal of Small Animal Practice
  • Dr Anna-Maria Brady, Head of Biologicals and Administration, Veterinary Medicines Directorate
  • Dr Allen Bryce, Executive Director, Veterinary Medicines, Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority
  • Dr Rick E. Hill, Director, Center for Veterinary Biologics, US Department of Agriculture
  • Professor Brian Martin, Social Sciences, University of Wollongong
  • Bea Mies, independent advocate for judicial vaccine use

and will also be circulated to other parties.