Noted veterinary immunologist Dr Ronald Schultz has addressed this issue and recommends a minimal vaccine program that includes one vaccination for parvo, distemper and adenovirus only, given at 16 weeks of age.
This isn’t an arbitrary number – it’s the earliest age at which the vaccine will have the greatest chance of protecting your puppy.
This is interesting …
The vaccine manufacturer Pfizer performed a field study in 1996. Researchers Hoare, DeBouck and Wiseman assessed vaccinated puppies and split them into two groups.
Group A received a single vaccination at 12 weeks
Group B received a first vaccine between 8 to 10 weeks and a second shot at 12 weeks
When titers were measured (titers are a way to measure a dog’s level of immunity), 100% of the puppies vaccinated once at 12 weeks were protected.
But only 94% of the puppies in Group B were protected …
… despite receiving two vaccines as opposed to one.
It would appear that the first vaccine reduced the effectiveness the the second vaccine.
Now imagine the puppy who is vaccinated three or four times. By the time he reaches 12 or 16 weeks of age, he’ll be LESS LIKELY to be protected than the puppy who was only vaccinated once at 12 weeks.
And don’t forget, he’s received more vaccines so not only is he less likely to be protected, he’s at more risk for adverse reactions and the common chronic diseases like allergies, cancer and more.
Vanguard also tested the response to parvovirus in their combination vaccine.
They vaccinated puppies at 6 weeks, 9 weeks and 12 weeks of age and then measured their response to the vaccine by measuring their titers to parvovirus.
At 6 weeks, only 52% of the puppies were protected, meaning that half of the puppies vaccinated at 6 weeks of age would get all of the risk from the vaccine and none of the benefit because their maternal antibodies inactivated the vaccine. At 9 weeks, 88% of the puppies showed a response to the vaccine. At 12 weeks, 100% of the puppies were protected.
The Magic Number
It appears that 12 to 16 weeks would be the magic number where vaccines have a nearly 100% chance of working.
And by working, it means that your puppy should only need that one vaccine – for his entire life.
The results are even more amazing with distemper.
Dr Schultz designed a study to mimic an animal shelter environment. He gave unvaccinated, 12 week old puppies just one dose of distemper vaccine … just four hours before the puppies were placed in a room with distemper-infected dogs. Yikes!
But that one vaccine protected every one of those puppies.
Although two and even three doses of vaccine were the original recommendations made in the AAHA Canine Vaccine Guideline back in 20013, the research shows that a series of puppy shots is completely unnecessary.
Puppies vaccinated once at 12 to 16 weeks of age with a high titer vaccine, according to research done by Dr Schultz, have a virtually 100% chance of being protected.
But aren’t the puppies at risk until 12 weeks of age?
Yes it is. But ironically, there’s even greater risk for puppies given a series of shots.
Not only do these puppies receive more vaccines, meaning they’re more likely to suffer from vaccine-induced chronic disease, there’s a little downside to vaccines your vet doesn’t tell you about …
… they suppress your puppy’s immune system. For ten days.
So if you’re vaccinating your puppy at 8 weeks, not only is it not likely to protect him and he’ll need another at 12 and probably again at 16 weeks, but it suppresses his immune system, meaning he’s MORE AT RISK for infectious disease.
So it’s no wonder why data from the Virbac Disease Watchdog shows that 28% of vaccinated puppies still get parvovirus.
So does the series of puppy shots still make sense to you?