Tuesday, May 21, 2013

DAP (Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus): Fourth Year In, Still Full Immunity

Jasmine had her titers last fall. I was going write about it, but too many things kept happening … JD just had his this month.

Three years ago, when the majority of Jasmine’s medical disasters got under control, at least for the time being, I finally had a chance to start paying attention to the big picture.

I felt that in order to keep things under control I needed to look at things more globally.

This included scrutinizing Jasmine’s nutrition, and with the time for her annual DAP booster coming up, the topic of vaccinations.

As I’ve done my homework, I’ve learned that her last vaccine should be good not for one, but for three years. I brought that up to her vet.

We love her vet dearly, and he has proven himself to us time and time again.

However, he is an old time practitioner and the new AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines did not resonate with him.

We had lengthy discussions on the subject; he had his reasons and stood by them.

I knew he’s been around the block enough times. I knew he had Jasmine’s best interest in mind. I admired that, based on his knowledge and experience, he had formed his own opinion on the matter. Who was I to argue?

Deep down, however, I disagreed.

We discussed the living daylights out of the topic, until finally he said, “I guess she should be ok not getting the annual booster.”

I guess she should be ok, though, was not good enough for me.

I trusted the AAHA experts, as well as I was aware that over-vaccination was a bad thing. With Jasmine, though, I was long pass the point of taking anybody’s word for granted.

The only solution to the dilemma was to run titers and see where her immunity was truly at.

And so we did that. The lab results said that she had enough antibodies. A booster wasn’t needed. We did this every year, because I didn’t not want to subject Jasmine to unnecessary vaccination but I did not want to leave her vulnerable to the infections either.

It did cost me extra, but I had my own proof that Jasmine’s (and JD’s) individual immunity was in place.

And her vet had the proof in front of him also.

Last fall we’re at our fourth year. The antibody levels haven’t changed. Jasmine’s vet said that either vaccines are lasting long enough or she is boostered by exposure to field (wild) strains of virus.

I suppose that either could be the case. What was important to me was that she didn’t need her booster yet again.

We ran JD’s titers this spring. He also still has immunity against these viruses.

The equation is simple. The purpose of vaccination is to generate antibodies. If the antibodies are still there, what is the vaccine going to change other than excite the immune system?

As we were signing JD up for another year of veterinary care plan, I saw that a discount for titers is now also included ...

Yes, I could have saved money just insisting on following the AAHA guidelines. But this way, Jasmine's vet and I went through our own verification process and we could both have been satisfied that Jasmine truly did have the protection she needed.

I am glad I did that. If nothing else, for my own peace of mind.

Last thing I would want to do was to take chances with Jasmine's already frail health.

Related articles:
To Booster Or Not To Booster: Jasmine's Parvo and Distemper Titer Results Are Back
Veterinarians And Vaccines: A Slow Learning Curve 

Memories Of Jasmine: The Lost Forest 
Treatments Jasmine Benefited From The Most 
Memories Of Jasmine: Remix 4 
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Jasmine's Last Happy Days Before The Final Crisis
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Rant About Quality Of Life Versus Quantity, And Differential Diagnoses
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Guess Who Is An Ever-Ready Bunny And Really Liking The Bit Of Snow We Got? 
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Our Own Emergency Vet Horror (Part I)
Our Own Emergency Vet Horror (Part II) 
How The Oddysey Started: Jasmine's ACL Injury
Meet Jasmine


  1. Older adult dogs just don't get those diseases really... because of the area I live in, I'm mostly interested in the Leptospirosis vaccination because adult dogs do get that around here.

    1. Yeah, as controversial as that one is, we were vaccinating against Lepto also. Jasmine spent a lot of time outdoors, at farm and wild life environments, loved puddles or any natural water sources ...

  2. This is such a timely post! I'm about to have to decide what to do with our pups as their 3year boosters roll around. The one concern I have is that the titers don't always suffice legally in place of boosters. I know our vets won't argue with me if that's what I want to do, but I do always worry that if something were to happen, especially with one of my pit bulls, not having them "legal" could present a problem. It's always a balancing act with them between health and the legal system. :(

    1. As far as I know, rabies is the only legislated vaccine? Others might be required for boarding etc, but not legally ... ?