CANINE DISTEMPER PREVENTION
Vaccines are modified live because killed
vaccines tended not to protect very well.
Maternal antibody has generally declined
to non-interfering levels by 8-12 weeks, so puppies are generally immunised at
9 and 12 weeks or isolated and immunised at 12 weeks only.
Following two vaccinations, some dogs
can remain protected for 7 years or more - but best not to rely on this and
to boost after one year and then annually or every other year.
Vaccinated animals can still be subclinically
infected and thereby a source of disease to non-vaccinated dogs.
The virus is labile, and therefore so is the vaccine when reconstituted with water
(maximum 24 hours at 200C
in dark - much less at higher temperatures and in daylight).
Measles virus is closely enough related to CDV that the immune response
induced by measles vaccination may protect against distemper. But the two are antigenically
sufficiently different that measles vaccination can provoke protective immunity in
the presence of maternally-derived antibody to CDV. Therefore measles vaccine can
be used in puppies at risk of infection from about 6 weeks of age. However, recent
studies suggest that some modern distemper vaccines may be equally or even more effective
at this age.
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