Day 50

Good Morning!

I heard from Alex's mom that he did his Plumpie 101 homework right away -- good job, Alex!!!!! Today we will start talking about vaccinations -- not an easy topic...

Since you probably do not want to read a research report complete with citations, l will just give you some highlights about what I believe we know about vaccinations so that you can understand why we will propose the vaccination schedule that we do, and I will suggest additional reading for those who are interested.

There is increasing evidence that overvaccination may be a long-term health risk for some dogs.  It is prudent to be careful with a berner immune system, and so overvaccination is probably not in a berner's best interest. But what is overvaccination? That depends on who you ask. Some never vaccinate, and some vaccinate for everything possible.

I spent over five years working in a pediatric hospital, including lots of shifts doing on-call in the emergency department. I know about so many whacky ways that children get hurt and die, and as a result, I think the following things are incredibly dangerous: trampolines, horses, ATV's, sledding, skiing, trees, skateboards, swimming pools, cars, anything faster than a snail, unchewed food, unsecured dressers and tv's, windows, bad tempers, missing helmets, and so on -- you get the idea.

The bottom line is that life is risky but our perceptions about risks -- even in professionals -- are typically based on our experiences. When considering vaccines, I like to know the incidence of a disease, which is actually pretty hard to know. I am not so interested in a few gory cases that color perception -- I want to know if this disease is a realistic threat to my puppy, and if she gets it -- will she die?

I do not want to vaccinate for diseases that my puppy is not likely to get, and I am even less inclined to vaccinate for something that is unlikely to kill her. I will assume some risk in order to minimize vaccinations. But I won't *not* vaccinate -- that seems too risky and extreme in the other direction; I find the Middle Road to be most comfortable.

There is no reason to vaccinate early and often -- maternal antibodies interfere with immunity early on anyway. And no need to vaccinate for every possible thing unless you also intend to make sure your dog avoids car rides, off leash romps, bad dog food, sledding, trampolines, and all other manner of risk -- just because we can, doesn't mean we should.

And so before the puppies leave they will have one vaccination -- as late as possible -- for just parvo/distemper. I believe that these diseases are the most realistic risks to puppies at this age, and the benefits of protection outweigh potentials burdens. Four weeks later the puppies need another vaccination, and some may need one additional vaccination -- and perhaps in that one owners can add the other "core" vaccination, which protects against the adenovirus. Rabies is also a "core" vaccination because it is required by law.

All that said, my own puppy will likely not be vaccinated until she is 14 - 15 weeks old -- that will be her first and only vaccination for parvo/distemper. Since the literature is suggesting immunity lasts at least seven years, I will not "booster" her but instead use titers to assess her immunity later in life; I will delay rabies for a while -- that is a hard vaccination on a puppy. I will not vaccinate for anything else -- clearly I have different tolerances for risks with my own puppy than I do with puppies I am sending to new owners -- and new veterinarians.

Specifics on the vaccination protocol for plumpies will be provided to new owners in the puppy packet. And if you are interested in reading more about vaccinations, google work by Dr. R.D. Schultz at UW Madison -- here is a brief article about his work:

Tomorrow we will talk about food -- another hot topic -- but for now let's look at pictures! Two "new" toys appeared during play time, and plumpies always find the new stuff -- here is the plastic dumbbell:

London chewing the popcorn toy, which has been out of the toy rotation for a while...

Squeaker -- he makes me laugh!

Plumpie Posse (aka General Chaos). Look at where the fur parts on the puppy in the foreground and you can see the gray...

Could this puppy get any cuter?! Z...

As you can probably tell, I like to give the plumpies new experiences -- I hung a sheet such that it created a bit of a tunnel so that they could go under/through it, and experience getting a little tangled -- and recovering. It is a huge hit -- this is Pippi...

Someone found the new water bottle -- and the chase was on...

Bob's wool continues to protect him -- here he is playing with Squeaker...

This picture really illustrates playtime -- the cuteness is everywhere so sometimes it is hard to know where to look!

Barcelona -- another plumpie who just gets cuter and cuter...

Temperament tests later today, poll tonight -- have a great day!!!

7:30ish p.m.

Temperament tests went just fine -- they are very consistent puppies so nothing whacky to report. This is the link to the test and includes scoring information:

The puppies primarily scored 3's and 4's. Even though I added extra light, the video quality is again not perfect -- clearly I need a new camera. Here is the link to view the boys:

I will make the video of the girls tomorrow -- I still have lots to get done tonight and that includes plenty of glaring at Zoey and Cadi. You see, Zoey jumped over the couch into the secure (!) puppy area, apparently swiped one of the pumpkins and jumped out -- and I was not quick enough to save it from Cadi. Yes, that ____ (insert all kinds of unfortunate words) ate most of another toy, including the squeaker. Dear Husband is gone until tomorrow so I cannot leave to take Cadi to the ER vet in Missoula and it is impossible to get hydrogen peroxide down her -- so first thing tomorrow morning Cadi will be visiting our usual vet to induce vomiting...sigh.

Let us know what you think of the video -- I am off to glare at a certain dog or two -- see you tomorrow...



by Mj on Wed, 11/30/2011 - 07:40

Good Morning Mary-Ann,
Puppies are cuter and fluffier than ever! It's almost unbelievable how time flies; these pups are a perfect example of how fast it goes by and the changes that happen rapidly.
In regards to your talk of vaccines-- I'm on the fence about the bordetella vaccine, I understand it is a good idea to get it if you plan on boarding your dog but what about if you just take them on walks, and to parks (not dog parks), and to obedience/rally classes. Is it recommended? Do the pros out weigh the cons of this vaccine? I do not like to over vaccine either-- heck I don't even like using chemicals to treat fleas or ticks! But if it's going to help more than hurt then i'll definatly look into it.

Have a wonderful day! Cant wait to see the tests!

by cindy Heintzberger on Wed, 11/30/2011 - 08:45

I love the sheet idea - just getting them ready for tunnels:) They are such brave plumpies!!!
Having used it before, I am very comfortable with M/A's vaccine protocol!
I personally wouldn't bother with Bortedella as the vaccine often doesn't work (too many different strains of the virus out there) and kennel cough is generally more of a nuisance than lifethreatening,

by Toby E. on Wed, 11/30/2011 - 12:34

Squeaker and Z!!!!!! Don't think they come any cuter!

by Barb on Wed, 11/30/2011 - 20:07

Geez for smart dogs they never learn about some things.. I'm sure you know all the tricks-soak bread in peroxide etc..Mineral oil??? Kee-rap! Thinking positive things for Cadi.. I had a very bad feeling when the tests weren't up by 7pm.

by cindy Heintzberger on Wed, 11/30/2011 - 20:25

I am soooo sorry - I feel terrible - will think good thoughts all night!!!
The boys tests were great to see and the lighting is fine - such stable plumpies.
Can't wait for tomorrow's news on Cadi...

by Jennifer G. on Wed, 11/30/2011 - 20:34

I'm so sorry about Cadi! I also worried about how late it was getting and if something went wrong. I will hope everything goes well tomorrow and that there is productive vomiting and not surgery!!

by Mary-Ann Bowman on Wed, 11/30/2011 - 20:39

Cadi will be fine -- she just needs a throw-up shot. She runs when she sees the brown bottle -- literally you cannot get hydrogen peroxide down her and trust me -- I know all the tricks, but so does she... darn it!!!

But she will throw up and all will be well -- and Auntie Heidi has already said she wants the squeaker...

Yes, plumpie testing was a success! There is not one that I would not be thrilled to keep...

by Lori Simidian on Wed, 11/30/2011 - 20:41

I'm so sorry about Cadi. I hope she gives back the makings of the toy and it does not have to be surgically retrieved - been there done that - twice in 6 months with Murphy and once with Jake(I'm sure Murphy put him up to it). I'll think positive for productive vomiting tomorrow.
Loved the video - it's so interesting to see the different reactions. Can't wait to see the girls.

by Toby E. on Wed, 11/30/2011 - 21:21

Hoping for a timely passage of the squeaker. Some dogs just never learn. Years back when I practiced in Kentucky, I had a patient that was hit by the same UPS truck 3 times....can't say it was entirely the dogs fault, but you'd think some learning would have occurred! Maybe your vet will give you some Apomorphine to keep on hand-it's a tiny pill that you stick in the conjunctival sac of the eye and it works great to induce vomiting. Just sayin'-may give you piece of mind too!

The tests were quite interesting, and I can't wait to see how the girls compare! Based on what I saw, I may have to rethink my order :)

by Lois on Wed, 11/30/2011 - 22:51

I am so sorry to hear about Cadi...that girl...but she did have an accomplice. She must have put Zoey up to it! I bet the glaring will really work - at least it will make you feel a tad better. We will send good thoughts for the squeaker to make its way out.

The tests and rating info were very interesting. I'll look forward to hearing more about how you interpret them along with your own seven weeks interpretations. Thank you so much for sharing all of this. It is so very informative and helpful. Hope you can get some rest tonight.

by Carmen K. on Wed, 11/30/2011 - 23:09

So sorry to hear about Cadi! I too wonder why some dogs never learn that ingesting foreign bodies can get them into big trouble! I carry a fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide and canned dog food to mix with it whenever we visit family just in case our girl ingests something she shouldn't, especially around the craziness of the holidays. She has gotten smart about it and is cautious about taking it any more. My breeder also told me about the "throw up" pill that you place in the dog's eye to make them vomit. Sounds like it might be a handy pill to have on hand if your vet will give it to you. I'm hoping for positive news tomorrow about Cadi....The temperament video was very interesting to watch. Thank you for that and for the article link to the tests. Looking forward to watching the girls' tests tomorrow!

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