Thursday, May 15, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 108- My Humans Have One Sweet Sleeping Crate

So I was bathed the other day which stunk, except now that I've been clean my dad has let me jump up onto the sweet human sleeping crate to watch sports with him the last two nights.  I have to say that my humans really know how to roll when it comes to sleeping.  Their bed is crazy comfortable and filled with great human smells.  I didn't know what I was missing by sleeping in my own crate every night.  I'm planning on getting really dirty today at the dog park, so I may not be allowed on the human crate for much longer.  Just wondering if maybe we could switch blankies?  You can have all 5 of my fleece blankies for your 1 comforter?  Please humans, I promise not to puke on them.  Spoiled sleeping humans!  I'm going to take my frustrations out on a stuffy.

more vaccine talk by Big Pupi
Listen closely...  I have a lot to say today.
We got our titer test results back yesterday.  Turns out that Stanislaw and I have good immunity against Distemper, but our Leptospirosis count was low.  We will be going to camp at the end of the month and our kennel requires Bordatella, Distemper and Rabies.  So that means we can avoid the Distemper shot, but Bordatella is only good for 6 months so we'll need that yucky stuff shoved up our schnozzles.  As for Rabies - we're still up to date on that one.  

But... the Lepto vaccine is an issue for many reasons.  First, titers are by no means a fool-proof way to determine immunity.  In fact, they do very little to show the degree to which we are able to fight a disease or infection.  Titers measure the presence of antibodies in the blood, and determine the concentration of these antibodies as a ratio of the number of times the blood can be diluted and antibodies still be found.  For example, if a blood sample was diluted 3 times and at that point no more antibodies could be found, that ratio is said to be 1:3.  A higher ratio, say 1:1000, can indicate a higher level of immunity.

Titers get tricky because the real gangbusters of the immune system are the memory cells, and there is no way to measure those little guys.  Memory cells can hide until there is a Distemper invader, for example, and the Distemper memory cells jump into action and trigger the immune system to create antibodies against the infection.  Memory cells are responsible for detecting an enemy, and they send out their army of antibodies to fight the battles.

What titers can be useful for is determining whether a vaccine did its job.  If the test is given 2 weeks after a vaccine was administered, a titer test can show if there are antibodies present in which case the vaccine created the desired response by the immune system.  If there are no antibodies present then the vaccine did not work and did not cause the body to have an immune response - there is no protection in this situation.  

Antibodies appear in great numbers when there is an invader in the system.  Our titers came back positive for Distemper, which most likely means that Stanislaw and I have been exposed to the disease at some point in recent months.  It is also an indication that we still have immunity to the disease because our memory cells are still at the ready and capable of producing plenty of antibodies to keep the disease at bay.  But what about our Leptospirosis?  Well, just because our antibody count is low, that doesn't mean that the memory cells aren't waiting for their chance to produce an army of antibodies.  A low count for Lepto does not mean that we are not immune, but at the same time it doesn't mean that we are protected.

So what do we do now?  When we go to the vet next week (oh no!) we will receive our Bordatella vaccine, and then discuss the Lepto vaccine with our doctor.  To be honest, we aren't quite sure what to do.  Leptospirosis is a dangerous disease that effects the kidneys and can be spread to humans.  If caught early it can be treated, but the symptoms are vague (fever, vomiting, lethargy...) and too often it is not treated in time.  On the flip side, the Lepto vaccine has one of the highest rates of side effects and reactions.  In fact, my grandparents had a dog that collapsed from the vaccine as soon as she walked out of the vet's office, and my buddy Bo had to be rushed to the emergency vet just a few weeks ago because of a reaction.  For a boy like me with lots of allergies that is a really big concern.  And the vaccine does not protect against all strains of the disease so despite vaccination and full immunity, a dog can still get sick.  And we have to keep in mind that Stanislaw and I received our DHLPP vaccines (the "L" stands for Lepto) just a year ago and we should have maintained immunity, although there is no way to know for certain.  

A major factor in figuring all this out is our lifestyle.  Stanislaw and I are very social boys and we LOVE our visits to the dog park, we live in a big city with lots of pups around, we live in a building filled to the brim with our doggie neighbors, and we go to camp at a cageless kennel.  Our exposure rate is very very high.  So this is a case where we must truly weigh risks and benefits, and our new vet sounds amazing and wants to have a good long chat with us to determine how we should handle this situation.  So until then, we'll be giving this some serious thought, and we'll let you know what we've decided a week from today at our doctor's appointment.

Happy healthy feasting,
Big Pupi



Louis Reginald said...


Its your pal Louis over in Miami! I told you the big bed rocks! the smells, cuddles, pillows and blankies can NOT be beat.

Except by maybe a nice bloody slab of meat....drool...

Tell your parents to try spray on shampoos and paw wipes to clean you off after days when you get dirty so so you can enjoy the luxury of the big bed. This crate nonsense is ridiculous! You are a regal spaniel! Can you even see the TV from your crate? How do you watch Animal Planet when you fall asleep?

Your pal, Louis

Your friend,

FleasGang said...

We all get to sleep in the human crate every night until our Pop goes to bed. And then me (Simon) and Shelly have to go into our crates while Scarlett gets to stay :-(

Pupi, your post was extremely informational. We think we might have accidentally learned something. Thanks!

The Fleas

Mack said...

Hi Stani!!
Paris Rain here!!

I just love that picture of you beating up that stuffy.
You're so handsomely ferocious!

And you're lucky - I never get to sleep on the human's crate.


Fenway said...

Hey Big Pupi--

Glad you're on the Lepto case. We're traveling up to Martha's Vineyard next month and mom is real concerned about whether or not to get me the vaccine. Up there it's called Bunny Rabbit Disease—not because it's cute, but because it's spread by dead & decaying bunnies. Quite a few people have nearly died from it after gardening or mowing the lawn and it's hit the newspapers big time. There's a major RED ALERT to be careful.

So mom is in a quandary 'cause she knows about the bad reactions to the vaccine. And don't forget—I'm only 8 months old. Keep us posted on what else you find out.

There's another vaccine she's worried about, too. It's for Lyme Disease and Martha's Vineyard is like command central for those infected deer ticks. Being an active Border Collie, they all suspect that I'm going to do a lot of nosing around and exploring in the woods.

We're in a quandary. The vet just says getting the diseases is FAR WORSE than the chances of having a bad reaction. But we're still not happy about this situation.