We ran a survey to try and record just how many dogs are having adverse reactions to the Lepto vaccines.
The dedicated website is www.lepto.co.uk
Leptospira 2 strain vaccine L2 still available in the UK
There is a lot of talk on the internet about the frequencies of vaccinations. Some people are saying that vaccinations last for three years, so you should only go to the vet every three years for a vaccination - as all other trips are just to put money in the vets pocket. But that is wrong
I'm aware that a small number of dogs do die in Dorset every year from various viruses. My main concern is the misunderstanding between the three year vaccines and the one year vaccines, and all the misinformation that surrounds that.
You should always talk to your vet before making decision about vaccination regimes. But you should also be aware of vaccine regimes and come to your own conclusion without blindly following the vet's advice.
SAVSNET are conducting research into "Understanding how the healthcare of dogs and cats is managed by their owners and veterinary surgeons" This includes vaccinations, and the decision to vaccinate the dog or not.
All the information is on https://www.lepto.co.uk/savsnet-research
Topic quick jumps
So lets start with the basics, so that people can understand what vaccines their dog has received.
Understanding your pet's Record of Vaccination.
When you take your dog to the vets for the first vaccination, the vet will give you a Record of Vaccination card. If you take on a rescue dog or rehome a dog, then you should ask the Rescue organisation or previous owner for the dog's vaccination record in case it is available.
Vaccines are kept in small bottles, which are stored in the vet's fridge. Each bottle has a label, which includes the manufacturer's name, vaccine type, batch, and expiry date.
Once the vaccine has been given, the vet will peel off the bottle's labels and place them in the dog's vaccination record. So remember to take your pet's Record of Vaccination along with you.
Usually, Lepto and Canine Coronavirus vaccines are transported in a separate bottle to other vaccine. The vet will transfer both parts into one bottle, shake to mix, and inject the whole substance into the pet.
So to say as an example Pi + L2 means vaccines from 2 bottles were mixed together and administered as one injection.
This record shows that the dog received a vaccine made by Nobivac, and received DHPPi + (and also) Lepto 2 as one injection.
Marked the vaccines in red
So we can see that this dog had vaccines DHPPi + Lepto 2 in 2008, Pi + Lepto in 2009, and Pi and Lepto 2 in 2010
In the UK there are generally 7 different vaccines administered
It is important to speak to your vet should you have any problems with a vaccination. There is a lot of information on the internet, but not all of it is factual or based on scientific research. And I am realising that not all vets know about vaccines.
So vaccines are referred to by the Identifying Initial, which makes it a lot easier to list ;)
The vaccines D, H, and P are combined into one vaccine, as can D, H, P and Pi. It is true and should be remembered that the DHP vaccine should only be given once every three years.
DHP is called DAP by some pharmaceutical companies. So this pup had Duramune DAPPI + LC, and 2 weeks later had Nobivac DHPPi + L2. The only real difference between the two is that the pup received C (Canine Coronavirus) vaccine in the first injection.
L and C can be combined into one vaccine, LC. Not all pharmaceutical companies make the C vaccine.
Pi and L (or LC) should both be given every year, as those vaccines only provide 12 months cover at this time.
If you pet should suffer any adverse effects, then you should contact DEFRA. Click on this link to go to DEFRA's Adverse Reaction Reporting page
the Government's list of approved vaccines and medicines can be found by going to this page
Traditionally, your dog would have a series of immunisation vaccines as a puppy. These will be DHPPi and L (or LC) at 6 to 8 weeks, and again 2 weeks later.
But modern thinking is that so long as you don't let your dogs out in public places until vaccinating, then vaccinating once at 14 weeks is better for the dog. By vaccinating at 14 weeks with DHPPi + L helps the dog to actually take and use the vaccine. It is recommended that the pup have L and Pi 2 weeks after the initial vaccination, but there is no need to have DHP again if the pup was vaccinated after 14 weeks.
12 months later (aged 1 year) the dog should have DHPPi and L (or LC).
It is recommended that the dog have Pi and L (or LC) at 2 years and 3 years of age.
And then DHPPi and L for one year at aged 4 years, followed by Pi and L or (LC) for 2 years (aged 5 and 6 years). However, people are not Titre testing to see if the dog needs DHP, or has enough immunity against the disease that it doesn't need DHP yet.
If your dog has the KC, then it would be DHP, KC and L for one year, followed by KC and L (or LC) for 2 consecutive years.
KC by Nobivac and others includes Pi and is given as a nasal spray rather than injection. It is more commonly given to dogs that are regularly kennelled or in the show ring.
Some areas and some vets will suggest Kennel Cough, which includes and replaces Pi
Nobivac is used as an example, but other vaccine brands exists
This is an extract from the DHP label
Lepto in the UK
There is much debate on Lepto 2 and Lepto 4 on the internet, and I have read some amazing stories that pet owners claim their vets have been telling them. The equivalent of Lepto in dogs is called Weil's disease in humans - carried by rats etc and can make you go blind. People and dogs have been known to die from this.
I am not a vet or medically trained in any way. The information that I provided below is based on logic, not on medical training and knowledge. I welcome and encourage any proof by any source that is backed by scientific evidence that Leptospira australis and/or Leptospira grippotyphosa have been identified in dogs in the UK at this time.
I ask for this evidence to help clarify and dispel the rumours and myths – because I’ve been advised of some appalling claims by some people's vets.
This article has been put together as a part of my research into canine vaccination, and the rising concern that dogs who live in the United Kingdom and Ireland are being vaccinated with Nobivac’s lepto 4.
Lepto 2 verses Lepto 4
According to DEFRA's Zoonoses 2012 report (published Sept 2013) Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae is the main serovar causing human disease. Click on the pdf icon and go to page 44 (PDF page 49) to read about Lepto in the UK. Zoonoses is the Government report on infections on human and animals during 2012.
By 2020, 14 different strains of Lepto had been identified in the UK by samples submitted to APHA and confirmed in their laboratory.
In the UK, we can find Leptospira canicola and Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae in dogs. Vets have been vaccinating with Lepto 2 (L2) vaccine for some years. Lepto 2 vaccine covers Leptospira canicola and Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae, both of which are found in the UK and Europe.
Nobivac appears to be the first Lepto 2 vaccine in the UK, available from 2002.
Nobivac introduced their European vaccine Lepto 4 (L4) in to the UK market in 2010. Lepto 4 covers Leptospira canicola and Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae - but also vaccinates against Leptospira australis and Leptospira grippotyphosa. This vaccine is different to the L4 that Nobivac distribute in America. There have been a number of reported reactions and even claims of death from the Nobivac vaccine.
Late in 2014 a chain of vets in the Bristol and North Somerset areas called Highcroft vets reported an outbreak of Lepto. Highcroft claim that the dogs had already been vaccinated with L2, but had still been infected with a Lepto strain. Highcroft claim that L Bratislava was found in some of the dogs infected.
It has now been confirmed by other sources that L Bratislava has been found in dogs in the South west, and one presumes that other vets will be following in using L4 instead of L2. But it appears that the Nobivac L4 vaccine allows the dog to shed the disease through it's urine. It is suggested that the infected dogs diagnosed be Highcroft had been infected by dogs that had recently been vaccinated with Nobivac L4 and who shed the disease in public areas.
L3 and L4 is now manufactured by a number of pharmaceutical companies.
My own dogs received their first L4 vaccination in February 2016, which was Versican Plus (Zoetis) Pi L4. Both had reactions which prevented me from grooming them for 2 days. However, the 9 year old had a significant reaction to the vaccine which resulted in his breathing changing significantly and vet confirmed his murmur going from 3 out of 5 to 5 out of 5. One month later when he had his second L4 injection, his lungs and abdomen suddenly filled with fluids and died as a result of that.
The 2012 Zoonoses report suggest that Leptospira australis has been seen in 6 human cases in the UK, and DEFRA have advised that people contracted the disease whilst abroad.
This is an extract of the Zoonoses report from 2012
Highcroft vet claim that there was a outbreak of Lepto around December 2014. Strains of Lepto found during the outbreak were identified by the University of Bristol. Highcroft are due to release a list of Lepto strains found during the outbreak, which includes the Lepto Australis serovar of Bratislava. Highcroft have a blog to help owners understand the situation at - www.highcroftvet.co.uk/
Comments passed to me of unfounded vet's advice about Lepto has included
I've been assured there are no more cases of reactions to Lepto 4 than to the Lepto 2 (she has seen ONE reaction) Lepto 2 they won't be bringing back as its only approx 30% affective against the two while Lepto 4 is 80% effective, she said if it comes to the choice of giving and possible side effects or not and possible Lepto she said she vaccinated her dogs the Lepto 4 as a vet she weighed up what she sees..... So I did give my dog Lepto 4 on the strength of that talk!
They are currently using Lepto 2 here. But seems to think some country vets are using Lepto 4 for working dogs because they think there is a risk from cattle. How correct that is I'm not sure, but happy they are using lepto 2.
Cattle Lepto is Leptospira Hardjo, which isn't covered by Lepto 4
You should always talk to your vet before making decision about vaccination regimes. These videos are provided to give you some information on vaccines, vaccination and immunisation. Dr Schultz is a leading vaccine research and teaching professor in America.
Titre (blood) test, also known as Vaccine Serology screen, and as Pre booster test
What is a Titre test
Please watch the video of Dr Becker and Dr Dodds.
Titre is pronounced Tight-er
A Titre test is a test to see if the dog has antibodies to protect it against Parvovirus (P), Canine Hepatitis (Adenovirus) (H), and Distemper (D) diseases.
Lepto cannot be titre tested against
for a realistic price, and any vaccinated dog might throw a false report on that test.
It is not possible to test for protection to Lepto or Bordetella as the immunity against these bacterial diseases is rather different and high levels of antibodies are generally only seen when an animal is fighting disease. However studies have determined that the protection against these bacterial diseases is generally short-lived i.e. less than 18 months.
How to Titre test
In the UK, there are two ways to Titre.
1) Is to find a vet who uses the Vaccicheck system. The vet will draw blood and use it for an inhouse test. Vaccicheck have a list of all vet practices that stock their product. They can be found on facebook ay www.facebook.com/vaccicheckuk/ and on their website at www.cvcgroup.co.uk/products/diagnostic-products.html
2) Is to ask your vet to draw blood and send samples to the Glasgow University of Veterinary Medicines. This is the Gold standard, and you will be sure of the result.
The Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine can do a pre booster vaccine serology screen to see if your dog needs a vaccination booster. Normally it is cheaper to just do the booster, but the titre test can be useful for where a dog is rescued or purchased, and no records exist of the dog's history.
The Glasgow School of veterinary Medicine have all the information on line for you to down load. However, I have shared it here for your convenience.
You will need to speak to your vet in order for the blood sample to be drawn and sent to Glasgow. The documents are added for reference only in January 2014. You are advised to contact the school for newer information and price of the test.
Click on the links below to view the information from the Glasgow school of Veterinary Medicine (GSVM). The form for a Titre test is called Canine Infectious Disease Submission Form
The price list will be seen in the menu on the left, under Veterinary Diagnostic Services.
The Titre test is called Does the dog need a vaccine booster?
Interpreting the Titre Test
Alfie titre result 2014
Alfie titre result 2015
Alfie titre result 2016
Lexie titre result 2014
Lexie titre result 2015
Lexie titre result 2016
Lexie titre result 2017
Katie titre result 2017
Link to Glasgow University price list in February 2022 Glasgow Veterinary School price List
For the latest pricelist from Glasgow, go the Veterinary Diagnostics Services (VDS) pricelist page www.gla.ac.uk/vetdiagnostics/pricelist/
The GSVM website is at www.gla.ac.uk/schools/vet
The GSVM Diagnostic Services page is at www.gla.ac.uk/schools/vet/cad/
My experience - Pre booster vaccine serology screen of my own dogs
I took both dogs into the vets at the same time. Lexie was due her booster, and I'd found that Alfie had received DHP for three years on the trot.
The procedure is very simple;
The nurse holds the dog still whilst the vet shaves the front leg, and then slowly draws 2 ml of blood from the dog with the use of a syringe.
The practice then post the samples to Glasgow. As Glasgow is not the laboratory that my vets usually use, then they have to post the samples off by Royal Mail. So it is best to have an early appointment, so that the staff can get the samples to the Post Office before last post. It is also best to do it early in the week
As I was already paying for Lexie to have her yearly booster vaccines, the cost of both serology screens was £102. That includes the taking of the blood sample, postage, and the tests at Glasgow. This was in January 2014.
Some useful vaccine website links
The UK Government department for animal health is controlled by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) of the Deparment for Environmentt, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), whose new website is currently here
The Guidance and Vaccinaition of dogs informaion is here
The Product Information Database with the latest list of approved vaccines and medicines is here
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) have a website here
WSAVA have guidance on dog vaccination regimes here