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Practical Vaccinology
An Update on Canine Vaccinology
by Daniel Novitch DVM

Vaccinology is defined as the study of vaccines and vaccination. Vaccination is a medical procedure which stimulates an animalís immune system by exposing it to infectious agents. In a vaccine, these infectious agents are in very small amounts and have been killed or weakened so that they no longer cause disease in the animal receiving the vaccine. However, they stimulate the animalís immune system enough to prevent the disease if the animal is exposed to it in the future.

With the development of the first vaccine for human polio, the world of medicine was changed forever. Treatment of disease was no longer the only aspect of medicine; disease prevention was now possible. In the last several years, there has been a large amount of research and debate in regards to the current practices and recommendations for canine vaccination protocols. This has led to improved understanding of vaccines and the immune systemís response to vaccines.

"Vaccine protocols are no longer "one size fits all"

Based on the new information available, the veterinary community has begun to alter the canine vaccination protocols that have been in place for many years. Earlier this year, the American Animal Hospital Association, a professional organization which is highly respected for its role in encouraging high quality veterinary medicine, released new canine vaccination guidelines that it feels will bring some conformity to the changes seen in canine vaccinations during the last several years. These guidelines were developed by a task force of veterinary professionals with expertise in medicine, infectious disease, and immunology and were base on the latest research available. Hopefully, this article will give dog owners the information they need to educate themselves in regards to the new canine vaccination practices.

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