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In July this year the Telegraph ran an article on the Nobivac Lepto4 vaccine. It was written in a negative manner and highlighted potentially dangerous side effects of this vaccine. This is a topic that has been raised with me numerous times and there certainly seems to be a number of breeders who are advising against this vaccine. I thought this maybe a good time to put forward some of the facts and my views.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection spread through the urine of infected rats, wildlife and dogs. It causes kidney and liver disease, can affect other organs, and can eventually cause organ failure and death.
The previous Lepto2 vaccine covered dogs against two strains of Leptospirosis but outbreaks of a new strain prompted development of the Lepto4 vaccine which covers dogs against four strains and 80% of Leptospirosis in Europe. New strains have likely entered the Uk through the increased travel of both people and pets.
We were one of the first practices to use this Lepto4 vaccine in the Southwest and we have been using it for over three years. Any medicine or vaccination has the risk of side effects but most vaccine “reactions” are minor and transient. We as a practice have not encountered any significant problems with this vaccination. It can cause mild discomfort on injection, especially in small puppies but this is again short lived.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) responded swiftly to the July Article with the following statement:
“We are very concerned that the recent articles about the L4 vaccine risks scaremongering dog owners into making blanket decisions and avoiding vaccinations for their dog. Vets, many of us being pet owners ourselves, completely understand the upset and concern when pets are unwell, however vaccinations save lives and are an important tool in keeping animals healthy.
“It is essential that owners make a fully informed choice in partnership with their local vet on a suitable vaccination and, overall preventative healthcare program for their dog, based on many factors including the health and age of the pet and based on scientific evidence. If pet owners suspect adverse reactions to any medication or have concerns it is critical that they report these to their vets so they can be thoroughly and scientifically investigated and reported to the veterinary medicines regulators.”
The BVA has also issued letters to both the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail in reaction to their articles.
In addition to this, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) also issued a statement in response to the articles, stating that the claims made by the papers are completely untrue.
My and our practice beliefs fall in line with the statement provided by the BVA. We believe vaccination is an invaluable part of any preventative health care plan but any decision needs to be made on evidenced based medicine, tailored to the individual patients needs and ideally after discussion with their Veterinary Surgeon. Any of our vets would be happy to discuss this matter further in person or by telephone.