I was going to stay out of this highly emotional topic, but finally couldn't resist.
First, the people who are against vaccinating, for the most part, aren't old enough to remember what it was like before the vaccinations were routine. If you haven't seen the animal control come to a house to get all the pets and have them destroyed because they had distemper, you don't know how contagious and horrendous it is. If you haven't watched puppies bleed out and die a painful, horrid death from parvo, it's easy to blow off the vaccinations. (Same with measles and polio, but I digress).
Secondly, I have an autoimmune disease and have attended numerous medical conferences on autoimmunity. The thing that the "anti-vaccination" people are missing is that autoimmunity IS A GENETIC PROBLEM. You need two things to have an autoimmune reaction. First and foremost, a genetic tendency to autoimmunity. Secondly, a "trigger event".
Yes, the trigger event can be a vaccination IN A DOG WITH A GENETIC TENDENCY TOWARD AUTOIMMUNITY. But as Tippykayak said, anything can trigger the autoimmune disease and one of the first things that they teach us mere humans with autoimmune problems is that the risk of being exposed to the disease is much more likely to trigger the autoimmune event than a killed vaccination is (live vaccines are a slightly different story). If the dog does not have a genetic predisposition to autoimmunity, you can literally vaccinate them EVERY DAY and it will NOT cause an autoimmune disease.
There is so much misunderstanding about it, and crap on the internet gets picked up and passed along as gospel truth.
They have NEVER found any relationship between vaccinations and cancer in dogs. They have NEVER found any relationship between vaccinations and (good grief) hip dysplasia, unless you use the "mother's milk theory".
In one of my many science classes in which they were discussing experimental methods, and how careful you have to be to not report a "cause and effect" relationship when none exists, they talked about the "mother's milk experiment theories".
All drug addicts begin life on either mother's milk or formula or some sort. Therefore, we can conclude that mother's milk and/or infant formula cause drug addiction. Seriously?
To say that vaccinations cause HD because all dogs who develop HD have been vaccined is equally ludicrous.
I do agree that we shouldn't vaccinate dogs any more than is necessary, but that's where the question comes in. How long do vaccinations last?
Well, no one really knows. And the titers are not considered "reliable" because no one really knows what the numbers mean. There are some excellent scholarly articles about titers if one wants to google and read them.
Also, there is some evidence that the length of immunity is breed specific. Rottweilers, for example, are notorious for not developing enough or long-term immunity from vaccinations. No one knows why.
So will we do challenge studies on every breed? I think not.
And why don't we do challenge studies in the first place? Well....because you have to kill a whole lot of dogs to do one. Yep, like the rabies challenge that's going on right now, they plan to "sacrifice" about 125 beagles. By definition, the only way to do a challenge study is to keep exposing the dog to the virus until it contracts it. And since the big 3 diseases are pretty much universally fatal, you have to "sacrifice" the experimental animals. Animal testing anyone??
So what are we left with? It's a personal decision that everyone has to make after they discuss it with their vet (of which most are pretty clueless, sorry to say) regarding their dog's age, risk factors, general health, and so on.
I was going to comment on this yesterday but I just couldn't ... this is probably the best post I have read in a long time and I truly appreciate the time that went into this.
This post really does summarize the issue and the lack of really good data ... Tuco gives a list of citations and I want to ask if they have indeed pulled all those citations... my experience when I start pulling journal articles is that people pull out small pieces of data that appears to support their position but then when you actually pull the citation and read the article you find that there is a whole lot more to it than the person citing the article has told you... there is very little that is cut and dry when it comes to these issues.
I also agree that as a society we don't really have the stomach to really research these vaccination issues. I am not old enough to remember the times before vaccines but I remember my mother clearly talking about a boxer she had as a kid in NYC that had gotten sick and she remembered her father taking the dog to the vet and she was looking out the window of her apt and watched him walk away with the dog on the way to the vet and when he came back she remembers seeing him walk back towards their apt without Midas who as it turns out had distemper. At the same time there is alot of speculation that dogs with early epilepsy have had a vaccine reaction but again I agree with Hotel that there has to be a predisposition to begin with there is something else going on that has set that dog up to have that reaction to begin with when millions of other dogs get vaccinated with no issues whatsoever.
The problem that I see is what is "overvaccination" to even discuss that we need an operational definition because that term is so vague what is over vaccination to me may be something completely different to someone else.
What does all this mean... who knows... do we really have a clue? I don't think anyone can say for sure that they know for sure there appears to be information on both sides of this...We all just have to take the information that we have and make the best decision that we can...