Technically, it only requires two vaccines to develop a lasting immune response. The first sensitizes the immune system and the second induces long term immunity. Why, then do youngsters receive so many vaccines? The answer lies in mother’s milk. As many people know, mother’s milk provides a lot more than just nutrition. It also contains a substance called colostrum which is a very rich source of antibodies from mom’s immune system. These antibodies circulate and help prevent infection until the youngster’s immune system is mature enough to make its own. But, as long as mother’s antibodies are circulating, the immune system does not make its own antibodies in response to a vaccine challenge.
A “series” is required so that we start vaccines early enough to prevent disease in those whose maternal antibodies fade early. Then we continue them long enough so that those who fade later receive the requisite two vaccines to stimulate their immune system. Without an accurate way to know exactly when mom’s immunity fades and baby’s takes over, it’s the safest way to make sure everybody is fully covered.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Hudson Veterinary Hospital at (330)650-2929.