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The Immune System & Vaccination Basics. By Jeannie Stall, R.V.T. Credits: Clip Art Alleice Summers AVMA AAHA Bassert / McCurnin. The Immune System. Immune System = System of defense - Without it, animals couldn’t survive

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the immune system vaccination basics

The Immune System & Vaccination Basics

By Jeannie Stall, R.V.T.

Credits: Clip Art

Alleice Summers




the immune system
The Immune System
  • Immune System = System of defense

- Without it, animals couldn’t survive

Immunity = The actions of the

functioning Immune System

  • Defense system that guards/defends against

disease-causing agents, either foreign or internal

  • Active 24 hours / 7 days a week
  • Two main categories:

Non-Specific and Specific

non specific immunity
Non-Specific Immunity

Also known as “ Innate” or “ Inherited”

Shows same response to any/all antigenic insults.

  • Species Resistance
  • Mechanical/Chemical barriers
  • Reacts by producing an Inflammatory Response
  • Interferon
  • Complement
species resistance
Species Resistance
  • Genetic ability of a particular

species to provide a defense

against certain pathogens.

Dogs aren’t susceptible to Feline Leukemia Virus

Cats don’t acquire Canine Distemper Virus

Cats can’t get the protozoan,

“Ich”, from goldfish goldfish

mechanical chemical barriers
Mechanical & Chemical Barriers


“ The 1st line of defense”- A great mechanical barrier

against microorganisms, as long as it is intact.

Produces Sebum/Mucus/Enzymes as

chemical barriers to inhibit or

destroy pathogens.

inflammatory response
Inflammatory Response
  • “The 2nd line of defense”.

Invaded cells release enzymes known as


Mediators job: Attract WBC’s to area (phagocytosis),

dilate blood vessels, while vessel permeability.

Signs of inflammation:

Heat, redness, swelling & pain d/t these chemicals

The > blood flow temperature, which inhibits

the invading organism’s growth.

wbc s

Phagocytosis =WhenWBC’s “gobble up” invading microorganisms & kill these pathogens via chemicals found in the cell’s cytoplasm.

Monocytes are WBC’s in the blood stream, but

when they enter the tissues, they are called

Macrophages. Theyare components of both

the Non-Specific & the Specific Immune System.

interferon complement
Interferon & Complement
  • Invaded body cells produce these 2 chemicals


This chemical substance “interferes“ with

invading viruses’ ability to replicate/reproduce in

host’s cells.


This enzyme binds to invader’s cell wall,

puncturing small holes in it, causing it to

rupture, which is known as lysis.

specific immunity
Specific Immunity
  • “ The 3rd line of defense”.
  • Performed by two types of Lymphocytes ( WBC’s ):

1. B- cells :

Produce antibodies to response to a specific

antigen stimulation ( Humoral Response ) 2. T- cells :

Bind directly w/ pathogen’s cell to destroy or

render it harmless ( Cell Mediated Response )

b cells
B- cells
  • Slower response to pathogen. Originate in bone marrow. Contact specific antigen/pathogen & clone identical B- cells, specific to that particular antigen.

Can be either:

1. “Plasma Cells” - produce lg. protein molecules a.k.a. Antibodies/ Immunoglobulin, that “lock onto” pathogen.

Takes time- 7 – 10 days

2. “Memory Cells” - Ability to recognize the same

invading antigen/pathogen, if/when, it ever

crosses paths with it again.

t cells
  • Created in the bone marrow
  • Exit bone marrow via circulation and arrive @ thymus.

( Lymph system gland located in the mediastinum)

T-cells get “educated” in thymus to recognize

their own animal’s cells. After

“graduation”, leave to circulate thoughout

the body, lymph nodes & spleen, in search

of pathogens.

Macrophages latch on to

invaders & transport them to T-cells.

t cells con t
T-cells con’t…….
  • Macrophages “latch onto” invading

pathogens/antigens & transport them to T-cells.

T-cell “locks onto” receptor spot on pathogen’s surface

& replicates.

All these new T-cells go to invader’s location &

eliminate them. This response is quick & effective.

b cells t cells con t
B –cells & T – cells con’t…….
  • Further Immunity classifications :

1. “Inherited” – Immunity due to genetic factors

influencing fetus before birth.

2. “Acquired” - Resistance/ Immunity that develops

after being born.

a. Natural: Ongoing exposure to pathogens

b. Artificial: Deliberate innoculation/vaccination

further classifications
Further Classifications
  • Natural & Artificial have further subdivisions:

Passive Immunity- Antibodies formed in one

infected animal are transferred

to a non-infected animal.

Active Immunity- Animal’s own immune system

crosses paths with a pathogen then mounts

an immune response.

infectious dz transmission routes
Infectious Dz. Transmission Routes
  • Horizontal: Infected( non-parent) animal’s pathogens spread to healthy one

1. Direct : Licking & biting / Sexual contact / Airborne

ie: FIV / Brucellosis / Bordatella

2. Indirect via :

Vector = Transports pathogen

a. Biological – Carries & supports pathogen’s replication

Mosquito = Heartworm

b. Mechanical - Carries pathogen only

Flies = Pinkeye

Fomite = Inanimate objects

a. Feeding bowls = Panleukopenia

Iatrogenic = Vet. Uses contaminated equipment, needles, boots….

Vertical : Pathogen spread via parent, usually Mom, to offspring via


vaccine regulation
Vaccine Regulation
  • In U.S. -- Center for Veterinary Biologicals

Division of United States Department of Agriculture

( U.S.D.A. )

Acceptable level of protection (vaccine efficacy)

is just 65 % to 95 %

  • Vaccines do not give Immunity!!!!

Vaccine’s purpose is to stimulate immune response,

BUT it’s up to animal’s immune system to build an adequate immune response.

  • Stressed or compromised immune systems can’t respond sufficiently to the stimulation of the vaccine, resulting in non-protected animals.
  • Hence, all animals require a physical evaluation prior to vx. to determine a current health status.
vaccine protocol
Vaccine protocol
  • Shipped on ice from manufacturer

Unpack shipment immediately upon arrival

If not cold when received, RETURN IT !!!

Refrigerate vaccine upon arrival

  • Mix as directed : Sterile diluent placed into “cake” vial

Gently invert to mix---- Don’t create foam shaking it

Once mixed , it MUST be given in a timely manner

Shouldn’t stay in syringe > 15 min. d/t plastic issues

Keep vx. cool until administered

immuno compromising issues
Immuno-compromising Issues
  • Infections: WBC’s @ max. working level & unable to

muster new response to vx.

  • Poor nutritional status : Thin/Obese ie: Body Conditioning Score

Unhealthly situation prevents immune system rally.

  • Age: Pediatrics /Geriatrics compromised d/t “undeveloped”

or “depleted” systems.

  • Compromised due to Dz.: FIV , Fe Leuk, Chemotherapy …..
  • Administer “half- dose vx.“ to sm./young animals: Wrong! Wrong!

St. Bernard or Yorkie, it requires a certain vx. volume to stimulate

immune response !

vaccination classifications
Vaccination Classifications
  • Core : Required
  • Non-core (Optional ) : Administered based on

animal’s geographic location, lifestyle exposure

& benefit /risk ratio

  • Not recommended : Available on the market, but

not advised due to poor vaccine efficacy or

low benefit/risk ratio

core vaccinations
Core vaccinations

Those vaccinations appropriate to provide protection in most animals against diseases that pose a risk of severe disease because the pathogens are virulent, highly infectious and widely distributed in the region.

They are:

- Highly efficacious

- Maintain “benefit vs. risk” ratios high enough to

warrant their general use

- Be of substantial public health importance

- Are required by law

core vaccines
“ Core “ Vaccines


Rabies Rabies

Distemper Panleukopenia

Parvovirus Viral Rhinotracheitis

Hepatitis (Adeno2) Calicivirus

Non-Core Vx. Appropriate Due to Lifestyle:

Bordatella Leukemia




Among Other Vaccinations………

vx abreviations
Vx. Abreviations


  • DHLPPC = Distemper / Hepatitis / Leptospirosis /

Parainfluenza/ Parvovirus/ Corona

  • DA2PP = Distemper /Adeno 2 Virus /Parainfluenza /Parvo


  • FVRCPC = Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis / Calici /

Panleukopenia / Chlamydia

  • FeLeuk = Feline Leukemia
  • FIV= Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

Both Species:

  • RV = Rabies
  • Modified Live Virus (MLV)( Attenuated):

Live disease-causing organism component altered

to render it safe/safer. May revert to virulent form.

Not for use in immuno-compromised animals.

  • Killed: Component of vaccine no longer alive
  • Intranasal: Vaccine administered via nasal drops
  • Recombinant: Created, single, purified protein of

organism (DNA separated & spliced) No chance of causing dz.

  • Adjuvant: Irritating vx. additive designed to

stimulate immune response. Rxns/Fibrosarcoma!

adverse effects
Adverse Effects
  • Reactions:

Mild : Most common - Hives, pruritis (itching),

redness, swelling (facial, airway, generalized)

Usually occur 30 min. - 4 hrs. post vx. dose,

but can be up to 12 – 24 hours post

Severe - Anaphylactic-


Vx. Induced Lymphosarcoma- Felines

Genetic factor???