Rabies Vaccination for Dogs – AB 272
What are all the A’s – antigens, antibodies, attenuated vaccine, adjuvants, anaphylaxis?
An antigen is a foreign substance (germ) that invades your body. Antigen=irritant. It can come from the environment such as chemicals, bacteria, viruses, or pollen. The antigen doesn’t knock at your door and say, “Hi, I’m an antigen and I’m going to make you sick.” Generally speaking, you don’t know when it happens, but you sure when you’ve got one because you feel lousy. It triggers an immune response within your body so that your body will form antibodies to fight it off. Again, you don’t know that this is happening because it’s all done inside your body without your feeling any symptoms.
To illustrate try to illustrate the process, this is a very gross example. Let’s say that you get a splinter. The splinter is the antigen.
An antibody is what the body produces to try to rid itself of the splinter. Antibody= knight in shining armor. You feel pain, and blood cells are rushing to the splinter to try to kick that sucker out of your body. If you used a tweezers to try to pull it out, the tweezers would be the (external) antibody. An antibody for a disease totally envelops the antigen so it can’t go into another cell or divide and make more of itself – or it kills it outright.
An adjuvant helps you get to the splinter. Adjuvant=helper. If the splinter was under the skin and the skin closed around it so far that you couldn’t pull it out, an adjuvant would be a sterilized needle inserted into your skin to pull the skin away so you could take the splinter out. Another way of looking at an adjuvant is that it adds something to help complete the process – if you have a sliding door that sticks and you spray a lubricant along the trough, then that lubricant is an adjuvant. (Again, this is to illustrate the process and not actually what happens in the body.) The use of certain adjuvants can cause side effects. More on that later.
An attenuated vaccine is one that alters or dilutes the pathogen (germ) so that your body can tell it’s a foreign invader but it’s weak enough that it will not cause the disease. Attenuated=weakened or diluted.
Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening severe allergic reaction that affects several body systems or organs (heart, breathing, skin, etc.) all at the same time. Anaphylaxis=very bad dude.
What’s the difference between bacteria and a virus?
A bacterium is a cell that is a lot bigger than a virus. A bacterium is living and can reproduce itself and generally lives between the cells. Bacterium=stranger.
A virus is not living and cannot reproduce itself – it is a parasite that sucks the life out of another cell to keep itself alive, so it lives within the cell. Virus=houseguest that won’t go away.
Disclaimers – this is a *very* long article (almost 17,000 words) which I have loosely broken up into segments. This is the unedited final draft of the article in its entirety that I wrote in 2013 for a website that is no longer in existence. Not only is the final article no longer available, but I have had computer and Internet issues where some data may have been lost. I have spent several hours trying to piece it together and reformatting.
The article does not reflect current research as of 2018. However, a good portion of the discussion is still applicable. If there is something that you believe was not true in 2013 or if I have made a mistake in reformatting, please let me know and I will do my best to fix it.
The reason it is posted here is because I was hosting a discussion on DogRead DogRead@yahoogroups.com about my book Doggie Dangers ( Kindle http://tinyurl.com/y8uc4gtc Paperback http://tinyurl.com/y7vhce9t ), and the subject of rabies vaccines came up when we were talking about wildlife concerns for family dogs. We were discussing how to keep the yard safe from wildlife, but one person mentioned she had a bat fly into her house! Some of the participants requested that I post the article since it is no longer published.
And the final disclaimer – I am a dog trainer, not a veterinarian or medical researcher. Therefore, this article is for information only and not a substitute for any veterinary, medical, or other advice.
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