Date: 2002-09-28 01:21:33 UTC
Subject: RE: Distemper Vaccinations
>> I am not a vet, but I thought that the maternal antibodies were passed on, in
> part, through the mother's milk, and therefore, when they wore off was
> dependent on when the kits stopped nursing.
> I have had jills wean their kits at 8 or 9 weeks, but I had other jills that
> nursed until the kits were 15 or 16 weeks old. I realize that as the kits
> start eating solid food, and nursing less, the amount of antibodies they
> receive lessens. But, I generally watched how much the kits were nursing,
> and started vaccinations accordingly.
Danee: This would not be a good way to start vaccinations. The maternal antibodies of any note, IgM and IgG against distemper (and other diseases), are passed on only during the first 24 hours. The kit's stomach is programmed not to digest this protein, but to absorb it directly across the wall into the bloodstream but for 24 hours only. After this, a small amount of a weak antibody known as IgA will continue to be passed in the milk and line the kits stomach, but it really poses minimal defense against distemper. After 24 -48 hours, the acid secretion in the kits stomach kicks in, and it will treat maternal antibodies like any other protein and digest it.
This is why: a) nursing in the first 24 hours is critical (all the maternal antibodies are passed in the thick colostrum in the first 24 hours) and why b) colostrum given after 24 hours provides no protection.
With kindest regards,
Bruce Williams, dVM