The rabies vaccination is the only vaccination required by law. You are not legally required to administer any other vaccination to your dog.
Before allowing your vet to administer any unnecessary vaccination, do your research and ask questions. Make informed decisions in regards to your dogue’s health.
Consider using TITERS to lessen the chance of over vaccination.
VACCINATION PROTOCOL – In 2011, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) canine vaccination task force updated their vaccination guidelines. The task force changed the previous annual protocol for core vaccines to an every 3-year protocol, with the exception of 1-year rabies shots. (In many states you can choose either a 1-year or 3-year rabies vaccine for your pet. If you choose a 1-year shot, or if your state doesn’t offer a 3-year vaccine, the annual protocol is required by law.)
The task force also acknowledged in the updated guidelines that for non-rabies core vaccines, immunity lasts at least 5 years for distemper and parvovirus, and at least 7 years for adenovirus. This means that even the updated 3-year protocol is overkill.
Re-vaccinating pets against diseases they are already immune to poses significant and unnecessary health risks. Links 1, 2
RABIES VACCINATION – HOW TO VACCINATE MORE SAFELY
World renowned pet vaccination scientist, Dr Jean Dodds, wrote recently: “Rabies vaccines are the most common group of biological products identified in adverse event reports received by the USDA’s Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB).”
An adverse reaction to a rabies vaccine may exact a high price – to your dog’s health and your wallet. Here’s what you need to know to make vaccinating your dog safer:
- Learn to recognize adverse reactions – Short-term reactions include vomiting, facial swelling, fever, lethargy, circulatory shock, loss of consciousness and even death. (If your pet appears distressed, contact your vet immediately.) Reactions occurring days or months after vaccination can be difficult to recognize. They include:
- Fibrocarcinomas (cancer) at the injection site
- Seizures and epilepsy
- Autoimmune disease
- Chronic digestive problems
- Skin diseases
- Muscle weakness or atrophy
- Pica (eating inappropriate materials, including feces)
- Behavioral changes (aggression, separation anxiety, compulsive behaviors and more)
- Vaccinate healthy dogs only – Vaccinating an unhealthy animal can exacerbate illness and do irreparable harm. Also, immunity may not develop after vaccination because of the dog’s compromised immune system. This is especially dangerous as you may presume immunity that does not exist. Pets with autoimmune disease or cancer are obviously “not healthy,” but neither are pets suffering from stress from a move or surgery, a virus or infection, or allergies or skin problems or any other condition compromising health. (Never allow your pet to be vaccinated during surgery.)
- Ask for a rabies vaccination exemption – If your dog has documented health problems, ask your vet to apply for a rabies vaccination extension or exemption. Many localities permit them even if state law doesn’t specifically allow them. If your vet won’t apply for an exemption, go elsewhere. You may want to contact a holistic vet who may better understand the dangers of vaccinating an unhealthy animal. If local law forbids exemptions, change the law. Numerous states are in the process of adding exemptions to their laws. Click this link to check your state’s rabies law and pending exemptions.
- Don’t vaccinate against rabies within three weeks of other vaccinations or medication for parasites. Multiple vaccines given at once greatly increase the chance of reactions.
- Make sure your dog gets the correct vaccine – If you’re vaccinating a puppy, make sure your vet administers a one-year vaccine initially (as late as legally possible) and a three-year vaccine (or whatever is required in your area) thereafter. The one-year and three-year vaccines are virtually identical medically – but not under the law. A one-year shot must be followed by re-vaccination a year later. Note: the one-year shot is not safer than the three-year (except that it may contain fewer adjuvants).
- Vaccinate at the safest time – Vaccinate in the morning, early in the week, and don’t leave the area for at least an hour if possible. Watch for reactions for at least the next 48 hours. Reactions occurring when the closest vet’s office is closed can prove disastrous, even fatal.
- Tell your vet you want a Thimerosol-free vaccine – Thimerosol (mercury) in vaccines has been linked to adverse reactions. Merial, for one, makes one- and three-year thimersol-free rabies vaccines: IMRAB® 1 TF and IMRAB® 3 TF. Make sure you see “TF” on the label. (If your vet doesn’t carry the vaccine, you may have to vet shop to find the vaccine you want. You might also ask why the vet why he/she doesn’t carry it.)
- Find a vet trained in homeopathy to vaccinate your dog – Certain homeopathic remedies given before, during and after vaccinating can lessen the chance of ill effects from vaccination.
- Report all vaccine reactions to your vet – and make sure they’re recorded in your pet’s file. Have the vet sign relevant pages, get copies and put them in a safe place. (Vets lose records, retire and move away.) Also report the reaction to the drug’s manufacturer. (You’ll need the vaccine lot number.) Vets are notoriously bad at reporting reactions, but exemptions to rabies vaccination and drug safety require documentation.
- Don’t vaccinate within a week of travel – Pets experiencing reactions on route can die for lack of immediate medical assistance. (Find a list of emergency clinics by area at http://www.vetsnearyou.com/ml2/?v=352875029&u=0880F1AAC5EF9BA40210818080F807184B&gclid=CKOmmcXvm6QCFQY-bAodawLaEg (I cannot guarantee the clinics’ expertise, but at least this is a place to start.)
- Keep copies of vaccination records and titer tests in your car.. and license tags on your dog’s collar or harness. Otherwise, you may be forced to re-vaccinate if your pet bites someone, runs away and is taken to a shelter or if you have to board your pet unexpectedly.
- Do not administer a rabies vaccine yourself – It will not satisfy legal requirements and you’ll have to have a vet vaccinate again. You will also be unprepared to deal with a potentially life-threatening reaction. Similarly, a vet’s office may likely be a safer place to get the vaccine than a mobile clinic.
- Finally, support the Rabies Challenge Fund– World renowned scientists, W Jean Dodds DVM and Ronald D Schultz PhD are working as volunteers to increase the interval between rabies boosters by proving that the vaccine gives immunity, first, for five years, and then for seven years. They’re also working to establish a blood “titer standard” to provide a scientific basis to avoid unnecessary boosters with a simple blood test. This nonprofit group is supported solely by dog lovers and dog groups.
Before the next notice from Animal Control arrives, do your homework. A little time spent learning about the rabies vaccine can mean the difference between your dog’s wellness and serious illness. Link 3
Avoid Unnecessary Vaccines With Titer Tests
A titer test is a simple blood test that measures a dog or cat’s antibodies to vaccine viruses (or other infectious agents). For instance, your dog may be more resistant to a virus whereas your neighbor’s dog may be more prone to it. Titers accurately assess protection to the so-called “core” diseases (distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis in dogs, and panleukopenia in cats), enabling veterinarians to judge whether a booster vaccination is necessary. All animals can have serum antibody titers measured instead of receiving vaccine boosters. The only exception is rabies re-vaccination. There is currently no state that routinely accepts a titer in lieu of the rabies vaccine, which is required by law.
What do I do if the titer shows that my pet has immunity? If your pet’s titer levels show that an adequate immune memory has been established, you do not need to create the potential for vaccinosis by introducing unnecessary antigen, adjuvant, and preservatives into his body via booster vaccines. Instead, skip the boosters and have your dog re-titered in three years
What if the titer test is negative? Interpreting titers correctly depends upon the disease in question. Some titers must reach a certain level to indicate immunity, but with the clinically important “core” diseases vaccines, the presence of any measurable antibody indicates protection.
A positive titer test result is fairly straightforward, but a negative titer test result can be more difficult to interpret. This is because a negative titer is not the same thing as a zero titer, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that the animal is unprotected. A negative result usually means that the titer has failed to reach a desired threshold antibody level, but a low titer may still mean that the dog is protected upon exposure, as it doesn’t reflect tissue levels of immunity. Link 4