Dog Vaccines: Are You Over-Vaccinating?

You have probably been over vaccinating your pet!

Are you still going once a year to your vet for vaccines? Are you getting the same vaccine the same DHLPP vaccine every year? If you are then you are WAY over-vaccinating your dog and it can have harmful effects.

Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus (the D, the H,  and one of the P’s in the DHLPP vaccine) are the three main core vaccines needed for your dog. The other diseases in the DHLPP vaccine may not be needed depending on what part of the country you live in. What current research has discovered is that after your dog has had its puppy vaccines for Parvo, Hepatitis (also known as Adenovirus) and Distemper and then a booster a year later the dog will have protective antibodies for 3 to 7 years and in some dogs even longer! In some dogs the antibodies produced by the last booster will last the rest of the dogs life!

There are commercially available blood tests that determine if your dog has protective antibodies called titer tests. Research done by Ronald Schultz, DVM and also Richard Ford, DVM  shows that for sure if a dog has a positive protective titer that dog will not contract the disease in which it was vaccinated.

What is even more interesting is that even if the dog does not have a positive titer which shows active antibodies in the bloodstream the dog may still be protected against the diseases, if it had proper puppy vaccination and the one year booster. What happens in this case is that the dogs immune system has the ability to produce the antibodies very quickly because it has made them before. So once exposed the dog would start producing antibodies that start fighting the disease, this usually happens within hours. The dog may exhibit a fever and mild symptoms but not develop full blown disease.

The current recommendation is to either vaccinate your dog every three years for the core vaccines of Distemper, Parvovirus, Adenovirus and, of course, Rabies. OR do titer testing and only receive vaccination when necessary and follow the law in regards to vaccination of Rabies. If you can do the three year Rabies then do it. There is no difference between the one year and the three year vaccine except for the legalities of administering it. IN fact Dr. Schultz currently has a study going which is showing that the rabies vaccine may last longer than 5 years! (http://www.rabieschallengefund.org/)

So now we know we don’t have to give vaccines every year is there any harm in doing so anyway? Simply – YES. Continuing to give vaccines every year over stimulates the immune system and can cause or make worse diseases such as auto-immune system disorders, allergies and even cancer.

For more info

Dr. Shawn Messonnier Do Vaccines Cause Cancer in Pets?

Dr. Bob Rogers http://www.critteradvocacy.org

Dr. Ron Schultz Dog vaccines may not be necessary

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  • http://dawgbusiness.blogspot.com/ Jana Rade

    Dear Dr. Dan

    This is such a confusing topic, makes my head spin. As many opinions out there as experts, or so it would seem. Some believe in titering, some say it’s useless.

    Wanting to do the right thing for my dogs, I am really at a loss what the right thing is.

    • Dr Dan

      Jana – it is an easy topic if you understand the immune system and follow the current research. There are only a handful of veterinarians that actually do research on this topic. There are only 2 that you really need to listen to because they have really focused their research on this topic, Dr. Richard Ford and Dr. Ron Schultz. Dr. Ron Schultz has been researching this since the 70s.

      Dr. Ford and Dr. Schultz were at the Western Veterinary Conference this year talking about this topic and what is the most up to date research and here is what they said about titer testing and vaccinating –

      1. If you have a positive titer then absolutely without a doubt your dog is protected against the disease in which it was titered. No questions no concerns it is protected.

      2. There are two critical times in vaccination – one at 15-16 weeks of age and the other one year after for a booster. IF your dog/cat is vaccinated at these two critical times it will have the most protection known at this time.

      Both veterinarians that are at the top of the heap in doing research on this subject agreed on these two points and stressed the importance of both of these statements. So now lets see where Dr. Schultz and Dr Ford disagree.

      Dr. Schultz says that his research shows that the immunologic memory cells, the ones that actually produce protective antibodies will produce more antibodies at a very fast rate if exposed to disease. He claims that if the dog has been vaccinated properly, the 15 weeks and the booster a year later, it will not need another vaccine the rest of its life because the memory cells will produce antibodies quick enough to prevent disease. Yes the dog may become ill with a fever and with other symptoms but it will be able to fight off disease.

      Dr. Ford disagrees and feels that it is necessary to have antibodies in the blood stream to have proper protection, that it is not worth the risk of your dog becoming ill.

      I fall on the same side as Dr. Ford – not that I do not believe in what Dr. Schultz is saying but I want to have antibodies in the blood stream to be absolutely sure that my dog is protected. I want to make sure that the immune system is functioning, hence I titer test to be sure that the antibodies are present.

      So you now have THE most current information on the topic. IMO it is a no brainer – titer test and then vaccinate as needed.

  • http://dawgbusiness.blogspot.com/ Jana Rade

    Dear Dr. Dan

    This is such a confusing topic, makes my head spin. As many opinions out there as experts, or so it would seem. Some believe in titering, some say it’s useless.

    Wanting to do the right thing for my dogs, I am really at a loss what the right thing is.
    Jana Rade recently posted..Trainers Corner- Can You Dig That Dogs Need To Dig

    • Dr Dan

      Jana – it is an easy topic if you understand the immune system and follow the current research. There are only a handful of veterinarians that actually do research on this topic. There are only 2 that you really need to listen to because they have really focused their research on this topic, Dr. Richard Ford and Dr. Ron Schultz. Dr. Ron Schultz has been researching this since the 70s.

      Dr. Ford and Dr. Schultz were at the Western Veterinary Conference this year talking about this topic and what is the most up to date research and here is what they said about titer testing and vaccinating –

      1. If you have a positive titer then absolutely without a doubt your dog is protected against the disease in which it was titered. No questions no concerns it is protected.

      2. There are two critical times in vaccination – one at 15-16 weeks of age and the other one year after for a booster. IF your dog/cat is vaccinated at these two critical times it will have the most protection known at this time.

      Both veterinarians that are at the top of the heap in doing research on this subject agreed on these two points and stressed the importance of both of these statements. So now lets see where Dr. Schultz and Dr Ford disagree.

      Dr. Schultz says that his research shows that the immunologic memory cells, the ones that actually produce protective antibodies will produce more antibodies at a very fast rate if exposed to disease. He claims that if the dog has been vaccinated properly, the 15 weeks and the booster a year later, it will not need another vaccine the rest of its life because the memory cells will produce antibodies quick enough to prevent disease. Yes the dog may become ill with a fever and with other symptoms but it will be able to fight off disease.

      Dr. Ford disagrees and feels that it is necessary to have antibodies in the blood stream to have proper protection, that it is not worth the risk of your dog becoming ill.

      I fall on the same side as Dr. Ford – not that I do not believe in what Dr. Schultz is saying but I want to have antibodies in the blood stream to be absolutely sure that my dog is protected. I want to make sure that the immune system is functioning, hence I titer test to be sure that the antibodies are present.

      So you now have THE most current information on the topic. IMO it is a no brainer – titer test and then vaccinate as needed.

  • Janet

    Great information, I have a vet I feel is over-vaccinating my 7lb dog( who had an allergic reaction with the last round of DHLPP….) Much to the disappointment of my vet I am refusing to get her boosters done this year, I’m going to insist on a titer test. Thank you.