Are We Over-vaccinating our Pets?
During Maggie’s consultation with Dr. Mahaney, he suggested that we administer a titer test that measures vaccination failures to prevent over vaccination. The test is called VacciCheck. (Full disclosure, Dr. Mahaney is a spokesperson for the company).
I’ve always worried about Jack & Maggie’s vaccination history. Since they were both rescues with little to no history, we had no idea what their vaccination status was. With all the recent press about vaccinations and the potential harmful effects from over-vaccinating, I thought it was good to know the serological status in our dogs.
We read an excellent article on the topic recently in Dogs Naturally magazine, where they state: “Vaccines can be just as harmful to our pets and can cause a wide range of health problems that range from minor fever to anaphylactic shock and cancer…” 1. The article goes on to present a long and scary list of potential vaccine over-reactions. These potential reactions are not only scary to you, the owner – think of how the dog must feel.
I remember my first pup Maxine, got her first round of vaccinations when she was about 10-12 weeks old. She was a normal Lab puppy bouncy and full of mischief. The afternoon after I brought her home, she refused to eat, whimpered when I touched her and hid in the backyard for hours. I was scared to death and she was in obvious distress. I spoke to her our vet and he explained it was likely a reaction to the vaccine, but wow, what was going on in her body to make her feel that way?? Luckily, by later that evening she was back to herself, but it was an eye-opening lesson for me.
When we rescued Jack, he had been in the shelter for a year after being picked up as a stray, so they had no history on him at all. A day or two after I picked him up, I took him to the vet who wanted to administer a full dose of vaccinations to be safe. I resisted, but when I took him to the groomer for a bath, they required that I provide proof of vaccinations, so I had to get them anyways. Who knows how many he’s received in his lifetime maybe none, maybe lots, I have no way of knowing. Maggie also came to us with no medical records, so I don’t know her vaccination record either.
Performing this easy and inexpensive test will at least give you a baseline of your dogs immune system relative to the diseases it tests for. You should NOT blindly administer these vaccines annually. Ask your vet, question the need for any additional vaccinations they suggest and utilize these options to test the need for additional vaccinations.
A study done over twenty years ago by Dr. Ronald Schultz found: “Vaccines for diseases like distemper and canine parvovirus, once administered to adult animals, provide lifetime immunity.” 2. Dr. Karen Becker has an excellent series of interviews with Dr. Schultz on her blog at HealthyPets.Mercola. It’s an excellent explanation of the research around vaccines, a discussion of immunization vs. vaccination and an outline of the protocols Dr. Schultz and Dr. Becker follow for their own pets.
1. Titers: An Important Tool To Prevent Over Vaccination in Dogs