Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Jab in the Pocket

Vaccines are an area where veterinarians have worked very hard to confuse things.

Those who have children know that after they become teenagers, they are pretty much done with vaccines. Are dogs different?


It turns out that after that first round of shots, completed in the first year of a dog's life, no other vaccines are necessary, except rabies.

Ronald D. Schultz, chairman of the University of Wisconsin's Department of Pathobiological Sciences, and the world's foremost expert on dog and cat vaccines, describes how he takes care of his own dogs and cats in the March 1998 issue of Veterinary Medicine:

"My own pets are vaccinated once or twice as pups and kittens, then never again except for rabies."

More recently, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) published Canine Vaccine Guidelines, Recommendations, and Supporting Literature. This 2003 report notes:

"We now know that booster injections are of no value in dogs already immune, and immunity from distemper and vaccinations last for a minimum of 7 years based on challenge studies, and up to 15 years (a lifetime) based on antibody titer."

Bottom Line: If your veterinarian is pushing annual Disptemper, Parvo, Corona and other shots for your adult dog, he or she is ripping you off and billing you for medically unnecessary services.

Change vets!.



Retrieverman said...

What I've always hated is that in West Virginia, you get a 3 year rabies shot, but you have to have the dog vaccinated every two years as per the statute.

But it was worse, it used to be that you had to have a booster EVERY year.

And also, they want you to use heartworm preventative all year 'round, even when there are no mosquitoes. I use it only from April to October, both of which are pushing the limit of mosquito season here, and not at all in the winter.

Now, if I lived in a subtropical place, I would use it every month. But when you have a few months every year when it's just too cold for the mosquitoes. In fact, I'd use it more months out of the year if I lived in one of the warmer parts of the state, like the Eastern Panhandle (just outside the Beltway) or that area to the southwest that borders on Kentucky and reaches toward Charleston.

In Charleston, you can grow figs and the southern magnolias bloom. In my area, you can forget about figs-- some years you can't grow certain breeds of apples! Like this year, when it frosted nearly into the third week of May. A month ago, we had a few days in which the temperature didn't get out of the 50's (which were record lows.)

The Dog House said...

We use no flea meds, no heartworm meds. But we are not in a heartworm heavy area and we take other precautions such as pest deterrents, etc.

As far as vaccines go, my older girl was not vax'd until she was 2 (gasp! she survived!) due to my fear after my over-vaxed retriever suffered a myriad of health issues. With my younger girl, we did puppy vax starting at 7 weeks. I regret it now...

Our newest pup will be arriving mid August, and our intention is actually to follow the guide you mentioned, and to vaccinate once at 16 weeks, rabies at 6 months, and then, as with my other dogs, one rabies booster - nothing more.