Vaccinations are biological medcines with well documented adverse side effects, up to and including death!
I’m not anti-vax. I’ve seen too many dogs dying an agonising death from Parvovirus to be fundamentalist about that. HOWEVER!!! Over-vaccination is the norm with companion animals. And over-vaccination causes all sorts of chronic health conditions in way too many animals and kills some of them too. I see so many animals with autoimmune diseases or allergies that were triggered by vaccinations (and then often made even worse with repeats).
I believe it is malpractice to re-vaccinate without titer testing beforehand to see if the re-vaccination is needed. Unfortunately, the norm is that nearly all vets push people to have their pets re-vaccinated every year, or every three years. This is the recommendation of the veterinary associations, too.
Why does my profession ignore the rock-solid, irrefutable, high-grade scientific evidence from Dr Ronald Schultz’s research that clearly shows that the modified live virus (MLV) C3 vaccine (for Canine Hepatitis, Canine Parvovirus + Canine Distemper) gives a long lasting duration of immunity (DOI) of at least 5-7 years, and often longer (can be life long)?
I suspect that the fact that vaccine companies sponsor all of the veterinary associations very heavily may be the reason. And vaccination is the foundation income in small animal veterinary practice. I know this all too well, as some 8-9 years ago when I educated myself about all of this. I stopped vaccinating in my home visit practice. And my income dropped by at least 30%.
This is where you come in- because the only way this is all going to change is with pressure from veterinary clients. Demand affordable titer testing for your animals. (More about that in a moment.)
So what the hell is a titer test anyhow?
A titer is a quantitative measure of the concentration of antibodies to a specific disease present in the blood. This can be done by sending your dog’s blood away to an external lab (EXPENSIVE) or with what I use- the Biogal in-house vaccicheck test kits (AFFORDABLE).
Why are tests sent to external labs so expensive? (I’ve had clients quoted up to $500 AUD per dog!!!) This is because most Vet hospitals mark up their pathology/lab work by at least 100%, some by 2-300% (just to put this into context – the markup on clothes and shoes is often similar percentage-wise).
If your vet doesn’t titer test in-house, inform them about the in house tests- vet hospitals with nurses to run the test should be able to charge $90/dog and still have a healthy profit margin. I charge $120 because I don’t have a nurse, being a one-man show.
You may have to put some pressure on, as many vets think that titer testing is a waste of time. It most certainly isn;t, and could save your dog from long term debilitating illness, or even save their life! The science behind this is solid as a rock. Titer test levels correlate very strongly to immunity form the disease.
They are NOT ‘Boosters’
This term is misleading and manipulative, in my opinion! The thing is, if all MLV C3 vaccines give a long-lasting DOI of at least 5-7 years, then nearly all so-called ‘booster’ vaccinations are doing nothing but possibly harming your dogs.
This is why doing a titer test first is necessary. Then you can see what the immunity (antibody) levels are for each disease, and then you only re-vaccinate if these levels are low. This way you never give your dog an unnecessary vaccination.
Core vs Non-Core vaccines
The Core vaccines in dogs are for Parvo, Distemper and Canine Hepatitis. That’s the C3. Anything in addition to this are non-core vaccines. I generally don’t recommend non-core vaccines at all (with some exceptions).
If you’re in a country with endemic rabies, rabies will be a core vaccine too.
The main ones are:
Kennel Cough: The only reason I’d ever tell my clients to use this vaccination is if they need it to have their dogs accepted by kennels. It’s a crap vaccine – it gives poor protection (a bit like the human flu vaccine) – and if I had $50 for every vaccinated dog I’ve seen in my years as a vet who still got Kennel Cough, I’d be able to go on a lovely shopping spree! If you must have it, I recommend the intranasal one (though you can still get bad reactions to that too).
Leptospirosis: Another vaccine that gives poor levels of protection, and not for very long in the dogs it does work in. It’s a nasty vaccine, very reactive. I’d only consider it if there is very high risk- for instance in the tropical cane fields in North QLD here in Australia.
I also found out today that the British Smal Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) has made this a core vaccine in the UK!!! I cannot for the life of me understand why, as the prevalence is low in the UK, much lower numbers yearly in people than in Australia (and the UK has a much bigger population). REMEMBER – you can refuse any vaccine, core or not, and I don;t agree that Lepto should EVER be considered a core vaccination. Up to 30% of dogs won’t respond to it.
Coronavirus + Lyme: These are both also non-core vaccines.
The bottom line is…
If you do choose to re-vaccinate, always titer test before. This could literally save your dog’s life!