Don’t Let Your Vet Vaccinate Blindly: Test Titers

Written by Jan on January 26, 2015 – 11:59 pm

Someone (I’ll call her Ann) wrote me last week asking: Is there any recent info I can pass along to my Vet – he says titres are not reliable and he will not do them.

Yikes. He-will-not-do-them? Titer testing — a simple blood draw to test immunity to a disease — is an absolutely safe procedure. You can test titers (antibody) levels to determine if an animal (or human) already has immunity to particular diseases and doesn’t need “boosters.”  The most commonly tested titers are for parvovirus and distemper, the two most important diseases, and also rabies in certain instances. Don’t waste your money on anything else.

Even if Ann’s vet thinks titer testing is unreliable and a waste of time and money, it is her money and her responsibility to keep her dog healthy. Not his. His job, in this instance, is to draw blood and offer advice if asked. After testing, it is up to Ann to determine the weight to give to the results. She can then allow her vet to vaccinate if he wants. Or not.

Incidentally, Ann could have any vet or vet tech draw blood. She could send the blood sample to a lab (like my favorite, They’ll perform the test and an expert will interpret the results. From that point on, she can solicit her vet’s input. Or not.

Although most enlightened veterinarians will happily test titers, too many, like Ann’s vet, refuse to test or will belittle results. Others avoid confrontation by charging astronomical rates. A parvovirus/distemper titer test should cost around $50-60; a rabies titer (not for export) should cost around $100. Add to this, around $25 for a blood draw; some tests in some locations may also require a shipping expense. If your vet is charging much more than that, he/she is just trying to discourage (and/or take advantage of) you.

But isn’t vaccinating cheaper than testing? 

Read more »

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Dog Vaccine Reactions: Reality or Coincidence?

Written by Jan on January 14, 2015 – 5:00 am

Vaccine reactions


Every day someone writes to me with another horror story about their dog experiencing a seizure or a behavior change, developing autoimmune disease, or even dying after vaccination. Unless the reaction was immediate, but sometimes even then, their veterinarian likely insisted that vaccines are safe and couldn’t have caused the problem. But the pet’s guardian knows better. The dog was healthy until …. He had never had a seizure before …. He went downhill quickly after …. Often, veterinarians suggest that the dog had the health problem all along; vaccination just brought it to the forefront. Here’s the question: Without the vaccine, would it ever have materialized? Here’s a recent comment on my post, Rabies Vaccine: Side Effects and Help

I just had to put my puppy down yesterday [after rabies vaccination]. They told us that it could have been liver shunts, brain tumor, distemper and blah blah blah. They tried to cover for themselves. She did not show any signs of anything before her rabies shot. She was having an adverse reaction to the shot from the beginning. Hives, swelling, pustules, all of which lead into seizures once a day, then twice a day, then four times. We then took her to an animal hospital which said well it could have been a reaction but they didn’t rule anything else out either. We spent thousands of dollars to find out ANYTHING…nothing came up.

I wish I could say that this post was unusual, but it’s not. Since 2004, when my dog Jiggy was diagnosed with autoimmune liver disease after injection with the rabies vaccine, I have been researching and writing extensively about vaccination — particularly about preventing over-vaccination and adverse reactions. The one big difference since then is that more people suspect reactions than they used to. That’s progress of sorts, I guess, although I’ve been hoping for more. I’ve particularly been hoping that veterinarians would have started owning up to the dangers of vaccination. Most haven’t.

Why? Here’s an excerpt from my free 14-page report on rabies vaccination. Read more »

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Free Eye Exams for Service Dogs

Written by Jan on January 12, 2015 – 10:37 am


American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) is gearing up for the 8th Annual ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam Event. The goal of this event is to provide as many free screening exams as possible to eligible service animals across the U.S. and Canada throughout the month of May. Read more »

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Avoiding the Pitfalls of Microchipping Your Dog or Cat

Written by Jan on December 17, 2014 – 10:30 am


Mary Wall, DVM, allowed us to post this valuable information on microchips and how to prevent, avoid and surpass many of the common issues that arise.  Two of my own dogs have had chip migration issues, with their chips traveling down their shoulders. I hope you’ll take the time to read this valuable post.  — Jan

scared-dog-editedFirst of all, there are many manufacturers of microchips (MC’s) and thus many different groups that register them and, also, ***IMPORTANT*****  many manufacturers of microchip scanners. Although there are some scanners that will READ all types of chips, there are also scanners that do not.  (I have made it a point to own a scanner that will read all types of chips—–I cannot vouch for either the SPCA, rescue groups, or other vet clinics).


1)  If you know they have a MC, ask your vet to scan and confirm that it is present, functioning and the number documented is correct.  Every time you go to vet, ask them to scan  (we do!!)  And sometimes, we find NO chip, extra chips, or the wrong number chip (disastrous).

2)  Ensure that all of your personal info is current with your own company of registration.  When we move, change email, change phone #, microchip registration may not always be on our “remember to notify” list.

3)  Try to keep a microchip tag on pet’s collar.  I realize this can be impossible, but it is very helpful to do so.

4)  Understand what a chip can and cannot do.  It can return pet to owner, IF:
-properly scanned
-scanned by a scanner that can read the type of chip you have
-all information with the registry is accurate  (or at least some of it)
-a MC is not a tracker, and if you have not registered the chip, the only info that is obtained is who purchased that chip;  if it was a breeder, a disorganized shelter, etc, there may be no way to find you.
-if you adopted a previously owned pet, you had better be sure that the contact registration is now for yourself.


1)  We scan and find multiple microchips.  (I found 3 on one dog once!!!)  One not uncommon cause of this is that pet was never scanned prior to chipping and there was already a chip there.  (another is that the scanner used by chip placer #2 and #3 was not able to even ID the other chips already there)

2)  I have scanned and found NO chip.  I had a recent experience, details below, and the clinic who did the chipping declared “chip gone dead”.  I was SO ANNOYED that I took radiographs and found NO CHIP present—-(yes, microchips show up on radiographs/X-rays).  I mean, the owner had microchip info on the paperwork, but no tag on the dog but there was no chip.
The common mistake here, IMHO, is that who ever inserted the chip did a poor job of doing it.  It fell out, or maybe was never placed.  There is a tiny bit of art to microchip placement (which is why only the vets do it in my office).

3)  I have scanned and found the wrong chip number, compared with the tag or adoption agency paper number.  Here, the cause is ignorance, chaos and people not caring enough to do the job properly.  (Again, IMHO)  Usually, these chips come from a shelter of some sort where they perhaps is an “assembly line” set up for spay/neuter/chip, in my experience.

BTW, one can surgically remove a microchip.  I am saying this not to encourage stealing a dog, but sometimes there can be problems with transfer of information.
Also, there are some companies (I met one in Florida) who sell chips and register chips in their registry  (these are chips they have marketed from another manufacturer, oftentimes to breeders in my experience).  This particular company sells someone else’s chip, charges to register and answer the lost/found pet line Monday through Friday from 9-5!!!
Be aware, if you have above situation you can also register with the AKC registry (nothing to do with pure-bred dogs, they make Trovan chips and will register anyone’s pet/chip).  So one can have a dual-registration and multiple tags from different registries with the same chip #.  I really like that the AKC does this!

So—microchips can be an incredible blessing, but if not dealt with properly, an incredible curse!  If one calls the wrong registry, has the wrong chip number, inaccurate owner info…….well, you get it!


What inspired this?  Lots of things but, in particular, a recent event where vet clinic claimed bad chip (BS-like NO chip) and they did not even have the  chip number (albeit not implanted in this dog) in their computer system.  “we changed software several years ago and I guess it wasn’t transferred ”  We KNOW that clinic bought that chip from that manufacturer.  I took radiographs to confirm no chip——there was no microchip—–so we put in a new one.

Then there is the dog from shelter that had NO chip.  (this shelter mailed a new chip to me to implant—-good for you Doc Williams Shelter!!!)

Then there was dog from SPCA who had a chip that did not match the number on his tag—–we got that straight for them, but for not scanning, we would never know.

Then there is the dog that has 2 chips.  She came from a rescue group who chipped her but already had a chip from Washington State.(we live in SC)  Dead end on the info for former owner in WA, and we helped owner to change the former registration, lest someone only find that chip, a dead end and then deem the pet as no longer owned.

Then there is the dog with a chip that needed me to place a 2nd chip, called an  “ISO” chip to leave the country, only to go elsewhere for insemination where this vet either did not scan or owned a scanner that did not read all chips, thus there are 3 chips in this dog.

OK, enough stories, I hope you get the message.

OH, and BTW, two of my patients have chips that have migrated to their elbows. (not done by me, but I am not saying that couldn’t happen)  So scan entire body!!!

Please use this information wisely to ensure the safety of your most beloved pets!

Dr. Mary Wall

Thanks again to Dr. Wall. I discuss additional problems with microchips, including what a world-renowned veterinary oncologist told me about microchips and cancer risks in the new e-book version of my book, Scared Poopless: The Straight Scoop on Dog Care. It debuted as a #2 Amazon Bestseller in Dog Care, thanks to many of you who purchased it. It’s still available at an unbelievably low price and makes a great gift.  You can read it on a computer, tablet or phone with the free Amazon app.  Or click here to read 10% of it free on Amazon.


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A Crash Course in Vaccination and More (for less than two dollars)

Written by Jan on December 4, 2014 – 8:54 am

Hi Everyone.  Most of you found this blog because you suspected your dog was damaged by vaccination, or feared your dog might be. I’d like to make finding the information you need much easier.

Over the past year and a half, I have updated and expanded my national award-winning book, Scared Poopless: The Straight Scoop on Dog Care. I spent the most time updating and reorganizing the vaccination chapter, trying to make it an easy, sometimes even fun, trek through a difficult subject. The new chapter is divided into three sections: Why Over-Vaccination is Dangerous, Safer Ways to Vaccinate and Resisting Pressure to Over-Vaccinate.  As before, it’s narrated by Chiclet, a wickedly opinionated dog hoping to set humans straight.

THIS WEEK ONLY, the new digital edition of Scared Poopless is available for just $1.99! After introduction, it will be $9.99.


You’ll find similarly in-depth, but easy to digest, information on dental care, pest prevention, nutrition, anesthesia and surgery, finding a healthy puppy — and a lot more. The book now has 611 pages (up from the original 272) and 260 color photos (up from 90). It’s designed so you can read each chapter as a separate book. All for $1.99!

This new digital edition is available for reading on a computer, tablet or smartphone with the free Kindle app, available at (Using the smartphone, you can check information in your vet’s waiting room before vaccinating.)

Scared Poopless is the perfect gift for family, friends, clients … and yourself! Buy as many as you want at this amazing low price. You can even read 10% of the book FREE before buying it at (Click the Kindle image; better yet, click the “Try it free” widget on the right.) Note: You can send the book as a gift at any time you specify. All you need is your recipient’s email address..

IMPORTANT: On Sunday, December 7, the price will increase. Get Scared Poopless today. Want the paperback, too? Buy a new paperback at Amazon and get the Kindle edition for just 99 cents more; see Kindle Matchbook. Click here for both editions. Or go directly to the Kindle Edition. I think you’ll love this book! If not, you will have only lost $1.99. How good is that?


WINNER, Ben Franklin Award for the Best Health Book (of any kind)
USABookNews Award for the Best Pet Health Book
Dog Writers Association Best Health Care Book


“This is a wonderful book! … I have rarely been so impressed by any publication! I’d recommend this one to everyone with a dog.” — Jean Hofve, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association.

“Imagine a book on canine health care that’s also fun to read … packed with everything you need to know about giving your dog a happy and healthy life. A word of caution — Scared Poopless is written in such an attractive, conversational style, you may find it hard to put down!”– Animal Wellness Magazine

“[Jan’s] commitment and motivation to speak up truthfully for our animal companions is admirable and boundless!” — W. Jean Dodds, DVM, internationally-recognized authority on veterinary vaccination, the immune system, blood disorders, thyroid disease and nutrition

 Give it a try now at

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