Some veterinarians are avid readers of veterinary journals and attend the seminars of top experts. They’re always up to date on the latest scientific findings regarding vaccination.
Others, not so much.
Would you know if your vet vaccinated appropriately, according to the latest suggested protocols? Would you know if your vet took every precaution to avoid unnecessary shots and adverse reactions? Here’s how to find out.
Pictured: Sasha, whose death after over-vaccination prompted activism
Dangerous Vaccination Practices
Your dog’s health is at risk if your vet:
- Has ever failed, prior to vaccinating, to evaluate your dog’s current health … or failed to ask if your dog has ever reacted badly to shots … or failed to determine your dog’s age and current lifestyle … or failed to check his or her file … or failed to ask if your dog has been vaccinated elsewhere in the past three years.
- Even once vaccinated your dog without your express consent.
- Even once vaccinated without fully explaining the risks, benefits and alternatives to vaccinating. (Learn your vet’s Liability Related to Vaccination.)
- Vaccinates your adult dog yearly with combo shots or against parvovirus and distemper.
- Argues if you question the need for a shot or ask about titer testing instead of vaccination.
- Vaccinated your dog before, after or during surgery or while being wormed or being given a rabies shot.
- Vaccinated your dog when the dog was ill, had allergies, infections or skin problems or was stressed. (See Vaccinating Unhealthy Pets: Beware Reactions & Vaccine Failure.)
- Vaccinated your dog with a combination shot without warning that combo shots are linked to adverse reactions (especially for small dogs) and often contain unnecessary vaccines or vaccines “not recommended” by experts.
- Fails to consider the possibility that a new health or behavioral problem could be related to a recent shot.
- Vaccinates against Leptospirosis (the “L” in a combo shot) or Lyme or Bordetella without urgent, proven local need and effectiveness.
- Recommends giving an antihistamine with a shot to a dog who reacts badly to shots rather than delaying or forgoing vaccination.
Below are the stories of two people who lost their beloved dogs to over-vaccination.
From James Piercey: Tonight my little dog died from seizures…. This morning he had a seizure and it lasted maybe 30 seconds. While he was there [at the vet’s office] for severe seizures the vet decided upon himself it was a good time to vaccinate him and give him all his shots. Why couldn’t that have waited? I have been going to this vet for years and always trusted him but now i feel he knew my little guy was close to death and sent him home maybe to make sure he got paid which he did. (Read his complete story — comment #16 — and responses by vets and me.)
From Sasha’s “mom,” vaccination researcher and writer Elizabeth Hart: Here in Australia, annual revaccination for parvovirus, distemper virus and adenovirus is still “accepted practice” by the veterinary profession.
My eight year old Maltese x Silky terrier, Sasha, became very ill with “haemorrhagic gastroenteritis” eight days after her sixth unnecessary annual booster last year. Four days after that she was dead. The veterinarian concerned refused to consider her illness and subsequent death might have been influenced by the revaccination. No wonder the dog and cat vaccination guidelines of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association note that “there is gross under-reporting of vaccine-associated adverse events which impedes knowledge of the ongoing safety of these products”.
I now know, too late, that Sasha did not need to be revaccinated for parvovirus, distemper virus and adenovirus. She didn’t need to be vaccinated for parainfluenza or bordetella either, as she wasn’t boarded out. She didn’t need any revaccination at all, so why did the veterinarian’s annual vaccination reminder letter compel me to have her revaccinated to ensure she “stay healthy”? Is this ethical practice?
Why are vets allowed to over-vaccinate with impunity?
Why are we allowed to be exploited in this way? Where is consumer protection for consumers of veterinary services?
Why do vets have to be pleaded with and cajoled to adopt best scientific practice? Why is self-regulation in the veterinary profession so weak? Isn’t it way past time more effective regulation was put in place to protect consumers?
Why are many vets not informing their clients about long duration of immunity (probably lifelong) with core MLV vaccines, and the possibility of a range of short-term and long-term adverse reactions, which means vaccination should be minimized.
Why are pets’ lives being put at risk with useless and possibly harmful interventions?
Why is there no accountability, no justice?
Articles by Elizabeth Hart: Are Vets Making Our Pets Sick? and Over-Vaccination of Pets: An Unethical Practice. These are well-researched, excellent articles. The first is the short version of the second.
Please bookmark this page and tell your friends about the dangers their dogs may be facing.
Access all of my best vaccination articles in a group or read the two most important ones:
Vaccinating Dogs: 10 Steps to Eliminating Unnecessary Shots
Titer Test: Don’t Vaccinate Your Dog Unnecessarily
Also see my website pages:
Vaccinating Dogs: What Your Vet Won’t Tell You (video, info and links)
Rabies Vaccination: What You Must Know (learn how to vaccinate more safely, get exemptions, and more)
Find a new vet using the referral lists at my Find a Vet web page.
Please, save yourself a lot of heartache by becoming an educated pet guardian and by standing up to authority whenever necessary to advocate for your pet’s health or safety.
Jan Rasmusen is the author of the national award-winning book Scared Poopless: The Straight Scoop on Dog Care. Sign up for notification of future articles and our free dog care e-newsletter (delivered quarterly). Follow K9Author at Twitter.
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