Are you confused about how often your dog needs vaccines?
Let’s look at the core vaccines and what research has to say about how often they should be given. But before we do, you should first understand that the core dog vaccines (parvovirus, distemper and adenovirus) are not required by law. Only rabies is legally required in the all states in the US and some (not all) Canadian provinces.
So apart from rabies, nobody can force you to vaccinate your dog with any other vaccine you don’t want to give. Period.
This is a decision best left up to you and your vet. But before you decide, make sure you’re aware of the duration of immunity of those vaccines – and the potentially lethal consequences of over-vaccinating – because most vets don’t (but don’t worry, we’ve got a handout you can share with our vet at the bottom of this post).
When it comes to immunity and duration of immunity for dog vaccines, there’s one clear expert. Dr Ronald D Schultz is one of perhaps three or four researchers doing challenge studies on veterinary vaccines – and he did these studies for 40 years.
In fact, it’s Dr Schultz’s work that prompted the AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) and AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) to re-evaluate vaccine schedules. In 2003, The American Animal Hospital Association Canine Vaccine Taskforce warned vets in JAAHA (39 March/April 2003) that:
“Misunderstanding, misinformation and the conservative nature of our profession have largely slowed adoption of protocols advocating decreased frequency of vaccination’; ‘Immunological memory provides durations of immunity for core infectious diseases that far exceed the traditional recommendations for annual vaccination.”
“This is supported by a growing body of veterinary information as well-developed epidemiological vigilance in human medicine that indicates immunity induced by vaccination is extremely long lasting and, in most cases, lifelong.”
“The recommendation for annual re-vaccination is a practice that was officially started in 1978.” says Dr Schultz. “This recommendation was made without any scientific validation of the need to booster immunity so frequently. In fact the presence of good humoral antibody levels blocks the anamnestic response to vaccine boosters just as maternal antibody blocks the response in some young animals.”
He adds: “The patient receives no benefit and may be placed at serious risk when an unnecessary vaccine is given. Few or no scientific studies have demonstrated a need for cats or dogs to be revaccinated.”
Below is the result of duration of immunity testing on over 1,000 dogs and on every major vaccine.
Both challenge (exposure to the real virus) and serology (antibody titer results) are below:
It’s important to note that this is the MINIMUM duration of immunity. These ceilings reflect not the duration of immunity, but the duration of the studies.
Dr Schultz explains “It is important to understand that these are minimum DOI’s and longer studies have not been done with certain of the above products. It is possible that some or all of these products will provide lifelong immunity.”
Dr Schultz has seen these results repeated over the years. In 2010, he published the following with newer generation, recombinant vaccines.
Why is it important to understand Dr Schultz’s work?
Because dog vaccines can create very real health problems. Vaccines must be given only when necessary. Every vaccine has the potential to kill the patient or create debilitating chronic diseases including cancer and allergies.
Below is a list of potential adverse vaccine reactions, according to Dr Schultz:
And this is what vaccine damage looks like …
Source: Patricia Jordan DVM
Dr Schultz summarizes his 40 years of research with the following:
“Only one dose of the modified-live canine ‘core’ vaccine (against CDV, CAV-2 and CPV-2) or modified-live feline ‘core’ vaccine (against FPV, FCV and FHV), when administered at 16 weeks or older, will provide long lasting (many years to a lifetime) immunity in a very high percentage of animals.”
But the problem is, many vets are ignoring this research … and your vet is vaccinating your dog every year – or even every three years – he’s vaccinating too much! Your dog is already protected and the vaccine will give him all of the risk with no benefit.
It’s critical to understand that we need to protect our dogs and cats not just from infectious disease, but also from vaccine damage. And that recently became a lot easier (and a lot cheaper) …
We now have inexpensive in-house titer testing (Vaccicheck and TiterCHEK) – titer tests will determine whether your pet has responded to his vaccines and formed immunity. With in-house titer testing, there’s never any reason to give any cat or dog over the age of 16 weeks another vaccine without a negative titer test first.
Vets no longer have to guess at when to re-vaccinate.
But vets continue to guess anyway and they vaccinate every three years or more … and they’re reluctant to use titer tests instead. Your dog relies on your vet to make the right decisions when it comes to vaccines. So please download this printable PDF and discuss it with your vet before you vaccinate your dog again.
You are not sure if you are vaccinating your pup too much? Grab this guide to find out