My vet is a fairly new graduate and so I asked her and the vet tech what they thought about giving less shots. Now this woman said she went to school in California and there is a big movement to NOT vaccinate as often out there. She also said that there isn't enough data to substantiate giving vaccines every 7 years! I told her I was talking 3-4 years...she does not believe that dogs need as many shots as they get but it does depend what and why as she doesn't give her dogs kennel cough because they will never be anyplace but at her home (she sited the dog insurance covers all these shots I have never even heard of).Sounds like pharmaceutical companies everywhere! We talked about the basic shots also and there again she thought that people and situations are all different but believes in the rabies (my dogs get a 3 year rabies every 2 years) and then distemper yearly and a couple more because I breed! I do this because we live in the country and have racoons,stray dogs and feral if my dogs/cats never left a fence it would be one thing but they do occasionally run into some animal that could be sick. If my cats get older and don't go out I would not vaccinate them BUT they do!

What do you do and why?

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after puppy shots we do Rabies every 3, DHPP every 3, and lepto every 1. I have done kennel cough in the past, and my dog still contracted kennel cough so I may not do it again, as I've been told its not very effective and only covers certain strains. If I board or continue training classes I will get the kennel cough.


I am currently a vet tech and here is what I have found in my experience: Rabies is a MUST every 3 years, basically because it is the law. For cats that are indoors its not a big deal to get, however I have a friend who had an indoor cat who contracted rabies from a bat that got into the house and the cat had to be euthanized, the owner was also bit and had to go through the series of post exposure vaccines, so you really never know. No need to do rabies any sooner than every 3 years because they will have sufficient antibodies with the 3 year vaccine. As for DHPP, we have many clients who do not do it every 3 years but opt to do a titer yearly instead. Some of the dogs needed it every 3 years for a few times then never needed the vaccine again, while some needed to reboost in 6 or 7 years.  Everyone's immune systems are different and so how they build antibodies and how long those antibodies stay in the system are all dependent on the individual. If you choose to go the no vaccine route, make sure to do titers because diseases like distemper are highly contagious and incurable. It would be incredibly irresposible to choose not to vaccinate and also not keep up on titers, if not yearly, then every 2 or 3 years, just to make sure your dogs (and the wildlife around them) are safe.


Another thing many breeders do which is very ineffective is start the vaccine series at 6 weeks old. If vaccines are given BEFORE 8 weeks, they are ineffective as the mother's antibodies are still in the puppies system. The puppy will still need 3 more vaccines to be considered to have full immunity. Also a lot of people give the vaccines early (i,e. every 2 weeks instead of every 3 to 4), this is also ineffective. The body needs AT LEAST 3 weeks to build immunity to the vaccine and introducing a new vaccine before that time does nothing to boost immunity. You must wait at least 3 weeks, 4 is ideal.

The few studies I've seen show that some puppies start losing mother's immunity at around 5 or 6 weeks, some at 8, some at 12, some at 14, etc.   The reason why many breeders start at 6 weeks is you have no way of knowing (without testing) if a particular litter has lost mom's immunity or not, and if they have they are vulnerable.  So they hit them all with the idea that they'll catch those 20% or so who lost immunity early and have a shorter unprotected window.


Our breeder lost an entire litter once when a puppy-visitor swore they hadn't been around other dogs and it turns out they'd been at a farm visiting another litter right before hers.  Now she doesn't allow any visitors til they've had first shots, and she gives first shots around 6 weeks or so, with a booster before they leave at 10 weeks.


As you mentioned with adults, one size does not fit all and many prefer to be conservative if they aren't going to test every dog.

Has anyone had dogs that had a reaction to the rabies shot?  This has happened to Bucher two times, the first time he just was sick and not himself for about a week (called the vet and he noted it on his record).  The last time he had a bad reaction (vet had us come in to recheck him and made another note on his record) also a lump from the shot, which hasn’t gone away (3 years later)!!  I think that this summer he is do for his 3 year rabies and I really am worried to let him get the next  shot .  I have talked to the vet about a certificate or something that he can sign so we don’t have to give him the shot this year, has anyone else heard of this??  Bucher was 9 in October and also had a very bad bout with Anaplasma Phagocytophilum, he still doesn’t act like himself…..I really don’t know what to do about the rabies shot.

I have heard of reactions to the rabies shots. At 9 years old he should have sufficient immunity. Due to his last 2 reactions your vet may be fine with writing you a letter for the lisencing people. My chihuahua has a lump from her rabies vaccine 2 years ago, it never went away. Many allergic reactions get worse with each exposure so I would be leary of getting yet another rabies shot when he has had a reaction to his last two. With the addition of his current health condition there is NO reason why your vet should say no to writing you a letter, especially if you have kept up with his boosters for the last 9 years. If the vet is insistent on giving the shot, ask if you can do a titer instead and send that to the county. Also, what usually works is a drop off visit for the shot, the vet will pre-medicate him with benadryl or a steriod and then give the vaccine and observe him for the day to make sure he doesn't have a reaction. If it were my dog though I'd talk seriously with my vet about not doing it at all.

Thank you for that info!  Yes, he has gotten all the shots that they recommend up until now.  I think we have taken Bucher to the vet for check ups and his shots more than I ever took my kids!!  I have never liked to give him all the shots at once so I've paid for extra office visits, that also helped so we could tell what he was reacting to.  I really don't want him to have it the shot at all!!

I had a pup that had a reaction after she left and I talked to my vet about it. It will not happen with the 1st shot but I believe it was not to the rabies! She had a bad reaction and needed some quick intervention. After that I have Benadryl on hand. I think you got some valuable info about the titers and you vet writing a letter. Good luck!
Sure have.  Had a young dog that at his first rabies shot, went lame in the rear leg where the shot was given.  Lasted about 48 hours then better.  At his yearly booster, he went totally down in the rear for 48 hours after the shot.  From that point on, we noted it on his file.  Our state would not give an exemption on his rabies even if we titered, so there was a protocal set up with steriods, etc before his shot 3 years later.  Never got to test it out as he was returned to his breeder for other reasons.  I made sure she was aware of this and she had been involved with the previous incidences and knew what was going on.  He never passed it on to any of his offspring, so it was purely his own reaction, not a genetic issue.


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