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Over Vaccination

         Having been involved with pure-bred dogs for           thrombocytopenia (seriously low blood platelet count),
more than 40 years, I clearly remember when Parvo               later the other two did as well.		
jumped species from cats to dogs. Suddenly dogs were be-
coming very ill and some died from a disease to which they               When the next two pups developed similar symp-
had no natural immunity.                                        toms, I recognized what was happening but the second
                                                                time my vet used amoxicillin rather than pred. The pup
         Dog shows presented us with a huge risk for our        took three weeks to improve on the antibiotics but again he
dogs coming into contact with others who may have been          was fine in the end. I opted with the third pup to go with
harboring the illness. That happened to 3 of my own dogs        pred simply because experience showed it put the pup back
in the early years of parvo. My special, his son and niece all  on her feet faster. However, at 6 mos of age, she developed
developed parvo. My special was very ill but all of the dogs    HOD, which took another month to fade away.
pulled through okay, fortunately.
                                                                         By the mid-90s I began to ask more questions of my
         Early on veterinarians were coming out to our ve-      and other vets and did some time at the vet school library
hicles in their parking lots to give vaccines due to so many    researching. I can’t help but think what harm was done to
ill dogs in the clinics. Even a few years later the vet clinic  so many dogs who had those overloads of vaccines in the
was a high risk place. I had a litter of pups who went to       80s-90s. Did the prevalence of cancer in dogs go up? Im-
be cropped and a week later they were coming down with          mune mediated diseases seemed to be on everyone’s mind
parvo. I lost two pups, one I’d planned on keeping. For a       by then. There are no answers to those questions and guilty
two week period I was running a sick pup to my non-crop         feelings but there is a lot more information at everyone’s
vet for support therapy and picking up another who was          finger tips now so more informed decisions can be made.
over the crisis. The last pup wasn’t expected to make it but
she was very strong minded about that and she too made it                By the turn of the century more research was fund- a ripe old age,in fact.                                   ed into vaccines for both humans and pets. In our dogs, it
                                                                seems to be that we just kept the light bill paid at the clincs
         With those experiences, I never question my vet’s      around the country with those annual vaccines and maybe
advice to vaccinate every 6-12 months for Parvo since           adding a new wing with the serious issues that they may
I was often going to shows. In the early 1990s I ran into       have caused. Dr Jean Dodds, provided a conservative vac-
something completely new as a result, something that had        cine schedule that I began to follow, later Dr Ron Schultz’s
no name at the time but is now called ‘vaccinosis’. It is an    research showed that beyond maturity, at 2 -3 yrs, most
extreme reaction to a vaccine. It happened with 3 pups          dogs do not need boosters at all.
from different litters over a three year period. The symp-
toms were so serious that I feared the pup would never                   Most dogs retain immunity lifelong but some due
survive. All had the same reaction, they crashed, literally,    to serious illness, age issues or other health problems may
couldn’t walk, were in pain, refused food and water (and        lose levels of immunity so that it isn’t high enough to pre-
were nauseous). The pup first affected crashed during a         vent infection. But instead of willy-nilly vaccinating, now
National in Maryland on the last night. I wasn’t sure he’d      we can turn to titers. Yes, we could before but the costs
make the trip home alive, but he did, sleeping most of the      were very high. Now there are 2 new titer tests that can be
way. My vet opened on a Sunday night to meet me and take        done within a half-hour at your vet clinics. Only vaccines
the puppy into the clinic.                                      actully needed, which are identifed by the tests, can be
                                                                done for these dogs.	
         The vet had not seen a puppy presenting such
symptoms previously, but treated him symptomatically and                 However, even a conservative vaccination program
added prednisone in the protocols. It was like a miracle        can result in a reaction. Fast forward to 2011 at Harrisburg
cure, but really what it did was make the puppy feel better,    Regional. My newest pup crashed the last day there. The
not cure the problem. Time did that on its own. In about        symptoms were instantly recognizable. I called my vet as I
10 days the puppy was back to his usual self, racing around     left to come home, again, he agreed to meet me at the clinic
with his litter brother. His bloodwork showed                  on a Sunday evening. (since my old vet had retired several
                                                                years previously this was my “new” vet). I told him what I

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