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What are vets afraid of?

What are vets afraid of?

What  are veterinarians afraid of ?

A couple  of  weeks  ago, I got a call from a new client, let’s give her a fictional name Paula.  She got my  name from her friend, Andrea, a Great Dane breeder and  a long time client of mine, who’s dogs have been known to live well into the teens.

I can only think of  two things that she does differently:

  1. She doesn’t  vaccinate routinely and  measures her dogs’ antibodies against the most common diseases  like parvo and distemper  instead.
  2. She feeds her dogs natural raw or cooked food.

I have always admired Andrea for having the guts to go with what felt right despite  being ostracized and looked down upon by many of my colleagues.   Her reward for holding her ground  is that  her  dogs are healthier and live longer.

Vaccination  has always been a  very controversial topic of many discussions and a few months ago, I posted a  blog on how to reduce vaccines and keep your  dog safe. However,  what I forgot to  mention in the blog was that if you decide to follow my recommendation, many of my colleagues  will tell you that you are risking the health of your dog.

Paula’s problem was exactly that. Her personal decision to not vaccinate her puppy and instead do titers at  the first vet check-up.  The issue was that she could not find any vet who would agree.

What  is my experience with this alternative approach?

For years,  I have been seeing many puppies  in my  practice.  Instead of vaccination,    the antibody levels for parvovirus and distemper  are measured at  the age of 12  weeks.

What I have seen  is that  puppies that are vaccinated early,  around the age of 6 – 8 weeks  havemuch less protection than the puppies that  have not been vaccinated at  all.


Wondering Why?

There is a relatively  simple  explanation.   Very young puppies have a very  immature and dormant  immune system and are incapable of making any  antibodies.   Their  protection  comes from the mother’s milk in the form of  maternal  antibodies.

What  happens  to the maternal antibodies after premature vaccination?

The vaccine simply neutralizes  the antibodies  which, ironically, makes a large number  of the early  vaccinated  puppies  unprotected.

Why is this  not  common  veterinary knowledge?

My sense is that  for years  most vets have simply followed the vaccine manufacturers’ guidelines without asking if their recommendations  have  solid ground. There is also the  fear of making a mistake and being  held  liable or  loose their  license, which   would  threaten their reputation or license.

What is the Healing Solution?

  1. First,  read my  blog on vaccination.
  2. If you would like  to vaccinate,  wait  until your puppy is at  least  12 weeks  old  when the immune  system is more mature and can  create new antibodies.
  3. If you prefer avoiding unnecessary vaccination -  check antibody levels at 12 and 20 weeks of age.  Many  puppies  are fully  protected first with maternal antibodies until they build  up  the new  antibodies.  It  may surprise you that some  dogs never need any  vaccines  at all.
  4. Talk to you practitioner and explain to them that you have decided to do titers with your puppy and request them to be done.
  5. Be  prepared  for your vet to disagree. Tell  him or her that you  appreciate the opinion,  however,  you would like to get titer tests done and  base your decision on the results.
  6. If your vet is unwilling to follow your wish, consider going elsewhere.

How  to  interpret the titer test  results.

I have never seen any  puppies getting  sick if they are tested  even with low  levels  of antibodies. Some  people  say that lower  levels are not protective, however,  it doesn’t  appear to be true in  real  life.

If your  puppies  test comes back negative, you may want to vaccinate  with one antigen for Parvo and then  one  antigen  for  Distemper at  least 2  – 4 weeks apart.

Rabies  antibodies will always  be negative in  animals  who have not been  vaccinated.   However, quite often,  one vaccine at  six months of age or  later, often provides  lifetime  protection.   I recommend  running rabies titer  test   3  years  after the first vaccine  and yearly thereafter to ensure good  protection.

Final conclusion

As  in many  other  areas of life today,  vaccines are a hot and confusing topic.  Some vets  are afraid  to challenge  the status  quo,  others simply  believe that  repeated  vaccines  are necessary and only a few vaccinate  to make the extra dollar.

What  you need to do is to inform yourself,  make the decision and go to your   vet determined that you have made your mind up.

Remember that you are the decision maker and  that  you are not there to please your vet. If you still find  it  challenging to make the right  decision, go  with your gut. Deep  inside, you know what  feels  right

© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM


About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

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