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Discussion Starter #1
I've been reading a lot about limited vaccinations, and am really reconsidering doing everything the vet says I should. Anyone else do this? How was your vet's reaction when you broached the subject? I'm not the biggest fan of my vet, and am thinking about switching, but she has a lot of background with geriatrics, and I like that as Milly ages.

So, needless to say, I feel like I have a vet right now that probably would try to dissuade this. I don't think I want to do away with all vaccines (and of course, must do rabies) so right now I'm talking to some folks about what I should and shouldn't do.

Just wanted some feedback from forum members!

Thanks!

:)
 

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The vet works for you. If you educate yourself and make an informed decision about your dog's care, and the vet doesn't support you, then I'd find a new vet. I mean, they can choose to disagree, sure, but if they don't let it go, then it'd a problem for me.

My vet recommends annual vax, and sends me vax cards in the mail letting me know when they are due. I just ignore them LOL

I would recommend getting titers done to test immunity level though if you forgo annual shots.
 

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In the Moment
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20,515 Posts
We actually did change vets over this issue. Our springer had an autoimmune anemia, and for that reason he gets titers and only a rabies every 3 years. Our old vet wanted ALL shots every year. Uh.... NO, buh-bye. For the goldens we're on a 3 year protocol which I feel ok with. You can print out Dr Jean Dodds vaccination schedules and take them with you to discuss with your vet. Also, take a look at the rabies challenge site.http://www.rabieschallengefund.org/
 

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Banned
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shots last up to 5 years or more in dogs, no need to give a shot if dog is already immune

if your vet will do a tider test I think they call it, it will tell what shots are still in dog
 

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Faux Wanda
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I started doing this also. No, my vet was not on board with it. They would tell me what shots they were going to give and I would tell them which ones the were allowed to give. They tried to make me feel like crap for not "protecting"my dogs. I switched vets very quickly and my new vet is great. We discuss the vaccines. She recommends and I decide. Most of the time I agree with her recommendations. If I don't, we just go with what I decide and she is fine with that. This year she recommended just a 3 year rabies vaccine for my 11 year old girl. She didn't want to overload her. I agreed. I think that as the dog ages they don't need as many shots and she seems to feel the same way. I hope you find a vet that you are more comfortable with.
 

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chew chew chew
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I am now at the point where I don't vax the dogs. We do titer testing now and then to check, but otherwise keep them healthy and they are fine. If your vet isn't on board then smile and go find a new one.

Lana
 

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Missing my Boys...
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3,980 Posts
I dislike the toxicity of heartworm preventatives, but I
accept them as necessary in certain geographic areas. The
southern states, TX, and coastal areas anywhere with marsh
flats would all be representative of areas where heartworm
preventative is probably important to use. Weather in these
types of areas is conducive to a long life cycle in the
heartworm; and TX and the southern states have a lot of
already infected animals - which means there is a much
better chance of a mosquito biting an infected dog and
passing the infection on to other dogs. So, people living
in these types of areas need to continue with the
preventative.

In NY, at Smith Ridge Veterinary Center (where I am Medical
Director), we probably don't sell more than 30 or 40 boxes
(3 doses per box) per year (that's total sales for all sizes
combined). 95% of our clients don't use heartworm
preventative. But they do religiously test for heartworm
*twice* a year. If there was to be an infection, catching
it early, by testing twice a year, means that it can be
treated using the standard heartworm preventative. In 8
years, I can remember hearing about 3 cases of heartworm in
our practice. Two were dogs who had been in FL during the
winter (where heartworm is a serious problem) and one was a
dog who lived on the Long Island shore in tidal marshes
(where the mosquito population is outrageous). In our area,
heartworm is not a huge problem. But infection *is*
possible. So people have to decide where their comfort zone
is.

if you decide you have to use Heartgard, you can minimize
the administration. First, Heartgard was proven during its
development to work for 45 days. The drug company convinced
the FDA to let them label it as a 30 day drug because
consumers are supposedly too stupid to be able to remember
to give a drug unless it's monthly. 45 days is just too big
a mental challenge for us. So, right off the bat you can
dose it at 45 days instead of 30 and therefore reduce the
administrations per year.

Second, if you live in the northern climes you can take
advantage of that. Heartworm lifecycles are disrupted
whenever the temperature drops below 57 degrees for even a
few hours out of 24. Below my signature is more info about
the heartworm lifecycle. Basically what you'll read is that
as long as you're living in northern weather, you can stop
giving heartworm meds from late Oct. through late March. If
you give it every 45 days, you are then reducing
administration to 4 or 5 times per year. In reading the
info below, note that the presence of mosquitoes alone does
not pose a risk. There are times in Dec. and Jan. I've seen
mosquitoes during a thaw. But the temperatures do not
support infection. Many vets don't realize this, and that's
why they try to convince people to use HW meds year-round.
It's simply not necessary.

Again, this is a comfort zone issue. I don't use any
heartworm meds and could never feel comfortable routinely
forcing my dogs to ingest pesticides. But my choice isn't
right for everyone. If you do feel you need to use them,
just minimize the administration (every 45 days, only in the
warmer months if weather allows that).

Hope some of this helps -

Dr. Marty

The mere presence of mosquitoes does not necessarily
indicate a heartworm risk. The lifecycle of the heartworm
(HW) and transmission from the mosquito to the dog is
dependent on fairly restrictive conditions.

Once the mosquito has ingested HW microfilariae the weather
has to cooperate before the microfilariae can mature into
third stage infective larvae that can be transmitted.
Maturation requires the equivalent of a steady 24-hour daily
temperature in excess of 64 degrees F (18C) for
approximately *one month*. When the temperature drops below
the developmental threshold of 57 degrees F (14C) for only a
few hours (as would be typical during the evening and night
during late fall and throughout the winter in northern
climes) HW maturation is immediately retarded, even when the
average daily temperature supports continued development.

Once the temperature rises and remains steady, the HW can
mature at a much faster rate. At 80 degrees F, the
microfilariae can mature to the infective stage in just 10
to 14 days. It is only when they reach the infective stage
that they can be transmitted to the dog by a mosquito bite
and pose a risk to our dogs.

So, for those in northern climes, the presence of mosquitoes
during a thaw does not represent a HW risk.

For those who are willing to run a HW test twice a year, you
can safely avoid administering HW medication year round (if
you live in northern climes). If you test in late Oct. (or
anytime the weather is *consistently* below 57 degrees for
at least part of the day or night) and your dog is clear of
heartworms, you could stop administering the meds. Test
again in late March, verify that the dog is still
heartworm-free, and then resume the meds. Your animal is
then free of unneeded chemicals for at least 5 months of the
year. Chemicals, especially the kinds that can kill
parasites, are not benign. They may be beneficial in some
respects, and they may be necessary at certain times and in
certain areas - but they are still not benign. If you have
the luxury of a climate that allows you to reduce your dog's
exposure to chemicals, why not take advantage of it?

I KNOW THIS WAS A LONG, BUT IT WAS VERY HELPFUL TO ME, IT CAME FROM DR. MARTY GOLDSTEIN........
 

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Mom to 9 :)
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2,383 Posts
Thanks for posting this! I have a senior (almost 15) who I am reluctant to get continued vaccinations on. I live in the south so I definitely want to keep HW up but Sam has always had problems in the past with vaccinations (have to use benadryl beforehand) and does not get a lot of exposure to anything as he has started sleeping most of the day and only likes to go outside in the front yard (hates going for walks anymore unless he can stay on a sidewalk). I need to take him in for HW check and want to talk to my vet about the pros/cons of continued vaccinations for him.
 

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Registered
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4,215 Posts
Personally, I feel that if a vet is still pushing automatic annual vaccinations, they're not really up-to-date on the science and probably not keeping up with their education as much as they should. It's a deal-breaker for me.
Sure, their vaccination schedule is ultimately my decision (not the vet's) but I start thinking that if they're not up-to-date in their philosophy concerning vaccines, what else might they be outdated or wrong about?

I, too, have changed vets because of this. Unfornately though, for me, I changed too late. I didn't know the potential dangers of vaccinating every year - I trusted the vet who recommended it and I lost two dogs to immune disorders.

I opt for annual titers now. Gunner's last two have shown full immunity to everything but Lepto, so we vaccinated for that only.
Riley did get the full round of vaccinations last year, at just over 1 year old, and now this year, we'll titer.

Do what you feel comfortable doing. Never let a vet bully you into doing something that you're uncomfortable with.
 

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In the Moment
Joined
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20,515 Posts
I dislike the toxicity of heartworm preventatives, but I
accept them as necessary in certain geographic areas. The
southern states, TX, and coastal areas anywhere with marsh
flats would all be representative of areas where heartworm
preventative is probably important to use. Weather in these
types of areas is conducive to a long life cycle in the
heartworm; and TX and the southern states have a lot of
already infected animals - which means there is a much
better chance of a mosquito biting an infected dog and
passing the infection on to other dogs. So, people living
in these types of areas need to continue with the
preventative.

In NY, at Smith Ridge Veterinary Center (where I am Medical
Director), we probably don't sell more than 30 or 40 boxes
(3 doses per box) per year (that's total sales for all sizes
combined). 95% of our clients don't use heartworm
preventative. But they do religiously test for heartworm
*twice* a year. If there was to be an infection, catching
it early, by testing twice a year, means that it can be
treated using the standard heartworm preventative. In 8
years, I can remember hearing about 3 cases of heartworm in
our practice. Two were dogs who had been in FL during the
winter (where heartworm is a serious problem) and one was a
dog who lived on the Long Island shore in tidal marshes
(where the mosquito population is outrageous). In our area,
heartworm is not a huge problem. But infection *is*
possible. So people have to decide where their comfort zone
is.

if you decide you have to use Heartgard, you can minimize
the administration. First, Heartgard was proven during its
development to work for 45 days. The drug company convinced
the FDA to let them label it as a 30 day drug because
consumers are supposedly too stupid to be able to remember
to give a drug unless it's monthly. 45 days is just too big
a mental challenge for us. So, right off the bat you can
dose it at 45 days instead of 30 and therefore reduce the
administrations per year.

Second, if you live in the northern climes you can take
advantage of that. Heartworm lifecycles are disrupted
whenever the temperature drops below 57 degrees for even a
few hours out of 24. Below my signature is more info about
the heartworm lifecycle. Basically what you'll read is that
as long as you're living in northern weather, you can stop
giving heartworm meds from late Oct. through late March. If
you give it every 45 days, you are then reducing
administration to 4 or 5 times per year. In reading the
info below, note that the presence of mosquitoes alone does
not pose a risk. There are times in Dec. and Jan. I've seen
mosquitoes during a thaw. But the temperatures do not
support infection. Many vets don't realize this, and that's
why they try to convince people to use HW meds year-round.
It's simply not necessary.

Again, this is a comfort zone issue. I don't use any
heartworm meds and could never feel comfortable routinely
forcing my dogs to ingest pesticides. But my choice isn't
right for everyone. If you do feel you need to use them,
just minimize the administration (every 45 days, only in the
warmer months if weather allows that).

Hope some of this helps -

Dr. Marty

The mere presence of mosquitoes does not necessarily
indicate a heartworm risk. The lifecycle of the heartworm
(HW) and transmission from the mosquito to the dog is
dependent on fairly restrictive conditions.

Once the mosquito has ingested HW microfilariae the weather
has to cooperate before the microfilariae can mature into
third stage infective larvae that can be transmitted.
Maturation requires the equivalent of a steady 24-hour daily
temperature in excess of 64 degrees F (18C) for
approximately *one month*. When the temperature drops below
the developmental threshold of 57 degrees F (14C) for only a
few hours (as would be typical during the evening and night
during late fall and throughout the winter in northern
climes) HW maturation is immediately retarded, even when the
average daily temperature supports continued development.

Once the temperature rises and remains steady, the HW can
mature at a much faster rate. At 80 degrees F, the
microfilariae can mature to the infective stage in just 10
to 14 days. It is only when they reach the infective stage
that they can be transmitted to the dog by a mosquito bite
and pose a risk to our dogs.

So, for those in northern climes, the presence of mosquitoes
during a thaw does not represent a HW risk.

For those who are willing to run a HW test twice a year, you
can safely avoid administering HW medication year round (if
you live in northern climes). If you test in late Oct. (or
anytime the weather is *consistently* below 57 degrees for
at least part of the day or night) and your dog is clear of
heartworms, you could stop administering the meds. Test
again in late March, verify that the dog is still
heartworm-free, and then resume the meds. Your animal is
then free of unneeded chemicals for at least 5 months of the
year. Chemicals, especially the kinds that can kill
parasites, are not benign. They may be beneficial in some
respects, and they may be necessary at certain times and in
certain areas - but they are still not benign. If you have
the luxury of a climate that allows you to reduce your dog's
exposure to chemicals, why not take advantage of it?

I KNOW THIS WAS A LONG, BUT IT WAS VERY HELPFUL TO ME, IT CAME FROM DR. MARTY GOLDSTEIN........


SO SO true about HW. Down here it is so prevalent, and anyone in rescue can attest to how many dogs are HW+. Even my immune compromised boy gets his hw preventative. However, we are on a 35 day schedule. To think you are putting more chemicals into your dog just for the convenience of remembering on the 1st or 15th is ludicrous to me. I just go thru the year and mark my calender. Giving every 35 days means you give 10.42 doses in a year..... saving your dog exposure to 1 1/2 doses of chemical ( and also saving that cost) compared to the traditional "every month" mentality.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you all for the responses. I am feeling much better about this, and I will definitely talk to my vet. If she refuses to follow a limited vaccination schedule I will find someone who will. She really pushed the Lyme vaccine last year, and I did it, because I've had Lyme twice from VA ticks, but since researching it more (sadly after the fact) I really regret doing that.

As far as the heart worm meds being good for 45 days - is this just for Heartguard? Or would it be the same for Interceptor too?

I use flea and tick preventive (usually Frontline) in the spring and summer only - and even that is very limited and not every 30 days. I don't use Interceptor in the winter, and have always tested twice a year for heartworm. I don't tell my vet about not using it, because my last vet scolded me when I admitted this.

I really don't want to be putting anything that isn't really needed into Milly, especially as she is an older girl. I think the Titers are the way to go.
 

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Missing Tasha, Sky, & Ral
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3,380 Posts
Thank you MillysMom for starting this thread. I am also considering not giving yearly vaccinations. I do have a question. Do we do titers yearly and only vaccinate when necessary? I'm just not clear on the routine and I want to have all the facts before I approach my vet.
 

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Retired bum..........
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1,105 Posts
Thank you MillysMom for starting this thread. I am also considering not giving yearly vaccinations. I do have a question. Do we do titers yearly and only vaccinate when necessary? I'm just not clear on the routine and I want to have all the facts before I approach my vet.
Bumping this question up. I want to understand clearly myself before discussing with my vet. I think I'm going to have a tough time convincing my vet to back off on the shots though. I'm limited on my vet options here too.
 

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Old Gold is the Best Gold
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18,122 Posts
Vets and I don't tend to get along. I give my own shots, and I go to animal control for rabies because it's one dollar. I don't do DHLPP more than puppy shots (two usually) and a one year booster at about 18 months. I never do kennel cough- you couldn't pay me. I also feed raw.

Knock on wood, but I cannot remember the last time I had to take any dog to the vet for any non-routine reason other than spay/neuter and a few random things for fosters. Hope I didn't jinx myself! ;)

I did take Starlite to a vet to confirm my suspicions that he's HW positive, but since I discovered the awesome clinic near me I'll go there for HW tests or anything like that from now on.

I have a vet I do like that I could and would go to if anything came up. She is very open minded and respectful, and doesn't give me BS about feeding quality food, raw food, using ivermectin for HW prevention, and stuff like that. I certainly don't go there for shots or anything, and she is totally respectful.
 

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Retired bum..........
Joined
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1,105 Posts
Vets and I don't tend to get along. I give my own shots, and I go to animal control for rabies because it's one dollar. I don't do DHLPP more than puppy shots (two usually) and a one year booster at about 18 months. I never do kennel cough- you couldn't pay me. I also feed raw.

Knock on wood, but I cannot remember the last time I had to take any dog to the vet for any non-routine reason other than spay/neuter and a few random things for fosters. Hope I didn't jinx myself! ;)

I did take Starlite to a vet to confirm my suspicions that he's HW positive, but since I discovered the awesome clinic near me I'll go there for HW tests or anything like that from now on.

I have a vet I do like that I could and would go to if anything came up. She is very open minded and respectful, and doesn't give me BS about feeding quality food, raw food, using ivermectin for HW prevention, and stuff like that. I certainly don't go there for shots or anything, and she is totally respectful.
So you must not ever have to board your dog? I thought most places required a Bordetella shot for boarding. Interesting approach though. I might have to do some checking around before heading back to my old vet. I have a new adoption and I am up to date on shots right now. The rescue group gave me a certification for all his shots. And I do have enough heartguard from my old golden to get me by for a few months.
 

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The expert on all this seems to be Dr. Jean Dobbs. Gilmour is vaccinated based on her schedule as recommended by his breeder.

The schedule can be found here:

http://www.weim.net/emberweims/Vaccine.html

As always, discuss with your Vet.

I tried to post the info here, but the page won't render correctly in the BBS.
 

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Old Gold is the Best Gold
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No, I would never board my dogs or put them in a kennel. If they don't go, I don't go. My SIL can come let them out if I were to get stuck somewhere, like when I was giving birth (but wasn't gone but 7-8 hours so never did need her to come by). I don't work out of the home, and I don't travel without my dogs.
 

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shots last up to 5 years or more in dogs, no need to give a shot if dog is already immune

if your vet will do a tider test I think they call it, it will tell what shots are still in dog
Comments like this are really, really incorrect, and it's irresponsible and dangerous to spread rumors like this. Please don't just believe everything you find online about vaccinations. Depending on the type of vaccination and the disease involved, realistic immunity can last from only a few months through a decade. There's no basis for saying all vaccinations last for five years, and you could literally kill a dog by convincing owners of this myth.

If you choose to do vaccinations less often than the standard protocols, be sure you're doing titers to make sure you're not compromising immunity in the name of vaccination safety. Generally speaking, as long as a disease is present in your area, the chance of catching it is dramatically higher and the consequences dramatically worse than the tiny chance of vaccination complications.

In addition to using titers instead of boosters, you can also space out vaccinations, particularly in puppies, to try to minimize potential complications without compromising on immunity.

Whatever you decide about vaccinations, be aware that in all the common vaccinations, the likelihood of catching the disease is typically much, much higher than the likelihood of a serious vaccination complication, and that dogs who are improperly vaccinated can put other people's pets and sometimes humans at risk. Vaccinations are a good bet even if you just follow standard protocols, and by doing things like spacing them out and using titers to avoid unnecessary boosters, you can minimize the risks without losing the protection.
 

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Retired bum..........
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I have no problem with giving vaccinations that are required. I just had the feeling my last vet over did it. I was going in every 6 months for various shots. I know the Bordetella shot is required around here every 6 months if you board. And that is fine. I just don't want over kill on the rest.

I will print out some of this info and discuss on my first visit with my new dog. I talked to a golfing buddy today that is happy with a new vet that has opened up shop so I might give this one a try. Thanks for the info.
 
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