Healthy Dog

Over-Vaccination… Does Your Dog Suffer From It?

small dog getting vaccine

Vaccines: How Much Does Your Dog Need and How Do You Know?

Vaccinations… a controversial topic for human and animals alike. We believe many dogs and cats as well are being over-vaccinated and suffering side effects from these treatments. Many people confuse the two words Immunization and Vaccination. They Are Not the Same! Vaccinations are what you give a human or animal to create immunization…. which means they are immune to the disease they received the vaccination for. When a dog or cat is already immune, what re-vaccinating does is cause potential harm to already vaccinated pets – it does NOT make them “healthier”. The new 3 year protocols for vaccines are a step in the right direction, however if your pet has life long immunity, why would you want to give them a vaccine again?


Fido may not know it, but he wants you to give him the proper amount of medical attention. This will help him stay healthy and strong. What he also doesn’t know is that he can be over-medicated and over-vaccinated. His owner needs to be aware of what vaccination guidelines to follow.

The American Animal Hospital Association Task Force(AAHA) comes forward to offer hope. In 2003, THE AAHA revised their vaccination guidelines resulting in a safer vaccination protocol.

This 2003 revision fine-tuned dog vaccination guidelines. From annual administering to administering every three years instead, dogs and cats are benefiting.

That is quite a jump in canine vaccination care. This suggestive change also implies a wary message. Over vaccinating dogs is a serious issue and one that deserves further investigation.

Dog owners are wise to do their doggie vaccination homework before visiting their veterinarian. Some veterinarians may or may not be aware of vaccination revisions. Even worse, some veterinarians do know, but may or may not choose to follow updated protocol.

With continual updating at hand, the AAHA recognizes the professional Task Force’s contributing experts. Immunology, infectious diseases, internal medicine, law and clinical practice experts gather together. With the help of these professionals, new vaccination guidelines are again offered in 2011. All core vaccines are now recommended at 3-year or greater intervals. The 1-year rabies vaccine is not included in this update.

According to Dr. Karen Becker, “Even more exciting is the task force has acknowledged that in the case of the non-rabies core vaccines, immunity lasts at least 5 years for distemper and parvo, and at least 7 years for adenovirus.”


Titer blood testing is the BEST way to ensure your pet’s vaccination safety. Have you ever used vaccine titer tests on your dog? Many folks are not familiar with this term or this test. But this test could make or break the health of your dog.

What a titer blood test does is define your dog’s specific vaccination protection levels.  It tells where your dog’s previous vaccination immunity levels stand. The amount of the antibodies in the system will show what vaccinations are necessary and which ones are not. Then why do some veterinarians continue to rely on outdated testing measures? Why do some veterinarians use basic speculation to conclude your pet’s vaccination levels?

Many veterinarians still speculate vaccination timing without knowing if the vaccination was necessary not. Some have presumed annual vaccination routines are the best vaccination measures to take. These approaches may or may not suggest less-than-stellar veterinary practices. But don’t worry. Most veterinarians have your dog’s best health and welfare at heart. Some veterinarians need encouragement when owners suggest treatment protocol adjustments.

There was a time when vaccine titer testing was expensive. The test was also quite time-consuming. For your puppy’s benefit, that has changed.

In-house, vaccine titer tests within your veterinarian’s office offers lower costs and faster results. There are two options to choose from, each cost about the same as a typical vaccination. Vaccicheck and TiterCHEK blood tests are smart and convenient solutions against improper vaccination routines. If titer testing in your current Veterinarian’s office is cost prohibitive, then shop around. There are many places where you can get the titer test for about $50. There might be a blood draw charge added and if you have an office visit, there will be a charge for that as well. Make some calls and get the titer testing done. There is no reason to vaccinate a pet that is already immune to something!

The SNAP 4Dx titer test measures heartworm compromise. All dogs are susceptible to heartworms. All dogs need heartworm testing. Mosquitoes are the primary culprits of heartworms. Mosquitos are almost everywhere. If your dog is or has been heart worm-positive, this titer test is one to keep on top of.


The problems with over vaccinating is a multi-level issue.

First – The cost. Vaccinations can be expensive. Addressing the core vaccination list on an annual administering basis means big bucks.

Second – Unwarranted, repetitious vaccinating is wasteful and dangerous. It also supports the manufacturers’ pocketbooks without necessary cause.

Third – Overdoing vaccines compromises the health of our pets. Vaccine sensitive pets can also suffer from basic vaccinations. If several inoculations take place at once, the risks of negative health issues increase.


Don’t worry if you are new to the whole subject of over vaccinating your dog. The best protocol now is to take this information with you every time your dog visits his doctor.

Keep an eye out for these symptoms of over vaccination. It will give you peace of mind and a faster action plan:

– Fever

– Lethargy

– Stiffness

– Lack of appetite

– Hair loss

– Hair color change at injection site

– Conjunctivitis

– Sneezing

– Soreness

– Oral ulcers


Core vaccines are considered vital to all pets based on risk of exposure, severity of disease or transmissibility to humans.

Core Vaccinations include:

– Rabies

– Canine parvovirus

– Distemper

– Canine hepatitis.

Non-core vaccinations can be mandatory according to these terms:

– Animals within specific geographical locations that introduce threats of contracting specific infections.

– Animals within specific environments that introduce threats of contracting specific infections.

– Animals living specific lifestyles that introduce threats of contracting specific infections. For safer outcomes, research these non-core vaccinations and discuss with your veterinarian.

Non-Core Vaccinations include:

– Canine para-influenza

– Bordetella

– Rabies (except within those states required by law)

– Vaccination against Lyme Disease

– Leptospirosis.

These vaccines are not considered effective:

– Rattlesnake vaccine

– Canine coronavirus

– Giardia

– Canine adenovirus

The rabies vaccination is usually given at ages 3-6 months. The re-vaccination controversy sparks immediately thereafter. Annual or every three-year re-vaccination recommendations begin.

According to, “There is absolutely no scientific reason for anyone to vaccinate an animal more often than every 3 years with products that are licensed by the USDA to be given at 3 year intervals. Re-vaccinating that animal more frequently will not enhance herd immunity or protection against rabies.”


Bringing up vaccination concerns with your veterinarian can cause stress or distress for both of you. Remember, you are in charge of your dog. If you cannot come to a reasonable resolution with your veterinarian, it might be time to find a new one.

Try exploring a more holistic and furry-friendly vaccination approach. Holistic veterinarians take the dog’s breed and whole health assessment into consideration. Often, more natural health and wellness methods are available.

A holistic veterinarian does not begin initial vaccinations as early as conventional veterinarians. The timing and dosage differences can be significant. Don’t hesitate to seek a holistic veterinarian in your local area for more information.

Do not be afraid to express concerns and preferences to your veterinarian. Your dog’s health, well-being and longevity counts on good communication. Your veterinarian is there to help you make the best personal choices for your precious Fido. Seek more than one opinion from reputable veterinarians or veterinary hospitals, if necessary.

Standing up for titer testing communicates higher health and vaccination support for your dog. Work with your veterinarian through higher educational standards. Remember, it takes a village to raise children, even if they are of the furry persuasion.


Keeping organized records of your dog’s health and vaccination routines is a good idea. Each vet visit should display an itemized list of detailed action taken. This list should include all administered medications and vaccinations, doses and dates. These records will help keep track of any vaccinating concerns.

Keeping a record of your dog’s health and wellness activities can help. List feeding routines, surgeries, supplement names, dosing information, and other medications.

Above all, remember… you are the keeper of your  loving, wonderful dog or cat. Talk with confidence and kindness when you bring up vaccine titer testing with your current vet. Do not allow yourself to be bullied, pushed or forced to do something you do not want to do. You are your pets keeper and protector. Work with your Veterinarian. They too want to help. Some are just not on board yet with the new vaccine protocols. If they refuse to follow your lead, then it’s time for a new Vet. There are many holistic Veterinarians in the world. Find someone you can work with. Above all, trust your gut and take care of your pet!

Sources: Want more information on titer testing and over vaccination?
Check out Dr. Karen Becker’s informative videos about titer testing and over vaccination.

And another very informative video: Less is More When it Comes to Vaccinating Your Pets

Immunization vs Vaccination- They Are Not the Same!

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