Topics of Interest


Vaccination guidelines

Guidelines for animal vaccine are now widely accepted and universal across the country.  The guidelines have been set by veterinary schools and professional organizations for both the core and non-core vaccines.  Experts now agree that most recommended vaccines provide protection for many more years than first thought.  Some vaccines aren’t needed at all and others have marginal effectiveness.  DO NOT OVER VACCINATE!


  • Vaccine stresses the immune system.
    –  Scientific evidence demonstrates that the immune system has to work hard to develop the kind of protection that we want.  Vaccination stimulates the immune system which results in many changes in the body.
  • Vaccine causes side effects in many patients.
    Clinical evidence shows that vaccines cause lethargy, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, shock, and even death, to name a few.  New evidence shows, that some vaccines may cause allergies, hypothyroidism, Irritated Bowel Syndrome (IBD), seizures, autoimmune diseases and deadly tumors at vaccination sites.
  • Duration of immunity (how long it lasts) is much longer than we initially thought for the core vaccines.
    Recent evidence reveals that some vaccines last longer than 7 years.
    –  Distemper (Modified Live Virus (MLV)) duration of immunity is 5-7 years
         –  Parvovirus duration of immunity is at least 7 years
         –  Adenovirus (MLV) duration of immunity is at least 7years
    –  Some vaccines have no studies for duration of immunity.
  • Pets with ongoing health issues may have a much harder time recovering from vaccination and a stressed immune system.
    Vaccinations cause relapse or exacerbation of many of those chronic diseases which are difficult to treat.


Dr. Richard Ford DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVPM is a Professor of Medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine North Carolina State University.  He presented a paper on vaccination guidelines at the North American Veterinary Conference and the Western States Veterinary Conference in the past year.  This paper is being distributed to every licensed veterinarian in the United States by the Merial Company in 2012.


The core vaccines are Distemper, Parvovirus, Adenovirus and Rabies.  Yup, that’s it!  It is recommended that all dogs get these by the following schedule:

Puppies: Distemper, Parvovirus and Adenovirus/Hepatitus (DHP): first dose at 7-8 weeks of age (preferably 8 weeks) and then every 3-4 weeks until at least 14 weeks of age.  After completion of the puppy series, it’s every three years thereafter.   Due to an unexpected outbreak of Adenovirus 2 Hepatitis in the atlantic states, there is a renued need to include the Adenovirus vaccine in the three year schedule.

Adults (if never vaccinated before): Distemper, Parvovirus and Adenovirus:  Initially two doses 3 to 4 weeks apart and a single dose 1 year later, then every 3 years.

Puppies and Adults: Rabies:  One dose at 16 weeks of age or older or one dose for adult, a booster in a year, then 3 year boosters thereafter.  New evidence confirms that the three year adjuvented vaccines are more likely to cause vaccination site sarcomas in dogs.  I do not recommend thimersol (mercury) in Rabies vaccine.  Non-adjuvented canine rabies vaccine is not yet available.

Summary for Core Vaccines for Healthy Dogs:

–  Give the puppy or initial adult series (DHP and Rabies).
–  Repeat Rabies in 1 year.
–  Booster DHP every 3 to 7 years thereafter as recommended by Dr Ford, the expert.
–  Booster Rabies, either one year modified live Rabies vaccine or a thimersol free three year vaccine.
–  There is no justifiable reason to give these more often at this time.  There are many choices of vaccine manufacturers that meet these criteria.


Bordetella (Kennel Cough):  For animals that are in a high risk environment.  Pets that are kenneled, travel to shows or competition, play at dog parks or doggy day care are examples.  The vaccine does not necessarily prevent disease but does reduce the severity.  Boosters should be given every 6 months for dogs at risk.

Leptospirosis:  Vaccination is not recommended for all dogs.  Leptospirosis vaccine has one of the highest rates of serious side effects.  Animals in high risk exposure environments should get the vaccine.  The primary reservoir is in wild animals like raccoons, fox and coyotes.  The Specialty clinic in Colorado Springsreported about 30 cases in 2006, 14 known cases in 2007.  Since that date the incidence and risk has between 30 and 40 cases in native dogs.  It is only recommended for dogs with a “defined risk of exposure”.  Be specific when you talk to your doctor.  Ask if there have been any confirmed cases in the practice and what part of town or the county it was in.  Ask if it was a strain that the vaccine covers because the current vaccine doesn’t protect for all the strains that are out there.  Weigh the risk of the disease compared to the risk of vaccine reaction.  Remember that “the zoonotic potential of leptospirosis does not necessarily justify vaccination.”  Just because people can get it does not justify unwarranted vaccination of your pet.

Lyme disease:  Vaccination is not recommended for all dogs.  We do not have endemic Lyme disease in our area at this time.  Vaccination is recommended if your dog travels to a Lyme disease area.  Ask your veterinarian or call a veterinarian in the state that you are going to travel through or to.

Rattle Snake Vaccine:  Vaccination is very specific for the risk of exposure and size of the dog.  Ask your veterinarian.  Very few dogs qualify.  Duration of immunity studies has not been done.

Porphyromonas (peridontitis) Vaccine:  Not recommended.   Duration of immunity studies has not been done.

Corona Vaccine:  Corona vaccination is not recommended.

SUMMARY FOR DOGS:  Follow the new guidelines and use common sense.

–  Do not vaccinate puppies that are too young.
–  Do not vaccinate too frequently.  Give vaccines in stages to rest the system.
–  Do not use unneeded vaccines.
–  Do not overvaccinate sick or diseased pets (hypothyroid, seizures, autoimmune, Cushings, allergies, chronic diarrhea, to name a few).
–  Reduce or stop vaccinations in cancer patients.
–  Buffer the bad side effects with natural medicine instead of cortisone when possible.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends that the vaccine protocol be designed around the individual patient.

You can have confidence that your pet will be protected for 5-7 years or longer for DHP if your veterinarian elects to extend the time between boosters or even forgo some vaccines.

Rabies should be given according to the vaccine label unless your pet is proven to have life threatening reactions to the vaccine.

Protect and enhance the immune system.  Do not damage it with over vaccination.  Ask your veterinarian for the published recommendations issued by Dr. Ford.