Annual Vaccinations

Tess and I have been enjoying the trials and tribulations of our weekly rally class.  Rally has been a pleasant surprise.  Our class consists of one lively 14 month old Norwich terrier, two Rottweiler teenagers, both rescues with very patient owners, one adorable yellow lab CCI (Companion Canine for Independence) puppy in-training and Tess the grand dame of the bunch and the poster child for the “an old dog CAN learn new tricks” adage.  Tess enjoys all her classmates, but is especially interested in the squirrel-like scurry of the Norwich terrier, Sal.

Last week as we were waiting for the class to start our little friend Sal was not himself.  This happy go-lucky little playful gnat was a rag-doll in his owner’s arms.  I inquired into the cause of his apparent personality change and was told that he just received his annual vaccinations four hours earlier and was “sleeping them off”.  Well, loud bells and whistles were going off in my head.  I must have had my mouth wide open in shock because the owner started to look concerned.  She put the little guy on the ground to try to “wake him up”, but all he could do was maintain his balance in a stiff, roached posture.   Not being a vet, I advised his owner to call her vet and take him in immediately.

Thankfully, I have never experienced a vaccination related incident until this day, but how very disturbing it was to witness.  I eventually found out from my rally instructor that Sal was doing fine and yes; he had a severe adverse reaction to his vaccinations.  By the time he reached the vet he was going into shock and was given fluids to avoid kidney failure.  It seems that the owner was getting ready to go on a trip to Hawaii and needed to update his vaccinations so he could be kenneled.

Here is a link to an article by Christine O’Drisscol for Dogs Naturally Magazine on “Vets on Vaccinations”.  The article presents the responses of 23 Holistic Veterinarians to whom she had sent questionnaires.  It is a long read, but worth the time.  I’ve had similar passionate conversations with vet friends over dinner, multiple times.  It’s definitely a hot button topic at my house.

On a personal note, Tess sees a holistic vet twice a year and board certified specialists as needed.  I recently had her titers done for parvo, distemper, AND rabies so that she could attend Rally class and avoid the vaccination requirement, as poodles are so prone to autoimmune disorders.  Hopefully I’m preaching to the choir.  Oh, by the way, Tess’s titers came back fine even though she received her last vaccinations 5 1/2 years ago.  Go figure!

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  • Brigitte

    Hi Robin,
    yes you are preaching to the converted but I am so glad you keep spreading the word! I lost a 3 1/2 year old red Standard Poodle to Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia. Kahlu passed away after a one year fight. Although we will never know for certain, I am sure that immunizations where part of the reason. He was clearly over vaccinated. We want to do the best for our dogs and sometimes are not educated enough not to know that more is not always better. Before Kahlu I never knew about titers and how long a dog can be immune after the first series of immunizations. It seems more expensive to do titers, but in the long run it is not. Especially if you have a dog getting sick and spending thousands of dollars on getting him to survive. Thanks for a great post!

    Brigitte & the poodle boys

    • rpelletier

      Thanks for reading. This was a lesson I learned the hard way too.