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Vaccinating Dogs: What Your Vet Hasn’t Told You — A Video

Posted Sep 28 2008 11:25am

Some things we know for sure, then we find out we were dead wrong. This describes my journey through the minefield of vaccination for dogs. Much of this applies to cats, too.

My journey began with, “Let’s vaccinate puppies and dogs against every disease possible — to keep them safe.” After one year of research (now grown to five) and interviews with top pet immunology experts, I evolved to, “Let’s vaccinate only against life-threatening diseases that a dog, as a unique individual, is likely to contract given the dog’s lifestyle, age and locale, and to which he or she does not already have immunity. This sounds like common sense, doesn’t it? It is the same journey taken by every vet school in North America, and by the major vet organizations: the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association.

It is not, unfortunately, the journey taken by way too many veterinary practices, particularly the larger chain operations. Shots are big business, not just for the markup on the shots and administering them, but also for the profit from the “visit” and extra sales that result from coming in to “keep your dog’s shots up-to-date.” I wish vets would realize we’ll bring our dogs in for the all-important checkup without scaring us into it!

Then there’s also inertia: it’s easier for vets to continue doing what they’ve been taught to do and have always done, and which their businesses are set up to handle. There’s also the sad fact that, in general, experts have knowledge long (even decades) before medical practitioners and bureaucrats hear about, and assimilate, it. I remember that medical doctors were (and are) still recommending margarine (a trans fat) many years after scientists and nutritionists were saying that trans fats were unsafe.

In addition to all I learned about vaccination researching my book, Scared Poopless: The Straight Scoop on Dog Care, I got additional help with my new video, “Vaccinating Dogs.” Answering my many questions were veterinarians Margo Roman, Patricia Jordan and Sue Pollen. Dr. Jean Dodds was particularly helpful guiding me through the bureaucracies theoretically monitoring vaccine licensing and safety. I am indebted to them all. And my dogs are, too. Ultimately, though, the tone and point of view is my own.

Learn more about shots at I’m adding new information all the time, so you might want to bookmark the page. Learn more about the dangers of the rabies vaccine at (Click the “video” link at right to see all our videos.) I welcome all well-intentioned comments and hope you will pass the information along to your pet-loving friends.

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