Dr. Michael W. Fox, DVM is a well-known veterinarian, former vice president of The Humane Society of the United States, former vice president of Humane Society International and the author of more than 40 adult and children’s books on animal care, animal behavior and bioethics. He is a long time advocate for changing vaccination protocols in companion animals. He does not recommend beginning puppy vaccinations before the age of eight to ten weeks. Here is a link to his Vaccination Protocols.
Dr. W. Jean Dodds, DVM, world-renown vaccine research scientist and practicing veterinarian has a more extensive vaccination protocol and does not recommend beginning puppy vaccinations before the age of nine to ten weeks. Here is a link to her Vaccination Protocols.
Here is a more conservative vaccine protocol that is recognized by the American Animal Hospital Association and 22 veterinary schools. It recommends some vaccines be done every three years instead of annually (although it does acknowledge some vaccines can last up to seven years in an animal's body). Vaccination Protocols as summarized by Dr. Bob Rogers, DVM.
A titer test is a blood test that will reveal how much immunity your dog still has in his/her system from prior vaccines in their life. To learn more about Titer Testing and how it can be a safer alternative to annual vaccinations, please read an article by Lorie Long of The Whole Dog Journal.
Before you consider automatically vaccinating your dog once a year, please do some research on your own, independent of what your general vet recommends. Please consult with a holistic vet or insist on titer testing your dog at your general vet. Consider the vaccinations we as humans go through. We get our vaccines as babies, young children, then we are set for life. Can you imagine if we had to get vaccinated over and over again, every year? How many of us would get sick from this? Now ask yourself why dogs are any different?
The industry of annual vaccinations for animals is a very profitable one. The cost of a rabies vaccine by Intervet is $1.82, cost of a DAP vaccine by Intervet is .33 cents, the cost of a Bordetella vaccine (available at FostersandSmith.com) is $3.19. Find out what your vet is charging you every year for these vaccines and you will realize why they are not so eager to consider the idea that annual vaccinations are not only unnecessary, but that they are harmful over the life of your dog.
Many general vets are beginning to become open minded about the idea of titer testing in lieu of an annual vaccine. Titer testing costs more to the consumer (but not as profitable to a vet). However the long term savings in medical problems and veterinary bills for a sick pet is going to make it worthwhile. At some point, you may decide to stop titer testing annually and only do it once every two or three years. This is something you will want to consult with a holistic vet about and make a wellness plan together for how to give your dog the best shot at longevity and overall health. Camp Cocker uses many regular vets but also uses a holistic vet which quite often ends up saving us a lot of money in the long run.
If you must vaccinate your dog, here is a homeopathic remedy to use immediately following the vaccine, to help detox the liver. Go to a store that sells homeopathics (Whole Foods or Capital Drugs or whatever is in your area). Buy Nux Vomica 6c (that is the potency). Then buy a small glass dropper bottle and boil it in water to sterilize it (sterilize the dropper as well). Then take two pellets of the Nux Vomica, put it in the dropper bottle, add purified water, shake it up and let the pellets dissolve. Then twice a day, for six treatments, give your dog a 1/2 dropperful by mouth. Make sure not to give food within ten minutes or it will dilute the effects of the homeopathic remedy. We do this for puppies when we have to vaccinate and it really helps them to get through not feeling well after each vaccine.