How To Avoid ALL Vaccinations and Show to Champion Status

A Vital Blast from the Past

I had the great fortune to chat with a client recently who I’d not heard from in probably twenty years. She’s done something quite amazing that answers perhaps the most aggrieved question many of you have:

How can we raise a vital animal and avoid vaccinations when there are all these rules about rabies vaccination being mandatory?

Marilyn has trail blazed this vexing area successfully, with a now 15 year old dog she’s brought through many, many shows. All without a single vaccine, including rabies vaccination.

Yes, you read that correctly: showed her dog, repeatedly, to champion status, with zero vaccinations, including the one with all the laws about it.

Knowing this is such a hot button for so many of you, I interviewed Marilyn, so you could learn what worked for her over all these years.

[Important Note: Are You Just Joining This Conversation? It's important to understand rabies vaccination deeply. All vaccinations can cause harm. And repeatedly vaccinating an already vaccinated animal throughout life doesn't even work (say the immunologists who study this). So, if you haven't already read this information, it'd behoove you to do so before getting the idea that I recommend no rabies vaccines across the board. That's clearly not my recommendation.]

It all began with a response to an earlier issue of Vital Animal News that Marilyn received last year:

Consulted with you years ago to retrieve my aging Wheaten Terrier.  You brought her back to life!

I followed your lead, and reared a lovely Wheaten all vaccine free and raw fed. She is now approaching 16, vibrant healthy and is everything you promised it would be! Also a show dog, so that was a journey to stay away from Dr. WhiteCoat!”

When the Decision to Avoid Vaccination Was Born

WF: Amazing, Marilyn, and I know my readers would love to hear more about your journey. What made you decide not to vaccinate Suzi at all, including the rabies vaccination?

Marilyn: "1981 I bought my first Wheaten in Germany.  He was American bred by an American breeder.  I vetted this 12 week old puppy to fly back to the USA with him.

A British veterinarian happened to be working in the American military animal clinic. He warned me of the health danger of the rabies vaccine, “The most lethal one out there!"  He was devastated to vaccinate at 12 weeks because the dog would have to be re-vaccinated at 6 months, by American law."

[In case you think this is hyperbole, you can read about Tigger, who nearly died twice from one rabies vaccination. As I write this, in fact, I've just heard that he's almost out of red blood cells once again!]

This revelation set my wheels in motion to begin to question! Eight years later, this dog was diagnosed with PLN (protein losing nephropathy, an incurable type of kidney failure -editor).  I wondered what shape his immune system was in, so I ran tests for IgG, IgA, and IgM. His immune system was wiped out! I think this was the trigger that caused the kidney failure."

A New Generation: A Second Chance

Suzi, another Wheaten Terrier, came straight off her dam onto raw food.  No vaccinations at eight weeks or ever.

I brought her to you when she was three and wanted to show her, but worried about no proof of vaccines, especially rabies.  You taught me to be bold and to avoid biting issues and to not fear.

I took your advice, went to dog shows and was not ever asked to show vaccine proof!  Suzi finished her championship easily!"

Your Papers Please

WF: In all those shows, did you carry a health certificate or some official papers?

Marilyn: "I found a sympathetic holistic vet who examined Suzi for health certificates before we’d travel to shows. I simply had a health certificate signed by a DVM.  I was not ever asked for any proof beyond this."

WF: Did you never have anyone look carefully at your health certificates and notice Suzi had NO vaccinations? I’m grinning, just thinking of it! It’s like my post of flying with dogs. Rarely even a glance at the HC.

Marilyn: "Nobody ever asked to see this form, or the forms written similarly by other vets through the years.

I just don't know any of my friends who were ever asked for a health certificate at any dog show.  I have been involved in showing dogs for 30 years. Never ever asked for any vaccination proof!"

[The "health certificate" here refers to a letter, on the vet's stationary, that stated all of her pertinent data and had some typed in blanks that were then checked off by pen, for "Current on all vaccinations" (oops), "Free from infectious, contagious, or communicable disease," and "In good physical condition."]

But white lies aside, these forms were never asked for or looked at.

Not once, in years of showing, in various states.

[As an aside, I wrote about the all important attitude that goes such a long way to you saving your animal from unnecessary vaccination “requirements.” You may want to review this before you set out to champion your Vital Animal’s path in the world.]

Raised Amid Real World Germs

WF: I take it you never kept Suzi in a “glass bubble” then: she got plenty of exposure and built a natural immunity to the other diseases. Were you ever concerned for her immunity, not having had any vaccinations?

Marilyn: "Suzi did not live in a glass bubble! Her paws touched lots of ground and travels with us everywhere to this day. Not a sick day in her life!  Her titers were strong for immunity. Rabies titer was strong, too, but not recognized legally -- or wasn't then. Hopefully that might change.  I wish!

Unvaccinated dogs at dog shows build up strong immunity from the urine and feces exposure from recently vaccinated show dogs! I had Suzi titered for some of this stuff early on and her immune system showed strong immune protection for all, including rabies!  Wow!"

WF: Wow, indeed! Even rabies titers, without ever getting a shot?

Marilyn: "Yes!  Even for rabies! I did not save that info, sent to Jean Dodds.  Shows that rabies protection comes from the multiple vaccinated dam!"

And Still Ticking!

WF: So, at 15, unvaccinated and a champion to boot, is she still a healthy girl? Was there more to it than just avoiding vaccines?

Marilyn: "Suzi is doing well, has lumps & bumps in various places but bounces around with vital energy so I respect her age and her space.  Always at the food bowl!  I supply raw goat milk for her, raw duck eggs, organic varied protein and formulate her food myself.  She has been flea free all of her life!  Such a delight to live with and just perfect!

I attended two Ian Billinghurst seminars … very round table both times.  What a wealth of information understanding the role of Omega three fatty acid, how important it is, how that fragile fat can swing into arachidonic acid by adding sugar to it!"

In a further note in our exchange, Marilyn pointed out to me that all of Suzi’s littermates are dead! Suzi, who’ll turn 16 in April 2015, is the only one of the bunch raised entirely without vaccinations.

Further evidence to substantiate my long held argument that vaccinations are the single-most important decision you will ever make on behalf of the animals (or children) in your care.

How To Raise a Vital, Vaccine-free Animal?

So, there you have it. This dog was raised as a vital animal from the beginning, by a person who had strong intentions of keeping her healthy and vital and who knew the possibilities of illness that came from vaccination, having seen it herself in previous dogs.

Suzi’s raising included:

  • Being weaned right onto raw food
  • Regularly changing her protein source
  • A complete absence of vaccinations (likely Marilyn’s most significant decision)
  • Close control of her in public places, coupled with a sweet personality (which meant she’d never bite anyone)
  • Natural exposure immunity from highly concentrated dog exposures (dog shows!)
  • A holistically-minded and dedicated vet who examined her and issued the necessary health certificates to travel

I might have advised one more helping factor in all this, which would be using the Transfer Factor Canine Complete during her exposure time and even now, in senior years. That would have helped Suzi's immune system to maximize its intelligent response to the germs in her world, and now, prevent the lumps from turning into something more serious.

But it's hard to argue with success, isn't it?

Can you learn from this example?  Could you see this working for you? Let us know in the comments.

100 Comments

  1. Jen on September 2, 2022 at 5:39 am

    Vaccines killed my dogs. All of our dogs that got the shot died that night after I went to bed .. .except one boy who was still having a seizure. We rushed him to emergency medical center where he was able to be revived. He appeared to have brain damage after.

    And it wasn’t an easy fight to prove the vaccines caused this. Vaccine manufacturer required cutting up their dead bodies and looking for ANYTHING else which might have been a factor. Keep in mind these tests cost big money and we would be on the hook if anything tested positive. The batch of vaccines was also tested and was found to be normal – without contaminants.

    In the end we had medical expenses paid and $250 per dog. We could have lost thousands of dollars but the risk was necessary.

    Don’t need to hear from big pharma trolls and automated bots. I’ve lived the truth and had to put dead dogs in bag because of vaccines

    • Jen on September 6, 2022 at 4:48 pm

      Also, if anyone wants proof I can post a link to my Facebook from years back.

  2. Ken on June 9, 2021 at 2:09 am

    Has anyone found a holistic vet who will work with us pet parents in regards to Rabies shots in California?

  3. Gisela Kayfus on February 4, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    My 8 months old puppy has never been given a rabies shot, however after reading your article, I was taking him around other dogs and wooded areas to get natural rabies antibodies built-up. I just got him tittered to see if I was successful and it came back negative, he has zero antibodies. Not sure what to do now? I do not want him to get that vaccine! Dr Falconer do u have any suggestions on exposure for natural immunity?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on February 4, 2021 at 9:25 pm

      We go into this more deeply in my course, Rabies: Knowledge is Power, but to get a head start in understanding why natural exposure will always fail for rabies, I’d recommend you jump into my free Rabies Short Course.

      In brief, it’s all about the biology of this strange virus. It only lives in warm blooded animals. And it only transmits in the saliva of an infected, rabid animal.

      Rabies: Knowledge is Power will open enrollment again this year at some point, so be sure to opt in to the “first notice VIP” group list at the end of the short course. You’ll be the first to get notice that way.

    • David B Morgan on September 22, 2021 at 10:32 am

      Below is a link to an actual study trying to prove that the period between vaccinations could be lengthened. When each of the dogs was challenged with rabies virus 100% of the dogs died when challenged at various length intervals after 1st year vaccination. 20% at 5, 50% at 6 and 80% at 7 years. Besides all the legal reasons for vaccinating, leaving your dog vulnerable to what is an excruciatingly painful way to die it is a very selfish way to demonstrate your philosophic or religious aversion to vaccines. Only humans philosophize and therefore can, as they pass through the excruciating trials, find peace in knowing they lived true to themselves.

      • Will Falconer, DVM on September 23, 2021 at 12:08 am

        Even a quick glance at the abstract of the article you cite doesn’t square with your claims.

        Vaccinate survival was 80% (4/5) after 6 years 7 months, 50% (6/12) after 7 years 1 month, and 20% (1/5) after 8years 0 months. Antibody responses 12 days post-challenge correlated strongly with survival. In a separate non-challenge trial, administration of either a recombinant or a killed rabies vaccine demonstrated memory antibody responses 6 years 1 month after initial vaccination compared with unvaccinated controls. Our data demonstrated that i) duration of immunity to rabies in vaccinated dogs extends beyond 3 years; ii) immunologic memory exists even in vaccinated dogs with serum antibody titer < 0.1 IU/mL; and iii) non-adjuvanted recombinant rabies vaccine induces excellent antibody responses in previously vaccinated dogs 14 days after administration.

        So, please explain why there are both “laws” and vets that deem annual vaccination to be 1. necessary and 2. safe.
        Rabies vaccination is a highly individual decision, and the woman I wrote about in this article deemed her risk of vaccine injury to be far more significant than her risk of rabies.

  4. Vaccines are a lie rooted in fear and control on February 15, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Hi there. I’m new to the site and recently had a visit from the SPCA. I live here in Los Angeles county. This has been our first dog and she is a rescued Staffordshire Terrier (blue nose) and when we got her from the rescue they never gave me any papers for her. It’s a long story but the woman who ran the rescue was irresponsible. I’ve been under the radar with being licensed but I also wasn’t familiar with all of the laws in California regarding pets. They want me to register her and show proof this coming week. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you for all your information. God bless you and absolutely everything that concerns you in Jesus Name.

    • inge on September 22, 2022 at 1:42 pm

      Just tell the SPCA that your dog ran away. This should shut them up.

  5. Lazarus C Kauffman on February 14, 2019 at 8:21 pm

    Do you have any recommendations for avoiding the required rabies vaccine for bringing a cat to Hawaii?

  6. Elizabeth Thomas on January 17, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    After reading many articles on the flawed vaccine program one would have to wonder why our animals are being put at risk and legislation has not been made to protect our animals from this form of animal cruelty. Owners are being forced to find ways to protect their beloved family member from vaccine damage and have to pay not only out of pocket for the damage but also emotional pain and physical care our sick pets need.

    • Cheryl Keeney on May 17, 2021 at 6:19 pm

      It’s like the dogs don’t really belong to us. Similar to children, they make laws to take away our rights for our children and dogs.

      • STARR Rebecca STODDARD on September 17, 2021 at 3:27 pm

        I agree. It hurts me heart, badly. When you come to the Truth that there has not been one single experiment since Pasteur’s day (the invention of “germ theory”) to show proof of transmissibility of bacteria and gasp! “deadly viruses.” In order to prove a pathogenic “deadly virus” (or strain), you would have to perform viral isolation and then prove that the isolated, purified virus induces illness when introduced to healthy animals. All of that has never even been properly attempted, EVER.

        We and our animals have all been bamboozled from the moment we are born. We have never been infectious, biological weapons. It’s a mega lie to justify horrific “life saving vaccines” and “medicines” in which they are what chemically poison us, which in turn the effects from being poisoned are called “deadly viruses” where more poisons are given to treat being poisoned. This lie warrants loads of profits and power/control. It is DIABOLICAL. Pure evil.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on September 19, 2021 at 10:31 am

          I’d urge you to dig a bit deeper. While the case can be made for Covid being a man-made disease in search of controlling populations and maybe worse, rabies virus has been isolated for a very long time, viewed under scanning electron microscopes, and follows Koch’s Postulates quite well.

          It’d be wise not to throw out the baby with the bathwater and think there’s no such thing as viruses.

  7. Piyara on November 19, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    Very dumb question but is it possible to buy a fake vaccine certificate by paying more money than the actual vaccine costs. I guess quite a few of us would be willing to do so. Are there no vets who are kind enough to just break open a vaccine bottle not give the.shot and yet say give you the necessary certificate? Does nobody do such wonderfully kind things?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on November 24, 2018 at 3:37 am

      Not dumb, you just have to find a smart holistic vet to do this for you. Ask (enough) and you’ll find someone.

    • Jenna on January 3, 2019 at 12:57 pm

      If you find one, please share! I would like to do the same

  8. Alyssa on October 24, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    My husband and I just put a deposit down on a litter of boxer puppies due beginning of February. I lost my last boxers 7 months apart. Abby was 11 and she had lymphoma and Toby was 12 and was very lethargic. We had to help both of them over the rainbow bridge and the vet said Toby had cancer. He had a bump on his shoulder and my step dad was too cheap to get it tested. They vaccinated them for everything yearly and they complained about it, kinda ironic. I want to do what’s right for my future puppy. In AZ it’s every 3 years, but I’ll have to save and get them tittered. I truly believe my dogs could have lived longer if my parents were more invested in their health.

  9. Tammy on September 5, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    I am the dumbest person in the world! Our dog was 11 years old and went in for his annual check up. They said he was due for his rabies and I let them give it. Our poor pup immediately showed signs of the flu and was sniffling. After blood work, ultrasound, MRI and spinal tap, they found stage 5 nasal and central nervous system lymphoma! Only 3 months later passed away (last week) after we did radiation and chemotherapy. It is horrible that I let them vaccinate. Your information is great–I will avoid and hope we never have to be put in a corner that we can’t afford fines or the consequences. I will never do this again. It is terrible that I have to learn at the expense of my poor dog. I really hate ignorance in science or medicine.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 5, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      Oh, Tammy, this is indeed sad, but the timing would suggest your dog was already having the cancer at the time of vaccination. That’s no excuse for them vaccinating an 11 year old for diseases that typically only kill puppies, but none the less, it’s likely the vaccine aggravated an already existing cancer.

      The greatest gift we can thank these dear ones for is just what you’ve received last week from his death: the conviction that you will never go down that same path again! Please forgive yourself. We all start out ignorant, and slowly learn as we go. Thanks for sharing your painful story and all the best going forward!

  10. Sherri on April 21, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    Recently I reluctantly took my eight year old dog to my conventional vet for a badly broken toenail that was beyond my ability to treat. I quit vaccinating her years ago and my two young dogs have received only a single rabies shot and will get no more. So my older dogs records clearly show overdue for rabies. However when the tech asked if she was “current” on vaccinations I simply replied with a firm “yes”, because in my mind she IS current. In this case that’s all it took, nobody else said a word about it and my dog was treated. If necessary I was prepared to say I’d gotten her rabies at a pet store clinic and would have to bring in her papers later etc which of course would never happen. I hate being put in a situation where I must lie to protect my dogs but if that’s what it takes so be it. And Dr. Falconer, reading your posts has given me the knowledge as well as the courage to stand up and say NO and for that I thank you!

    • Exomonster on September 5, 2019 at 2:57 pm

      How do I avoid giving my 11 wk old kitten the rabies vax? I have adopted a kitten from shelter, I had made appt for his first checkup and gave paperwork to a pet hospital, the paperwork included his history of medications/vaccines, and also what vaccines he is due for. The issue is he is an indoor kitten, and is in a location where rabies are uncommon,yet it is required by law annually. so I feel he doesn’t not need this vaccine even as the first shot. The vet scheduled it already but the kitten is also already recuperating from a stomach issue, How will I be able to simply lie to them: that I got have already gotten the vaccine at another hospital? Are they going to ask for any information/details/proof of this at all?

      • Will Falconer, DVM on September 10, 2019 at 8:32 pm

        You can do far better than lying, Sherri, once you have the solid knowledge to know WHY annual rabies vaccines fly in the face of all science and are a recipe for disaster. If they insist or try to play Enforcer on you, fire them and seek a holistic vet who’s supportive of your natural path.

        And to add to your knowledge and empowerment, join me and some amazing students in my deep dive rabies course, Rabies: Knowledge is Power.

  11. Kayla on April 15, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    My sister has a new dog and it has never been vaccinated since it was born and she wants to go on a vacation with it. She liked it how you mentioned here that vaccines are needed to get certain certificates in order for the pet to be allowed to travel. Moreover, it’s important to go animal vaccination services for vaccines and have the pet certified.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 18, 2018 at 5:34 pm

      Hey Kayla, You may want to read this article again but more closely. What I’m saying is this extremely healthy, exceptionally long-lived dog traveled all over the country to shows without any vaccines. He had a health certificate, which is a document vets write to state the animal is free of infectious and contagious disease on exam shortly before travel.

  12. ChihuahuaMama on March 23, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Our 5lb Chi’s are emotional support animals for me and my husband. (we have no kids) One of our girls almost died and required 2 blood transfusions after suffering Vaccine-associated immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) shortly after being vaccinated when we adopted her 2 years ago. Since then, we have declined all vaccinations both both our girls, yet have flown with them with a Vet’s note with no problem.
    NOW, starting March 2018, Delta and other airlines are REQUIRING proof of current vaccinations in order to fly…. Does anyone have any suggestions on this?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on March 23, 2018 at 2:35 pm

      Absolutely: you avoid the airlines who aren’t willing to take a vet’s letter of waiver! Who do they think they are, putting your animals at risk like that? Don’t give ’em another nickel!

      • ChihuahuaMama on July 12, 2018 at 6:30 pm

        Thanks Dr. Falconer! I wish it were that easy… After Delta’s move to “tighten up” its vaccine restrictions it looks like other airlines are starting to follow suit. Such a shame. One of our girls can never be vaccinated again because of her IMHA (and she was diagnosed with Cushings yesterday!) but our other pup is under A LOT of pressure to get vaccinated. I have gone to 6 Vets (SF Bay Area) and all of them refuse to give my other dog a vaccine exemption. I just don’t get it. She is 5 lbs, 10 years old, has seizures and they don’t know why, has 4 breast tumors which are likely cancer and she only has 3 teeth left! I was under the impression that sick animals could not be vaccinated? How on earth are all these “caring Vets” shamming me and pressuring me into pumping my old girl full of vaccines? Is there anything I can say to them? Do I have a case to ask for a vaccine exemption? I’m lost. 🙁

        • Will Falconer, DVM on July 13, 2018 at 4:23 pm

          Not sure why you need an exemption. Just sit tight and no way no how never vaccinate this very sick dog. Don’t even enter that arena. You’ll be playing by their rules and it’s obvious they care not a lick about your animal’s well being. State gonna try to pressure you? Screw them as well. Take it to court if it needs to go that far.
          In the meantime: fly under the radar. Your dog is more important than you trying to prove something to anyone.

          • ChihuahuaMama on July 17, 2018 at 7:02 am

            Thank you!!!



          • Elle on October 5, 2018 at 5:45 pm

            Hi Dr Falconer,
            I found this website in a very desperate time. I have lived in California my whole life and I have always been able to get around the vac mandate with religious exemption and documented facts that these toxins would certainly hurt my 3 1/2 lb yorkie who Ive had since 5 weeks and no vaccines. Now I am being pressured to get her vaccinated by an apt complex or get an exemption. I have lost 3 animals of the same breed to these vaccines and my cousin of 2 months old. What options do I have? My dog is in perfect health, is detoxed regularly and daily use of pure Young Living essential oils. My vet in Idaho wouldn’t even write me a good health letter. Is there any vet out there who will give me something? Thank you!



          • Will Falconer, DVM on October 6, 2018 at 4:44 pm

            An apartment complex?! Elle, unless the manager of said complex is an immunologist, he is asking you to potentially damage your animal for no good reason. It sounds like you need someone else to write a letter for you. Ideally, that’d be a sympathetic holistic vet in California, but I’m not sure any are brave enough. I’d do some “shopping” either by phone or internet/email and see my Resources page for both holistic vets and homeopathic vets.

            I’ve done this for my clients many times and it’s always worked. There’s no “law” involved for an apartment, so it should be simple. (Well, I say that, but California may be vaccine-crazy enough to have one, so I hope I’m right).



  13. Chuck on January 14, 2018 at 6:36 am

    We adopted a kitten in July of 2016. The kitten had his shots then and recently we got a letter from the county saying his shots are past due and if we don’t get him vaccinated they will send someone to our home. I know this is about the licensing money and I am willing to pay that but the rabies vaccination is required to do that. How can I legally get around this and would they really send someone to my house? I don’t want them to see my other cats.

  14. martha brassil on October 31, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    I didnt vaccinate my previous dog who lived to be over 17 and was healthy and happy.

    • Dan on February 7, 2022 at 10:24 am

      What about de-worming dogs? Do you all still do that? Maybe yourself? There is no way I am vaccinating our chiweenie. I watched our last dauschund suffer after his shots. Not this time.

  15. Damon on July 17, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Great article. I have a 12 month old German shepherd that I have refused getting her rabies. My last Gereman shepherd battled auto immune as a puppy(was given 2 years to live) after her shots. After feeding raw, regular excersize and no further vaccinations she became a pillar of health. I moved to Hawaii when she was 9 1/2 . Because of their strict laws, I was forced to get another rabies vaccination. At the time of the vaccination my vet called her “the heathiest large dog over 9 yearsold he had seen in a long time”…then went on to tell me I shouldnt raw feed. At that appointment, she recieved her seond rabies vaccination of her lifetime….within 4 weeks she had a terrible skin disease and hair began falling out. I switched to a really strict raw diet and supplements after seeing a new holistic vet. The damage was done. She passed 6 months later on the operating table when her spleen developed cysts and she bled out.
    Now I am looking for alternatives to flea and tick medication. Both of which my new puppy has had, minor cases (1 tick and a few fleas) but I want to avoid the chemicals her breeder had her on.

    • Diane on April 18, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      Damon, when I was fighting fleas for several months and reading up on it, I learned that 90% of the flea’s life cycle is spent OFF the pet. So it’s far more important to kill them in the environment and break the life cycle (kill eggs and larva) than to attack them on the pet. I used some natural products I found at Chewy.com and Amazon.com and eventually won the war with a boric acid powder that treated my carpet (and stays at the base to kill new eggs and larva). It took a few weeks to fully break the cycle, but we’ve been flea-free for at least a year and a half now!
      Your situation may be different, but there are a lot of natural products out there, mostly using essential oils, which smell great and work well. You can also make your own flea collars by putting essential oils on them. However, I’m convinced that eliminating the fleas in the dog’s environment is the key…and far safer than continuing to make the animal ingest insecticides!

  16. Kaitlyn on June 25, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    I may be moving to Canada in a few years, I am from Australia, I have 3 pets that I really really don’t want to leave behind, as I would be gone for a good 2-3 years. I do not vaccine my dogs anymore and because I am in Australia there is no rabies here so there are no law required vaccines. Getting my dogs into Canada or even the USA is not hard as they are from a rabies free country, but when I return to Australia I am very worried because we have extremely strict rules, they would have to have a rabies vaccine and numerous other ones plus quarantine which I don’t want to put them through because they will be pretty old by the time I do this. Do you think I should ditch the idea of going to Canada? my dogs come first.. There is definitely no way I can get around this?

    • nancy brown on June 26, 2016 at 1:22 pm

      Hi Kaitlyn,
      Wow that’s a tough one. Do they automatically require returning dogs to be vaccinated and quarantined or would they accept “documentation” from Canada?
      I live in Canada and many of our provinces do not require a rabies vaccine either, probably due to the low prevalence of rabies here. Maybe they would be less strict if you came from a less (rabies) risky area (i.e. Alberta)?
      I can understand why Australia wants to maintain its rabies-free status but if your dogs have had vaccinations before they are likely now immune to the other diseases at least and a titer test would show the existence of antibodies. Is it possible the authorities would accept titers? Or even documentation from a vet here attesting to your dogs “up to date” status?
      As for the rabies, if they accepted “proof” of vaccination upon entry back into the country, I would ensure I had that (fake, if necessary) proof.
      I can understand your concern in wanting to protect the health of your dogs.
      Jeeze it can be so tough to dodge the many bullets aimed at our dogs health!

      • Kaitlyn on June 28, 2016 at 6:36 pm

        Yes quarantine here is very strict, it used to be 6 months! but now they have cut it to 10 days, fortunately. I used to get them vaccinated every year, but now I have stopped and I am worried that once I get to Canada that they will require me to give them a rabies vaccine, I would be scared how they would react to it since they haven’t had vaccines for a while, and when they did get them, they used to be off for days. they are little dogs, not big which would make a rabies vaccine even more hard on their bodies. Plus my dogs (I have a cat too, but she’s indoor) are 8 and 7 so in a couple years they will be double digits. What provinces don’t require the rabies vaccine? I would be worried though because I don’t want them to get put down if they bite someone… this is just stuff I have never had to deal with before, since there’s no rabies here 🙁
        the only way I can think around it at the moment would be to apply for permanent residence after a few years and just come back to Australia for visits and get someone to look after my pets in Canada, to avoid the quarretine and vaccines. but if the residence got rejected, I would have no choice but to bring my pets back and get the rabies vaccine. and I’m not sure if I want to stay in Canada forever! but I know I don’t want to leave my fur babies for 2 years.. as you can see.. it’s just all too complicated. If Canada had rabies free status then I wouldn’t have to worry, so I don’t know 🙁 I guess I’ll have to just stay here!

        • Nancy Brown on June 28, 2016 at 10:58 pm

          Hi Kaitlyn,
          It does seem very tricky no matter how you approach this. You are right to be concerned as it’s possible you may end up unnecessarily vaccinating. I am sending along a link to a site that does answer some of your questions on this end (Canada). It seems that if you are coming from a rabies-free country (which you are) you need to provide either a rabies certificate or a health certificate to enter Canada. So it looks like you would be ok to come into the country, it’s returning that might be a problem. Here’s the link: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/canada.cfm

  17. LT on April 23, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Would you be willing to come up to visit, timing your visit so that you can appear in court with me to explain to the magistrate and the dog warden why my dogs did not need rabies vaccines? The neighbor needs them, they regularly damage my fences and let out my livestock then call the dog warden. So can you offer resources for those who have to face the dog warden (who does target neighborhoods and go door to door in two counties) in court or at the front gate or front door before it gets to court?

  18. Michael on September 6, 2015 at 11:48 am

    What happens when a healthy unvaccinated dog bites a 7 year-old child on the face and draws blood? Because a bite to the head is proximal to the brain and nervous system (rabies can spread to brain within 24 hours) the child in the ER must suffer multiple excruciating shots in and around the wound, in the shoulder and in the thigh, with follow up boosters across a month. Even if the chance the dog is infected is remote, no parent or doctor would take the risk of not administering shots. What if the owner then refuses to quarantine their dog because they “know” the dog is not infected and fears PHS will vaccinate their dog after quarantine–putting the dog “at risk.” That’s what happened to my daughter when a friend’s unvaccinated dog bit her on the face this summer. The consequences of not vaccinating your dog can, as it did in this instance, shift the dangers of vaccination to the humans who are bitten, not to mention traumatize a child with multiple shots in and around the wound. Not vaccinating your dog may be great in a vacuum, but as soon as your dog bites someone or get’s bitten, it is a different story.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 7, 2015 at 8:44 am

      What a shame. And yet, people have successfully done it (no vaccines, showing the dog to championship status all over the country.).
      So, my first wonderment was the circumstances. What happened to get a child bitten in the face? Something wrong with that picture, probably part dog and part humans in charge.
      I’m so sorry your daughter had to go through such a painful and potentially health risking anaphylaxis. I’m not sure that wouldn’t happen to a child with a vaccinated dog being the biter.

      • puppydogs on April 21, 2016 at 11:18 pm

        Need advice on what to do next with overdue rabies vaccines.
        1. Will the vets refuse to treat/titer pets that aren’t up to date on rabies?
        2. Should I find a vet (holistic) to get a TF- mercury free shot instead?
        3. Do I try to go around town finding a vet who will file for an exemption every year (seems harder to do)?
        Thanks!

        • nancy brown on April 23, 2016 at 11:08 am

          Puppydogs:
          Back in the day before I knew what I know now about the damage vaccines can do to an animal, we did what we thought was “best” for our Golden retriever. Our vet at the time, to her credit, informed us that titres could instead be done (of course this was after a number of years of regular vaccinations (:) and would be accepted as proof of immunity if ever needed. Since your dog has already had vaccinations, titer testing should show antibodies.
          Perhaps that is the case where you live?
          Search this site and you will find quite a bit about the rabies vaccine and the problem you are dealing with.

    • Ellen Heyer on July 11, 2016 at 12:56 am

      Can’t something be done about all this irrational medical treatment?? Does anyone know of a dog ever having rabies, or a person contracting rabies from a dog? I mean in the last 10 or 20 years?
      Trust me, if a dog was rabid, people would know. Sad your daughter had all those unneccessary shots. All the laws around rabies are such a scam, and for the dogs a money making scam In my state, they quarantine a dog even if it has had a rabies vaccine. That means every bite, 10 days of quarantine for animal control with a boarding fee.. on and on….

      • Diane on April 18, 2018 at 2:31 pm

        What I don’t understand, as I read through this thread, is why a rabies shot is the “cure” for rabies. People talk about their pets (as in the bat story) or a person (Michael’s daughter) being vaccinated immediately after exposure, as a response to the incident. I thought the whole idea of immunizations was to put a small amount of the virus into the body so it could “practice” fighting it, learning to recognize and form antibodies to that virus. That takes a bit of time, I think. If someone has been bitten by a rabid dog, the virus has already been introduced into the body. So how would a vaccine help at that point? I must be missing something. 🙂 Is it some other shot being administered??

        • Diane on April 18, 2018 at 2:51 pm

          Hmm, I think I just found my answer in your other article (https://vitalanimal.com/vaccination-rabies/)…
          “And, if the bitten person could die of rabies, time is of the essence, and the department of health wants to know if they need to begin the series of expensive injections that can prevent rabies in the bitten person.”
          Those expensive injections are probably not the “rabies shot.”

        • Will Falconer, DVM on April 18, 2018 at 5:27 pm

          The shots given after exposure to a known rabid animal are antibody laden serum, so quite different than injecting a virus. It puts up a wall of defense to prevent the virus from making its way to the brain of the victim.

  19. Helen on December 7, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    My Service Dog Great Dane got lose while I was walking her, she ran across the street where a person had two very small dogs that looked like walking mops, she picked one up in her mouth, picked it up then gently put it back on the ground, No injury to it. 3 weeks later they reported to Animal Control & I was forced to get my dog Rabies shot as demanded from AC. I went to a local Vet and asked for EXEMPTION as my dog is 9 yrs. old and NEVER EVER HAD ONE SHOT, NEVER, I felt this Rabies shot would be like MURDER to her. I asked several local Vets and NONE would do EXEMPT why, no explaining, just NO NO NO. So I begged this VET to give low dose and clerk said it was a dose for 5 pound dog? I do not know if that is true or not. Me who does not believe in any shots, their immune system is working or it aint. Why must we be under the gun and be made to give shots? There aint no Rabies in California where I live, in cement city I call it. I have read all comments, we are all bound by Govt Rules?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on December 8, 2014 at 5:43 am

      Hi Helen,
      I replied to you by email just now, but I believe California is one of the states that offers exemptions. You’d never get one for an unvaccinated dog. It doesn’t work that way. But now vaccinated, you should next get a titer test to prove immunity (wait a month or two from the vaccination), and then seek an exemption for the NEXT vaccines they’ll want to give.
      That’ll likely need to come from a holistic vet. You can find listings of them on my Resources page.
      We are bound by government rules to the extend that we step into their arena. Your dog, unfortunately, brought you into that arena now. All the best going forward. You’ll have to work to get what you want, but it’s achievable in your state.
      A kind attitude will open doors for you as you seek to find what you’re after. Confrontational language will close them.

  20. Shelley on November 24, 2014 at 9:34 am

    I have two dogs that are subject to finding their way out of the fence and they absolutely LOVE to wander so I have then licensed through the county and, unfortunately, have to keep them up on their rabies vaccine. My other 3 are not vaccinated or licensed and never will be. If I take them to the dog park I switch the rabies tags from the other two and if anything were to ever happen, those pups names would change to whatever the pup with the current tagf would be. Fortunately I have one male and one female that is current on rabies and they are all lab mixes. Close in colors. I think I will just start naming my dogs all the same name and make sure they are close in the same color from now on. Gotta do what ya gotta do!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on November 26, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      Very creative, Shelley! Thanks for sharing your strategy to minimize vaccine damage.

  21. Kerrie on October 24, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    If theses diseases were so devastating wouldn’t all the wild animals succumb to distemper, parvo and rabies? There must be some natural immunity to these diseases. Or populations of animals who are at risk would be wiped out.
    Also why do some puppies in a litter die from Parvo when it is contracted and some puppies have a short bout of vomiting and diarrhea and recover?
    We need to quit being afraid of losing a pet to a disease that we are unnaturally trying to save them from. Yes it sucks losing a pet to what the vets tell ” preventable through vaccinating” but many times they contract the disease from the vaccination, or have a life long dis-ease caused by the vaccination, or worse death. Thanks but no thanks been there done that.
    I wish we had a way to network amongst ourselves, to train to swap pet sitting, etc.

    • Ary on October 26, 2014 at 12:13 am

      Indeed, some fates are worse than death. The suffering induced by these vaccines and other chemical so called “medicines”, too often a case of the cure or prevention is worse than the diseases! There is something to be said of suffering… Death at least is the release. Both should be prevented rather than accepted.
      ” To first do no harm” has gone by the way side in our grand scheme of modern medical marvels.
      The inmune system is an amazing thing, just has to be enabled to do its job.
      Kerri

  22. Kathryn Palmer on October 11, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Hi, Love the info. Thank you. Just a quick question. Say these unvaccinated dogs get immunity from newly vaccinated dogs at the shows or where ever. Just wondering then, what if eventually people did stop vaccinating and your dog didn’t get vaccinated, how would your dog or other dogs aquire rabies immunity without risking them coming in contact with a actual rabid animal. Love the science behind it and just wondering. Also, I have not been so lucky with taking rally classes with my boys. I am asked to produce a rabies cert each time I sign up. They are coming due for their next in Jan 2015 and I don’t want to get it. Guess I won’t be doing rally anymore 🙁 Thank you for your thoughts. Katie

  23. Billy on October 4, 2014 at 5:08 am

    Interesting article. My 2 rescue dogs are 10 and 11 and neither one of them has been vaccinated for about 6 years now. I’m in the UK, and when I wanted to join both an obedience club and a fly ball club, I was told that my girl’s vaccinations needed to be up to date and they wanted to see her vaccinations book – so there would have been no way to get out of that one. Interestingly enough, we then went on to do agility, and no proof of vaccination was even requested. It seems the agility world (in the UK at least) accepts that not all dogs can/will be vaccinated.
    What I find particularly interesting about this article tho, is that you say that non-vaccinated dogs get their immunity from exposure to the faeces and urine of other vaccinated dogs. So in effect you rely on other people to vaccinate their dogs to keep your own dog’s immunity levels up. That’s a bit odd, isn’t it?
    And Suzie’s immunity levels are fine, because her mum had been vaccinated, but a pup of Suzie’s wouldn’t be adequately protected because Suzie hasn’t been vaccinated? So, again, in effect you’d need to vaccinate every other generation? Not really convinced about “how to avoid ALL vaccinations” when you’d be relying on other dogs having been vaccinated. Bit disappointing to be honest.
    I attended a seminar by Dr Dodds about 15 months ago, here in the UK. Her recommendation was first puppy vaccinations at about 12 weeks old, as before then the pups would still have their mother’s immunity (which ties in with your article), and then one follow up booster at a year old, after which people should keep an eye on their dogs’ immunity levels by regular titre testing. I’ll always have rescue dogs, but in case an 8 week old puppy ends up on my door step, this is the recommendation I’ll follow.

  24. Kerrie on September 29, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    I just finished my 3 yo Border Collie who is unvaccinated, raw fed and no grooming products. It can be done. Just read the premiums closely to see what you are dealing with.
    Not once has my dog come home with the crud, kennel cough or some other nasty from a show.
    Not once did someone ask for vax certs. Even when it stated they would. If someone is showing and has an unvaccinated dog I would stay away from state or county run venues such as fairgrounds, you will run in to more authorities looking at health certificates at those places.
    I no longer vaccinate because I lost my first show prospect to what I believe was complications from a Rabies vax he had at 9 mos. he had gotten sick from it diarrhea , fever and lethargy for a fews days. I guess the vet treated him ( I didn’t own him at the time) for it. Fast. Forward 18 months. He started attacking my older dog unprovoked, he had focal seizures, started head pressing , fearful he always had a bit of a problem but got worse, had trouble with his hind legs for moments then back to normal. He then had what I believe was a seizure and bit part of my ear off, j had been sitting on the floor petting him. Anyhow he acted like he didn’t recognize me. I had to hold him down to keep him from biting me again , not sure how long I held him down but he started to relax slumped over and passed out. I had him PTS the next day, took a brow beating by the University vets for not trying Phenobarbital, and not taking him to a behaviorist, oh and I should try positive reinforcement training , that was until I pulled a handful of clickers out of my purse and laid them on the exam table . I will NEVER vaccinate another dog willingly, ever.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 29, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      Wow, Kerrie, sure sounds like rabies miasm symptoms, right down the line: aggression, seizures, head pressing, brief paralytic signs, biting, fear.
      He was there to help you make future decisions.
      All the best to you going forward.

      • Kerrie on September 29, 2014 at 9:07 pm

        Dr. Falconer,
        Thank you 🙂
        It was the hardest thing to learn, that dog taught me a lot.
        I think when one decides to take these steps to keep our pets safe we must own that decision. Stand up to people who think we are being irresponsible, because they will, and if something goes wrong they will be the first to say i told you so. It is not a socially easy path to follow.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on September 29, 2014 at 10:01 pm

          I couldn’t agree more, Kerrie, and you’ve given me more grist for the blog. I think there are a few tricks to ease it, but you are right: we are operating outside the accepted “norm,” and seeing that norm as dangerous.
          Quite a challenging path, but we have each other. Try to surround yourself with like minded friends, even if it’s via the internet.
          I appreciate the brave steps you’ve taken to stand where you now stand.

          • Ary on October 25, 2014 at 11:47 pm

            I am amazed to find real people with real comcerns and validations about our animal vaccines! Thank you Dr Will for providing this so important information! And thanks to all you posting your experiences. Am so sorry to hear such sad stories but sharing our lives and exp, somehow makes the suffering and loss to not have been without us coming away with an understanding of what and why. I have dealt with this issue with 2 of my 6 precious dogs have suffered from topicsl flea meds as well as “HW preventatives”. I also suspect vaccine related issues :(. Hundreds of dollars and they still suffered and still having problems that by the grace of God and researching they are improving! Using nutrition based therapy and just saying no more to my local vets. So hard to face this alone ( alone being w/o trusted vet care) somedays. Going back the allopathic is not going just not help… But bring even more harm sadly! Am detirmined to find a holistic vet. Wish could load up for a road trip to you Dr Will! I suspected dangers with animal vaccines seeing as I lost my daughter to vaccine induced immune failure many years ago. So many parallels with my daughters 6 yrs plight and now with my dogs too. It’s just heart breaking.
            Your so right, its an odd place to be to fully see and have first hand exp of these very real dangers!
            We still have a long road with my male lab mix and little king charles mix. So much better with what have done so far, but still more changes needed :(. Will be reading more of Dr Will and praying I find the rest of our path!
            Thank you again!
            Ary



  25. Dog Lovers on September 23, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Wow – this is absolutely fabulous! Thanks to all of you wonderful NR breeders and Dr. Will for sharing this. Having owned dogs who suffered horribly from vaccine damage and also had much shorter lives, hubby and I decided 8 yrs ago to never vaccinate again.
    Here’s some suggestions to help with “proof of vaccines.” If you had a previous dog of the same breed who was vaccinated, use their paperwork. If your state allows for vaccine exemption when the dog has a health issue, get it on record with your vet that your dog has a health issue (a new homeopathic vet is your best bet). Allergies are common. It can be any number of things, from dust to pollen or any type of food/meat. Chicken, corn, soy, wheat, tree or grass pollens are very common allergens. Adding a bit too much calcium to their food makes dogs itchy. Test this a few days or weeks before taking your dog to the vet to verify allergies and there’s your exemption. “OMG, looks like Max is allergic to chicken or some type of pollen. This is a new development.” Just refuse the drugs that Dr. Whitecoat will recommend or if you buy some, don’t give them. Say you want to try a homeopathic remedy instead and have it written in the dog’s chart. Allergy injections don’t work; we tried those for over 3 yrs with our severely allergic dog years ago. If your state doesn’t allow for vaccine exemption, write to your local animal control and whatever county or state govmt agency is over them. Explain the health condition your dog has and that every vial of vaccine sold states it’s only to be given to healthy animals. Provide proof that this is in your dog’s chart at the vet hosp. If they give you grief, contact your local press and every group like this one. I’ll happily write a letter telling about all the problems our beloved dogs had from vaccines. Dr. Will is right…much of it’s about having a confident attitude and knowing your subject. Bottom line is our dogs deserve to be healthy and not ruined by toxic vaccines.
    We consult with a homeopathic vet who isn’t in our area. Email or phone call works well. I highly recommend you consult with Dr. Will or another homeopath for your dogs. If our dogs need to be physically seen for something…like an injured paw, we have a local conventional vet but our records say in bold, bright red letters “NO VACCINES.” We also never allow them to take the dogs out of our sight. We’ve known the head vet who owns the hospital for 16 yrs so that does help. He’s allowed us to be in the back when our little guy needed his paw x-rayed. Turned out to be a sprain, thank God…after a fast and furious play session in our back yard with his fellow pack mates.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 23, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      Some good ideas here. Key point is being on top of the situation, as you pointed out. Most vets know less than you about immunology, if you’ve been reading here for a while. We just weren’t well schooled in it. Yearly repetition? If it’s on the label, they’ll do it!
      And, Only for Use in The Healthy? Very narrowly defined, if at all. So, establishing this yourself (“Allergies mean unwell, do they not?”) and getting it on the record will help your case. I wrote about this in my Vaccine Waiver page.
      In the end, it’s about taking the responsibility for your animal’s health, as one with a vested interest. You’re the best one, maybe the only one, to do this properly. Learn all you can and advocate for your animals.

  26. Susan on September 23, 2014 at 12:12 am

    Kudos & thanks to Marilyn & Suzi for blazing the way for future NR show dogs! And thanks to Dr Will for writing this article & addressing the subject of the Rabies vax, openly & honestly so more dog owners can figure out how to try & make their way in the world with unvaxed thriving healthy dogs.
    I am anxiously awaiting my own self bred NR Carolina Dog pup that I hope to show & compete with in the future. About 2 weeks to the due date! minimally vaxed parents, raw fed dam & will be weaned right to raw, never any vaccines or chemicals in on or around the puppies!
    I have been contemplating the issue of showing without vaccines & the biggest issue I have found is finding a place to train, all the Kennel Clubs want fully vaxed animals only 🙁 So I guess we will go as far as at home training will take us, unless or until I find some local NR show peeps to train with.
    Anyways, thanks to Marilyn, Suzi & Dr Will for addressing this issue!
    -Susan, Cooter, Daisy & (future) LuLu

    • Joanne Werth on September 23, 2014 at 6:20 am

      For Susan – congratulations on your soon arrival of your show puppy. I am now showing a dog that happens to be the third one I’ve shown unvaxed. I took the first one with minimal vaccine all the way to ranking 13 in the breed, all-systems with multiple group placements, award of merit at national specialty and at the age of 9 she went best of opposite sex at another specialty from the veterans class. So we kept at it to her grand championship. The second dog went to his grand championship unvaxed and I am now showing a dog for someone else to his grand championship and he’s unvaxed as well. I never took one of them to any kind of training class! Training for conformation is easy at home or with friends. You just need someone you know and trust to play the judge and practice “going over the dog” and you just need to practice gaiting on a show lead. You can teach the dog to not tug and how to properly go “around the ring”. Your first few shows might be just for practice – it will be your training ground but far better to spend a little on show fees than to vaccinate just to get in a class. When you do show, make sure that when you wait ring side for your time in the ring that you stay a decent distance from the other entries, do not mill around with the other exhibitors and chat, focus on the dog and keep him focused on you. I see lots of people who know each other chatting and not paying attention to what their dog is doing – that is the perfect recipe for the perfect storm of ending up in a “situation”. Just keep the dog close to you and keep our distance – it’s better for the dog to be focused on you anyway. Good luck at the shows.

      • Will Falconer, DVM on September 23, 2014 at 8:48 am

        Thanks for joining the discussion, Joanne, and bravo on getting three dogs through shows without vaccinations! Similar experience? No one looking at your health certificates?

        • Joanne on September 23, 2014 at 9:35 am

          That’s exactly right. Never was asked. I always had the plan that if asked that I would just say I forgot to have it on me and if worse came to worse would just quietly leave with the dog and blow that show off but it never ever came to that. I showed in performance sports years before conformation – same thing for agility, obedience and rally – stated required proof necessary in show information but was never asked.

          • Will Falconer, DVM on September 23, 2014 at 9:52 am

            Brilliant. I think, all too often, we don’t take the time to consider the worst case scenario in situations. You were clear: it was, “we’re leaving now.”
            No. Big. Deal.
            And you were never asked. Nice.



  27. Yvonne on September 22, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    I am a Canadian who travels back and forth to the US by plane and once on the ground in Seattle and we have to report to the agriculture office with paperwork showing the current Rabies vaccination. After losing our last dog to what I believe was a result of over vaccination, I don’t want to go there with this one so I had his puppy shots and that will be it but I cannot figure a way around the Rabies documentation. They check for batch number and expiry date! Any suggestions? BTW, apparently they won’t accept a Vaccine Titters either!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 23, 2014 at 8:44 am

      I’ve heard from other Canadians that’s it’s been easy to get in and out to US shows. Different border point? Not sure.

    • Alyssa Banville on August 25, 2017 at 11:46 am

      I am from Canada and am having the same issue. I have my dogs all their required shots until they were 6yrs old, now that they are 9 I won’t get them anymore. I’m hoping to be able to cross the U.S border for a family trip in a few days without any troubles.. I guess worst comes to worst they will turn me around and deny me entry… Here’s hoping

  28. Trudi on September 22, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Thank you so much for the information. I wonder out loud if I can get my vet to give me a Health Certificate for my 9 month old Bichon who is the crazy healthy and happy to boot. He is a holistic Vet and will certainly ask now. Abby has gone thru one season and glad that is done now. I will though get her spayed at one year old as I do not want to breed her. She would make beautiful healthy babies, but there are enough Bichon puppies out there already. I just want to take her to puppy school and will need proof of the rabies vaccine, per laws. We’ll see…no harm in asking though. I also ordered the Transfer Factor Canine Relief for my Bichon girl. Thank you so very much for all of the great advice you give to us ‘natural’ folks for optimum pet health. I truly appreciate every word you print…truly thank you.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 23, 2014 at 8:42 am

      You’re welcome, Trudi.
      And, just so you’re clear: there are no laws that say you must vaccinate for rabies to get into puppy school. The school may have rules, but maybe a health certificate would allow you in. Worth a try.

  29. stina on September 22, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    I have a year old IG I’m trying to raise holistically. He’s had just his puppy shots, is raw fed and not neutered. Till now, I’ve avoided Rabies and the new vet (practices some holistic approaches) ordered a thimerosal free Rabies for me, but I still am not feeling good about it. Any ideas to get out of it? My first IG (also related to my pup) didn’t do well with Rabies. He was lethargic and contracted an auto-immune issue shortly after. Any ideas would be so appreciated.
    All the best, Stina

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 22, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      Hi Stina,
      The first thing to know is that no vet is empowered to enforce rabies rules, though many make it sound like they are. If it goes no further than the vet’s office, you can simply refuse it.
      But, (and the post should have directed you to this page), you need to be fully aware of the consequences of a biting incident, should one ever occur, in an unvaccinated dog. If animal control is less aware of the Compendium of Animal Rabies than they should be, they’ll be pushing euthanasia, even though you have the option to quarantine and observe instead.
      So, you’ll want to understand that Suzi was very closely monitored, controlled, and was a sweet dispositioned dog who was never put into a situation where a bite might happen. That takes a lot of vigilance. Can everyone do that kind of vigilance? I doubt it.
      Hence, my usual recommendation is one rabies vaccination, over the age of 4 months old, which will likely confer immunity and get you some papers to keep going forward. See that link above: significant difference between a “non-vaccinate” and an “out of date but vaccinated” dog.

  30. L on September 22, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    I agree with the article, just saying, it’s not always that easy. Any ideas?
    Other than saying that you no longer have any pets.

  31. Paula on September 22, 2014 at 11:59 am

    I LOVE it!
    And this is exactly what I hope to do when ever it is that I get my third dog.

  32. Lori on September 22, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Great article. Any suggestions for avoiding another rabies vaccine for a rescue dog? I just got a notice from animal control that she needs another rabies vaccine (was already heavily vaccinated when I adopted her) to renew her license and I really do not want to have her re-vaccinated.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 22, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      An already licensed dog will be tripping triggers, so is very difficult to “just say no” about. It ultimately depends how far animal control is willing to go, and how far you are willing to go.
      One client in Texas felt so strongly not to revaccinate her at risk dogs that she paid fines in court, 100’s (over a thousand?) of dollars. Now, she gets no further notices.
      I suspect some animal control has little or no time/money to pursue people who opt out, while others have bigger budgets and love to hunt.
      Anyone have any personal experience to help Lori?

      • Jan on September 25, 2014 at 2:56 pm

        I faced the same issue with license time with my Malamute. He was 10 and diabetic and even tho dr. white coat would do it I made the decision to say enough. I told the county that he died and they personally didn’t care it was just for their records. Now I have 3 Aussies and a whole lot more knowledge thanks to Dr. Falconer and they will NEVER see another vaccination even if I have to pay fines and they are not licensed either so no one knows about them in the first place.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on September 25, 2014 at 6:58 pm

          Nice advocacy work on behalf of your charges, Jan. Vaccinating a 10 yr old diabetic was a great test to put your foot down — you knew how wrong that would have been!
          And onwards it goes. No license for the next gen makes it easier to fly under the radar.
          When I had kids, we moved a lot, and where ever we landed, we “adopted” which ever religion gave vaccine exemptions to keep our charges safe!
          You’ve got to do what it takes.

          • 2Portiemom on February 10, 2018 at 2:20 pm

            I got a pure breed puppy from a breeder. I have the AKC papers so I can transfer it on my name. Puppy have been vaccinated with the “core” and rabies shots. I guess it’s also part of the requirements before they can sell and fly the puppy. Puppy is on limited registration (meaning, it’s not allowed to breed). I am planning not to vaccinate anything more than she has already. Questions:
            1. Do I really have to transfer her on my name?
            2. How can I be under the radar with my pup so no one is knocking on my door telling me she needs “more” shots?
            Please help!



          • Will Falconer, DVM on February 15, 2018 at 6:42 am

            I’ve always felt that if you’ve paid good money for a pup, that pup is yours to do with as you wish. That’s just me, though. I’m irked when an animal is sold (at a hefty price, often) and the buyer is forced to make promises.
            Under the radar? There’ll be a course coming out on Rabies in the not-too-distant future, full of strategies and the reasons you may want to avoid further rabies vaccines. Be sure you’re on this list to get first notice.



        • Jared on February 27, 2019 at 8:25 pm

          Hi I need help I have the town and now state trying to froce me with tickets and fines to get rabies vaccination in ct. Pleas send any info or help to protect my animals

          • Jen on February 21, 2020 at 8:40 pm

            Did you get this problem figured out? I also live in CT..



      • Stephanie on July 8, 2018 at 5:05 am

        I am so devastated. This happened to me now. I just got the renewal notice. I don’t have the kind of money to risk court etc. But I’m so scared to get my little dog vaccinated again. He’s only 15 lbs. I adopted him last year and besides a rabies shot, the shelter proudly told me they just gave him a flu shot. I was so angry. I don’t feel good about telling them he’s deceased. I’m too worried about being questioned. I’m moving out of state next year and will not register him there anymore. I can’t afford the titer test if it is indeed $300 as someone wrote in the comments. When I got him last year and he was result vaccinated, he was not in a good state. He was when I met him but then they took him into the vets room and after they brought him back to me was when they so proudly announced the flu vaccine. He was still okay for approx 30 minutes but then he became lethargic and as in a trance for an hour. I’m not sure which route to take. Should I let it slip? Just ignore? The late fee is only $50 and I’m moving in about 9 months, maybe that would work? Or maybe send The $15 fee but “forget” the photocopy of the current rabies certificate? Just delay and delay until I’ve moved?

    • Florence dagenais on September 24, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      If I understand correctly the immunity for the puppy comes from the vaccinated dam – if this puppy goes on to eventually produce litters will those puppies have immunity? Thank you for your inspiring information
      I was recently at the Auburn University’s small tanimal hospital (they are a teaching hospital as well as clinic)
      I spoke to the head of the hospital about vaccines and was told that my information was incorrect!!(from the head of the department). Of course I didn’t have that attitude YET.

      • Will Falconer, DVM on September 24, 2014 at 1:19 pm

        Hi Florence,
        It’s not a given that the immunity will be present in the next generation, no. In fact, I’d highly doubt it. And there’s no way of telling in Suzi’s case, but she may well have received some rabies immunity from exposure to the newly vaccinated dogs who were in the same vicinity at her shows.
        You can titer to find out for sure, which I’d recommend, but be sure if you opt out entirely, you read the Vaccination: Rabies page and understand fully the risks inherent in zero vaccines.

        • Debra Haworth on October 23, 2014 at 3:25 pm

          My Goldens are 12 and 13 and are due for yet another round of Rabies boosters. Not going to do it. I have never followed protocols on all the vaccines they push, but before I came aware they did have more than a few. Wish I knew then what I know now. They would be in alot better health.

          • puppydogs on April 21, 2016 at 11:12 pm

            Will vets refuse to treat dogs that are not up to date on rabies vaccinations????



    • Renee Stern on August 24, 2016 at 4:17 am

      You can avoid all rabies vaccines and still obtain a dog license renewal by having an animal hospital perform a titer exam. It takes 2 weeks for the results to come back, whereupon the doctor of veterinary medicine fills out a government form indicating that your dog has the rabies antibodies and does not require any further inoculations for the rabies. Not complicated. The rabies titer exam is the most expensive at $310, but it’s a one-time fee. There are also titer exams for all of the other inoculations like distemper, which cost about $65 or less. Either the dog has the antibodies or it doesn’t. Not vaccinating at all is just as insane as over-vaccinating. At one year of age, a dog can receive all of the exams in lieu of vaccinating. If the dog does not have the antibodies for the rabies viral infection, the dog must be vaccinated to protect the general public. As for the distemper and parvo viruses, dogs can survive these infections with extensive inpatient hospitalizations. Most dogs are fully immunized at the dog shows, but if everyone stopped vaccinating altogether, then there would be outbreaks of disease. Common sense. Not vaccinating at all without conducting scientific titer exams to determine the dog’s immunity is nonsensical and unscientific. If the dog has the antibodies, then the dog should not be vaccinated. The only vaccine and titer exam required by law is the immunization for rabies. The other vaccines are not required by law. After one year of age, the dog should have the lifetime antibodies for the parvo and distemper viruses, if correctly inoculated.

      • Cheryl Keeney on May 17, 2021 at 6:11 pm

        That’s what they want you to think. A healthy dog will not necessarily contract all those diseases they give you vaccines for. Dogs made it long before we started forcing vaccines one them.

    • Rebecca on July 30, 2017 at 2:50 pm

      In my county after you receive a third notice of your pets rabies/county license expiring an animal control officer knocks on your door, if you answer they will explain why they are showing up and hand you a citation that must be paid in a certain time frame. Plus you must get your pets current on rabies/license or they will show up again with a court summons and yes you can be arrested on the misdemeanor county ordinance violation. The only way to get around it in my county is to lie and say your pet is deceased, check the box on the reminder notice and mail it back. Once they receive it your info will be removed out their computer system. Can’t really check deceased if its a young animal you adopted from.the county shelter because surely that wouldn’t look right and may prevent you from being able to adopt again. You could say you gave your pet away and fill out the change of ownership form and mail it in but you would need to name a new owner and address on the form. I know someone who did that and used a friends name who lived in another county and the other county never came out to her friends residence about not transferring the animals license. My county is big and only has 8 animal control officers and believe me they do find a way to make time to pay you a visit if you’re not in compliance. Our county pet fees went from $15 a year to $40. Many cannot afford that increase so good luck.

      • Will Falconer, DVM on July 30, 2017 at 3:57 pm

        Wow, seriously draconian, Rebecca. How about never registering in the first place?

        • Amelia on January 13, 2018 at 1:44 pm

          Living in public housing, can not say how you can avoid the shot since they want proof of license.

    • Amber Skinner on January 4, 2021 at 2:10 am

      Just ignore them

Leave a Comment