Getting What You Want From Your Vet

How can I get my needs met?

How can I get my needs met?

Getting a Neuter or Spay Before Vaccinations

You’ve got a youngster you want to spay or neuter. (How young is it advisable to do this? Do your research.)

For one reason or another, you feel it’s important to delay vaccination for rabies, a common requirement in most neuter scenarios. “First, a rabies vaccine, then we can do this surgery. Of course, we can do them both at once.” (That later offer should not be entertained; more next week right here on the blog.)

Common reasons to delay vaccines include:

  1. I’d like to wait till he’s free of symptoms, while I work with my homeopathic vet to cure his inherited chronic disease.

  2. I have read about the harm possible from even one rabies vaccination and think I can avoid exposure to a rabid animal.

    • Rabies is rare where I live.
    • This animal will be indoors or out only on a leash.
    • I’ll get out and even travel to shows, but keep my dog in my control at all times.
  3. I can also keep this animal from biting anyone.

    • Lovely temperament.
    • I’ll keep her in my control when ever we’re out.
    • I’ll avoid situations where a bite could be a possible scenario.

Learn from Your Pack

“You are the sum of the top five people you hang around with.”

Have you heard this popular saying? I use it to recommend that you hang with peeps who think like you do about raising Vital Animals. No telling what you’ll learn.

Here’s one example, from a reader on a recent post, Duration of Immunity and Rabies Vaccination. Destiny gave you some great tips to get your goals met on your own terms:

Btw, I would stop asking vets if they will neuter without a rabies vaccine. I used to ask that way and some vets would agree at first but then change their mind, and I don’t want them turning me in. I just now make an appointment, don’t bring paperwork.

When they ask, either 1) make up a vaccine date and say you’ll bring paperwork later or 2) say, “Yes, he’s current. I was in a rush and forgot the papers. I will bring them next time” and just forget. Normally they don’t keep asking… At least in my experience. My … got 5 of her Pomeranians spayed that way. Usually spay/neuter clinics WILL be more strict and need to see proof. Most vets don’t really care if you say yes….”

Use Your Words, Dear. Don’t Punch the Nice Man.

You see what she did there? Destiny learned from experience that asking the wrong questions got her the wrong answers. What did she do?

She stopped asking.

She starting acting in a way that got her goal reached, taking control of the situation. “Here’s my dog, she needs to be spayed.” Made the appointment, showed up, and used the words that got the job done.

Can you walk in like you own the place? In a friendly way, of course, but keeping your eyes on the goal:

I need this for my animal at this point in her life, not a bunch of other risky options that I’ll be offered. I’ll keep clear about my intention and get it done.

Don’t Borrow Trouble

I love that old saying! Asking how many shots you need to board at this kennel is inviting an interaction that you want none of! Far better is to have clearly in mind what you want (ex: boarding, with no additional vaccinations!), and setting up your interaction to get to the goal.

Boarding, grooming, licensing (or not!), these are all areas you’ve got to have a plan for.

As I’m regularly reminded, being a pioneer isn’t easy. It’s just necessary for many of us.

Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women." [Commencement Address, Wellesley College, 1996]
― Nora Ephron

Perhaps you’ve had similar experiences of making Jedi mind games. Won’t you share them in the comments?

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  1. Holly Watson on December 8, 2015 at 3:25 am

    After losing my husky of 9 yrs and my golden of 12 yrs in a matter of five months of each other to a rabies vaccine ( to board them for 2 days) my view has changed on vaccinations. They both got a rabies vaccination in December of 2014 and I buried my husky in May 2015 and my golden in November 2015. Our hearts were broken when not only one but both were diagnosed with hermangiosarcoma, and had horribly quick death once diagnosed.
    We had to heal our hearts from saddness and just got a 4 month old husky. She had her puppy shots already but no rabies yet. I now travel 1 1/2 hours to a holistic vet , we have our first visit Dec 18th. He said we need to do a rabies shot at 6 months (Jan 18) especially since we will be traveling for a month in February and staying in a rv park that has dogs. He suggested we do a titers on the distemper before the booster to see what level she is at, and I am on board with that for sure. I just don’t want to vaccinate any more. I saw what it did to my perfectly healthy dogs. Doctor, if a titers is checked for rabies and the levels are good is an addition rabies necessary? We have time but just wondering for peace of mind.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on December 9, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      Hi Holly,
      If there’s a positive rabies titer, that would indicate some exposure and some level of protection. That’s useful info for you to know, but won’t fly with licensing or fussy vets who insist on rabies vaccination to treat your animal.

  2. Amy on September 16, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    I knew my “alternative” vet of 10 years was someone I felt comfortable speaking with about my deepest wish for the changes to take place with vaccination protocol and the valid use of titer testing. I thought we were on the same page. Over a 3 year period and with our final meeting, I realized that all that I shared with him and discussed with him became fuel for him to COUNTER his policy. I was then notified when my dog needed dental surgery to remove a broken tooth: We Don’t Hospitalize Non-Vaccinated Pets and we DO NOT accept titer tests as valid protection against rabies for our workers. This was all news to me. Wow. I felt like an idiot. I remembered in the past how my vet spoke with me about his attending conferences with Dr. Jean Dodd’s and Dr. Ron Schultz as head speakers. I thought we were on the same team – but apparently he used all info he could muster to keep Dr. Whitecoat’s place in the industry. I had to find another vet and quickly. I also discovered it is important to LOOK at your vets records because they include almost everything you say and surprisingly – conversations on the PHONE. I did find many inaccurate statements on my pets records so I will ask for a copy of each interaction from now on. Incidentally, my dog was only 9 months overdue for his rabies shot. I won’t vaccinate him – he had a reaction to his last rabies vaccine. Each year I have lab work to ck for heartworm/lymes and I ask them to please come into the room so I can stay with my dog. Greed has warped this industry. Nature heals. Speak up or be duped. My bad – I discovered this in hindsight – My dogs vet, “Dr. Whitecoat” was president of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association from 2001-2002 and received its Veterinarian of the Year Award the following year. I think his “protocol” was clearly his need to uphold his “fine” standing and lead his associates. I then realized I was not the one to be labeled an idiot.
    Thanks, Dr. Falconer for all that you do and for this chance to share what is very very important to me – sharing info and forging out a better way to care for pets.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 16, 2015 at 4:30 pm

      Oh my, Amy. I’m sorry you had to go through such deceit. Good for you for striking out and leaving. “Protection for our workers” is going to be a blog post in the near future. Crazy illogic. Dead wrong understanding of where immunity comes from. Shame on them!

  3. Wendy on September 10, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    When I adopted my German Shepherd, who was neutered by the shelter at 3.5 months old and then given the “1” year Rabies vaccine the next day. After getting a 5-way at the shelter at 3 months old. He came out of the shelter with Giardia. And soon enough had kennel cough. The vet wanted to give him a booster vaccine but I refused and then Titer tested him at 5 months old and he had high Titers. He did get one more Rabies vaccine a year later. But he’s now 7 and those are all the vaccinations he’s had. Don’t feel a need to Titer test anymore, though will get a Rabies Titer. As I believe in memory cell immunity, so antibodies will be produced if he is exposed to a disease.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 10, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      Giardia often breaks after vaccines impair the immune system. Kennel cough similarly gets a toe hold. Good for you for saying No More!
      I wouldn’t get another rabies titer unless it’ll help you get a waiver. You know you’ve got immunity if you have one test, but maybe I’m not understanding if you’ve done a rabies titer in the past. Even without it, if he made high titers to the others, odds are high he did the same to his two rabies vaccines and is done, likely for life now.
      Thanks for sharing his story, Wendy. Bravo.

  4. jill on September 9, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Before i “saw the light” of no poisons in/on my pets and feeding a balanced raw diet, i used to just hand my dog/cat over to the tech who’d take them “out back” to get all their shots ect. Now, i won’t let my pets out of my sight! Back when i vaxxed, and the reason i stopped was my dog had a very severe reaction to a rabies vaccine. 3 months later after weekly behaviour modification sessions, i decided to neuter him as the hypersexual portion of the reaction wasn’t getting better. I gave the vet his rabies certificate from 3 months prior, and sent my boy “back with the tech”. The VAXXED HIM AGAIN FOR RABIES WHILE HE WAS UNDER, “because we vax every animal for rabies!” I was livid! Took a year of homeopathy, but hes 99% back to normal. I will NEVER let my pets out of my sight at a vet or trainers again!

  5. Cindy on September 8, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    I used to think it was hard to find a good alternative doctor for myself. Then I started looking for holistic vets for my dog and found it impossible. We have a broad choice of naturopaths and even a few holistic MD’s for ourselves. But I have seen every one of the handful of “holistic” vets here and they all revert to mainstream medicine if my dogs get sick. And most will push shots at each visit, and inundate me with shot reminders between visits. There is no local naturopathic alternative for my dogs. I’m glad to be able to consult with Dr. Falconer, but when hands on care is needed I have to choose the lesser of the evils and try to enforce my approach to healing, without being labeled negligent in caring for my dogs. I once tried to take the British Institute course in veterinary homeopathy. They told me not to waste my money because the AVMA would prosecute anyone trying to treat animals who did not have a vet license. I’m not sure how this situation can ever be changed, and until it does, true holistic choices will be too limited.

    • Juliana Pavelka-Johnston on September 16, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      Dear Cindy I’m shocked that the Homeopathy Association said this. In Montreal, I try to learn as much as I can about the subject. I found myself a homeopath here that is helpful, I read books, reviews, and read Dr. Falconer’s pages… it helps big time. The point is empowerment to treat the 4-paws, and 2-legged.
      I have most of our neighbourhood dogs show up at my door step when there is something wrong. Now my husband does not even mind when I treat him with “calendula” or “purified H2O & vinegar” – it works! We’re all happy about it.
      Look at Cuba, (leptospirosis outbreak) as a poor country they could not afford vaccination, so they had a homeopathic treatment deployed that was amazing ( I think something like 96% effective on the population.) They wanted to do the same thing for the Ebola out break in Africa, however they were shut down by pharma.
      I realized that when I returned from my medical exam, and at that time, my doctor did note that I had mild bronchitis, but prescribed nothing to help me….I marched into my local Health store that also has naturopaths and homeopaths, took a natural product – in 3 days I improved:)
      No turning back now – I see how it works. It also worked on my pets, and my self very successfully, and it all started with a lot of reading, research study, and as Dr. Falconer sais ” hanging with the right peeps”:) Keep learning Cindy – you have everything to gain:)

      • Dede on September 17, 2015 at 3:38 pm

        It’s not the homeopathic veterinary group that said that, it’s the conventional veterinarian group – AVMA – aka Dr. Whitecoat. They are fighting like crazy to destroy homeopathy. Why? Because it’s safe, effective, affordable and will put conventional medicine out of business. It’s all about the money for conventional medicine.

  6. Des on September 8, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    My vet uses IDEXX and being curious about their products and methodology I signed up for on account to gain access to their information, it was very revealing.
    For example, I quickly learned that every few months IDEXX runs a promotion for particular vaccines or tests and provides veterinarians with literature and seminars on how to “sell” to their clients.
    Two years ago, for whatever reason, Leptospirosis was the hot vaccine to peddle. I take my dog in for an annual every year and wouldn’t you know it my vet put on his “lepto” pitch. I had to laugh and of course told him “no.”
    What makes me sad, angry, and scared is realizing that the information that my vet provides me with has NOTHING to do with the well being of my dog but what IDEXX deems as “profitable” for the vet’s practice.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 8, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      Ah yes, the business of veterinary medicine. And, “one size fits all,” since there’s a special on!

  7. Jenn on September 8, 2015 at 11:46 am

    It makes me sad for the veterinary industry, and for paying clients of that industry, that our best way to get our vet to work with us is to lie. This sits poorly with me. I am honest to a fault and would rather have the fight with my vet to get what I want/need for my animal. The veterinary schools need to WAKE UP and read posts like this. This is what is happening when the students aren’t keeping up with good science. My holistic vet said my ‘regular’ vet can argue her points all she wants, but science (titre results) is science, and we can’t currently fight that. The number say the truth (as we currently know it to be).

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 8, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      I, too, am saddened that this is what it takes, Jenn. And it will remain so until enough speak up and demand change. I’m not holding my breath that this change will ever come “top down” (like from vet schools). It’ll be grass roots change, in my mind. Voting with the pocketbook for those who provide the services smart animal owners demand.

  8. june lay on September 7, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    I will not give my little adopted Sophie any additional vaccines. I do not board her, do not bring her to dog parks etc. In NY it is the law, but when I tell any vet I will NOT under any circumstances and if they cannot abide, I will leave. I am her guardian, advocate and I will give her the best chance for a long healthy life.
    I formulate home cooked dog food, and I do not use pesticides, but natural alternates such as listed here.
    thk u 4 all your info for our best friends!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 7, 2015 at 9:29 pm

      Bravo, June! I applaud your unwavering stance on behalf of your Sophie. If not you doing this, then who?
      Thanks for setting a brave example for us all.

  9. aa on September 7, 2015 at 10:49 am

    For everyone in the Milwaukee, Wi area, there is a ‘very good’ groomer in Milwaukee at Diamonz Pet Spa. Think she is on Bluemound Road, just east of Wauwatosa.

  10. keith on September 7, 2015 at 8:08 am

    I always tell a vet that my dog had all its vaccines some 5 months earlier and pick out a date to write on the new patient form. If they ask the name, I just say, oh my mother took my dog in for his vaccines, not sure the name of the vet. I’ll mail or fax over the records in the next week. Of course, they never remember to ask for them. If they did, I would say I am going out of town, etc and I’ll send the records over in 2-3 weeks. I do switch vets regularly, as haven’t had much luck in finding a vet willing to work with me. If a vet or vet staff continue to ask me for the vet records, then I say, would you like me to take my business to another vet? That shuts them up and they become more accommodating.
    I am the Guardian for my pet, so one must say anything to protect pets against vaccines. I check off that my dog has received every vaccine, so the vet’s office doesn’t try to sell me another vaccine to save myself time and aggravation.
    The number 1 thing to avoid cancer, is to avoid vaccines for both pets and people. Read more at
    An article about the rabies vaccine scam
    Everyone needs to become informed about the truth. If you believe the info on the mainstream media, then you do not have access to truthful info. Mainstream media is owned by 6 major corp that protect the gov and protect the f da, and all major corp to mislead those that get their info from mainstream media. Mainstream media is used to brainwash the followers who cannot think for themselves or are too lazy to seek out the truth.

    • Theresa on September 7, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      That article, on the natural rearing site, you posted is no longer available

      • Dede on September 7, 2015 at 6:08 pm
        • Nicole Hood on September 17, 2015 at 6:55 pm

          Dr. Fudens is my homeopathic doctor for my dogs. My 7 year old intact male great dane got vaccinosis after his first (and only) rabies shot at 4 months old, that showed up at about 5 months. It was SLO, which is an autoimmune disease. I do not vaccinate anymore. I feed raw- meat & bones and do the homeopathic way of keeping him healthy. All of you that are thinking about this, please be the one that helps keep your dogs healthy.

    • Laura Scott on February 15, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      I love your option for vets! I am in a new town, so will try that with my golden doodle, Bella. Do you ever board your dog, if so, how do you get around it there?

  11. donna on September 7, 2015 at 6:46 am

    Excellent tips – thank you! I recently found that many rescue groups won’t let me adopt from them without proof of regular vaccines with my current dogs. I’ve tried explaining titers, how well I feed and care for my “kids”, but to no avail. The good news is there are many other places that will let me adopt. Sad, the good homes that some these animals won’t be “allowed” into.

    • keith on September 7, 2015 at 8:27 am

      Hi Donna,
      Thanks for the update regarding adopting. My senior large dog may hopefully live another year, then I will be looking to adopt. I will first check CL for any large senior dog or a senior pair, that is being dumped, to give the dog or two dogs a great life for whatever time is left. But if I can’t find a big retriever dog or floppy ear dog, then I will also check with rescues. I will ask first, exactly what requirements they have, as I don’t have any records with vaccines. But I will provide an amazing forever loving home for some lucky large retriever senior dog so a rescue is not very smart if they don’t allow me to adopt. I will tell them I also buy pet insurance that pays 90% of the vet bill so I can afford any pet emergency. I am very careful and think of precautions so my dog usually will not have an accident. But sepsis, snakes, illness and other expensive emergencies can happen to even the most careful pet parent. Many do not buy pet insurance and cannot afford an emergency. Which I don’t understand, as pet insurance has made it possible for me not to worry if something bad happens. I have volunteered with big retriever rescues so I will mention that too when I am ready to adopt.

      • Charlotte on September 7, 2015 at 2:03 pm

        Hi Keith,
        Would you mind sharing with me how you get pet insurance without having vaccination proof? The insurance that I used to carry when it first came out
        required the pets to have a physcial first and mandated that each insured pet be “up to date” on all vaccines.

        • Lora Frost on November 26, 2015 at 9:46 pm

          Hi Charlotte, I’m with Petplan and I’ve never been asked for vaccination records. They have amazing customer service too!

        • Heather Kennedy on December 20, 2015 at 7:45 pm

          Hello. I have healthy paws pet insurance and they do not require dogs to be UTD on all vaccines. The first exam is usually to make note of any preexisting conditions the dog has before the insurance kicks in. Hope this helps!!