Stop Vaccinating Your Seniors, Already!

One Shot Over the Line, Sweet Jesus

I went through this exact thing with my lab, Chuck, my ❤ dog. He was diagnosed in August 2012 with LP then DM 2 months later. Acupuncture and water therapy gave me 8 months I don’t think I would have had. When he could no longer move his back end without help, I let him go. He was 13. My heart is still broken.  –Cindi, in our comments

What Cindi is speaking of is getting her 13 year old vaccinated (he was “due,” according to her vet).

LP? Laryngeal paralysis. Lost his normal voice, and Chuck’s breathing got noisy.

DM? Degenerative myelitis. Basically, paralyzed from the waist down.

I hear variations of this way more often than I’d like.

They make me cringe.

  • Cringe for your animals getting steamrolled by conventional vets.
  • Cringe for you, following Dr. WhiteCoat’s instructions and seeing your animal fall apart.
  • Cringe for my profession who, if they don’t know better, are causing harm.
  • Cringe even more for my colleagues who DO know better but let the siren song of easy income entice them to vaccine injure your seniors.

Listen to the Experts. No: THESE experts!

You’re always smart to keep an ear out for conflicts of interest.

That’s true in any marketplace, including in Dr. WhiteCoat’s clinic.

As you learned if you watched the expose Vaxxed, science can easily take a back seat to Big Pharma profits.

The expert telling you to re-vaccinate your already vaccinated senior pet should be told in no uncertain terms that they are out of line.

How?

Cite the real experts.

The veterinary immunologists.

They don’t profit from pushing vaccines, but they know far more about them than the rest of us.

What do they say? Stop vaccinating.

Here’s one well worth a listen:

Older dogs that have been vaccinated with core vaccines maintain lifelong immunity. Old dogs and cats don’t die from CDV, CPV-2, CAV-1, or FPV because they have lifelong immunity. They generally die from noninfectious disease.  — Ronald Schultz, Ph.D., Univ of Wisconsin-Madison 1

To translate those abbreviations for you:

  • CDV is canine distemper (virus)
  • CPV is canine parvo
  • CAV is canine hepatitis
  • FPV is feline panleukopenia, aka “feline distemper”

More is Better, Though, Right?

In the case of vaccines, that’s a strong no.

That’s a very dangerous assumption as no vaccines have been proven unequivocally safe.

In fact, vaccines were deemed “unavoidably unsafe:”

Congress in 1986 and the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 declared vaccines to be “unavoidably unsafe” and shielded drug companies from all product liability.2

They were talking human vaccines, but we in vet medicine see the damage unnecessary vaccines create all too commonly, so we’re safe in assuming animal vaccines are similarly unsafe.

Listen to immunologist Dr. RD Schultz on this:

Vaccinating more often than necessary increases occurrences of adverse reactions, including type I to IV hypersensitivity reactions, autoimmune diseases, etc. The immune system is absolutely essential for protection from infectious diseases, but it can be over-stimulated and cause disease and death from immune mediated diseases. Don’t ever believe anyone that suggests “well, even if the vaccine doesn’t help, it can’t hurt!”3

We know there are several ways this vaccine safety concern is true in animals.

Again: to be wise, stop vaccinating.

But, At Least it Works!

Umm, no.

Again, listen to the vet immunologists for the simple reasoning why revaccinating your already immune animal fails to stimulate further immunity.

The most heinous veterinary practice to date, still embarrassingly happening in some 60% of vet clinics in the U.S. is annual vaccination.

Here’s what two prominent immunologists in vet medicine wrote in a mainstream, well-respected text book way back in 1992:

A practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual revaccination. Almost without exception there is no immunologic requirement for annual revaccination. Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal…… Furthermore, revaccination with most viral vaccines fails to stimulate an anamnestic (booster) response…. The practice of annual vaccination in our opinion should be considered of questionable efficacy…”4

Vaccinating every three years. That’s the modern, scientific way!

Nope. Not even close, I’m afraid. Listen to another well-respected expert:

2003 task force member Dr. Richard Ford, Professor of Medicine, North Carolina State University, said that the decision to recommend a 3-year revaccination schedule for core vaccines was a compromise. “It’s completely arbitrary…,” he said. “I will say there is no science behind the three-year recommendation…”5

Remember the prior quote?

Immunity to viruses persists for years or life.

Good data supports that assertion.

Here’s a table that’ll help make it clear, from Dr. Schultz:

Distemper: immunity after vaccination was there for more than 7 years by challenge.

What’s challenge?

That’s blowing the infectious, live, disease-causing distemper virus at a group of vaccinated test dogs and seeing if they survive (compared to unvaccinated controls).

Gulp. That’s the acid test. The closest thing to real world contact with an infectious disease.

Challenge is the one test you can hang your hat on.

What’s serology?

That titer testing. You’ve likely heard the term (pronounced TIE ter). It’s the blood test that tells how much protective antibody is in your dog’s blood. Cats too, for feline distemper, aka panleukopenia.

Those antibodies for canine distemper? Still there for at least 15 years.

And, back to our previous quote, “revaccination with most viral vaccines fails to stimulate an anamnestic (secondary) response….”

Now you know the “why.”

The duration of immunity studies in that chart tell you your pet’s existing immunity is going to prevent the next vaccination from making more immunity.

The immunologists used the words “fails” and “questionable efficacy.”

So, no, the defense of “at least it works” doesn’t cut it.

When you know vaccinating your already vaccinated pet doesn’t work, what should you do?

Stop vaccinating.

The Times (and Labels) are A-changin’

The excuse some conventional vets use to vaccinate repeatedly is the label on vaccines.

“If the label says to repeat yearly, and I don’t, I could lose my license!”

I hope you’ve never been subjected to such nonsense, but it’s out there.

It’s right up there with, “I can’t vaccinate your dog today, he’s not healthy.”

Oh, Wait!

Dr. WhiteCoat regularly ignores that part of the vaccine label, doesn’t he? That can be your vaccination waiver, when you understand it!

AAHA, the American Animal Hospital Association, who sets high standards for conventional veterinary practice, came out with some new canine vaccination guidelines in 2017. They sort of address the “every three years” lameness that came out in 2011.

Here’s an example, if your dog is considered “overdue” by someone’s judgment:

Administer a single dose (core vaccines) regardless of the time elapsed since the previous dose was administered.

Revaccinate every 3 years (or longer).

NOTE: As an alternative to administering a vaccine, a “positive” antibody test result may be used to verify a protective response to vaccination.6

That’s a start, right? That “alternative” mentioned is worth pursuing.

Titer testing is a way for you to stop vaccinating. As long as you’re smart about it.

Sure, it could be stronger, but vets don’t cotton to being told what to do. Especially Texas vets, dammit!

Once Again, It’s Up to YOU to Protect Your Seniors

I’ll sound a familiar theme, but you’ve got to be the smartest voice in the room on a lot of what passes for prevention these days.

If your senior pet has a history of early life immunization, especially if you ever got a positive titer test, you’ll be wise to avoid further vaccinations.

The risk of further vaccination outweighs the risk of dying of an infectious disease, as you read earlier. “Lifelong immunity” is the expected norm.

And, you may want to practice this one (it’s a complete sentence, by the way):

“No.”

Let us know in the comments if you’ve seen the dark side of senior vaccination and let us know if you’ve used the N word above in your pets’ favor.

36 Comments

  1. Lori Quandt on January 2, 2023 at 10:18 am

    I completely agree with you. This issue here is the law. Legally the vet is told what to do by local / state law. They say that every 3 years our dogs need rabies shot. Our two sibling Rat Terriers are going to be 17 years old this year. Sight and hearing greatly diminished, mobility / stability diminished and they are only around us in a back yard securely fenced or in our house and yet the law says they must be vaccinated. I believe it is abuse and am going to call our vet this am to see if they are allowed an exemption of some kind. Any thoughts that you have would be much appreciated.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 3, 2023 at 11:00 pm

      “Legally told what to do,” I’d take issue with. I never, in all my years in practice, asked for rabies vaccine status before offering my services. Your vet is not going to “lose his license” for allowing your elder statesmen to get by without further rabies vaccination (which would be a dangerous act, if with all their feebleness, you somehow allowed it to happen). Any vet telling you otherwise is not leveling with you and should be called out.

      I’d not beg for a waiver. I’d flat out refuse the vaccine and tell him why. If he refuses to serve your needs based on that sensible stance, he should be fired and told why. Remember: you are paying this person for his services.

  2. MsMoneypenny on June 14, 2022 at 8:02 pm

    My dog got 6 vaccines in one day before I adopted him four years ago. Since then he has had HORRIBLE ear problems, occasional reflux, had Lyme symptoms 3 years ago that was treated with homeopathy (yes, one of those 6 vaccines was for Lyme- hmpf!) has had a couple of focal seizures as well. I resolved no more vaccines- EVER! I decided not to register him so I wouldn’t be forced to vaccinate if I felt it wasn’t in his best interest- which it obviously isn’t. He’s 10. It’s not happening. I’m glad I don’t live in California.

  3. Patricia Tung on January 10, 2021 at 5:25 pm

    There’s a $500 fine for not licensing in CA and they refuse to license without a rabies shot. what am I supposed to do? they could stop me from getting car registration and driver’s license renewal if I don’t pay the $500 fine too.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 10, 2021 at 10:13 pm

      California is the worst example I’ve ever heard of for over regulation, to the detriment of citizens with and without fur. Best I can offer is see what others of like mind have accomplished.

  4. Audrey on February 19, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    Please help me with ANY suggestions you may have to help me reverse the damage my vet has done to my poor sweet angel, who is an 8 year old yellow lab. Not even a month ago, he was lively and vibrant running up and down the beach chasing the ball and now after he went in for his last round of shots he’s barely able to walk/run. Just sleeps all day like a 14 year old, but he’s only about to turn 9. I’ve spent lots of money on glucosamine, omega 3 oils, hemp/CBD oil, and switched to a ground beef/lamb/chicken liver diet with sweet potatoes, peas and such, but I just top his kibble with that and maybe that’s not enough. The raw diet completely freaks me out – will he get sick from eating raw meat? I’m just devastated that my energetic young boy is basically hitting a brick wall 🙁 🙁 🙁

    • Will Falconer, DVM on February 21, 2020 at 6:43 pm

      Hi Audrey, I’m so sorry to hear your Lab is suffering from vaccinosis at a mere 8 years old. It is devastating to see such an abrupt change in energy and vitality, I hear you. While you’ve taken some great steps (and yes, raw food in balance beats kibble), it’s unlikely food alone will change this.

      The best is to hire a qualified homeopathic veterinarian who’s well versed in treating chronic disease. It may well be you don’t have one near you, so I’d urge you to be open minded to working with one by telephone consulting. Here’s where to find the AVH list: Recommended Resources. Once you’re there, open this video on how to choose one that can truly help cure your boy.

      This will take some time and close attention to symptoms, but nothing offers hope like well prescribed homeopathy in treating anything chronic like this. All the best to you both.

  5. Jeanne on September 6, 2019 at 10:08 am

    I have an 11 year old Bichon. She has not been vaccinated since 2012 nor is she on flea or heart worm medication. In April 2016 she underwent bladder surgery for struvite stones. She had a stroke coming out of the anesthesia and I nursed her back to health. Switched her diet to raw or lightly cooked organic protein and veggies occasionally. She recently ate something which didn’t agree with her so off to the vets for the first time since May 2016. Of course they put her on antibiotics even though her blood tests, X-ray & ultrasound of her digestive trackwere all normal. The antibiotics masked her symptoms which returned 3 days after stopping them. I put her on a pre and probiotic along with fermented goat milk, cut all veggies from her diet and she is back to normal. Of course in big red letters it shows she needs her rabies & booster shots which I said NO to and will continue to do so. The vet was amazed that all her blood work, heart, kidney, liver, etc were so healthy in a senior girl. I credit my research when she had a stroke, switching her to a raw diet along with no poisons for the last 7 years with making her a healthy senior who just ate something which did not agree with her. Thank you for all the information you share with us.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 10, 2019 at 8:27 pm

      Oh, Jeanne, you made my day! Yes: all your diligent work is why she is as healthy a senior as she is. AND, sticking to your confident position of no more rabies (or all the others they’d love to poke her with) will keep her living well and LONG. You’re doing amazing work with her and I wish you all further success!

  6. Amanda Newmarch on November 1, 2018 at 1:08 am

    I have a two year old cocker who is due his boosters. I really do not want him to have them. I enquired about titre testing but they can only test for one of the vaccines given. What should I do have the boosters or not. He is also due worm/ flea treatment any advise on what to give him. Just want the beta for him. I have had a Cocker in the past who had pancreatitis and did not have boosters and died at the age of 9 from IMT. I also had. Cat that had injection site sarcoma and also did not have boosters.

  7. Pam G on July 15, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Are there any vets out there that will do precedures (dentals) on 14yr old dogs without being UTD on vaccinations. ?

  8. Melissa Cleathero on June 19, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    What are your thoughts on heartworm medicine? Also flea and tick meds. I prefer not to give them “poison” on their skin. I live in MA where there are a ton of ticks everywhere. I haven’t vaccinated my older guys in 2 years and only have done the 3 year rabies because it is the law. They won’t be getting any more vaccines since they pretty much are indoors all day and not exposed to anything.
    You can only get heartworm meds it from a vet and you have to vaccinate. What is the alternative? I have a 16 month old English Shepherd, a 10 year old Maltese and a 12 year old rescue.
    Melissa

  9. Lucy on June 19, 2018 at 8:16 am

    My dog was old and suffered from dilated cardiomyopathy. I also raised my concerns about his gastrointestinal issues, which was grossly ignored by his cardiologist. Instead, he went on to vaccinate my dog. He looked me in the eye, smirked and said that vaccines are safe. When I found him suffering from a stroke or vestibular disease, I called tge emergency line to talk to the vet. He was too busy having lunch. The manager of the clinic laughed at me and told me ‘to take ‘it’ somewhere else’. My dog died soon afterwards.

  10. Mary LaVeau on June 13, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    I’m also wondering if you’re familiar with this product, Anti-Vaccinosis, and if so if you would recommend.

    https://market.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/products/anti-vaccinosis?mpweb=1153-572-260102

    • Will Falconer, DVM on June 16, 2018 at 7:21 pm

      Hey Mary, I think I’ve seen this was a combination remedy, correct? I’m not recommending combo remedies. Better by far is to choose a single remedy based on symptoms.

  11. Mary LaVeau on June 14, 2018 at 12:39 am

    My dogs are both 7 years old. At what age is a dog considered a senior?
    I just took them both to a new vet who is titled holistic. I asked that they both be titred for Rabies thanks to Dr. Falconer. ????
    One came back with good immunity. The other she said was close and we should retitre again next year. Curious as to what you think of that…?
    Thanks for all the great information you share!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on June 14, 2018 at 10:08 am

      Great question, Mary. Dr. WhiteCoat has been shifting the definition downwards over the years, as he creates more and more chronic disease, largely from over vaccination. Younger animals are now getting what used to be old animal diseases and infirmity, so 7 or 8 is likely “senior” in a lot of conventional medical practices now.

      Truth be known, if your 7 year old has already had several rounds of shots, he’s done. For life. Reread those quotes from the vet immunologists to understand why that’s been true for decades.

  12. Kim Kiernan on June 12, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    My 10 year old cocker hasn’t had core vaccines since her 1 year boosters, but rabies is a whole other can of worms. Here in California they go door to door and will only accept exemption for rabies if the dog currently has cancer or is on death’s door. They don’t accept rabies titers either! ????

    My 10 yr old raw fed girl has IVDD and 2 spinal surgeries with some permanent neuro damage. I HATE having to give her the rabies poison. This last month she had loose bowels the next day, but so far no other symptoms. Next time I will plan ahead and track down a thimerosol free rabies vaccine at least.

    Thank you for all you do to help creatures great and small Dr. Will.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on June 12, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      Ugh, California. I hear horror stories of what you live under there, Kim, but you’ve got a strong medical exemption case for your 10 year old. Key words: permanent neuro damage. Hopefully, you’ve now got 3 years to find a vet willing to help you on this.

  13. Pam Roussell on June 11, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    Thank you for putting this out there for people to read and empower themselves!! NO is a very powerful word and allows us to take back the power to protect our pets. After all, the vet must receive our consent to do anything to our pets.

  14. Mandy Ellis on June 11, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    All very well and good under controlled, normal circumstances but I would be interested to hear your opinion on vaccinating dogs who are regularly exposed to the possibility of incoming infections if they live at a dog rescue? I do my 7 every few years and to date have had no problem. As I run the rescue from my home, I feel it would be negligent of me to expose my own dogs to the possibility of preventable infection. Over the years I’ve looked after plenty of parvo pups, so everything at home, both mine and rescues coming through are vaccinated.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on June 11, 2018 at 4:46 pm

      If you don’t believe the immunologist’s data on duration of immunity, I guess you keep vaccinating repeatedly and hope for the best, Mandy. But if you’ve “had no problem” at every few years, might you also at every five years? Or stopping at age six? Might be worth a try…

      We tend to “fear the germ” when I think it makes far more sense to bolster the dogs’ defenses. And there are better ways than vaccines to do that. Nutrition, dropping the poisons for fleas, heartworm, etc, and lessening or dropping the vaccinations.

  15. Lynne Fickett on June 11, 2018 at 11:16 am

    I’ve had dogs for 30 years. Very early on I learned about the damage from vaccines and stopped vaccinating dogs after I got them from the breeder, except for rabies as required by law. Once I moved out into the country in 1994, I only gave 1 rabies in their life time. My current Aussies, ages 14.5 and 6, have had 1 more rabies shots – moving back into the city required that, but my old girl hasn’t had that shot since she was 11 and god willing, will live a long time and never will again… my 6 year old got an exemption from my holistic vet and he never will get another one either. I’m with you on this… and share you information with other dog owners. Thank you for all your great information!

  16. Anna on June 11, 2018 at 10:40 am

    In Manhattan, you can’t even take your dogs to get a bath unless they have up-to-date shots and I stopped vaccinating them after reading all your articles about Dr. Whitecoat. My ex-vet is so nasty regarding not vaccinating my dogs that I don’t even take them there anymore or to any vet for that matter. To me I believe it’s all a money making operation.

    • Karen on January 16, 2020 at 7:41 pm

      I completely agree with you about vets are a moneymaking operation, I don’t think they really care about the animals to be honest with you. And I do mean none of them! Along with tons of humans but couldn’t care less. I’m so sick and tired of seeing all kinds of people abusing animals I could just scream!

  17. Margarette Fowler on June 11, 2018 at 10:02 am

    My 13 year old Sheltie recently had great bloodwork results and I was able to turn down vaccinations. She is due for rabies in August (required in Georgia) and I inquired about an exemption. My vet said that authorities will take your dog and immunize them. Titers are not allowed either. So I will be forced to continue her with another 3 yr vaccination. Is there anything I can do to ramp up her health beforehand or special care afterwards? What symptoms of a reaction should I look for? Can’t tell you how anxious I feel. Most sincere thanks.

  18. Julie Moon on June 11, 2018 at 8:25 am

    My vet said the same thing on rabies vac for my 1 or. old Maltese. Since he’s 1 year old and never had a rabies shot, we will need to give him the 1 yr shot and NEXT year give him the 3 yr.
    I told him, “You KNOW the 1 year and 3 year vaccines are the same. We’ll do the 3 year.” He said ok, and we left happy. I’m thanking you for the info.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on June 11, 2018 at 9:19 am

      Good catch, Julie! Way to shine a light on reality and get your needs met for your youngster!

  19. Kinsloe Kelley Colwell on June 10, 2018 at 11:23 pm

    We promised a local breeder a litter of puppies to trade for our gorgeous, sweet, funny champion female Weimaraner, Tia. Once she came to us and became part of our family she blossomed in every way! She had traveled on airplanes during her show days and now travelled with us for adventure.
    Sadly, in order to fly, current rabies papers are required and we did not know the harmful effects of vaccines until she was diagnosed at age 11 with a mast cell tumor.
    Our new vet was progressive and thought this was a form of vaccinosis…. cumulative over vaccination. She was treated for three years with nothing but homeopathics and lived to age 14 1/2.
    We were so lucky for those wonderful years …. and… it was likely avoidable if we’d known the vaccine risks we were unknowingly subjecting her to.. Since then we have said NO to vaccines for our animal family!!!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on June 11, 2018 at 5:07 am

      Nice work, Kinsloe! Tia was one lucky dog to land in your care.

  20. Jane Jones on June 10, 2018 at 10:21 pm

    We have been taking in “recycled” pets for 35 years, and have not vaccinated for almost 30 years. Right now we have a 14 year old cocker who was diagnosed with mast cell tumors, and had a benign, but large tumor in his intestines a year ago. We have been treating him with nutritional supplements and homeopathy and had an ultrasound done just to check his insides, and they look perfect! We said NO NO NO to chemo and radiation, and have said no to vaccinations for years. Jake, our cocker is doing GREAT. He runs around like a 4 year old dog. A few months ago he had an injured disk which caused immediate limitation of his motor abilities, but again, without surgery, and with a raw diet, good nutritional supplements and NO VACCINATIONS, our conventional vet is AMAZED, totally AMAZED, at how well Jake is doing! And all this even though he was left outside in Colorado 24/7 for the first 4 years of his life! The Natural Way works so well…do it for your fur babies and you and your vets will be amazed (even if they don’t say so).

    • Will Falconer, DVM on June 11, 2018 at 5:14 am

      This is sooo inspiring, Jane! Often times, the “recycled” ones have been so damaged by being multiply vaccinated in shelters that they are seriously chronically ill. I’m heartened to see what’s possible when you pull out all the stops.

      And yeah: the more vets who y’all amaze with your fine work, the better! This has got to sink in!

    • Elle on June 11, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      I live in the foothills of the Appalchians. Many of the mountain people here don’t take their dogs to vets ever. Their dogs live hugely healthy and very long lives. There’s a German Shepherd around here who’s over 16 years old and is still taking regular three-day treks and coming home again. She is but just one example of the healthy and long lives pets can live without vet intervention. I was excited to happen upon this as it backs up all that I believe about conventional medicine.

    • Dee on December 15, 2018 at 4:59 pm

      Wow!! They are lucky to have you! Any furry family member that enters your home. Raw diet? What do you use for protein?

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