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Straight Talk: Avoiding Baseless Vaccination Requirements

High Five DogYou’re way ahead of the curve, having learned from studying the immunologists’ take on immunity here, here and elsewhere, that repeated vaccinations through your animals’ life are not healthy nor do they create stronger immunity. Way back in early puppyhood or kittenhood or foalhood (or childhood), immunity was established if you vaccinated. And odds are, you did. If you visited a conventional vet for your youngster, a slew of vaccinations was either recommended strongly or “required.”

Chances are, you also got regular “helpful reminders” to come in for more vaccinations at some intervals. Some of the most heinous of these came from the twice a year craziness of a Banfield “Wellness” program (It’s free! C’mon in!). Others from private clinics were only slightly less crazy, like annual vaccination postcards, or the latest iteration, every three year vaccinations.

Having had your eyes open and reading all you can, you’ve learned that even the three year repetition is based on exactly this much sound immunological sense:

Nada. Zip. Zero.

So, who is your apartment complex management to tell you that you need records of “current” vaccination? Or your groomer? Or even the boarding kennel or doggie day care you’d like to use on occasion?

Do they really have a greater understanding of immunity than the experts in this field? Short answer:

Nope.

Not even close, right? Of course not. They are acting purely out of habit and probably more importantly out of C.Y.A. That stands for Cover Your, erm, Backside. Protect thyself from fears of lawsuit. That kind of nonsense.

What’s a Mother to Do?

My goal today is to arm you with practical language to traverse this mine field of ignorance that threatens to make your vital animal seriously ill if you stumble.

Preceding straight talk is your attitude. You need to be confident that you KNOW this stuff, and odds are very great that your perps in their rules and regs do not. You’ve studied it, and own it in your heart of hearts. They’re merely blindly “following rules.”

Attitude: I Got This

I had an older brother influencing me growing up, and for all the hero worship I gave him before I saw his dark side, I gleaned something of use for you today. It is sometimes called copping an attitude. Pete called it:

Walking in like you own the place.

Even before you approach the poor rule follower who’s ruining multiple animals’ health by blindly following some rules based on self preservation, you stride in like the long lost owner of the joint, the wise one, who knew those rules before they were even written down.

This is extremely important. You’re not hoping for an exception to what the gal behind the desk sees as a stone tablet handed down from the mount. No, quite the opposite.

You are here to award your business, your hard earned dollars, on this establishment. And you’ll only, only entrust your beloved vital animal to these rubes if they meet your standards.

You’re polite, don’t get me wrong. But you’re firm. “If this place wants my business, they don’t get to demand foolish rules that have no basis in reality and that could, if followed, damage my loved ones.”

Let the Words Rain Down

“Good morning! I’m here to look at your facility and see if I might board (or groom) my animals with you.”

or, “Yes, I’ll be signing your lease provided we are clear on responsible animal guardianship. I’d like you to meet Clancy, whom I’m responsible for.”

See what I just did there? Who’s in charge now? That’s right: you are. This is 90% of it.

You’re not approaching them with your begging bowl, hoping to garner some sympathy for your odd beliefs about repeated vaccinations. Oh no. You know this stuff. Your vital animals are immune in ways titers can’t even begin to measure! And they have been immune and will continue to be immune without getting another jab of viruses from Dr. WhiteCoat, thank you very much!

Wait for It…

Before you play the V Card, it’s good to let the rule follower know that you approve of their facility (at least tentatively; it appears to be adequate).

But then, before you’re even asked and before his pathetic CYA requirements are stated, you drop something like this, right on the poor guy’s desk:

“My animals are current on all their shots and in impeccable health.”

You own this, remember? The bastions of veterinary immunology are right there with you, standing tall. Dr. Ron Schultz’s words from Current Veterinary Therapy (1992!) are shining over your forehead in gold letters:

“Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal.”

If he can’t see those words, hanging there, well, that’s his problem. The fire in your eyes let’s him know that YOU know they are there. Hovering. Speaking their truth. The truth is, your animals ARE immune from those early life vaccinations, and will stay that way till the grave.

Current. Damn right.

If you play your cards right (and you are dealing with someone with some degree of intelligence and flexibility), you should be in at this point. Some lower life forms may still look at you, dumbfounded, and not budge.

To add frosting on the guy’s cake, you can also bring in a letter you’ll sign in his presence, stating that, should your dog get sick while using his premises, you’ll not hold him or anyone else there liable. Fair enough?

If that still doesn’t get the block head’s mind to shift, rather than argue at this point, it’s better to assure them your veterinarian is behind you on this, and can provide you with a letter of waiver “if you wish.”

That assumes you’ve got a holistic vet who’s got your back, and you may not. Yet. Seek one out. Ask around, try the AHVMA or the AVH, and don’t be shy about asking for a long distance letter. I’ve written many of these over the years for my clients, and well worded, they’ve met with 98% success.

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13 Responses to Straight Talk: Avoiding Baseless Vaccination Requirements

  1. Willa Wright December 26, 2013 at 1:50 AM #

    I love this magazine! Love love it!

  2. Kerstan A. November 15, 2013 at 12:35 PM #

    Thank you for posting this helpful information with jaunty examples to guide the ‘average Joe/Jane’ in handling their non-vaccination position and belief(s).

    Wonderful article! :-)

  3. Lisa November 13, 2013 at 9:45 PM #

    Re the person from Al: it seems almost impossible to me that this could be true. The thought that your vet would lie like this is horrific. How do they know you’re not going to take your animal to a clinic or somewhere else for a shot? No law would require you to have it done THERE. I know you were nt going to, but they didn’t. I’m awfully sorry…..

  4. Nancy November 13, 2013 at 10:20 AM #

    Dr. Falconer, thank you for using the term guardian instead of owner. We all know how language reflects the zeitgeist and are many times unfair- as in the case of human chattel slavery in antebellum America, Nazi Germany,etc. No one “owns” another living being and hopefully we are heading in that direction.
    More on the guardian campaign:
    http://www.guardiancampaign.org

  5. Filomena Diaz Johnson November 12, 2013 at 6:47 PM #

    I have owned an interactive, multi serves pet care facility for over twenty three years! I know and understand about vaccinations and how long they truly last and the problems they can cause in an animals health! In those years I have accepted titer test results and letters from veterinarians. I have reached two titer test results and the same for letter from veterinarians. Pretty low numbers considering I have large percentage coming from all over the country. As a pet care business would totally accept a letter signed by the person in front of me or my team as far as liability.
    The other concerns is that the local vets will not refer clients to your business, (because they are liable too),if you don’t follow their protocols. My local vet know how I feel and respects the way we run our facility, and we have had some serious talks about vaccinations, especially kennel cough. He would stop referring people if I totally removed my requirements. Which are now every three years for distemper/parvo and kennel cough if their vets requires it. And of course the rabies is a legality unless you have a letter from your vet. And if your dog is 12 and older I don’t require anything.
    The letter rather than attitude will go a lot farther that a I am smarter than you attitude. We do have to be careful in this litigious society that we live in.
    If people feel strongly about not over vaccinating their pets, they need to take steps to show that they take full responsibility for their stand, as I do when I travel.

  6. Herb Neu November 12, 2013 at 3:44 PM #

    I reside in Alabama, a hateful state for pets and livestock. My vet told me that if I refused a 3-year rabies vaccination for my 3 dogs that the clinic would be required to report my refusal to the “authorities” and that I’d likely be required to relinquish my pets. Can this be true? Based on her dire warning, I felt that I had no choice but to have them vaccinated.

  7. Josephine November 12, 2013 at 2:56 PM #

    I totally agree with Judy J. We are being forced by antiquated laws that are not looking out for our companion animals well being, health and life. The law doesn’t care if your dog is showing immunity to rabies. It is harming our animals to repeatedly vaccinate for something they already are immune to. That is why it causes the immune system to start attacking itself and causes disease and unwellness. That is why every pet owner who is concerned with their animals well being should go to The Rabies Challenge and donate to get the rabies law extended. Dr. Ron Shultz and Dr Jean Dobbs are doing the research to prove that the rabies vaccine stays in body for 5-7 years AT LEAST. The Rabies Challenge fund is trying to get the Law changed to 5 years instead of 3 years. They are the reason the law changed from 1 year. They have to pay for the funding out of donations that only come from concerned dog/cat parents. They do not pay themselves, they just use the money to fund the challenge. Watch the videos of Dr Karen Becker and Dr Ron Shultz and Dr Jean Dobbs. Dr Shultz is the expert on vaccines.

  8. Benjamin Richeson November 12, 2013 at 2:50 PM #

    This only works until the business says their insurance requires proof of vaccines. I’ve worked at places that will turn people away if they refuse to give a kennel cough intranasal vaccine or got the shot instead.

  9. Lynn November 12, 2013 at 1:32 PM #

    I’m all for writing a letter saying I won’t hold the establishment liable if my dog comes down with a disease covered by a vaccine. But what if they say they’re concerned about other dogs getting something from YOUR dog?

  10. PSVS November 12, 2013 at 1:22 PM #

    While I agree whole heartedly about no yearly vaccines, standing your ground and how to deal with facilioties that want vaccine records………..I take exception to this phrase in particular as well as similar words and phrases…………… “responsible animal guardianship”. Guardianship is the wording of AR activists. The correct term is owner. These are animals. Loved and cared for. Not children.
    By using guardianship, parents, child etc when discussing our animals we show support for the AR movement. There is a huge difference between Animal Rights versus Animal Welfare.
    You provide valuable information to pet owners. Please do not fall to the AR agenda.

    • Mike November 14, 2013 at 6:55 PM #

      Thank you!!!

      I have a border collie – and he is my ENTIRE WORLD!!! And you bet your ass I’m his OWNER! Guardian????? Lmao

  11. Claire B November 12, 2013 at 12:59 PM #

    I have a Registered Pet Partners therapy dog. I have presented last rabies vaccination paperwork to get her approved, but, when she was a puppy, and got the vaccination to enter Canada for dog shows, she came down with immune deviated polyarthritis, which my vet specialist believes was a reaction to the vaccination. I am told to NEVER vaccinate her for anything again. How do I get by with this the next time I go to Canada? I can’t get a clear answer on whether Titers Testing would work, which I would be more than willing to do. Any ideas?

  12. Judy J. November 12, 2013 at 12:24 PM #

    I’m clear about core shots being avoided and that aren’t legally required, and I walk away if my dog won’t be seen.

    However, state law requires quarantine for 2 weeks for dog bites in the case of possible rabies, if this shot isn’t current. Even if I got a medical waiver from a vet, and if we were in an accident and he bit say and EMS person- bingo, he’d be placed in quarantine for 2 weeks. God knows I wouldn’t want that either! A medical waiver would be worthless in my state.

    What’s a pet parent to do!?

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