What Every Vet (And Pet Owner) Should Know About Vaccines


Are you and your vet at odds about how often your dog should be vaccinated for the core vaccines?

Well we’ll help you cut through what’s right and what’s wrong when it comes to your dog’s next set of vaccinations.

First, it’s important to understand that the core vaccines are not required by law – only rabies can be legally required.

Rabies is required in all US states and in some (but not all) Canadian provinces.

But apart from rabies, nobody can force you to vaccinate your dog with any other vaccine. Period.

This is a decision best left up to you and your vet.

But before that decision is made, make sure you’re both aware of the duration of immunity of those vaccines – and the potentially lethal consequences of giving just one vaccine too many.

(NOTE: Want to know exactly how many unnecessary vaccines your dog gets? Click Here to grab our free Vaccine Guide and our handy chart will tell you instantly)

More Is Not Better

When it comes to immunity and duration of immunity for vaccines, there is one clear expert.

Dr Ronald D Schultz is one of perhaps three or four researchers doing challenge studies on veterinary vaccines – and he’s been doing these studies for 40 years.

In fact, it’s Dr Schultz’s work that prompted the AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) and AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) to re-evaluate vaccine schedules.

In 2003, The American Animal Hospital Association Canine Vaccine Taskforce warned vets in JAAHA (39 March/April 2003) that:

‘Misunderstanding, misinformation and the conservative nature of our profession have largely slowed adoption of protocols advocating decreased frequency of vaccination’; ‘Immunological memory provides durations of immunity for core infectious diseases that far exceed the traditional recommendations for annual vaccination.’

‘This is supported by a growing body of veterinary information  as well-developed epidemiological vigilance in human medicine that indicates immunity induced by vaccination is extremely long lasting and, in most cases, lifelong.’

“The recommendation for annual re-vaccination is a practice that was officially started in 1978.”  says Dr Schultz.

“This recommendation was made without any scientific validation of the need to booster immunity so frequently. In fact the presence of good humoral antibody levels blocks the anamnestic response to vaccine boosters just as maternal antibody blocks the response in some young animals.”

He adds:  “The patient receives no benefit and may be placed at serious risk when an unnecessary vaccine is given. Few or no scientific studies have demonstrated a need for cats or dogs to be revaccinated.”

Below is the result of duration of immunity testing on over 1,000 dogs and on every major vaccine.

Both challenge (exposure to the real virus) and serology (antibody titer results) are shown below:

Table 1: Minimum Duration of Immunity for Canine Vaccines
Minimum Duration of Immunity
Methods Used to Determine Immunity
Canine Distemper Virus (CDV)
Rockbom Strain7 yrs / 15 yrschallenge / serology
Onderstepoort Strain5 yrs / 9 yrschallenge / serology
Canine Adenovirus-2 (CAV-2)7 yrs / 9 yrschallenge-CAV-1 / serology
Canine Parvovirus-2 (CAV-2)7 yrschallenge / serology


It’s important to note that this is the MINIMUM duration of immunity.

These ceilings reflect not the duration of immunity, but the duration of the studies.

Dr Schultz explains “It is important to understand that these are minimum DOI’s and longer studies have not been done with certain of the above products. It is possible that some or all of these products will provide lifelong immunity.”

Dr Schultz has seen these results repeated over the years.  In 2010, he published the following with newer generation, recombinant vaccines.

It’s important to note that not only did the vaccines provide protection for a minimum of 4 to 5 years, it did so in 100% of the dogs tested.


Vaccine Dangers

Why is it important to understand Dr Schultz’s work?

Because vaccines can create very real health problems in dogs.  It’s important that vaccines are only given when necessary because every vaccine has the potential to kill the patient or create debilitating chronic diseases including cancer and allergies.

Below is a list of potential adverse vaccine reactions, according to Dr Schultz:



And this is what vaccine damage looks like …

(click on thumbnail to enlarge) – many thanks to Patricia Jordan DVM

(NOTE: Want to know exactly how many unnecessary vaccines your dog gets? Click Here to grab our free Vaccine Guide and our handy chart will tell you instantly)

Dr Schultz summarizes his 40 years of research with the following:

“Only one dose of the modified-live canine ‘core’ vaccine (against CDV, CAV-2 and CPV-2) or modified-live feline ‘core’ vaccine (against FPV, FCV and FHV), when administered at 16 weeks or older, will provide long lasting (many years to a lifetime) immunity in a very high percentage of animals.”

But the problem is, many vets are ignoring this research.

I did a quick google search of dog vaccines and here is the first site that came up:


Virtually every study on the DOI of vaccines tells us that every three years is too often!

Remember, immunity is likely lifelong … so why are dogs and cats routinely vaccinated every three years?

And, worse yet, why are 60% of vets reportedly vaccinating annually?

More is not better. More is just dangerous.

We understand vets are frightened because they’ve seen animals die and suffer from preventable disease.

But it’s critical to start recognizing that vaccine-induced diseases are also deadly and also preventable.

And they can develop over time and won’t always be apparent days or hours after the injection.Vaccination-DNM

It’s vital to understand we need to protect our dogs and cats not just from infectious disease, but also from vaccine damage.

We now have inexpensive in-house titer testing (Vaccicheck and TiterCHEK) – titer tests will determine whether your pet has responded to his vaccines and formed immunity.

With in-house titer testing, there is never any reason to give any cat or dog over the age of 16 weeks another vaccine without a negative titer test.

Vets no longer have to guess at when to revaccinate.

They need to assume any dog or cat vaccinated at or after 16 weeks of age will never need another vaccine again.

And if they do get one, it had better be because there was zero amount of measurable titer!

Our companion animals rely on vets to make the right decisions when it comes to vaccines.

All of us here at DNM are begging vets to stand up and take notice – our pets’ lives depend on it.


Here is a printable PDF you can take to your vet the next time he tells you your dog needs another vaccine. Please have him read this and ask for a titer test first. Click here to download it.

Want the full color version of the PDF? Download it here. 

About the Author Dana Scott

Dana Scott is Editor In Chief for Dogs Naturally Magazine. She also breeds Labrador Retrievers under the Fallriver prefix and has been a raw feeding, natural rearing breeder since the 90's. She is an advocate for natural health care for dogs and people and works tirelessly to educate pet owners so they can influence veterinary medicine and change current vaccine, food and preventive health practices. Visit Dana's Labradors at Fallriver Labs