What is Lucky's Challenge?

What is Lucky's Challenge?

Lucky's Challenge was developed to share information and experiences related to adverse reactions caused by vaccines. Our goal is to provide easy access to valuable resources concerning the health and safety of our dogs. Over-vaccinating can lead to a variety of health problems so you should discuss lifestyle and risk factors with your veterinarian to determine a vaccine schedule that is best for your pet. A trusted vet should not believe in vaccinating every pet for every disease.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Prof Schultz On Vaccines and Titers

Rabies Vaccination: 13 Ways to Vaccinate More Safely

Animal Control sends a notice stating that your dog’s rabies vaccination is due. Some of us will vaccinate readily. Because it’s legally mandated, it must be safe, right? Besides, what choice do we have?
Others of us panic, desperate to avoid the shot at any cost. We remember what happened the last time our dog had a rabies vaccination. We wonder, will our dog survive another?
World-renowned pet vaccination scientist, Dr. Jean Dodds, wrote recently: “Rabies vaccines are the most common group of biological products identified in adverse event reports received by the USDA’s Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB).”
An adverse reaction to a rabies vaccine may exact a high price – to your dog’s health and your wallet. Here’s what you need to know to make vaccinating your dog safer:
1. Learn to recognize adverse reactions. Short-term reactions include vomiting, facial swelling, fever, lethargy, circulatory shock, loss of consciousness and even death. (If your pet appears distressed, contact your vet immediately.) Reactions occurring days or months after vaccination can be difficult to recognize. They include:
• Fibrocarcinomas (cancer) at the injection site
• Seizures and epilepsy
• Autoimmune disease
• Chronic digestive problems
• Allergies
• Skin diseases
• Muscle weakness or atrophy
• Pica (eating inappropriate materials, including feces)
• Behavioral changes (aggression, separation anxiety, compulsive behaviors and more)
If you suspect a health or behavior problem may be connected to a vaccine, you may have to convince your vet. It’s common to hear “it couldn’t be the shot” or “a reaction like that is impossible.” Even the drug’s manufacturer (to whom you should immediately report the reaction — giving them the brand and lot# — may deny the connection. Insist on seeing the product’s package insert,  viewable on-line or from your vet. Also know that long-term reactions aren’t usually documented or even studied. Note: a vaccine reaction, especially one supported by your vet, may entitle you to compensation for medical expenses from the drug manufacturer.
2. Vaccinate healthy dogs only. Vaccinating an unhealthy animal can exacerbate illness and do irreparable harm. Also, immunity may not develop after vaccination because of the dog’s compromised immune system. This is especially dangerous as you may presume immunity that does not exist. Pets with autoimmune disease or cancer are obviously “not healthy,” but neither are pets suffering from stress from a move or surgery, a virus or infection, or allergies or skin problems or any other condition compromising health. (Never allow your pet to be vaccinated during surgery.)
3. Ask for a rabies vaccination exemption.  If your dog has documented health problems, ask your vet to apply for a rabies vaccination extension or exemption. Many localities permit them even if state law doesn’t specifically allow them. If your vet won’t apply for an exemption, go elsewhere. You may want to contact a holistic vet who may better understand the dangers of vaccinating an unhealthy animal. If local law forbids exemptions, change the law. Numerous states are in the process of adding exemptions to their laws. Click this link to check your state’s rabies law and pending exemptions.
4. Don’t vaccinate against rabies within three weeks of other vaccinations or medication for parasites. Multiple vaccines given at once greatly increase the chance of reactions.  Multiple vaccines are especially risky for small dogs.
5. Make sure your dog gets the correct vaccine. If you’re vaccinating a puppy, make sure your vet administers a one-year vaccine initially (as late as legally possible) and a three-year vaccine (or whatever is required in your area) thereafter. The one-year and three-year vaccines are virtually identical medically – but not under the law.  A one-year shot must be followed by re-vaccination a year later. Note: the one-year shot is not safer than the three-year (except that it may contain fewer adjuvants).
6. Vaccinate at the safest time. Vaccinate in the morning, early in the week, and don’t leave the area for at least an hour if possible. Watch for reactions for at least the next 48 hours. Reactions occurring when the closest vet’s office is closed can prove disastrous, even fatal.
7. Tell your vet you want a Thimerosol-free vaccine. Thimerosol (mercury) in vaccines has been linked to adverse reactions. Merial, for one, makes one- and three-year thimersol-free rabies vaccines: IMRAB® 1 TF and IMRAB® 3 TF. Make sure you see “TF” on the label. (If your vet doesn’t carry the vaccine, you may have to vet shop to find the vaccine you want.  You might also ask why the vet why he/she doesn’t carry it.)
8. Find a vet trained in homeopathy to vaccinate your dog.  Certain homeopathic remedies given before, during and after vaccinating can lessen the chance of ill effects from vaccination. Click the link to find vet referral lists.
9. Report all vaccine reactions to your vet and make sure they’re recorded in your pet’s file. Have the vet sign relevant pages, get copies and put them in a safe place. (Vets lose records, retire and move away.) Also report the reaction to the drug’s manufacturer. (You’ll need the vaccine lot number.) Vets are notoriously bad at reporting reactions, but exemptions to rabies vaccination and drug safety require documentation.
10. Don’t vaccinate within a week of travel. Pets experiencing reactions on route can die for lack of immediate medical assistance.  (Find a list of emergency clinics by area at http://www.vetsnearyou.com/ml2/?v=352875029&u=0880F1AAC5EF9BA40210818080F807184B&gclid=CKOmmcXvm6QCFQY-bAodawLaEg  (I cannot guarantee the clinics’ expertise, but at least this is a place to start.)
11. Keep copies of vaccination records and titer tests in your car(s) and license tags on your dog’s collar or harness. Otherwise, you may be forced to re-vaccinate if your pet bites someone, runs away and is taken to a shelter or if you have to board your pet unexpectedly.
12. Do not administer a rabies vaccine yourself. It will not satisfy legal requirements and you’ll have to have a vet vaccinate again. You will also be unprepared to deal with a potentially life-threatening reaction.  Similarly, a vet’s office may likely be a safer place to get the vaccine than a mobile clinic.
13. Support the Rabies Challenge Fund.  World-renowned scientists, W. Jean Dodds, DVM, and Ronald D. Schultz, PhD, are working as volunteers to increase the interval between rabies boosters by proving that the vaccine gives immunity, first, for five years, and then for seven years. (The study is in year four now.) They’re also working to establish a blood “titer standard” to provide a scientific basis to avoid unnecessary boosters with a simple blood test. This nonprofit group is supported solely by dog lovers and dog groups.
Before the next notice from Animal Control arrives, do your homework. A little time spent learning about the rabies vaccine can mean the difference between your dog’s wellness and serious illness.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dog vaccinations - What not to do

By Lindsay Stordahl 

There are some things I would not do when it comes to vaccinating my dogs:
1. I would not give vaccines my dog doesn’t need or that don’t have a good record of being effective or safe.
With some vaccines it is a question of the lesser of two evils. For example, unless your live in an area highly infested with ticks, you’re probably not too concerned about vaccinating for lyme disease.
And some vaccines just don’t have a good enough track record to bother with, such as the rattlesnake, periodontal disease, giardia and coronavirus vaccines.
2. I would not repeat a vaccine to which my dog had a reaction to.
It is kind of a no-brainer when your dog experiences a severe reaction, but I would think twice even if she had mild adverse effects. I would rather titer instead, or insist on a different brand of vaccine at the very least. And sometimes antihistamine is given to mitigate a potential allergic reaction.
3. I would not have my dog given multiple vaccinations in one visit.
I believe that vaccines are safest if there are at least three weeks or a month in between them. The more vaccines your dog receives at once, the higher the risk of a negative reaction. It is also a huge strain on the immune system to deal with all those things at once.
The combination ParvovirusDistemper and Adenovirus would be an exception. But if your dog had a reaction to it in the past and you still want to vaccinate against these, you might want to consider splitting them up.
4. I would never vaccinate a dog that is ill.
That is just asking for trouble. Clearly a sick dog’s system already has enough to deal with; vaccinating would be adding oil to the fire. The immune system just might not be able to handle all that.
I never had our vet argue about this, but I also know people who brought in a sick dog and the vet was trying to vaccinate at the same time. Not a good idea. Plus, with the over-burdened immune system, the vaccine might not even be effective.
5. I would never allow my dog to be vaccinated for things I did not discuss with my vet first.
You think that doesn’t happen? Believe it or not, it does. This might be simply because of poor memory or bad organization, but it is not a good thing.
For example, our daughter brought her Chihuahua to be given a rabies booster. She specifically stressed that she wanted her dog to get only a rabies vaccine. Yet, they gave her the leptospirosis vaccine also, and as luck would have it, the dog had a severe reaction and almost died right there! After that happened the vet said that such a reaction to a lepto vaccine, particularly in small dogs, is not unusual!
6. I would not vaccinate during high-allergy season.
So many dogs suffer from allergies these days. The sense behind this decision is the same as the earlier points. Why add additional burden to an already agitated immune system? We vaccinate our dogs either in early spring or late fall when there is less potential for environmental allergies.
7. I would not vaccinate on a Friday afternoon.
Just as luck might have it, that’s when your dog might get an adverse reaction, just as the vet’s office is preparing to close or after it has already closed for the weekend. We had these things happen in the past, not with vaccines but with other disasters; we prefer to do all these things early in the week, early in the morning. And so far, as it often works with Murphy’s Law, when you’re prepared, the disaster doesn’t strike.
8. For the same reasons, I would not vaccinate before a trip.
Some reactions might strike quickly, but some of them take awhile. It’s just not worth the risk of your dog experiencing a medical emergency on the road or while she is at a boarding kennel and you are out of town.