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.

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.


  1. Interesting info you provided, thanks! Actually, I just finished my dogs vaccines this week. I vaccinated for lepto and kennel cough five weeks ago and this week we did the parvo and distemper. I too usually vaccinate in the early spring, but one of my dogs was not 100% so I waited. One thing you did not mention was the frequency of vaccines. I have not done rabies since they were one (we don't have rabies here in NS); I do kennel cough and lepto annually and parvo and distemper every three years. My girls are six this year and I have read that you don't need to vaccinate for these after seven. I'd be very interested to hear what you have come up with in your research concerning frequency of vaccines.

  2. Marjorie, listen to Dr. Dodds in the interview "Raising Indiana" and also the interview Dr. Karen Becker did with Dr. Ronald Schultz. I posted that interview in May 2011. Lucky also has a facebook page at www.facebook.com/luckyschallenge. I don't do any core vaccines after their puppy shots. My vet suggests every three years until they are 10 years of age but I don't do that because of the information I have learned since losing Lucky. I don't ever do non core vaccines but I know in some areas they are needed. All states are now on board with the three year rabies vaccines. Hopefully, with the Rabies Challenge Fund, it will go to five years, then seven as the studies suggest. Thanks for writing.

  3. Thank you for the info, I really appreciate it. There is just so much to learn.