Dangers of Over Vaccinating Your Dog

Over vaccinating your dogOver Vaccinating Your Dog

By Lori Newman

There are many dangers of over-vaccinating your dog. Dog vaccination involves some risk as any medical procedure does. The benefit far outweighs the risk. In some cases, a dog may experience pain, swelling, allergic reactions or even overstimulated immune systems that attack the dog’s own tissue, which results in blood, thyroid, nervous system or skin diseases. The symptoms may not develop until months after the vaccination. Vaccines can cause susceptibility to chronic diseases later on in your dog’s life.

The risk of an adverse reaction following vaccination increase with the number of dog vaccines administered on the same day and as the size of the dog decreases. Sick, recently bred, pregnant and senior dogs or those scheduled for surgery should be evaluated before a dog vaccine is given.

Some breeds, such as Akitas, Great Danes, Weimaraners, Maltese, and most white coated small breeds are more vulnerable to adverse reactions from dog vaccines.

Risk from dog vaccinations are:


Fever, stiffness, sore joints

Susceptibility to infections


Ear and skin conditions

Allergic reactions

Liver failure

Autoimmune diseases

Titer test is one way to help you decide if your dog should be re-vaccinated for a disease. This test determines levels of immunity. These blood tests measure the amount of antibody protection in the dog’s bloodstream. High levels of antibodies prove immunity to disease and low levels do not. All dogs should have their serum antibody titers measured once a year. We can avoid over-vaccination in dogs with adequate immunity, by titering. There is one exception to this rule. The exception to this rule is the rabies vaccine. It must be give as required by state law. Some states have one year regulations and others have ever three years.

Titers should not be taken as infallible. Problems can arise when different laboratories evaluate tests as well as the ability to determine immunity for each disease, and their blood titers show otherwise.

You should determine your own comfort level with the risks and benefits when it comes to vaccinating your dog. A heart to heart talk with your veterinarian about your options might help. Tell your veterinarian about your dog’s general health and activities, possible exposure to disease and any travel plans you may have. Together you can make a decision what is best for your dog. The owner and the veterinarian have to talk about how the dog lives in order to determine the risk to the dog. Then you can come up with a plan that best meets your dog’s needs.

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