Questions to Ask

Updated 8/9/16  Vaccination is an important medical decision to be made by you in consultation with your veterinarian. Educate yourself then ask the upcoming questions before you vaccinate. Click the links for more information. To learn why over-vaccination is a problem, read Vaccine Reactions: Underreported and Unrecognized, Not Unimportant.  Do not vaccinate pregnant animals.

Top veterinary organizations (AVMA, WSAVA, AAHA, AAFP and AHVMA) and many top veterinary schools divide vaccines into “core” (with which all pets should be vaccinated) and “noncore” (which should be given only when a specific risk exists, if then).

AAHA (p. 12) recommends puppies get 3 doses of the core vaccines (distemper, parvovirus and adenovirus) every 3-4 weeks starting at 8 weeks with the final dose at 14–16 weeks of age or later.  (Some U.S. experts forgo adenovirus “because canine hepatitis has not been a clinical entity in North America for more than a decade.” Others recommend giving it once after 16 weeks of age.) WSAVA has new guidelines for puppies. IMPORTANT NEW INFO:  Top vaccination experts, Dr. Jean Dodds and Dr. Ron Schultz, now recommend a final single parvovirus vaccine at 18 weeks. Or, as is my preference, do a blood antibody titer test to insure immunity.

Core vaccines for cats include panleukopenia, calicivirus, rhinotracheitis, and rabies. Per WSAVA (p. 14): “All kittens should receive the core vaccines. [For panleukopenia] a minimum of three doses is recommended: one at 8–9 weeks of age, a second 3–4 weeks later and a final dose at 14–16 weeks of age or older should be administered. Cats that respond to MLV core vaccines maintain immunity for many years in the absence of any repeat vaccination.” According to vaccine researcher Dr. Ron Schultz, if your cat is already 16 weeks of age or older at the time of its first vaccine, only a single dose is needed to provide solid, long-lasting immunity. No booster vaccines are needed for most adult cats, except rabies as required by law.

Questions to Ask BEFORE You Vaccinate Your Dog or Cat

1.  Is my pet already immune from the disease in question?

After completing puppy or kitten core vaccination series, dogs and in some cases cats likely have long term or even lifetime immunity for the important diseases (canine distemper and parvovirus; feline panleukopenia). Vaccine labels recommending annual or three-year revaccination intervals for canine core vaccines generally reflect the length of time the vaccine was tested before approval, and show minimal, not average or maximum, immunity given. Revaccinating an animal with pre-existing immunity (as a result of prior vaccinations) will not make the animal “more immune” and increases the chance of an adverse reaction. It is also an unnecessary expense.

A blood titer test can be performed to test immunity for most core diseases. Please read this before giving the distemper vaccine to an adult cat and this before vaccinating aging dogs or cats.

2.  Do I know that only the rabies vaccine is required by law? 

Groomers, day care providers and others may insist on certain vaccinations, but aside from rabies, what they require is their choice and may be based on inaccurate or outdated information. Veterinarians in the same community vary in their requirements and recommendations. It pays to shop around.

The 1-year rabies vaccine is usually required at 3 to 6 months of age per local law. Generally, a “3-year vaccine” (guaranteed by the drug maker to give 3 years of immunity) is given a year later, then every 3 years thereafter unless outdated local laws conflict with state law. (Note: change the law!) There is no benefit, but substantial risk, to vaccinating more often, or earlier, than required by law. Failure to vaccinate on time, however, can result in being required by your vet or the law to start the series from the beginning even though vaccines don’t automatically stop giving immunity at 1 or 3 years. A French study of dogs has shown the 3-year vaccine to last at least 5 years; blood tests show 7 or more years of immunity.

The USDA Center for Veterinary Biologics reports that the rabies vaccine is responsible for more adverse reactions than other vaccines. Do not give this vaccine during surgery or with other drugs.  Give 3 or more weeks apart from other vaccine boosters. Many veterinarians suggest the use of vaccines free of thimerasol (mercury) for dogs and Merial Purevax for cats.  Some locales allow exemptions for unhealthy animals.

3.  If a “noncore” (optional) vaccine is recommended, do I know my pet’s individual risk of contracting the disease in question, the severity of the illness, the success rate of the vaccine and the risk of vaccinating?

Noncore vaccines can be given alone or mixed with core vaccines (not recommended). Bacterial vaccines like Leptospira, Bordetella, Borrelia and Chlamydophilia are more likely to cause reactions than the MLV core vaccines (per WSAVA Guidelines, p. 31) and should be given on different days from other drugs.

Leptospirosis, the “L” in a canine combo vaccine, is not a problem everywhere or for all pets; the vaccine does not protect against all strains of the disease, must be given frequently, is known to cause more adverse reactions than most other vaccines and is believed to be particularly problematic for toy breeds (although large breeds are also at risk).  (See more WSAVA Guidelines, p. 12.) Eminent vaccination scientist Dr. Ron Schultz, who lives in a Leptospirosis endemic area of the U.S., does not recommend the vaccine or does not give it to his own dogs.

Bordetella (kennel cough) is given as nose drops, is generally a mild, self-limiting illness (like the human cold) which is mostly spread in close quarters with poor ventilation. Hence, the name “kennel cough.”  The vaccine has limited effectiveness and is not recommended by Dr. Schultz and others.

Noncore bacterial cat vaccines, Chlamydophila (Chlamydia) and Bordetella, are of limited effectiveness. Read WSAVA, p.16.

4. Is my pet ill?

All vaccine manufacturers recommend vaccinating healthy animals only, but don’t define “healthy.”  Poor health could include (but is not limited to) allergies, ear infections, kennel cough, severe stress and malnutrition as well as serious chronic illnesses like liver, bladder or kidney disease, immune system dysfunction, neurological disorders and cancer. Barring a local life-threatening epidemic, vaccination can often be postponed until health improves.  A positive titer test for a core vaccine can offer peace of mind.

Caution: Vaccinating an unhealthy pet not only puts your pet at great risk but also risks vaccine failure, something especially dangerous for pets and for the public when vaccinating against rabies. Medical exemptions to rabies vaccination are available in some areas.

5. Does my pet have a personal, family, breed or species history of vaccine reactions? 

At risk pets should be vaccinated only if a particular immediate, potentially fatal risk exists and perhaps not even then. If the vaccine must be given, a different brand than the one that caused the reaction is often recommended, although this is no guarantee of safety. WSAVA (p. 31; #54) says that a positive titer test precludes the need for vaccination for core diseases; they discourage revaccination with noncore vaccines.

Cats are particularly at risk for injection-site sarcomas (as are some dogs) and have special vaccination needs. Click here for more details. Also read Vaccination Protocols for Dogs Predisposed to Vaccine Reactions.

6. Is my veterinarian recommending a combination vaccine?

A Purdue study of 1.2 million dogs shows that multiple vaccines given in one visit, especially when given to a small-to-medium size dog, may greatly increase the chance of a vaccine reaction. (A second study shows risks to cats.) Multiple vaccines also make it impossible to determine which vaccine caused any subsequent reaction.

Vaccines are available with only one or two or three antigens in one hypo (called monovalent or bivalent vaccines) although you may have to shop to find a veterinarian who carries them. Using monovalent or bivalent vaccines could lessen the chance of a reaction while increasing the chance that your pet is getting only necessary vaccines.  To further lessen the chance of a reaction, bacterial vaccines should not be given with viral vaccines. Note: many common products contain 4-7 vaccines, mixing bacterial with viral, and are given with additional vaccines like Bordetella and rabies. These practices unnecessarily increase the likelihood of reactions.

7.  Have I been fully briefed about the vaccine’s possible side effects?

Often, clients are warned about common reactions like fever, lethargy and possible loss of appetite but are not warned about moderate and serious reactions. Though less common, these reactions can be life threatening and may require expensive long-term treatment. You have the right to evaluate risks versus the benefits before vaccinating. Ask to read the vaccine “package insert.”  This will help you evaluate risks and also determine if your pet is having a reaction should he or she become ill or exhibit odd behavior or impaired function after vaccination.

8.  Have I been told how to react to and report a vaccine reaction?

Some reactions require an emergency trip to the vet. Others can be treated at home.  Have your vet explain which reactions are emergencies. All possible reactions must be reported to the vaccinating vet (or emergency vet) and recorded in your pet’s file.  Click here to learn how to report adverse vaccine reactions. Do not presume your vet will report any reaction.

9.  Do I know to keep a written record of vaccination details?

It’s important to record injection sites (front, back, right or left leg, etc.) plus the vaccine manufacturer and brand name, the lot, serial number and expiration date for each vaccine given. Vets retire and move and records are lost or recorded inaccurately. It is imperative that you know which vaccines were given when and where, especially for cats (WSAVA, p. 14) but also for dogs.  It is important to give different vaccines in different spots; vaccination sites should be rotated yearly.

10.  After having been briefed by my veterinarian about a vaccine’s benefits and risks, can I freely give my informed consent or comfortably withhold it?

You have the right to refuse vaccination, in part or in full, if you do not believe it is in the best interest of your animal (although with rabies there may be legal complications unless your vet will apply for a medical exemption).  You may also request to be more fully informed before proceeding and can ask to see the vaccine “package insert.” It’s not easy to reject or modify your veterinarian’s recommendations, but your animal’s well-being is your responsibility, both morally and financially.  An activist against over-vaccinating children suggests that refusing is easier if you just say: “Not today, thank you very much.”  Some people also like to take with them a copy of an article or study from an expert.

DISCLAIMER: All information and links provided here are for general information purposes only, and are not to be intended as medical or legal advice. This information should not be used to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified pet health care professional.  It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from available research.  The decision whether or not to vaccinate is an important and complex issue and should be made by you in consultation with your pet health care provider.  Our goal is to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through education.  We neither promote the use of any vaccine or vaccine protocol nor advise against it.  Authors of posted articles may not agree with all the information in other posted articles.

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81 Responses to Questions to Ask

  1. Gina on May 10, 2018 at 8:12 am


    What are your thoughts about vaccinating the same day of a surgery?

    I know vets do it all the time – all the time – but is there reason to be concerned.

    And if there is cause to be concerned, would it be even more so with an FIV+ cat.

    I would love to find some studies that pointed one way or another but haven’t been able to.


    • adminjr on May 10, 2018 at 9:32 am

      Gina, it’s dangerous. What happens if the animal has a reaction and vomits while under anesthesia, or has an allergic reaction? You might investigate at I doubt you’ll find any studies, but inquire at a vaccine manufacturer’s site. Or call them.

  2. Roy Krymis on March 19, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    Hello! I have a 15 yr. old sheltie, and her 3 yr rabies shot is due, as well as DHPP vaccine. She has had some health issues, a heart murmur, some lung/breathing issues, and recently treated for gastroenteritis. My Vet is ok with delaying vaccines for now until she is feeling well enough. But my concern is that she is overdue for grooming and my groomer requires current vaccines. My Vet suggested that altho they do not do grooming, they can at least trim nails, do anal gland expression, so we can buy time. I can ask my Vet if a medical exemption is a possibility, or titer testing? I am just reluctant to proceed with vaccines now but in a predicament with her needs for grooming. Would you have any other suggestions please? Thank you so much.

    • adminjr on March 20, 2018 at 3:06 pm

      Roy, I can’t tell you how many times people have written me telling me that their senior dog died after vaccination. I’m so glad you wrote.

      I’m not a vet, but I seriously doubt that your dog needs any vaccines to protect health. These “boosters” in reality are puppy shots. Nothing could make me vaccinate my own senior dog. I would do anything to avoid it.

      Ask your groomer if she/he will accept titers. If the groomer says no, find another. Mobile groomers are sometimes more enlightened. Or use your vet’s services.

      Rabies presents a different problem. If your state doesn’t allow them, try to find a holistic vet who will likely consider vaccination a death sentence.

  3. Rowena on January 6, 2018 at 7:55 am

    Oh another thing or two: My pup will not be getting spayed until she is several years old if even then. I will put up with her once or twice a year “heats” because I read too many horror stories (facts) regarding early spaying/neutering effects on dogs as they age. See Karen Becker on Youtube regarding this. Also, she is raw fed, no kibble. I make all her food grind, and make her bone broth from scratch too. I keep her teeth clean by giving her organic/untreated bully sticks which she loves. So I am hoping her immunity system will be strong enough for her to weather any illness with my help.

    • adminjr on January 6, 2018 at 10:05 am

      Rowena, I am truly impressed by your knowledge and concern for your dog’s health. If only everyone were like you.

      You might want to work by phone with He sells nosodes and is very knowledgeable. You personally can buy parvo/distermper vaccines from a vet supply place, although you’ll probably have to buy them in quantity. You might also research how dogs contract parvo and distemper and see what the dangers are. I think there’s good info at

      I hope this helps.

  4. Rowena on January 6, 2018 at 7:42 am

    Oh, and here is the other consideration that has me worried: I read that dogs who get the Parvo shot(s) are LESS likely to survive Parvo than those who do NOT. I am prepared to deal with the disease if my dog gets it since I can take off work and give her the round the clock care she wouldn’t be getting staying at a Vet’s office. I will give her enemas to keep her hydrated, Parvaid, honey, and other things in the hopes of her survival. But this does nothing for Distemper should she somehow get it. So it seems as though only the rabies shot is legally necessary. I will research distemper and see how dogs can contract it and make a decision regarding that. But as I said, there are no vets that give only one shot agent for each separate disease.

  5. Rowena on January 6, 2018 at 7:34 am

    I have a purebred miniature poodle who is 13 weeks old. She has had NO shots yet as I got her at 8 weeks out of state from a relative. I am terrified to give her shots…I would rather wait until she is a bit older and then only give her the parvo/distemper…rabies a month later, and even then, only one time with a titer following a month later to see if there is any discernible immunity response. If nothing, I would repeat a titer another month later to make sure of the first results. Money is no object for me since she will be my last and only dog. Should I ask for the one year rabies shot…or the three year shot since they are the same thing?
    Once I get her ANY shots, she is then documented into “the system” as far as the Law goes regarding Rabies. She is a house puppy and has no contact with other dogs/people as far as “hands on”…so I see no point for the rabies shot since she will not be going outside w/o being on a leash and with me. I cannot find a Vet in my area that will do one agent vaccines at a time…they are all combo. Also, they will not titrate the doses for her small size which pisses me off. Any suggestions? There are NO Vets here in my area that will offer Nosodes or even know about them.

  6. TAMMY TAYLOR on June 10, 2017 at 9:16 am

    I have 2 Bordeaux mastiff female pups. They were first vaccinated at 6 wks plus wormer (dantal plus), next set at 10 wks, wormer (dantal plus) plus lyme. They are due to get their last set plus rabies at 14 weeks. I have noticed a dramatic change in their confidence levels and they haven’t had a solid poop since their first visit plus the occassional blood in stool. I’m told puppies eat things that could cause this. I don’t want to take them for their last visit and definitely not the rabies. Am I making a mistake by not taking them in?

    • adminjr on July 7, 2017 at 10:46 am

      Tammy, 6 weeks is too early to vaccinate. Also not a good idea to worm at the same time. If your vet did this, find another vet. They will need one more set of parvo and distemper, but not likely any others according to experts. Don’t get rabies at the same time. No vaccination should be given to an unhealthy dog, but you need to protect against parvo/distemper. Talk to a new vet about this. I’m not a vet.

  7. Lizzie on February 2, 2017 at 6:54 am

    Vaccinate Your Dog is a part of good health. A few days ago I also vaccinated my dog. These all questions are really needed to know the dog owner. Thanks for your share.

  8. Johanna on January 18, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Thank you for this excellent information! I wish I had known about this years ago. All of the “dont’s” listed on this page read like a check list of what happened to my pup. At 5 1/2 months of age and only 35lbs, I naively brought my puppy in for shots and spay. She had an unknown vaccine history, and was suffering from a skin allergy. Prior to the appointment she was confident and very friendly towards all people, children, and dogs. She received DHLPPC + a 1yr rabies (killed virus) and was spayed. Not long after this she started to develop bizarre phobias and become extremely wary around unknown people and animals, which gradually developed into fear aggression. She also suffers from seasonal skin allergies and chronic ear infections. Over the past couple of years I have been learning about vaccinosis and detoxification, and we’ve seen some improvement in her health and behavior, but we still have a long way to go. I know her problems were caused by vaccines and early spay, but convincing the vets who want to keep re-vaccinating her is another story. I’m floored to learn that animal vaccine manufacturers are allowed to write “trade secret” in place of adjuvant names and concentration. It is also the manufacturer who is responsible for conducting the safety and efficacy studies. My question is, after many hours of fruitless research on my own, is there ANYWHERE I can go to view these studies? To my knowledge they are being withheld from the general public. I don’t know how vets can give these vaccines in good faith when they don’t know what’s in them, or if they’re even safe and effective (except that CDC/USDA says so).

    • adminjr on January 18, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      Johanna, I woke up in the middle of the night recently wondering why no one, or if anybody, had filed a freedom of information request for pet vaccine ingredients. We know what’s in vaccines for children but not our furry kids. And we don’t have access to injury reports either. And … there’s no injury fund for pets, but there is for people. One of these days, I’m going to look into this. I do know the vaccines contain aluminum, mercury and more, just like vaccines for humans do.

      You need a holistic vet.

    • adminjr on January 18, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Another thought, Johanna. You might check out They write about vaccinosis a lot, and have republished a lot of my stuff as well as a lot of great new articles from vets and other experts.

      • Johanna on January 23, 2017 at 3:19 pm

        Thanks for the tip, I’ll do that. And please, if you ever dig up more info or go the route of FOIA (which I’d love for someone to do!) please share it here so we all can see. I’m very interested in learning as much as I can about this. Thanks again for what you’re doing!

  9. Linda on January 10, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Years ago my adult son and I went to Banfield next to Walmart in south Florida. We took two dogs. I was naïve then about shots and what my dogs really needed, so I left it up to this place. My yorkie got lepto, corona, distemper and who knows what else all at the same time. I went out of their in shock as my bill was unbelievable and I had talked my son into taking his Jack Russell there too. Both of us were ripped off and the poor dogs subjected to over vaccination. The kids working there were on commission. My current yorkie has a rabies waver and she has not received any other shots other than her puppy shots and a DLPP booster. I do not give spot on flea meds and if I use heartworm it is every 45 days.

    My yorkie that I had then had a horrible reaction. We went on vacation and had to go to an emergency vet in a strange town. They had to counteract all those shots. She was lucky to be alive. I did contact Banfield, but never heard anything back from anyone. Stay away!

    • adminjr on January 10, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      Linda, thanks for your comment. Did you read the article about VCA and Banfield first? Do you mind if I post this there?

  10. Coyotes in Suburbia: How to Protect Your Pets | Truth4Dogs on November 25, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    […] Learn if your dog needs further vaccination against diseases carried by coyotes. […]

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  12. Fern on September 5, 2016 at 3:55 am

    So Dr Dodds is know wanting three sets of vaccines when it use to be a titre before the third set.
    Dr Shultz is one and done at 17 weeks or now 18 weeks.
    There is also natural immunization without even one vaccine by Dr Faulkner and Dr Rosemary Manziano.
    So there’s the three choices you decide which one is best for your pet.
    I’m a natural rearing breeder.

    • Mic on December 2, 2016 at 4:58 am

      Can you tell me more about this natural immunization without vaccine?

      • adminjr on December 2, 2016 at 10:50 am

        Mic, that’s not my area of expertise. There are Facebook groups that might help. You might ask questions at Pet Parents Against Vaccination and Canine Health – Dogs and Vaccination.

      • Karen Mitchell on January 23, 2017 at 7:28 am

  13. Sue on June 15, 2016 at 7:50 am

    Hi, unfortunately our lovely lab was bitten by a stray while on vacation. She is already covered with rabies jabs but should any other precautions be taken?

  14. Tara Rossi on May 22, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    On May 19th, my 7 year old Pug had his 3 yr. rabies, lyme vaccination, and distemper combo. Yesterday, he had 3 seizures. He is at a different ER vet that has him on Phenobarbital. The ER vet informed me that my Pug will have to be on seizure meds. What is your opinion on this matter?

    • adminjr on June 8, 2016 at 9:48 am

      Tara, your dog had way too many vaccines at once, especially for a tiny dog. And why was a 7-year-old getting puppy shots?

      My opinion is to get an evaluation from a holistic vet. You an find referrals at Dr. Loops will consult by phone and is very experienced in vaccine reactions. You might also see a veterinary acupuncturist. They often have good luck with seizures.

      Please report the reaction to the manufacturer. It’s possible they will reimburse some of your vet bills if you make a fuss.

      Herbs are another idea. You can chat online about this at Better yet see an herbalist. I don’t have any experience with this product and I’m not a vet.

      Good luck.

  15. Ted on April 20, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    I have a question regarding rabies vaccinations because of an issue with dog licensing in NJ. Our puppy had her rabies vaccine (one year) last July. The town requires the dog to be licensed in January and to have a vaccine that does not expire until at least November 1st of the current year. Our preference is to wait until July when her vaccine should be due, but the town is now harassing us about this. The state says that there is no evidence of harmful effects for giving the vaccine early. They only grant the license if a vet provides a medical waiver for it. Is it bad to give the vaccine early or should we try to find a vet who will give us a letter to waive it?

    Thank you for any insight you can provide.

  16. Bernadette on January 27, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Just got a 11week old girl chihuahua. Shes only 3.5lb. When i got her, the previous owner said she got distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza vaccinations and a deworming at 6 weeks. When i took her to vet they said she was too young for her first vaccinations and basically they were redoing them. So they gave her DHPP and bordetella and another deworming. They said to come back in 3 weeks for next set.

    Im just concerned because she is so small. Also one vet i had called wanted her to get coronavirus vaccination but the vet i went to said it wasnt necessary because we are in illinois. They want to give her rabies at 4 months, and i was told by a friend of mine who has a chihuahua that i should wait until she is bigger. Im just so lost and not sure what to do. Shes so tiny i dont want anything to happen to her. Any info would be greatly appreciated. ive tried googling, everything says different things. Thanks!

    • adminjr on January 28, 2016 at 11:16 am

      Bernadette, you’re right to be concerned. You might want to read this:

      Re coronavirus, yikes! Not one veterinary organization has recommended it since well before 2003. Never go to any vet recommending it. They are terribly behind the times. Saying that it has anything to do with being in Illinois is ridiculous. The disease doesn’t exist out laboratories.

      Your dog MAY need parvo and distemper, but nothing else. Certainly not bordetella which is for dogs being kenneled. That’s why it’s called the kennel cough vaccine. Anyway, it’s pretty useless.

      If you can afford, you might do a titer test for parvo and distemper to see if your dog already has immunity but it’s likely your dog isn’t immune yet. If you can’t afford, see if you can find a vet who gives just the two vaccines, not four.

      Re rabies, it’s required by law. Speaking just about health, it’s safer to wait until your dog is older.

    • Denice Parrish on September 26, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      We lost our Teacup Yorkie after getting her one year vaccinations and two days later she started to stumble,then her neck wouldn’t move anymore stuck on the right side,after that we would put her down outside and she couldn’t do anything but roll roll and roll not stopping unless you picked her up.
      The next day we took her to a different get and they ran test they couldn’t find anything wrong ,sent us home and we scheduled a neurologist appointment. after the exam she wanted to send us home with steroids making another appointment for spinal fluid and kidney samples.
      My baby couldn’t walk eat or drink she was in misery ,I couldn’t see her go threw anymore.
      I had to make the hardest decision of my life I had to put her down.
      This was in August and Our family will never ever be the same.
      I will never ever trust a vet again when It comes to Vaccines.
      I confronted the vet that gave her the shots and she said this has never happened nor has it ever been reported.
      Well I signed a document without viewing stating they are not liable for any issues,which death was never discused.
      She never even documented her death nor did she call the vaccine company to see if that lot # was involved in any other deaths.
      I forced her too call the vaccine company and they offered to pay her medical bills even though there not at fault.
      I need the contract notarized and sent back for reimbursement.

      This will never take my family’s heart ache away,my heart is broken forever.
      She was so precious too me and I couldn’t protect her from the people that are suppose to keep her healthy.
      I still have my male Yorkie which misses her dearly he will never get vaccinations again.
      Your only forced to get rabies shots the rest are all unnecessary .

  17. Luisa on January 11, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    So I have a 6 months male cat, who’s very nervous around other people, recently he started Peeing outside the litter box, 1st he pee on my closet, then when I cleaned and throw away the closet he started Peeing on the hallway floor, almost next to my bedroom, so I had read that spray is less pee so this probably is not that, I took him to the vet and I told them this and also that he meows a little bit too much recently when he goes to the litter box ( when he decides to go there ) and the vet said he looked healthy and normal but didn’t run any test or anything, so what can I do? he has pee there 3 times already and I’ve cleanned with several stuffs like : clorox, vinegar, detergent, baking soda, peroxide, and I have spray also some cat odor product. please help!!

    • adminjr on January 28, 2016 at 11:01 am

      Luisa, had your cat just been vaccinated before the peeing began? That could have something to do with it. Check out There might be an answer there.

  18. Rohit on January 7, 2016 at 3:08 am

    I need some advice. I have a seven months old German Shepard dog.he is vaccinated. But unfortunately a stray dog bite him. I took him to vet.and veteran said for five anti rabies shots in a month. Three shots are done. But I afraid of over vaccination. What is bad effect of over vaccination? What sshould I do ?
    Monitor stray dog or complete all shots?

    • adminjr on January 28, 2016 at 10:59 am

      Rohit, there are many side effects to rabies vaccination. I’m not really an expert in the post rabies shots. I’ll see what I can learn and will get back to you.

  19. Sunday's Recap: Vaccinating Your Dog | Top Dog Tips on January 3, 2016 at 8:40 am

    […] ask your veterinarian when discussing vaccinating your dog. Truth4Pets provides a great list in this article. Not only do they list some of the most important questions that you should be asking, but they […]

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    […] Truth 4 Pets is an evidence based site on pet vaccinations where you can get solid information to help you make an informed choices on what is appropriate for you pup. Here you will find questions and answers on blood titers, ways of eliminating unnecessary shots, lifelong immunity information and much more. […]

  21. Debbie Hegger on July 21, 2015 at 6:44 am

    I adopted a kitten from a foster home at 10 weeks. She was already spayed and up to date with her kitten shots at that point. She’s now 14 weeks and I never took her in for 12 week shots. My question is…is it okay to discontinue all her lifetime vaccines (except the law required rabies shot)?

    • adminjr on September 16, 2015 at 9:57 am

      Debbie, I’m not an expert on cats. All I know (provided by someone who is an expert) is at — but you’ve already been there. Did you read the other articles on the same site? The second and third article on this page may interest you: Also, check out

      Make sure your state requires rabies vaccines for cats; many don’t. It’s particularly problematic.

    • Alex on January 14, 2016 at 11:40 am

      I have had cats all my life and I never vaccinate them and feel that is appropriate since they never go outside except when younger they may go out to stretch their legs briefly and play in the yard. Basically indoor babies and they are fine with no issues from to being vaccinated. Grateful for that too. As for my dog…my large dog gets rabies because of her size, I don’t want issues with an accidental incident or bite, and my little shihtzu gets nothing. So far happy with that set up too. .

  22. Style Pets How Many Shots Does Your Pet Really Need? - Style Pets on July 8, 2015 at 7:30 pm

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  23. jean van rhyn on May 6, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    Hallo. What is the difference between an dogs vaccination and a cats vaccination?? And is it harmful if you did swop the two accidently?

    • adminjr on May 11, 2015 at 9:18 am

      Jean, dogs and cats are different species with different diseases. Any unnecessary vaccine is potentially harmful. Furthermore, the animal wouldn’t be protected against the right disease. You’ll need to contact your vet for more information.

  24. Angella Hart on May 4, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    My dog was recently diagnosed with kidney failure. The vet still gave her a rabies vaccine as well as a DHPP Vaccine.

    Is this harmful to her when her Creatine levels are showing her in stage 4 of kidney disease?

    I did not ask for the DHPP vaccine to be given.

    • adminjr on May 5, 2015 at 8:57 am

      Angella, fire your vet. That’s really irresponsible behavior. Horrible! First, the DHPP is a puppy shot. Is your dog a puppy? I’m guessing not.

      Second, vaccines are for healthy dogs only. I dog in Stage 4 of kidney disease is not healthy.

      Third, your vet is supposed to ask for your permission to vaccinate after explaining possible bad reactions, then get your consent.

      Call the vaccine manufacturers and ask them what they think about vaccinating a dog with such health problems. Take notes. The file a complaint with your state’s veterinary board.

  25. Recommended Links - Agile Paws Dog Sports on March 10, 2015 at 8:16 am

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  26. Barbara on November 19, 2014 at 9:34 am

    I have a question – my dog is 11 and gets a rabies shot every 3 years. My town in NJ requires licensing every January and that license requires copy of a recent rabies vaccine. Every third year I have a problem, because my dog’s yearly schedule would have her getting vaccinated in September, but without the certification that she had the shot, they will not give me the license. I have fought this for many years, but they insist that giving her the rabies shot 9 months early is not a problem. I do not want to have her take any shot that is not due. My vet is non confrontational with the town, and the town officials won’t budge. Am I wrong in assuming that 3 years is 3 years to the month and not 9 months early? Is there any, even if it is small, danger in this practice? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  27. Carmen on November 17, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    What other options do I have because I don’t want to get my dogs vaccinated after reading this information.
    I know in the state I live in it’s mandatory that dogs and cats have their rabies shot ever year. Please let me know what other options I have. Thank you

    • adminjr on November 17, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      Carmen, the state law in EVERY U.S. state is revaccination every three years, except for the second vaccine. The first vaccine is given around 4 months, then the next a year later, then every three years from then on. There are only a few counties that require yearly revaccination, but those laws can be changed. Where do you live?

  28. miguel on September 16, 2014 at 7:47 am

    Hi, my little 3 year old poodle (female) was hit by a truck this past friday she survived and shes getting better each day the doctors her spine was good and she only had her left back leg wounded but it should heal in 4 to 6 weeks. I give her baby food like gerber and she eats it but she hasent pooped and its been 2 days since i brought her home from the emergency hospital is she going to be okay? And another question is she does go pee pee but her pee is brown and i think its blood is that also normal?

    • adminjr on September 16, 2014 at 8:48 am

      Miguel, it’s normal for a dog not to poop for a few days after a trauma. You might offer a little plain canned pumpkin – unsweetened.

      The pee is more concerning. If it is blood, that’s serious. I think you should contact the vet who treated her.

      Good luck,

      • miguel on September 16, 2014 at 12:44 pm

        Thanks alot .. well its not blood but it is brownish is that still okay or normal? Because she seems nornal

  29. Please need advise - Maltese Dogs Forum : Spoiled Maltese Forums on August 25, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    […] trying to decide whether or not to vaccinate. Good links about titering and length of immunity. Questions to Ask | Truth4Pets __________________ Daisy and […]

  30. Juanita Voorhees on May 29, 2014 at 8:52 am

    I bought a AKC 8 week old Pomeranian male who was given his first puppy shot a few days before getting him. I took him to the vet per the contract and I was told he needed the puppy shot again but another type that the vet used. So unknowingly I allowed this and sent my breeder a copy of the vet bill so she could see I did have him checked. She called me and was livid with my vet for doing this after being given a shot just days before. Besides finding another vet is there anything I can do? Also is there any chance he can come down with parvo?
    Thank you.

    • adminjr on May 29, 2014 at 9:51 am

      Juanita, what vaccines was your dog given both times?

  31. peter cullip on May 23, 2014 at 3:17 am

    I have inadvertently just given my cat it’s second rabies vaccination in 9 months. Is this harmful to the animal?

    • adminjr on May 23, 2014 at 6:08 am

      Peter, yes, it’s harmful. The degree of harm done varies. This is the most reactive vaccine for cats. It is not even required in many states. Check the laws for future reference.

      One of the worst things that could happen, but it probably won’t, is an injection-site tumor. The vaccine should have been, but may not have been, given in the right hip or leg. I am sorry to tell you that this is done so the leg can be cut off if a tumor develops. If it was given in the upper back, this is worse. In any event, make sure everything is posted in your dog’s veterinary file.

      The other thing to watch for is an autoimmune immune disease, although this probably won’t happen either. Allergies might. Vaccines are strong drugs.

      If it were my cat, I’d immediately contact a holistic vet. A conventional vet won’t have a clue how to help. There’s a referral list at Some consult by phone. I’d try first unless others live near you.

      You might also check out Don’t worry. Just watch the area (after you know where the shots were given.) Good luck.

  32. Zara on May 9, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Please give me an advice. We have a cat and a dog, both are 1 year old. I havn’t given them any vacination. But few days ago I saw another cat in our garden and my cat was almost fighting with him. Is it necessary to take him to a veterinarian to get a vacination?

    • adminjr on May 9, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      Zara, this is a tough question. If your cat was never vaccinated, and it made contact with another cat, there is a possibility of disease. If it was a feral (wild) cat, or suspect the cat could have been rabid, you have a big problem. This could threaten your cat and also you and your dog.

      On the other hand, there’s also a problem vaccinating as they will probably want to give a bunch of unnecessary vaccines.

      All things considered, you should probably see a vet. I’m not a vet and can’t give you advice in a situation like this.

      • Zara on May 11, 2014 at 2:22 am

        Thank you for your answer. I will take my cat to the vet tomorrow. But today I saw a poisonous snake in the garden. I brother killed it but now I am afraid for the dog. He is living outside. I think of giving him to someone else because of the snake. What should I do?

        • adminjr on May 11, 2014 at 12:31 pm

          Zara, it’s my personal opinion that all dogs should live indoors with their family. They are pack animals.

          • Bethany Utke on July 6, 2017 at 3:35 pm

            Thank you! If your idea of having a dog is to leave it outside, let the dog be with a family who will make it part of their family. You obviously love your animals, but to own one requires understanding their natural make ups. Yes. Dogs are pack animals. Bring your dog in with the pack (your family).

            • adminjr on July 7, 2017 at 10:47 am

              Bethany, I don’t know to whom you are commenting. My dogs definitely “indoor” dogs. I agree with your comment.

  33. Nancy carter on February 24, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    We have always been the ‘above and beyond’ type of pet owners that blindly took our pets in for regular check ups and vaccines. We have 3 wonderful Springer Spaniels. We live in Winston Salem, NC 1/2 a yr and Lake Hickory the other 1/2. We “had” a vet in Davie County and another in Hickory. In the beginning, we were happy, and so were they. Why not we were the Bank of Springer Spaniel, NC. Like an ATM, we went we let them stick needle after unknown needle into my babies. Over the years there were BIG hiccups, ie surgery of 1 hour going into 7 hrs, being told there was no way we had a pregnancy after a very expensive work up and CT Scan! And having puppies the next week losing 3 of the 4, being told our female was just feeling her age *after the above HARD delivery,and not checking for a pyrometra – we go back in after I diagnosed it based on online info. We rushed to the Emergency vet and she had the life saving surgery. We sponsored work ups and spaying for a pair of kittens found by a teen – we told them we would cover it and the price not only was not discounted. But she went up $75, our male being neutered at the Davies vet and she would not accept the vaccinations from Hickory, and he was reinoculated, she left after messaging us that he had a rough time and there was an issue during surgery. We rushed straight over to find him left in the care of the receptionist/tech who could answer none of our concerns. After trying to reach the vet several times, we gave up. I honestly could go on and on. LET ME SAY THAT IN THE BEGINNING WE WERE VERY HAPPY WITH BOTH THESE VETS. They took time with our babies, came in early to address what I felt sure was the beginning of bloat. (I was right.) costs were reasonable, and they seemed to care. After building bigger practices with bigger equipment and bigger budgets. A constant, more shots, more tests (including a heart worm test for the first time in years and years, lo knowing we on bought the monthly pills from them. It seems we were almost penalized for paying so quickly. The kicker a yeast infection I had treated with miconazole nitrate ( I had told her all this) was retested, scraped and we were told ” it’s probably a yeast infection, BUT because of the miconazole that it was, neg but that she felt sure it was yeast – that will be $400, please and no more heartworm preventative until we came in for another round of VACCINATIONS AND TESTS. Let me add this baby has ulcerated boils which I have treated with more success than the vet – right on that leg/hip muscle injection sites? To top it off we really really like both these vets. I think life (kids, soccer, bigger homes, bigger practices) get in the way. Ideally they would listen to my concerns at least, maybe do the blood work to see if the antibodies are still there. I believe in consistency, but I love and worry about proper treatment for my pets.

  34. andrea on February 15, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    I am very concerned about my lab in pro training for AKC Hunt Tests. In Oct, 2013, I boarded my dog with his trainer for 4 days. Of course he required a bordetella shot. At the end of Jan., 2014, 4 months later, I sent my lab off for pro training. Before my trainer leaves for training in Texas, the first of March, he would like to administer another bordetella shot for convenience rather than find a vet late March or first of April, which would technically be 6 months. I understand that my dog is living in a kennel enviro with many other dogs but I’m uncomfortable with administering the vaccine early, and really would rather he catch the “cold” if it were to happen than to vaccinate at all. I’m feeling like this is the end of Pro Training for me and my buddy, but too concerned abour the ramifications. Any comments and/or suggestions would be helpful.

    • adminjr on February 16, 2014 at 8:40 am

      Andrea, you are right to be concerned. Please read

      Remember that Bordetella does not give long-lasting protection (if any) so should be given about 2 weeks before boarding.

      Good for you for watching out for your dog. If you give the vaccine, don’t give any other vaccines or meds with it.

      • andrea on February 16, 2014 at 4:40 pm

        The website recommended was EXCELLENT. That was basically the info I needed to present to my Pro Trainer. Much thanks for the information!!

  35. Lecia on December 30, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    My 8 year old indoor cat is required by local law to get rabies vaccine annually. What risks are associated with he vaccine, and is it worth pursuing a waver? She is in excellent health, I prefer not to give her unnecessary stress and chemicals.

    • adminjr on December 31, 2013 at 10:23 am

      Lecia, yearly rabies vaccines are Draconian. Very dangerous. Are they using a recombinant vaccine that’s only good for a year? Check it out. And research VAS, Vaccine Associated Sarcoma, a very bad cancer that cats (and dogs) get from vaccination.

      Get a waiver if you can, but most vets won’t apply for a waiver unless the animal has serious health problems. And many states won’t allow them.

      Change the law. There’s lots of information on to help you. Educate yourself, line up some cat loving friends, and contact your state legislators.

  36. Gloria Sanders on December 28, 2013 at 9:05 am

    I was given a maltese approx. age 14 weeks on 9/7/13 according to the owner she had a puppie shots but would never provide me with shot records so I took her to my vet on 9/11/13 she was given a physical/DA2P-ParvoPuppy Vacc/Fecal Panel/Nemex Oral Suspension. Then on 10/2/13 she was given a One Year DA2P-Parvo Vacc/One Year Rabies Vacc/Nemex Oral Suspension/ One Year Rabies Vacc. My question when I take her back in October 2014 should I do a Titer. I know I probably have to redo the Rabies because of where I live but concerned about the other vaccines

  37. Marj on December 20, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I have rescued a lab approximately 9 months old. I know the rabies shot is mandatory. If I give her the DHPP PUPPY L4 once does she need boosters or is this one shot sufficient to protect her?

    • adminjr on December 20, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      Marj, the one shot should protect her according to Dr. Ron Schultz, the top vaccine researcher. However, why would you give her so many vaccines? Distemper and parvo are the two important vaccines. I am not a vet, but I wouldn’t give the lepto vaccine (L) unless there were a known epidemic in your area and unless the vaccine is proven to protect against local strains. This vaccine is more likely to cause an adverse reaction than any other.

      Are you sure your dog hasn’t been vaccinated? A titer test can tell you if your dog needs vaccinating now.

      Do not give the rabies vaccine at the same time as the other vaccines. Wait at least two weeks between vaccines.

  38. Kathy on December 7, 2013 at 11:23 am

    If our pets are over a year old then can we stop getting the shots except the rabies. I have all small dogs and I have always thought vaccines were not needed for the life of the dog.

  39. Reduced Vaccine Doses for Tiny Dogs: A New Study by Dr. Jean Dodds | Truth4Dogs on November 18, 2013 at 10:05 am

    […] Questions to Ask Before Vaccinating Your Dog or Cat  […]

  40. Dr Jean Dodds has agreed to do the study on vaccine dosage based on body mass!! - Page 16 - Maltese Dogs Forum : Spoiled Maltese Forums on October 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    […] I've written a Q & A to determine when dogs need vaccinating, if anyone is interested. Questions to Ask | Truth4Pets I'm so exciting this study will finally be done! __________________ Jan Rasmusen National […]

  41. Sanja P Chambers on August 7, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Hi, I would appreciate if you could give me your thoughts on my dogs’ situation which is that this year I did the titer test for both of my dogs on parvo and distemper and they came back negative.
    One dog is going to be six this year, and the other one we can only estimate and we think he is about same age. They are both on Bravo raw and honest kitchen dehydrated veggies and some supplements.
    They do not socialize with other dogs that much and when they do the other dog is vaccinated but we do live in rural NH and we walk in the woods every day.
    Would you vaccinate them?

    • adminjr on August 16, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      Sanja, unfortunately, a test can read negatively and the dog can still be protected. Has your dog ever had a positive titer?

      95% of dogs who received just one parvo or distemper vaccine after 15 weeks of age have lifelong immunity according to the top expert, Dr. Ron Schultz. Read the results of his study here:

      Both parvo and distemper are dog to dog illnesses, and mostly puppy to puppy.

      I am not a vet, but if it were my dog, I’d write Dr. Jean Dodds and ask her to read the tests. I expect she’ll do so for a small fee. She has a lab doing wonderful titer testing according to breed and is a strong opponent of over-vaccination. Contact her from and put “titer test reading” in the subject line. If that is not an option, if it were my dog, I’d presume immunity, but it’s up to you. Don’t trust anyone else to make this decision for you.

  42. Debra Daniel on February 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    I would also like to know this. It is required by law that they get these shots. will I get in trouble if I don’t get them for her? what kind of trouble could I get into? Would she end up getting rabies or distemper?

  43. Debra Daniel on February 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I live in Philadelphia. I adopted a dog from PSPCA not long ago. Her shots are due on February 25th. Rabies and distemper I think. What options do I have to get a Veterinarian that will give me the shots for my dog that doesn’t have all those harmful ingredients like aluminum and color red and monkey stuff? I want the very best for my dog, and I want to keep her healthy.

    I even have her on a vegan dog food which has enough protein. I am a vegan myself. I don’t believe in loving one animal and eating the other! I have seen how they torture animals before slaughter… thank you.

    • adminjr on February 2, 2013 at 1:01 pm

      Debra, what shots your dog needs depend on what she’s had and how old she was when she had it.

      The only legally required shot is rabies. What is necessary and when, again, depends on past shots. Let me know and I’ll try to help.

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