Vaccines were first introduced for use in humans more than two centuries ago and are now an accepted part of disease protection. They have saved many lives and new ones are being introduced even today. Vaccines are also a protection from disease in pets, including dogs, and save many lives that would be lost without them. However every positive has a negative side and we have addressed those negatives in other articles on this web site.
To put this into perspective, think about salt and sugar. Can you imagine how bland food must have been before their usefulness was discovered? Both these additives were so precious a couple of centuries ago that they were kept under lock and key and only the head of the household was allowed to disperse them. Today they are freely available and freely utilized. The negative side of this is that we now see obesity, diabetes, hypertension and other health issues that are exacerbated by the liberal use of sugar and salt. We have overdone a good thing!
Now you need to realize that recent research has proven that we are overdoing the use of vaccines, not so much in the initial dosage but in the use of boosters. At one time, all boosters were given annually. We no longer recommend that because we are seeing evidence of an increase in diseases that overtake our dogs due to weakened immunity. This is discussed elsewhere but we want to remind you to read everything available in order to be an advocate for your dog(s).
The best research and the most extensive has been done (and continues) under the direction of veterinarians Dr. W. Jean Dodds and Dr. Ron Schultz, with resulting changes in the protocols (recommended scheduling) of vaccine administration. We urge you to print out copies of these recommendations and take them with you for your veterinarian to read, just in case they have not yet reached that particular veterinary clinic.
You will find links to two protocols below. One comes from the veterinary association and the other directly from Dr. Dodds. Many breeders find these protocols preferable to others that may continue to use vaccines that are not useful, give boosters too frequently and give them in unsafe combination. These protocols include the option for titers in place of boosters so that you know that protection is still at a safe level. Less is best once initial protection is given. We cannot emphasize enough that rabies must be given separately from the combination shot! Stress to the immune system is explained in other articles on this web site.
Be an advocate for your Bichon! Just because you receive a card in the mail from your veterinarian's office indicating that your dog is due for vaccinations, do not assume that information is correct. Keep your own records of your dogís vaccinations and do not allow your veterinarian to give unnecessary vaccines that may be harmful to your dog. The decision is yours.
Dr. Jean Doddís vaccination protocol
AAHA Canine Vaccine Guidelines
Dr. Ron Schultzís vaccination article