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A Word About the Vaccine-Safety Controversy: Veterinarians vs. breeders vs. your neighbor's cousin.

There is something of an urban legend about veterinarians and breeders being at odds when it comes to vaccination. Just the words, "My breeder said"can make many veterinarians roll their eyes before they have even heard the full story. These clashes are usually the result of miscommunication somewhere along the line.

If your breeder gives you a recommendation for or against a vaccine, don't be afraid to ask why. Nomographs (see photo lower left) are new on the scene, so your veterinarian may not have heard of them yet and will understandably be concerned about a breeder asserting that the puppy only needs two rounds of distemper/parvo vaccination rather than the traditional three-part series. If your breeder has done a nomograph, tell your veterinarian that and refer him or her to the University of Wisconsin website to assure him that this is a legitimate test done by a veterinary school. Ask the breeder for a copy for your veterinarian.

If your breeder says to not give a certain vaccine, find out why. Maybe relatives of your puppy have had a bad reaction to that vaccine, and she is concerned that your puppy is also at risk. If this is the case, discuss with your veterinarian what your puppy will be doing in her life and whether the risk of the vaccine is greater than the risk of contracting the disease.

If your breeder just gives a blanket statement along the lines of "vaccines are bad," be cautious. He or she may not fully understand how the immune system and vaccination work, and that ignorance or confusion has translated to fear.

Try to objectively evaluate your breeder's level of expertise. Is this a breeder who does health testing (such as the certifications done through the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals), can inform you of the health and history of your dog's relatives, and researches potential matches to produce the best puppies she possibly can? This breeder has probably spent some time learning about health concerns and knows a thing or two, but this does not mean that his or her knowledge supersedes that of a veterinarian. That said, the average general-practice veterinarian does not work with reproduction often and there may be things that he or she is not aware of and the breeder is.

However, if it appears the breeder chooses breeding matches more based on convenience or had an accidental litter, this breeder is less likely to fully understand how immunization works.

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Publication:Dog Watch
Date:Oct 1, 2018
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