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VLOG: Our Vaccination Protocol

VLOG: Dr. Edelle Explains Our Vaccination Protocol
Author: Dr. Megan Edelle
August 28, 2018


Text of Video:

Hey guys! Good morning. It's Dr. Edelle. I'm here with you today with my little dog Pearl. She is a 6lb Miniature Mexican hairless. We got her about eight years ago from Mt Pleasant Animal Shelter. She was a rescue from a puppy mill. Anyway, I'm here today because it is Vaccine Awareness Month. I wanted to talk to you about vaccines, vaccine reactions, especially vaccinating small dogs, and how we keep your pet safe when we vaccinate them. Especially focusing on small dogs.

First thing is, I want to go over vaccine reactions. So, there is a lot of talk out there about vaccine reactions. Number one, I want to assure you that vaccine reactions, especially severe ones, are not common at all. Mild expected vaccine reactions the day after vaccines would be: having your pet be a little bit tired, they might not want to eat, they might be feeling a little warm, some dogs will run a little bit of a fever the next day. Obviously, we want to keep your pet feeling as comfortable as they can so please let us know if this happens. But these are all expected reactions after a vaccine. A little bit more severe but still not life-threatening vaccine reactions the day of or the day after the vaccine would be vomiting and diarrhea. You definitely want to let us know if this happens. Severe vaccine reactions are akin to a person that has a bee sting allergy being stung by a bee. This is very, very uncommon but it does happen. In a handful of cases over the years, it has happened where a dog receives a vaccination and has an anaphylactic reaction. What that would look like is: your dog might look pale, they might collapse or appear very weak. This is an absolute emergency and needs to be brought back to us, or to an emergency hospital, immediately for treatment. But again, just keep in mind that these are extraordinarily rare.

If we see that your pets are having vaccine reactions to certain vaccines, we are going to do a couple of things.  Number one, we might split their vaccines so that we're only administering that vaccine with no other vaccines that day. The second thing we can do is we can pre-treat your pet. We can give them an antihistamine like Benadryl or an anti-inflammatory if they're sore, prior to their vaccination. That way, it mitigates some of the side effects that they are having. If your dog has a severe anaphylactic reaction, or the vaccine reaction seems more severe than we want to test in the future, we will opt to discontinue that vaccination.

I also want to talk to you about how we keep your pet safe while we vaccinate them. First thing, as I mentioned before, especially in the small breed dogs, we will split up vaccines. I will also do this for puppies that are having these vaccines for the first time. We're not going to administer 3-4 vaccines to your  small breed dog on the same day. The more vaccines in a single day, the more chance of a vaccine reaction. So we are going to split up your vaccines to make sure they tolerate them. And again, we might continue to split them up, especially if your dog is a small breed dog because we don't want to overload their system and cause an increased risk for vaccine reactions.

The other thing that we believe in is tailoring our vaccination program to your lifestyle. We don't believe in vaccinating every single dog with every single vaccine. We're going to have a discussion with you at your first visit as a puppy and then yearly to make sure nothing has changed. We're going to talk about your lifestyle with your pet. Where are you taking them? Are they boarding? Are they grooming? What other dogs are they interacting with? Etc. We're going to come up with a vaccine program that doesn't administer vaccines that aren't necessary for your pet. If they don't have a risk of contracting that disease than our protocol and our policy is that we don't believe in vaccinating them for that. Why would we administer something that could potentially have a reaction to a pet that doesn't have a legitimate risk of contracting that disease that we're trying to protect against. That's the second thing.

One thing I do not do, and we do not believe in is “halving” vaccines or not administering certain vaccines to certain breeds. A lot of times when we get the small breed puppies in from the breeder, the paperwork will say you know "only administer a half dose of vaccine" or "Don't administer the lyme or the leptospirosis vaccine to this puppy ever". Number one that's a myth okay? There is no such thing as a certain breed not being able to get a certain vaccine. I don't tailor my vaccine program based on the size of the dog, I tailor it based on the lifestyle of the dog. There's no such thing as a certain dog, because of its size, not being able to get a certain vaccine. The other thing I don't believe in is, again, administering these half doses of vaccines. I have Pearl who is a 6-pound dog and I also have Jellybean who is a 3-pound dog and these guys get full doses of vaccines. A lot of people ask "Why does a 5 pound dog get the same dose of vaccine as a 50 pound dog?" The answer is that the vaccine companies have done a lot of research regarding how much vaccination needs to be given to these guys in order for them to generate an appropriate immune response. What they've determined is no matter what the size of the dog, they need the same volume of vaccine. What you might be doing when you administer a half dose of vaccine is not protecting them with the vaccine you think you're protecting them with. They might not develop an adequate immunity after being vaccinated with only a half dose of the vaccine. So that's why we really strongly believe in not administering half doses of vaccines.

I hope that answers all your questions regarding vaccinations, vaccinating small dogs in particular, and vaccine reactions. If you have any other questions make sure you reach out to your doctor and let us know. Our phone number is 973-887-0522. Enjoy this beautiful weekend! Bye bye guys!

- Megan Edelle, DVM


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