Medication and Vaccination

Rimadyl….NAIDS…….Glyco-Flex…..Heartguard……Advantix….. Anipryl…..  The list of medications available for your dog is lengthy.  Of course, you and your veterinarian may want to help your dog by prescribing such pills.  The question is how safe are they?

Over the past 20 years, the Senior Dogs Project has received or been made aware of reports of adverse reactions to almost every veterinary drug on the market.  In the past, we’ve posted many of these reports.  They grew so numerous, however, that we could no longer do so.  Our advice in all cases when your veterinarian prescribes medication for your dog:

(1) Discuss with your veterinarian the potential side effects versus the benefits of any drug before deciding to administer it.
(2) Request and read the package insert or consumer information sheet that should always accompany any medication that your veterinarian dispenses.
(3) When the drug has been administered, observe your dog carefully and be alert to the appearance of any of the side effects described in the insert or sheet.
(4) Report any side effects to your veterinarian immediately and get veterinary attention for your dog.
(5) Follow up with a report of the side effects to the drug’s manufacturer and to the FDA.

Questions to Ask When Your Animal Is Prescribed a Medication
Do you always understand the purpose and method of administering a medication your veterinarian prescribes for your animal? Your understanding will ensure your animal receives the maximum benefit from the medication and that, should side effects occur, you will know how to recognize them and what to do. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends you ask your veterinarian these questions.

Medication/Online Sources
Do you order your dog’s medications online? If so, read about how to do it safely.

Vaccinations — Critical Information
Because the following material is so important, it is presented in several places on the srdogs site.  Your dog’s life may depend on it.  Although research is still being done on the adverse effects of vaccinations and the obsolescence of the practice of revaccination, much anecdotal evidence has been collected to support the warnings presented here.  We advise you to avoid revaccinating your dog until you have read this material.

We were shocked to note recently that, despite a change in the law and growing evidence that annual vaccinations are not necessary, many vets refuse to give up the practice because it creates an income stream for them — despite the data showing that, in many cases, annual vaccinations can actually be detrimental to a dog’s health. We noted, in particular, this alarming incident reported by Dr. Bob Rogers, a veterinarian who has received an award for his work to educate consumers about vaccinations:

“Dr. Bob Rogers hired a Chicago based law firm and initiated a class action suit for pet owners who were not given informed consent and full disclosure prior to vaccination administration. His article entitled ‘The Courage to Embrace the Truth,’ states, ‘While attending conferences like WSVMA and NAVMC, I have asked over 400 DVMs from various parts of the country if they attended the seminars on New Vaccination Protocols. I was told by all but one, ‘I don’t care what the data says; I am not changing.’ One DVM here on VIN even said, ‘I am not changing until the AVMA makes me change.‘ ”

The growing body of evidence against annual vaccination is being collected by two world-renowned giants of veterinary vaccine research — Dr. W. Jean Dodds of Hemopet and Co-Trustee of The Rabies Challenge Fund and Dr. Ronald Schultz of the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. These veterinarians have been volunteering their time over the course of many years to ensure that critical 5- and 7-year rabies challenge studies are conducted in the United States. The studies are being financed by The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust, a tax-exempt organization founded by pet vaccine disclosure advocate Kris L. Christine of Maine in 2005.  Kennel clubs and private individuals are donating to support the research.

Dr. John Robb, a veterinarian and founder of, is a leader in the field of the responsible administration of vaccinations.   Through the directions he provides, you can obtain titers for your dog at a reasonable cost.  He is a proponent of appropriate dosing of vaccinations, noting that a small dog should not receive the same amount of vaccine as a large dog, and observing that the reason small dogs often have more severe negative reactions to vaccines could clearly be correlated with the dose they receive.

Effectiveness of Rabies and Other Vaccinations May Last Much Longer than Assumed….Annual Boosters May Do More Harm than Good
Due to the incidence of illnesses in companion animals that have been linked to vaccinations, the practice of giving annual vaccinations began to come into question many years ago. A protocol from Colorado State University, which is based on solid scientific research, advised some time ago that vaccinations be given only every three years (except rabies, which depends on state laws). A quote from the protocol: “We are making this change after years of concern about the lack of scientific evidence to support the current practice of annual vaccination and the increasing documentation that over-vaccinating has been associated with harmful side effects. Of particular note in this regard has been the association of autoimmune hemolytic anemia with vaccination in dogs and vaccine-associated sarcomas in cats — both of which are often fatal.”

Most recently, the research indicates that dogs over 10 or 12 years of age should not be vaccinated because their immune system can be compromised, and also, by the time they are that age, they have received adequate protection.  If a state mandates by law that every dog be vaccinated against rabies, then it is possible to limit vaccinating older dogs to once every three years. This means, in many cases, that a dog over the age of 7 years should NOT be given any type of vaccination or revaccination. 

The vaccine package should carry the warning that it is to be administered only to healthy animals. Thus, if your dog has a systemic ailment or disease (e.g., cancer), your dog SHOULD NOT receive any vaccination at all. In some states, you can have your dog exempted even from rabies vaccinations by obtaining a letter from your veterinarian stating that your dog’s health does not allow it.

Another extremely important precaution to take:   a rabies shot should not be given at the same time as any other vaccinations. 

Also important to note is that small dogs (under 20 lbs.) are generally more prone to adverse reactions to vaccinations.    One of the reasons may be that the same dose is given to dogs of all sizes.

Antibody titres — blood tests that detect the presence of antibodies to diseases — can be performed to determine antibody levels. However, a low level of antibody does not necessarily mean that the dog is not protected. Another problem with titres is that different labs have been known to report radically different results when testing the same blood specimen. Read further information about titering…..

We all want our pets to be safe from infections and potentially fatal diseases. However, yearly vaccinations as recommended by vaccine manufacturers are not based on any studies showing their necessity.  In fact, as the Rabies Challenge Fund research and other studies noted in this article show, an animal’s immunity to disease is NOT enhanced by re-vaccination and, given that all vaccinations have the potential for side-effects, can actually be harmful to an animal. Read more about vaccinations and their potential harmful effects at Lifelong Immunity and also at Rabies Challenge Fund.


More information on how to safely vaccinate (or avoid revaccination) at:

Rabies Vaccination: 12 Ways to Vaccinate More Safely

Vaccinating Small Dogs: Risks Vets Aren’t Revealing