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  • Current Facts on Pet Vaccines. Presented by Dr. Jean Dodds DVM.

Current Facts on Pet Vaccines. Presented by Dr. Jean Dodds DVM.

  • 15 Apr 2019
  • 1:00 PM
  • 15 Apr 2022
  • 2:00 PM
  • Live Webinar


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Modern vaccine technology has permitted us to protect companion animals effectively against serious infectious diseases. However, the challenge to produce effective and safe vaccines for the prevalent infectious diseases of animals has become increasingly difficult. In veterinary medicine, evidence implicating vaccines in triggering immune-mediated and other chronic disorders (vaccinosis) is compelling.  While some of these problems have been traced to contaminated or poorly attenuated batches of vaccine that revert to virulence, others apparently reflect the host’s genetic predisposition to react adversely upon receiving the single (monovalent) or multiple antigen “combo” (polyvalent) products given routinely to animals. Animals of certain susceptible breeds or families appear to be at increased risk for severe and lingering adverse reactions to vaccines. 

Also see www.rabieschallengefund.org, the parallel clinical research studies to determine that rabies vaccines last for at least 5 years and perhaps longer. The studies are now in year 7 and a summary of the results of the 5-year study can be found on the website.

Despite this cumulative knowledge, even today, estimates are that only about 40% of veterinarians are following the current WSAVA, AVMA, AAHA and BVA vaccine policy guidelines.   There is no such thing as an ‘up to date’ or ‘due’ vaccination. Enlightened veterinarians can now offer a package of separated vaccine components, when available, rather than give them all together, since the published data show more adverse reactions when multiple vaccines are administered at the same time.

Learning Objectives:


  1. “Core” vaccines important for puppies and kittens
  2. Other vaccines optional depending on location and lifestyle
  3. Annual boosters not required and usually unnecessary/unwise
  4. Vaccination may not equate to immunization; check serum titers to validate
  5. Long-term protection from canine distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus; feline panleukopenia
  6. Measure serum antibody (vaccine titers) instead annually or triennally
  7. Give thimerosal (mercury)-free rabies vaccines; and as late as allowed (20-24 weeks)
  8. Booster vaccinations only legally required for rabies
  9. Half-dose “core” vaccines sufficient to protect small toy dogs
  10. Recognize vaccine adverse events; genetic predisposition. Don’t breed; avoid re-vaccination

About The Presenter

Dr. W. Jean Dodds, DVM has spent 5 decades as a clinical research veterinarian.  From 1965-1986, she was a member of many national and international committees on hematology, animal models of human disease, veterinary medicine, and laboratory animal science.  Dr. Dodds was a grantee of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NIH) and has over 150 research publications. 

She started Hemopet in 1986, the first non-profit national animal blood bank.  Today, Hemopet offers a wide range of nonprofit services and educational activities. She is also Co-Trustee of the Rabies Challenge Fund, a non-profit project to assess the duration of immunity and safety of current rabies vaccines for animals.

She actively participates in the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) and the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation. She has written 2 popular award-winning pet health books together with Diana Laverdure; and holds 25 patents.

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