DEAR DR. FOX: Do you recommend continuing with regular vaccinations for an 8-year-old terrier/Chihuahua mix with a history of internal bleeding, possibly stemming from an autoimmune disease? The dog hasn’t shown any symptoms of internal bleeding for several years, and I was wondering if it’s safe to vaccinate her. -- G.P., Arlington, Virginia
DEAR G.P.: I do not advise vaccinating older dogs who have had the usual spectrum of vaccines earlier in life. The vaccines should not be needed.
Booster vaccinations are risky. If there is any doubt, it’s best to have blood titers taken to determine immunity status and risk of exposure to infective dogs. Anti-rabies vaccination is mandated under the law, however. For basic vaccination protocols for dogs, see the related article on my website at drfoxvet.net.
DEAR DR. FOX: I am from Mumbai, India. I am unable to decide if I should I vaccinate my 3-month-old puppy or not. I had a bad experience with my previous dog.
There are abundant stray dogs in my city, and they get diseases sometimes. The vet recommended me the following vaccination schedule: 7-in-1, then 9-in-1, then 9-in-1 and anti-rabies -- all at one-month intervals.
I asked many vets. There is no holistic vet near me, no monovalent vaccines and no homeopathic vaccines.
I am scared to give her combination vaccines. What should I do? -- M.R., Mumbai, India
DEAR M.R.: Dr. M. Sugumaran with Prakriti Save Nature Trust in Tamil Nadu, India, can best advise you as to the best vaccinations available in India for your dog.
The schedule of vaccinations proposed by the veterinarian with whom you consulted is absurd: literally carpet-bombing your pup’s immune system with probable long-term impairment of the immune system. Such short intervals of vaccination, with so many combined vaccines, is malpractice -- albeit highly profitable.
Dr. Sugumaran will provide you, via email, the best protocol to follow. And follow the rule of separating the anti-rabies vaccination from other combined vaccines by four to six weeks.
The misuse of vaccines, along with antibiotics, in animals and humans is cause for concern in many countries, India being no exception. For more documentation of these issues and animal health and welfare concerns in India, see the book written by myself and my wife, Deanna Krantz, “India’s Animals: Helping the Sacred and the Suffering.”
BREED DOGS WHO CAN BREATHE NORMALLY
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is taking the initiative, long overdue, to encourage conversations among prospective puppy purchasers, breeders and veterinarians on the horrendous issue of the deliberate breeding of flat-faced dogs like American and French bulldogs. Boxers and pugs can also have great difficulty breathing because of this genetic facial deformity.
Many see these dogs’ flattened, short- or no-muzzle faces, with their protruding eyes, as cute and appealing. Advertisers of various products often use such animals as appealing props. When they snore and gag while resting, people think it’s funny. But this deformity, called brachycephaly, is associated with multiple health problems and poor quality of life, along with limited exercise tolerance.
To help get the word out, the BVA has produced a shareable video, available on its YouTube channel, tagged with #BreedtoBreathe.
Breed clubs of these deformed breeds in the U.S., along with the American Kennel Club, need to be more engaged on this issue. They can advocate to change breed standards to reduce the severity of this condition; discourage advertisers using such dogs in the media; and encourage the owners of such dogs to have regular veterinary health evaluations, and corrective surgery as needed, for their afflicted animals. In addition, they should cease breeding these dogs.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxVet.net.)