September 2014 was the first time we'd ever heard the word "vaccinosis".
A phone pop-up advertising low cost dog immunity testing on Groupon resulted in a quick purchase, submitting the samples (hair and saliva) and receiving the reports that identified "triggers" for our dog's immune systems. One of our dogs had "Excessive vaccination (potential vaccinosis)" listed as "Not Ok/Overwhelming" to the immune system.
The report also listed radon, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, pesticides, and other obvious things that shouldn't be around any dog and while we took note of it, it also felt a bit like "hype". We were wrong.
If vaccinosis was such a big deal why wasn't our veterinarian, who we trusted with the lives of our fur babies, talking to us about it?
We did a little research on vaccinosis and made a note to talk to our veterinarian about it at the next appointment.
Sadly, since vaccinosis wasn't listed on the other dog's reports, we naively thought it only applied to that one dog. We didn't bring it up a few months later, when one of our dogs who didn't have vaccinosis listed in her report, received her annual vaccines per usual.
Less than 24 hours after the injection, she had a large lump at the injection site.
We rushed her to the veterinarian and was told "This is a common vaccine reaction and it will be reabsorbed".
Vaccinosis is a set of symptoms that occur after receiving a vaccine. These symptoms are more commonly referred to as adverse reactions or events occurring within minutes, days, months, or years (especially if the dog (or cat) has been repeatedly vaccinated year after year).
Janie Lerner, in her blog "Essentially Dogs" (used with Janie's permission) did a great job of outlining vaccine side effects - keep in mind these side effects may not manifest for days, weeks, or even years and every dog will react differently as their immune systems are unique to them:
We keep replaying the words "common and will be reabsorbed" in our minds.
Let's be crystal clear. The only reason the reaction we saw was "common" is because we are over-vaccinating our dogs. This type of reaction should NOT be "common"!
Within a year of that vaccine reaction, that same dog has become hypersensitive to allergies - something we blame ourselves for every day.
Do we think there is a connection? Absolutely - 100%!
We're also terrified that years from now she will develop cancer in that same location and our ignorance will cause us heartache. We've already lost one dog to cancer and that was too many.
In our next blog post, we look at titering - your new check-up!
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