PetCorps Pawdcast Episode 4: The Dangers of Over-Vaccination with Dr. John Robb


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Episode 4 Show Notes

Dr. John Robb is the veterinarian behind Protect the Pets, an organization whose mission is protecting pets from unnecessary vaccination. According to Dr. Robb, “The purpose of vaccination is to produce immunity. Once those antibodies have been established, then they would neutralize the virus if it came into that pet or a human being.” Dr. Robb continued, “We can measure those antibodies with a simple blood test called a titer. Once you have established immunity by checking a titer and finding those circulating antibodies, to give another vaccine doesn’t make the pet any more immune…But vaccines, of course, can have adverse events so you’re putting the pet at risk for no reason. That’s over-vaccination.”

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What is over-vaccination?

Simply stated, over-vaccination is giving pets additional vaccines after they have already established immunity. It is also giving a smaller animal more vaccine than is necessary to establish immunity.

What are some problems over-vaccination can cause in pets?

Some pets may experience the following problems when over-vaccinated:

  • Serum sickness
  • Cancer at the injection site
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Swelling in the brain
  • Behavior changes
  • Seizures
  • Dementia
  • Anaphylaxis leading to death

Why do you think vaccine reactions are down-played in traditional veterinary practice?

“It’s down-played for a variety of reasons,” Dr. Robb said. “It started out where they didn’t really know all of the adverse effects of vaccines.” While anaphylaxis is an easily observed effect of vaccination, some effects might be delayed over a couple of hours, days, or even weeks.

In addition to not knowing all of the adverse effects, Dr. Robb suspects that the high-profit potential of vaccines is another reason that traditional veterinary practice doesn’t talk about vaccine reactions.

“It’s denial,” Dr. Robb said. “Because money is being made.”

Are there other veterinarians that are joining with you to protect the pets?

“I believe that we are all accountable one day for the lies that we tell,” Dr. Robb said. He said his fight is a spiritual fight. “I have to do the right thing. And the right thing is to be right with God.”

“I don’t think I have met any [other veterinarians] who have the faith that I do,” Dr. Robb said. “I have vets who believe in what we’re doing…but they won’t say it in a public forum where they could get in trouble.”

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Is it time to vaccinate your pets again?

Before you make an appointment to vaccinate your pets, request a titer from Protect the Pets.

A titer is a simple blood test that measures your pet’s antibody levels. A titer can tell you if your dog or cat is immune to diseases such as rabies.

As long as they’re immune, there’s no reason to re-vaccinate.

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Is there something that can be done to minimize the risk of a vaccine reaction?

“There’s really not,” Dr. Robb said. “What I mean by that is: certainly, if you have a four-pound dog, lowering the volume and giving an appropriate dose will minimize the risk.”

Administering steroids and benadryl before or after vaccination is pointless. The vaccine is intended to produce a response. Steroids and benadryl stop the immune system from producing a response.

Dr. Robb explained, “It’s like if I were to pump up a tire in a car and stick a nail in it to let the air out.”

Pets that have a vaccine reaction, react because they are over-dosed. Lower the volume and don’t over-dose them.

What is a titer?

Titer stands for titration. Titration is another word for dilution. After a blood sample is spun down in a serum separator tube, the red and white blood cells go to the bottom and the serum goes to the top. The blood serum contains the antibodies. If you take a sample of the serum and mix it with rabies virus, if there antibodies against rabies, the antibodies will immediately neutralize the virus. If you dilute the serum sample in half, and mix the rabies virus with the 1:2 diluted serum sample, the antibodies will again neutralize the virus. This is done again and again at a 1:4, 1:8, 1:16, and so on, until the serum no longer neutralizes the virus.

“The higher the titer the more antibodies,” Dr. Robb said, “but if we can measure any antibodies at all, that’s enough to neutralize the virus.”

“What’s the lowest measurable antibody level for rabies? 0.1 IU/mL.”

How often should a titer be drawn?

“The current study that Dr. Shultz is doing,” Dr. Robb said, “the Rabies Challenge Fund…He’s made it clear to me that…it’s up to 5 to 6 years minimum, that a titer will hold.”

Dr. Robb explained that when he first draws a titer, he makes it good for 3 years. After that, he recommends a yearly titer. “If the titer is very high,” he added, “you probably don’t need to check as often.”

How can pet owners order a titer if their vet doesn’t supply it?

Visit and fill out the form to request a titer. The cost is $50.

To learn more about Dr. Robb, connect with him on his Facebook page.

12 episodes available. A new episode about every 13 days averaging 26 mins duration .