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Just been turned down by a rescue centre, need some advice.

(34 Posts)
Callisto Wed 09-Jan-13 12:16:22

Hi everyone,

I'm currently after a recue terrier/toy/cross breed puppy to go with my existing jrt and rescue greyhound, and this morning I found what looked like the perfect pup who was within an hours drive and filled out an application form.

One of the questions was whether my current dogs are innoculated. I wrote that they had been as pups (the jrt certainly, I assume the greyhound as she is an ex-racer) but that I don't keep up with jabs as my dogs are never kenneled and I don't see the need. I have read a bit around this subject and it is a decision I have made, rather than a can't be arsed/afford the vet bill thing.

The rescue rang me and told me everything was fine apart from the lack of innoculations. The lady told me they wouldn't home with me because of the risk the pup posed to my other dogs and that as I didn't get mine done I would be unlikely to keep up with the pups jabs. Fair enough, though very disappointed.

Anyway, I wasn't asked about innoculations when I homed my first mongrel rescue, my first greyhound (both now dead) or my current greyhound. I'm wondering if this is going to be a problem with other rescue centres? It isn't a question that has come up in the other couple of applications that I have filled in.

OwlLady Wed 09-Jan-13 12:45:19

to be honest callisto when I started looking at getting another I felt it was best to re vaccinate my other dog. I never kennel her either and I had got out of the habit of doing it but my friend is a vet and she said parvo is really increasing and it was most probably a good idea to either test her immunity or get her re done. I decided to get her re done. I don't think i would have forgiven myself if I had reintroduced a new dog that passed on something to the other dog that killed it (because lets face it, it's what could happen)

OwlLady Wed 09-Jan-13 12:46:23

my post is purely personal callisto, I pass no judgement on what you do or don't decide to do. One of my friends shows her dogs and they aren't re vaccinated every year, sje just gets their imminty checked

MrsZoidberg Wed 09-Jan-13 12:53:57

Watching with interest. Mine aren't up to date but they only go on our land. There areno other dogs who use our land, but we do have wildlife traipsing through including foxes.

Cuebill Wed 09-Jan-13 14:49:55

It is your choice whether to vaccinate or not however no good rescue will rehome to a house that chooses to ignore the vaccination issue.

You do not have to vaccinate your dogs but you must then titre test your dogs to ensure that they do have protection from the illnesses that you vaccinate against.

Saying that you will still have to vaccinate yearly against Leptospirosis as the vaccine only protects for one year.

There is a lot of point in making sure your dogs are protected either by vaccine or titre testing - all dogs are at risk not just kennelled dogs whether they go on public land or not.

Many of the diseases can be carried on humans shoes, car tyres, wildlife etc. So your dogs are only safe with vaccinations or up to date titre testing.

Scuttlebutter Wed 09-Jan-13 14:51:08

I know many dog owners who don't agree with the need for yearly vaccinations (I'm not one of them, BTW). However, all who take this step continue to do regular immunity testing with their vets (known as titre testing) and in general are dealing with healthy adult dogs, not puppies. In any case, even those owners who reduce the need for vaccination rarely are able to justify lifelong abstention.

We vaccinate every year because we foster, we do transport runs, we use kennels, and because to me it is a simple, easy prophylactic whose benefits outweigh the risks, along with regular worming, flea and tick control. Also, our dogs are very social - we attend many events such as greyhound playgroups, regular organised walks, shows, etc.

Like OwlLady, I am really trying not to be judgemental. All I'll say is that I am old enough to remember the swathes of ill and dead puppies caused by Parvo back in the 80s. Sadly, it is back on the rise. Issues of herd immunity are just as important for dogs as they are for people.

I'd also say that even if you don't expect to use a kennel for holidays, family emergencies and illnesses are never planned and can make alternative care arrangements for your dogs suddenly very necessary. Having dogs who are vaccinated or have a known immune status makes that much simpler whether they are going for kennel care or are heading for emergency foster.

For a perspective from the BSAVA - click here to read their very useful summary of their policy, reasons, and links.

Finally, from a rescue perspective. Nearly every dog that is surrendered is not vaccinated (the exceptions are elderly people parted from pets because of ill health or care home), despite their owners protestations that they are a much loved family pet who has been taken care of. Vax and worming are basics for responsible pet ownership (like going to training classes, wearing ID, etc). Their absence is a red flag for rescues as a marker for an owner that may lead a chaotic lifestyle, may be unable to afford the financial aspects of pet ownership, or may not be willing to invest in preventive health care. You will almost certainly not fall into any of these categories but be aware that rescues see not only far too many dogs with parvo, worms and other preventable health issues but routinely hear many different stories to justify the absence of care. If you could show that you were regularly doing immunity testing then I think the rescue's stance might be different.

MrsZoidberg Wed 09-Jan-13 16:40:49

Just playing Devil's Advocate here - I was immunised against several dieases as a child - and I've lived a lot longer than the oldest dog - and yet mine do not need to be repeated at all, let alone yearly.

I think if pet immunisations were the same, then the majority of dogs would be immunised and things like Parvo would be irradicated.

Until that time, my guys will be vaccinated, I'm just a bit behind - one of mine goes into meltdown if taken out of his "safe" environment, but he is the youngest and hence the one with the least immunity built up, so little choice but to put him through it. This is why I was interested in other's viewpoints. I'm assuming Titre testing is via bloodwork rather than saliva/urine - so testing him is just as bad.

OP, can I ask why you made this decision?

Dogsmom Wed 09-Jan-13 16:52:33

Hi Callisto,

In answer to your question it's not something I have been asked and have taken on two rescues from different places and have dogs at home who like yours have only had the puppy vacs.

Have a look on websites like epups and preloved, there are often people looking for forever homes for their dogs who they can no longer keep for whatever reason but want to rehome them themselves and know where they go other than handing them into a resuce centre where they may be for months or worse still put to sleep.

Paddlinglikehell Wed 09-Jan-13 17:49:50

Can I just say that my puppy is in the vets this very minute, fighting for his life, because someone has not vaccinated their dog against Parvovirus. He was handed into the rescue at 10 weeks, having no vaccinations.

By not vaccinating, you are relying on those of us that do, to protect your dog.

Parvovirus is on the increase, you only have to look at the Parvoalert Facebook page to see just some of the areas that parvo. Is present in at the moment.

I have been reading a lot about the spread of this horrid and preventable virus and it is extremely easy to spread, on shoes, dogs feet, hair etc. it is also a very robust virus and will live up to a year in infected soil.

Look at my profile, look at my puppy, picture him now on a drip, being fed through a tube in his stomach and tell me honestly that vaccination is not worth it.

A preventable virus, so unnecessary any dog should suffer from it.

OwlLady Wed 09-Jan-13 17:56:35


I hope you puppy pulls through paddling x

Scuttlebutter Wed 09-Jan-13 18:49:13

I would never recommend getting a dog through Preloved or epupz, and no reputable owner would ever home a dog that way. Dogs are often given away on those sites and are used for breeding, as bait for fighting dogs and all manner of horrible things. In addition if you take a dog from one of these people, no matter how good your intentions, you have no guarantees of the dog's behaviour, and you will not have the lifelong backup of a rescue should anything go wrong or you need help in the future. Yes, of course you can circumvent rescue homing policies, but then you would need to ask why you need to do that.

Any reputable rescue will make their policy on euthanasia very clear (pounds are a very different matter), and the vast majority are no -kill (except the RSPCA, who kill a huge number) and many rescues do not even use kennels at all, preferring to have an all foster home approach. This ensures a high standard of dog welfare and that the dog can be thoroughly assessed before homing. A few minutes spent on basic research on Google can verify this for any rescue.

Paddling I am desperately sorry to hear about your pup. Wishing you both all the very best and hoping for recovery.

OwlLady Wed 09-Jan-13 18:55:14

the amount of chickens that come up to rehome in the holiday season as well where people advertise 'going away next week so need rid as quick as possible'

it makes me feel a bit sick sad

(I only know this as I was looking for a spare coop!)

OwlLady Wed 09-Jan-13 18:56:03

sorry my post was about preloved <rattles onblush>

wizzler Wed 09-Jan-13 20:22:36

Best wishes Paddling he is cute as a button

Callisto Thu 10-Jan-13 12:32:34

I'm dealing with another rescue that has a pup I am interested in and the question has not come up. They are coming out to home check in the next day or so, so it may or may not come up then.

TBH if I was going to circumvent rescue policies it would be just as cheap to buy a pup, and while I realise there are an awful lot of bad owners out there, I also think that making the adoption process too hard and inflexible will just put people off (just as adopting a human baby or child is incredibly difficult so lots of people take the marginally easier route of going abroad to adopt or jus don't bother).

However, I will take on board everything, especially the parvo threat which I wasn't aware of and take them in for an immunity blood test.

Thanks for the link Scuttle, I will read with interest. I do feel though, that vets have a vested interest in pushing treatments of any kind.

Callisto Thu 10-Jan-13 12:46:58

Here is the other side of the argument on whether dogs should have annual boosters:

D0oinMeCleanin Thu 10-Jan-13 12:57:52

I actually wrote an essay on this not long ago, as I am sure Cuebill did once and there is some evidence that says after the first lot of boosters and the first booster, dogs are protected from most (not all) diseases for up to six years.

I don't personally get mine done every year, unless they are in kennels but I do get them done every other year and I do keep an eye out for outbreaks in my area, if they'd skipped a vax and there was an outbreak they'd be done straight away.

I've seen one dog die of parvo and another who still suffers the effects two years on, although was lucky enough to survive. It is not something I want my dogs to ever suffer. The one who had survived was up to date with all vaccinations, but vaccinations, do not prevent the dog getting the disease, it merely makes it less serious. With puppies even a less serious bout of parvo could still kill them very rapidly.

If I was looking at getting a puppy I'd have them all done. Puppies are so fragile, it's just not worth the risk. Whilst there is some evidence that vaccinations may last up to six years, there is no evidence that over vaccinating can harm a dog. I read that article while I was researching and found absolutely no proper scientific studies that backed it up.

mistlethrush Thu 10-Jan-13 13:09:25

Our last dog never went into kennels - so we never needed her vacination certificate (indeed, we mainly managed to forget to take it to the vets to be updated). However, we did get the dog vaccinated every year. On one of her annual visits, the vet found a lump that we hadn't done - and that was removed before it became problematical or a bigger procedure. Our next door neighbour in our last house in the same City had a dog that died from Parvo - it went from well to dead in less than a week and was fully grown.

Paddling - I hope your puppy pulls through.

Callisto Thu 10-Jan-13 13:16:46

I don't want to get into a discussion here particularly, but I don't think that you can sweepingly discount that over-vaccinating can harm a dog. There is a lot of concern over this in the US and growing awareness and concern in the UK, and the concern is from vets, not just owners with an axe to grind. I linked to this article because it is a good and easy to understand summation of why yearly boosters are probably not necessary.

Still, I think you are probably right re: vaccinating my dogs before the pup arrives.

D0oinMeCleanin Thu 10-Jan-13 13:22:19

the one we had die from it went from well to dead in less than 48 hours sad

My dad took it in from the pound after a friend of his found it and handed it over and then begged my dad to help after realising how bad pounds are.

I went to see her the second night they had her home because she was being sick and seemed a bit lethargic (they were skint and hadn't set up insurance yet angry so called me and my credit card to see if she needed OOH vet) she was drinking water and ate some treats, although seemed a bit groggy, but we really didn't know her very well, so didn't really get just how ill she was, because she was still drinking and eating and managing to keep down some fluids we decided she would be okay to be left until the morning. I was due to go back round first thing the next morning to take her.

My Dad rang me in a panic at 4am to say she had taken a massive turn for the worse and would I meet him at the vet. She died en route sad He lived just five minutes away from the vet. He'd stayed up with her all night and said it was like a light went out. She had been licking water off his hand and wagging her tail one minute and then suddenly laid down, sighed and went limp. She didn't stand a chance poor dog. By the time he got home, his own puppy, who had perfectly fine when he set off to the vet, was seriously ill. He'd literally been gone half an hour. Luckily his pup survived but he's never been the same since.

I still feel for the dog who died and still wish I had insisted on taking her to the OOH vet earlier, although the vet says if she hadn't been vaccinated the chances are she wouldn't have survived anyway. She left a great legacy because she sparked a very keen interest in rescuing dogs in my Dad. His puppy now has four rescued play mates smile

Not vaccinating is just not worth the risk. Ever.

D0oinMeCleanin Thu 10-Jan-13 13:30:00

I'm not sweepingly discounting the risks of over vaccinating. As I said I had to do a lot of research into vaccinations a few months ago. After reading the article you linked I looked for evidence to back it up on a scientific data base.

Although some scientists theorise that over vaccination can weaken the dogs natural immunity there has never been any conclusive, clinical evidence found to support this theory.

There is evidence that vaccination protection lasts longer than a year for some diseases, but not all, there is no evidence that they cause harm.

I am basing my opinion on comprehensive research and scientific studies, as opposed to a magazine article. I would link to the studies but you have to pay for access to the database. I might be able to download PDF copies, if you want me to email them to you? PM me if so.

Marne Thu 10-Jan-13 13:42:36

We are rescuing a pup on monday, i was a little worried as the rescue are doing a vet check rather than a home visit (due to the rescue being quite far away), my dog is not up to date with her boosters as the vet told me after the 2md or 3rd booster there is no need for anymore unless they need a passport or are going to kennels so we have never bothered, i told the rescue this and they seemed ok about it, if they do want me to get it done i am happy too though.

Paddlinglikehell Thu 10-Jan-13 16:33:49

Marne, can I suggest before you get your puppy, you get your dog tested.

I didn't realise that Parvo was so on the increase, luckily our existing dog is vaccinated, although should have been redone before Christmas, but the vet said that was ok.

You would never forgive yourself if your dog died because of something the puppy bought in, remember, your puppy may have only to have been in contact with the parvo virus before you bring him home, it adheres itself to hair, pads, utensils etc. dogs can be carrying and passing on the virus up to 10 days prior to any symptoms showing. They can also,do the same after recovery, for up,to 14 days. Your own dog is at risk. Check out the parvo alert Facebook page to see if parvo is in the area that your pup is coming from.

Our puppy is still with us, the vet said he has eaten a little on his own today, so no longer tube feeding. Still on a drip and not out of the woods yet.

Scuttlebutter Thu 10-Jan-13 17:14:23

Parvo is widespread in ROI and in many overseas countries, so is a risk when rescues bring in dogs from these countries and mix them with UK based dogs, as well as the risk caused by unvaccinated dogs, and the longevity of the virus in the environment.

Our local pound has had an outbreak recently (we are in S Wales) and have heard of a number of other cases.

Marne, many rescues use a network of volunteers to do homechecks/transport runs/dog assessments - for instance, this is something both Dooin and I do. We all are happy to do these for other rescues in our own area, precisely to avoid the problem you are facing. I'd be very worried about a rescue that didn't do a thorough homecheck. A vet check is no substitute. These days, with easy IT links, it is very easy for a charity in Scotland to arrange a homecheck in Cornwall. I homecheck and transport regularly for charities who are based in England. If you'd like to PM me the name of the rescue, I'd willingly get in touch with them to let them know of the various FB groups, forums etc that could help them.

For a puppy, I really think vaccination is essential and testing for your adult dogs. Can't imagine how upset your DC would be if their new pup was to be ill.

Callisto, I don't think anyone has "sweepingly" discounted anything. The link I posted to actually gives quite a nuanced discussion (backed up by plenty of referenced papers) on the issues, and doesn't give an ALL VAX GOOD message at all. It acknowledges the need for further research, recognises this is a changing picture and discusses the issues for different diseases. It aslo emphasises the need for discussion with clients. Hardly the evil agents of big pharma. I'm genuinely sorry that your opinion of vets is so low that you think they are "pushing" vaccinations as a money earner. I am not saying vets are perfect, but I've personally seen countless examples where rescue bills are "forgotten", considerably reduced or extra time given for payments. For instance, one of the charities I volunteer for recently had a lurcher. Victim of a bad RTA with a broken leg - awkward break which needed complex surgery and a great deal of after care. A local vet surgery saw the FB appeal for help, came forward and took on the care of the dog for free (care worth thousands, I'd add). I could list many more examples, including the care of wild animals (my parents are/were badger activists and see a lot of injured badgers as a result of RTAs etc). As others have said, the annual vaccination visit is also an ideal opportunity for a check up. Like most people I go for a regular check up with my dentist. Most of the time, there's nothing to find, and not much for him to do, but I don't regard it as a waste of money.

JustFabulous Thu 10-Jan-13 17:27:29


I think I have a crush on your dad blush.

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