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Vaccinations After a Dog or Cat Cancer Diagnosis

If your Tripawd dog or cat was diagnosed with osteosarcoma or another cancer, at some point you may be confronted with the vaccination decision:

Is it safe to vaccinate my Tripawd
after a cancer diagnosis?

It’s common for veterinarians to recommend routine vaccinations for dogs and cats with cancer, but over the last few years we’ve learned that vaccinations should not be given to animals with compromised immune systems.

As the Dog Cancer Vet Dr. Dressler stated in his blog post “Vaccination and Dog Cancer,”

For those who want the bottom line now: No vaccinations for dogs with cancer. None. Vaccinations have complex interactions with the immune system and these are not predictable and can be harmful in dogs with cancer.  Use the minimum vaccinations for your pet’s lifestyle, needs, and other health issues. . . But don’t eliminate all vaccinations in healthy pets.”

Some oncologists recommend taking a more conservative approach. According to Lili Duda, VMD, Section Editor of the excellent pet cancer website OncoLink

AS A GENERAL GUIDELINE ONLY, most vaccinations probably provide immunity for much longer than the 1 year currently suggested by vaccine manufacturers, and most adult dogs will have adequate immunity if they have been vaccinated within the past three years. Every dog should be evaluated as an individual based on his risk, potential exposure to disease, and general health.

To help you weigh the pros and cons of the vaccination decision, one of our favorite holistic veterinary practitioners, Gina Snow, has written an informative blog post about how vaccines work, when they should be given and why she feels they should not be given to dogs and cats with cancer.

Why a sick pet should not be vaccinated

So, from the brief information above, you can see that the immune system is very busy if it is reacting to any type of invader or infectious organisms. This could be a vaccine, a bacterial ear infection, a urinary tract infection, autoimmune disease like lupus or an immune disaster such as cancer. If a vaccine is given when the system is already working hard it makes sense that this would be potentially harmful. Best case scenario is that the immune system steps up and deals with both the vaccine and the illness. Worst case is the immune system “breaks” and you either have improper healing of disease or improper immunity with the injected vaccine. Common sense tells us that vaccinating while a pet is already sick is not good or proper medicine. Even the vaccine manufactures tell us this on each and every package insert.

Read more in Gina’s blog, “Vaccines; How they work and when they should not be given.”

As with most decisions you’ll make on the cancer journey, you need to weigh the pros and cons for every choice you are given. One way you can feel more confident doing so is by learning how to become a better advocate for your dog or cat. A great place to discuss your health dilemmas is with your veterinarian and in the Tripawds Discussion Forums. See you there!

Recommended Reading

Rabies Vaccination Waiver for Cancer Dogs
Boost your dog’s immune system with K9 Immunity
Life Gold Pet Cancer Support Supplement Boosts Immune Systems
Health Concerns Power Mushrooms Testimonials

The Nature of Animal Healing : The Definitive Holistic Medicine Guide to Caring for Your Dog and Cat

4 thoughts on “Vaccinations After a Dog or Cat Cancer Diagnosis”

  1. Great blog post. I know this is a major discussion. Glad Sassy’s vet & Oncologists said no to vacinations. We never got to discuss the rabies as Sassy’s wasn’t due until December and she crossed the Bridge in August.

  2. Shelby’s vets also didn’t fight us when it came time for vaccinations and all the paperwork we received initially from the oncologist said NO to vaccinations. Shelby is due for all right now but has been granted an exemption for the near future. We are very lucky that this was an easy conversation to have but I would have fought for no shots if I had to!

  3. My Lexi is just shy of 6 yrs remission from multi centric lymphoma and never had vacinnes again after chemo. We travel a lot so our vet has given paperwork to support the reasons why she doesn’t get them and no one has ever questioned it. We also run a training and boarding facility and just make sure all the incoming dogs are fully vaccinated so she can be around them.


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