You've done your homework and chosen a breeder who health tests both parents, temperament tests, and provides early curriculum and enrichment activities for the first 8 -12 weeks of your puppies life. You're off to a great start. Now it's time to find the right veterinarian!
Integrative Veterinary medicine combines conventional and holistic approaches to health - resulting in a vet that looks at the WHOLE animal, their lifestyle, their diet, environment, exposure to toxins etc. when coming up with a health plan for your puppy.
Vets that promote titer tester before re-vaccination have your puppy's best interest at heart. We believe in vaccinating our puppies with the core vaccines (+ Lymes if you're on Long Island or "upstate" NY). Conventional Vets generally do not titer test before re-vaccinating your dog. Titer tests measure your dog's immune response. In most cases, your dog's first set of shots will provide upwards of 5 years of immunity, often lifelong immunity. While vaccines ARE necessary, re-vaccinating an already immunized dog is neither necessary or healthy for your puppy.
We absolutely believe that our dogs need to be sterilized to prevent overpopulation. Shelters are full of dogs that have not been spayed or neutered and most have behavioral issues because they were raised in a puppy mill or by a back yard breeder with no knowledge of k9 development, enrichment, curriculum or training. (Many behavior problems can be PREVENTED in the first 12 weeks of your puppy's life).
Early Spay & Neuter was a natural, albeit detrimental, solution to the problem facing our shelters. Well meaning vets and k9 professionals had NO IDEA that sterilizing a puppy at 8 weeks of age would have LIFE LONG consequences. Recent studies have shown that dogs that were spayed or neutered before the age of 6 months have higher incidences of obesity, diabetes, osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, prostatic adenocarcinoma, transitional cell carcinoma, urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, autoimmune thyroiditis, hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, cancer, Cushing's disease, adrenal issues, endocrine disease, heart tumors...and the list is growing. Delaying sterilization until your puppy has reached sexual maturity will result in a healthier dog, and a longer lifespan.
As a result of these findings, vets are learning new methods of sterilization that preserve the sex producing hormones NEEDED by your dog's body to function properly. Unfortunately, it will probably be another 10 years before these procedures are practiced in every office.
Directory of Veterinarians practicing sex hormone sparing sterilization:
Directory of Integrative and Holistic Veterinarians:
Dr. Karen Becker - an expert in canine longevity, discusses the genesis of her research in the effects of early spay and neuter in our companion animals.
A history on vaccines, their efficacy (more effective than we think!), and an intro to the importance of titer testing.
It's important to space out your dog's vaccinations. JUST IN CASE they do have an adverse reaction, we want to know exactly which vaccine they reacted to so we can create a health plan that is SAFE for that puppy, rather than blanketly ceasing, or recklessly continuing a routine vaccine schedule.