Why over vaccinate tiny little dogs?
I don’t know.
Dogs With No Names project has worked in several Indigenous communities across Canada using contraceptive implants to rapidly reduce an unwanted dog population by initially targeting females.
This provides two clear and immediate benefits:
1. Increased public safety through decrease fighting/chaos around females no longer in heat.
2. Huge welfare benefit for females who may otherwise deliver unwanted puppies in the winter.
As such, we also provide rabies vaccine, essential in case of dog bites, and over the years, we have added a parvo/distemper vaccine to prevent mortality of sexually-neutralized females.
Outdoor females, that is.
Lately, a spay/neuter group went to a First Nations community to hold a surgical clinic. That is good news. However, ‘driveable’ First Nations (FN) communities in southern Alberta have access to veterinary care. That means, many FN residents take their dogs to a veterinarian for routine care such as vaccinations.
At my veterinary hospital, 8 small dogs (under 10 pounds) owned by regular FN clients came in to get vaccine boosters for their dogs who had just been ‘done’ at the recent spay/neuter clinic.
This was an unpleasant situation: all 8 little tiny dogs were already properly vaccinated with several of them on a 3 year vaccine schedule. The FN dog owners were upset their dogs got over vaccinated. These little dogs are totally indoors and do NOT contribute to the overpopulation of dogs on the rez nor put public safety in jeopardy.
Dogs With No Names project has federal oversight and reports on all contraceptives used in dogs in Canada. To that intent, all dogs in our projects are microchipped.
Some outdoor dogs just spayed, had recently received an implant. Thus, one of us wasted resources as females do not need their ovaries removed AND an implant.
A phone call before the spay/neuter clinic would have easily identified the dogs at risk (welfare), the dogs in need of spaying, and residents dealing with semi-feral dogs in dire need of help.
We all have finite resources, why not work together to enhance these resources for the benefit of the dogs who really need a break?
As for neutering and vaccinating 5 year old chihuahua living exclusively indoors… I don’t get it.
~Judith Samson-French DVM