Rottweilers and vaccines – immune system problems?


by Chandra C Cross
(Ocean City, WA)

We have a 6 year old rescued male. I say rescued but he was our neighbors dog and. We have known him and his sister since they were 6 weeks old.

Just became owners of the male as of December this year. We have 2 other dogs, An APBT and a ASTAFF/Boxer cross who got in to a fight w/the Rotti resulting in an emergency vet visit. Our local vet just built a new website and sent out these little magazines that have a client personalized cover that has our dogs breed profiles and health reminders on it as well as a link to the section of the web site that is set up for her clients and their specific dogs breed.

It states that Rottweilers, Dobermans, and Pitbulls should be vaccinated by your vet only because these three breeds of dogs have different immune systems and the vaccines are not as effective. My thoughts are that this is not true and that I told her that the Rotti had not been vaccinated that we knew of and that if the actual owners gave him up to us that I would vaccinate him for everything but rabies myself as we had done with our other rescued pit bull, she saw that as a chance to make some money by telling us that our dogs are different and would absolutely need a vet to administer shots. That’s a $65.00 office call $75.00 exam, $50.00 for the vaccines.
for each dog.

Now if this is true about these dogs being so much different then I will gladly shell out the cash but I don’t believe that it is true, what say you?

Hi Chandra
Well, firstly I have to make it clear that I’m not a veterinarian myself and don’t have the training, knowledge and experience that veterinarians do. I’m purely a Rottweiler owner and lover and any advice or input I have is based on my own personal experience and knowledge – a vet is always going to know more!

However, having said that, I would have to say that I think that what your veterinarian is saying has some merit and truth, but may be taking it to the extreme.

Rottweilers definitely do have a weakness in their immune system when it comes to Canine Parvovirus (and if your adopted Rottie was not fully vaccinated against this as a puppy, and vaccinated annually since then, he could be in danger). It’s very important to make sure Rotties have FOUR sets of the Parvo vaccine (usually given as part of the combination shots) and that they’re given at the right time, and intervals.

Other breeds which may also be at higher risk of Parvo include Doberman Pinschers and Pitbulls.

Rotties also tend towards allergies, and that could have something to do with their immune function, but I can’t say that definitively. Pitbulls and other similar breeds such as AmStaffs and English Staffys’ tend to be predisposed to Mange. This is also a condition which tends to appear in dogs whose immune system is weakened, even temporarily, so that could be a factor too.

Personally, I’ve always had my dogs and puppies vaccinated by my veterinarian. I know many reputable breeders, and owners too, do vaccinate their pups/dogs themselves, but it’s just not something I feel comfortable doing. However, if you use the same vaccines that your vet would use, and you follow the recommended protocol in terms of timing, then personally I don’t see why vaccinating them yourself should be less safe. Rabies of course has to be done by a licensed vet.

This is a personal decision that you have to make, and the only thing you have to be sure about is that the dogs all get their vaccinations up to date, with the right vaccines and right timing. Whether you do it yourself, or have your vet do it is something you need to feel comfortable with after you’ve thoroughly researched the situation.

I wish I could help more, but hopefully this will give you a bit more info and assist in your decision-making. Best of luck with whatever you decide to do.

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About The Rotty lover 2159 Articles
My name is Dr. Winnie. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University, a Masters of Science in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria Veterinary School in South Africa. I have been an animal lover and owners all my life having owned a Rottweiler named Duke, a Pekingese named Athena and now a Bull Mastiff named George, also known as big G! I'm also an amateur equestrian and love working with horses. I'm a full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs. I enjoy spending time with my husband, 2 kids and Big G in my free time. Author and Contribturor at SeniorTailWaggers, A Love of Rottweilers, DogsCatsPets and TheDogsBone