Why Am I Required to Take Proper Care of My Pet?

Sometimes a person wants to know (legitimately) why they’re “required” to have a Rabies shot, a heartworm test, an exam – – before we’ll help them out.

Fair question.

Now, sometimes it’s a legitimate question, but sometimes it’s being asked by someone who really doesn’t care about legal safeguards the government (or Dr Johnson) puts in place because “It’s just a dog, what’s with all the hoops to jump through? You’re just trying to stick me.”

First, if you actually think I’d try to ‘stick you’ then you really need to find another vet and see how that goes because they’re going to tell you all the same things I’m about to explain, but part of what I’m proud of here at my clinic is that I *NEVER* stick people. Quite the contrary.

Secondly, most of what we “require” is part of the law surrounding veterinary medicine and is set by state and federal law.

Here’s what’s literally “required”

An Exam

If I have not seen your dog in the last 12 months, I can’t help you with stuff like a phone call, prescription, form, application, referral, anything. That’s the law and it’s called a “Valid Client-Patient Relationship” (VCPR). And it gets a lot of people (vets) in trouble when they do stuff outside that.

Rabies immunization

That’s required by law. That’s not me “just trying to get your money.” If you or anyone else got Rabies, you’d die. No one survives. So the state and federal government want that immunized. (And not to become epidemic like it was in pigs, in Marietta, in the mid sixties. And as such, we’re not messing with pets that don’t have it.

A Heartworm Test

Georgia requires a heartworm test before we can prescribe any medicine which kills microfilariae of heartworms. It’s a risk to the dog to give preventative if they are already positive. That’s not me requiring that. And frankly, if you’d actually give your dog a potentially deadly pill (anaphylaxis) without due diligence, you can stay home.

The Rest of The Shots

Ya’ll can do what you want as far as protection / immunity to the myriad viruses dogs and cats get. There’s so much Google-osis out there. Folks saying dogs don’t need shots at all, to ‘once their whole life’ to every three years, and the vets who actually pushed the point, (and read) once a year.

There is ZERO quantitative research supporting the assertion that dogs have perpetual immunity for all their diseases once vaccinated once. It’s just “something they say” and it’s like the Emperor’s New Clothes”  You’re a heretic and quack if you don’t ‘concur’ with the Establishment.

Thanks I’ll be that heretic. I’ll have no apologies when they change their mind like they do all the time on so many things once actual research is done.

Here’s a whole book that refutes what they’re saying right now:

That’s about all that’s “required” here at Johnson Vet. We understand folks sometimes think we’re presenting barriers to Veterinary Care but that’s not the point. All three of the above are LAWS.

If you choose to neglect these, that’s up to you. But there’s no amount of money that makes breaking the law worth it.


Doc Johnson




Johnson Vet Services 2023