Vaccines and your Dog

The message currently coming from various Vetinerary experts and Universities is that vaccine boosters generally need only be given three yearly. Some maintain that immunity to viruses persists for years, or life. Information from the U.K. talks increasingly of vaccine damage, and the name "Vaccinosis" has been coined to describe chronic conditions resulting from such damage.

We all want the best for our dogs and the idea of not vaccinating is very scary! There is no suggestion here that vaccines need to be abandoned entirely, merely a plea to owners to consider all the information that is available, including the use of Homeopathic Nosodes, and Titre testing, then make a qualified decision based on all the facts, before your dog is due for his next *Shot*. The information is out there, if you look for it.

When to vaccinate ?
The general consensus seems to be that first puppy vaccines should not start before six weeks, with some owners preferring to wait till eight weeks. Consideration must be given to levels of passive immunity transferred from bitch to pups, which reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.

My personal opinion is that even 8 weeks is too early to start injecting foriegn material into tiny puppies. It is not merely the minute dose of the disease that one is giving, but also chemicals used as accelerants and preservatives. One also wonders about the source of the culture medium -- could it be contaminated and will this lead to infection with a retro virus?

Many vets strongly recommend not vaccinating an animal with symptoms of acute or chronic health problems, or at the time of surgery or any other physical or emotional stress, including bitches in season. Old dogs may no longer have the stamina to cope with vaccines. Manufacturers vaccine data sheets state that "only healthy animals should be vaccinated"

Types of Vaccines
Commercial vaccines are available from your vet. These are manufactured from either live or killed virus. Those made from killed virus are considered safer. Vaccines are available as individual doses or, for convenience, in a combined (multivalent) vaccine. By convenience,I mean for the owner and the vet, not for the dog, who is obliged to tackle several diseases in one hit.
Homeopathic vaccines (nosodes) are available from homeopaths involved in the
treatment of animals and from some vet clinics. Because the agent is present as an imprint instead of a virulent entity, it's a safe gentle way to sensitise the immune system and usually has no side effects. Nosodes may be started safely at an earlier age than commercial vaccines for pups.

Are Vaccines safe?
Reactions to vaccines seem to fall into two groups: there may be an allergic reaction within perhaps 48 hours, or an immune system reaction which may occur some weeks or even months later. Because of the time lag, these later reactions are often not associated with the vaccine. The very wide variety of reactions can also be confusing.
Some researchers believe that vaccines may confuse or damage the immune system, either by causing the body to over react to normally harmless substances (as with allergies, esp. flea allergies, skin problems), or to produce antibodies to itself (autoimmune disease). Response to things the body should reject may become slow, eg. common virus, fungi, parasites, - increasing suseptibility to acute infections such as ear infections, also chronic worm or flea problems.

Precautions to safeguard your dog when vaccinating
The best safeguard is an individual assessment protocol for each dog. One notable U.S. vet. insisted that each dog be evaluated on a risk/benefit basis to determine the best immunization protocol to use, and a good general-practice vet, working with the client, should be able to do this. The Canine Health Concern vaccine survey shows that animals can react to vaccines at any age. They might be vaccinated for many years, without ill-effect, then suffer an adverse reaction.

To safeguard you dog delay vaccinating if your dog is stressed or unwell, also avoid vaccinating bitches during heat cycle or pregnancy. Do not start puppy vaccine till at least 8 weeks ( unless using nosodes) Vaccinate for one disease at a time, that is, avoid combination vaccines and if possible, avoid modified live virus vaccines - use killed virus vaccines if available.
Consider using homeopathic nosodes instead of commercial vaccines. If using commercial vaccine, homeopathic support may be used concurrently to help protect against side effects by giving a dose of Thuja 30c. or consult a homeopath for advice. If using commercial vaccines please check Dr Jean Dodds recommended protocol.

Frequency of Booster vaccines. Titre Testing
In general we probably over vaccinate. One survey in Sweden involving thousands of dogs, found that 83% of those studied had adequate immunity to distemper after 4 years without vaccination. Other studies, including one from Massey University, New Zealand, indicate that immunity is still adequate for 7 years.

On the other side of the coin, with regard to parvovirus, most vets are quick to point out that, in early epidemics most dogs died, but once vaccination was widespread, the deaths became much less common because of routine vaccinations. This argument fails to take into account that epidemics, whether affecting humans or animals, tend to run their course and taper off, as natural immunity levels build up in the population.

There are obvious dangers in over or under vaccinating,which is where Titre Testing becomes a useful tool. Essentially this test indicates the individual dogs level of immunity to a particular disease. This means that booster vaccines only need to be given when the levels of immunity are inadequate, avoiding the need for routine and sometimes unwarranted boosters.
Titre testing will show a level of immunity if commercial vaccines have been used. Because of the different way in which Nosodes work, immunity levels cannot be demonstrated with Titres, though this does not mean that immunity does not exist.

The Future for Vaccines
Coming soon : Recombinant vaccines, using genetic isolating and transferring techniques. These new-age vaccines contain only a fragment of the germ, reducing the amount of foreign material in a vaccine, possibly giving better immunity and minimising the risk of side effects. Perhaps in the future we will be able to vaccinate our dogs safely !

Meantime, we sincerely hope all dog owners will treat vaccines with the caution they deserve.
Do not over-vaccinate your dog and consider switching to Homeopathic Nosodes.

We recommend the following links:

Dr.J.Dodds, vaccine protocol
excellent information via Shirleys Holistic Health Cafe,
Canine Health Concern
Petersen's Homeopathics, New Zealand, Dale & Lee Petersen
NZ Holistic Animal therapists Association


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