There’s an increasing body of evidence against annual vaccinations of pets leaving one to wonder, should I vaccinate my dog?. The conventional approach is to provide booster shots to pets on an annual basis. Most veterinarians seem to disregard the available research that contradicts this approach because either they still believe the advantages of vaccines over-shadow the danger or they may be concerned about lost revenue.
Vaccinations, which consist of dead or living but weakened pathogens, stimulate the immune system’s disease fighting cells known as B and T Lymphocates. The cells do not destroy the virus but remember what it looks like for future protection thus providing a defence from infectious diseases. However, the negative impact or over-vaccinating can be linked to a host of immune related illnesses such as: immune mediated haemolytic anaemia, leukemia, immune mediated skin conditions, vaccine induced cancer of the skin in felines, joint disease, skin allergic reactions, inflammatory bowel disease and neurological conditions.
It’s become increasingly more common to see dogs and felines under five years old with cancer and autoimmune diseases and in cats, tumors at the vaccination injection site have been well documented. Our pets are suffering from years of over-vaccination, which coupled with insufficient diet, poor breeding practices and environment stresses are leaving each generation more vulnerable to congenital disorders and chronic disease. Most veterinary schools are teaching alternate vaccine methods and more recent scientific studies are showing that vaccine immunity lasts considerably longer than formerly thought. Research by Ron Schultz, Veterinary Immunologist at the University of Colorado has shown that vaccines can provide lifetime immunity.
Vaccinations do assist in preventing serious ailments, but they must be administered with caution. Before vaccinating your dog or cat, think about the risk. If your cat is only inside and not around unvaccinated animals, the chance of infection is low.
Veterinary Immunologist, Ron Shultz, recommends that animals be vaccinated with only the “core vaccines” which are distemper and rabies for dogs and cats, parvo for dogs, and leukemia for cats. He recommends to not vaccinating for Lyme’s disease due to the reported adverse reactions such as immune mediated poly arthritis. The kennel cough vaccine does provide adequate protection and the disease is not a life-threatening disease.
Ron Schultz recommends vaccinating dogs no more than once every three years for these core vaccines. He also found that adult cats that received a vaccine for leukemia could not contract the disease in adult life. Ron Schultz vaccination schedule has now been embraced and recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association.
The Tree of Life Veterinary Care located in Courtenay, British Columbia has been following the antibody levels in the blood of vaccinated animals. They have found these antibodies lasting three to seven or more years and, in particular, one 11-year-old dog had high antibodies against the rabies vaccine 10 years after the last vaccination!
What Else Can We Do To Protect Our Pets?
To determine whether your pet requires a booster vaccination a blood titre test can show if there are adequate antibodies protecting against the disease in question.
There are variety of titre tests that can be performed:
The virus neutralizing antibody titre;
The immune fluorescent antibody;
The hemagglutination antibody titre;
It is still unclear which test is the most reliable and there is no test available for local cell mediated immunity. However, if we use the same “safe and not needing a vaccine” parameter we use for humans then for animals we would find that most vaccines provide 3–7 (feline distemper) years immunity. We still lack knowledge of all factors playing a role in immunity and disease response but titre testing numerous animals will provide us a better understanding of how long humeral antibodies last.
It is possible that immediate cell immunity may be stimulated with homeopathic nosodes. These can be given orally to pets with an adequate blood titre for the disease in question. It is unknown how frequently this needs to be done. However, nosodes are NOT an alternative to vaccinations!! At most they may offer stimulation of cellular immunity in animals that are already vaccinated or exposed.
After the first initial vaccinations, a nosode may also be given as a yearly or 3 year booster; in the early stages of a Parvo infection in a puppy; kittens entering a shelter, where they can often contract distemper or Upper Respiratory Infection, and in animal stricken with the disease it was vaccinated against in the last week, typically Upper Respiratory Infection.
Your decision about vaccinations is extremely individual and really should be led by your own research prior to your veterinarian visit.
Disclaimer: All content provided on Dogful.com, is meant only for educational purposes on health care and medical issues that may affect animals or pets and should never be used to replace professional veterinary care from a licensed veterinarian. This site and its services do not constitute the practice of any veterinarian or other medical health care practitioner’s advice, diagnosis or treatment.