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To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? That's become the burning question of many dog owners in this day and age. I'm not a veterinarian, just a regular pet owner like yourself, but would like to impart the information I've found regarding regular vaccinations for animals. You can then make your own decision.
I came across much of this information when researching information on vaccinations for children, of all things. What I found shocked me. So, I figured if this is what is being injected into young babies and children, I had to ask myself - what is being injected into our pets? Here is what I've found.
Why Do We Vaccinate Our Pets?
In centuries past, most animals were allowed to have the run of the roads with little supervision. Over the years leash laws have been enforced and most pet owners keep their dogs leashed or fenced within their yards. If taking your dog for a walk, the majority of areas require you to keep your pet on a leash (although there are more open no-leash areas springing up). Still, most canines are now supervised or owners face a fine for allowing them to run loose.
Vaccinations are given to "prevent" your dog from contracting particularly harmful/fatal infections from other animals. The vaccinations given come in two forms - killed viruses or non-pathogenic (modified live versions) of the virus. The vaccinations are designed to sensitize your pet's immune system and causes it to produce anti-bodies should your pet be exposed to certain viruses. The modified live vaccinations are "suppose" to provide a longer and better immune response over the killed vaccines.
However, in some recent studies it's been found that most vaccinations will provide so-called immunity for 5 years and often longer. I say "so-called" because these vaccines don't actually prevent the animal from getting the disease and in many cases, may actually cause it.
When Are The Recommended Vaccines Given?
Just like human babies, puppies (and kittens) when first born are provided with a natural immunity from their mothers for the first few weeks. The initial vaccination shots are then usually given between 8 and 12 weeks of age, with boosters routinely given yearly thereafter.
If you choose to vaccinate your dog - or if it is currently required by law in your area - then You should only vaccinate your dog if it is healthy. If your dog is sick or has a chronic illness, it is advised that you postpone any vaccinations until they are well.
Should your dog require surgery in the near future and is due for their shots, you should have them vaccinated several weeks beforehand, not at the time of surgery. Their bodies will be under stress at that time and the vaccination itself can cause major problems.
If you choose to have standard vaccinations given by your veterinarian, be sure to request that they be administered separately as opposed to a multivalent vaccination (combination). In this way, you can monitor any side-effects that may occur and know which vaccine has caused it.
Government laws will usually require you to vaccinate your dog for parvo virus (a mutation of feline distemper which causes heart disease), canine distemper and rabies. However, the rabies vaccination should really not be given at the same time as other vaccinations.
Many homeopathic veterinarians recommend that you do not vaccinate for leptospirosis, hepatitis or parainfluenza and that you vaccinate only every 2 to 3 years instead of giving them yearly shots in order to reduce the risk of side effects.
The Problems Associated With Traditional Vaccinations
Controversy has grown over whether to vaccinate or not because of the potential side effects caused by many vaccines. Some are not very effective and others can have short and long-term serious side effects. A study in the United Kingdom by Canine Health Concern in March 2001 has found that 1 in 10 dogs suffer from side effects from regular rabies vaccinations which is contradictory to the vaccine-manufacturers claim that less than 15 adverse reactions occur out of 100,000 companion animals vaccinated.
It's been noted that yearly vaccines can increase the frequency and severity of side-effects, most notably the problems that involve the animal's immune system. Vaccinations are designed to stimulate the immune system in an unnatural way and your dog's body could potentially over-react to the stimulus causing allergies and skin problems. More frightening is the fact that the over stimulated immune system can cause your pet's body to produce anti-bodies against itself (autoimmune disease). Traditional vaccinations have also been shown to increase the likelihood of infections in pets from ear infections to bladder problems to cancer.
What's In Those Vaccines?
Well, aside from the live or dead virus, most people would be shocked and horrified to learn what else is included in those "safe" shots.
For example, did you know that vaccinations (for both animals AND humans - yes, these poisons are being injected into your children too) contain Thimerosal, which is made up of ethyl mercury. This is a highly toxic metal that affects the neurological system in all animals. It can also affect the immune system, motor coordination, increase behavioral dysfunctions, and appears to be linked to autism in humans.
Here's an eye opener. Uranium is the most poisonous substance known to man... mercury comes in second. Once it enters the body through ingestion, injection or inhalation, it continues to accumulate. In other words, human and animal bodies cannot easily clear mercury from their systems.
Aluminum is another toxic metal found in vaccinations, which many of us know has been linked to Alzheimer's.
Formaldehyde is used as a preservative and a tissue fixative. Think about that for a moment. Formaldehyde is used to preserve dead bodies before burial! Makes you wonder why they bother to use it after we're dead. After all, both us and our pets should be more than adequately preserved by the time we pass on with all the vaccines we get.
How about Ethylene Glycol? In other words - antifreeze! This ingredient is known to cause kidney and liver failure and can prove fatal if swallowed.
We've all heard of Borax (sodium tetra borate decahyrate). Some people use it in their laundry. For the record, Borax is a pesticide included in ant killer. Guess where else it's used?
These are just some of the poisons added to vaccinations. The list goes on. In fact, there are approximately 25 known additives included in vaccines for animals.
What Are The Alternatives To Vaccinations?
Up until recently, there have been relatively few alternatives in vaccinating your dog. In fact, it is the law in many countries that animals must have routine vaccinations, especially rabies shots for animals that are traveling or if you wish to board them in a kennel or veterinary hospital. However, alternatives are starting to appear and some veterinarians are beginning to question the validity of yearly vaccinations.
With the increase in awareness over homeopathic alternatives in medicines, many people are turning to the safer and, in some cases, more effective treatment of using homeopathic nosodes. Like regular vaccines, they are designed to sensitize the body to a particular virus and are very effective in preventing infections. Completely safe with no side effects, they can be given to puppies quite safely and at a very early age. In fact, these nosodes can be administered to the pregnant mother so her babies are protected when born.
Homeopathic nosodes are easy to administer as they come in pill or liquid form, as opposed to being injected like traditional vaccines. The cost is also lower, saving you money. However, there are limitations. Most countries, boarding kennels and veterinary hospitals will not accept animals that are given Lyssin (homeopathic rabies vaccine), although this is slowly beginning to change with more and more homeopathic veterinary hospitals and boarding kennels popping up across the country.
What If Your Pet Is Exposed To a Virus?
If you know that your dog has been exposed to a virus, you can help prevent the development of the disease by administering nosodes immediately after exposure and before the symptoms develop.
Viral diseases such as canine distemper and canine parvo virus are basically incurable with traditional medical treatment, however these viruses quickly respond to treatment from homeopathic nosodes.
As all diseases are extremely serious in an animal, you should always seek out professional medical treatment. If conventional treatment doesn't appear to be working, do not hesitate to seek out a homeopathic veterinarian for treatment. What's important is the life of your pet, so seek any methods available that may help.
Article Copyright 2005. Rose Smith is the author and owner of Caring For Canines, a web site that provides information on natural dog health care. To learn more about dog medications, vaccinations and first aid, please visit us at: http://www.caringforcanines.com/herbal-medications.shtml