Agility is Fun
Dr. Kevin Nunley
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|The Pros and Cons of Vaccinating Your Dog
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
About the Author
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: