Are we over-vaccinating our precious pets?
The world of medicine is filled with a great deal of conflict and confusion. Pet owners visiting a pet daycare or groomer are often asked if their pets’ have all their shots and are they up to date. Do you know what vaccines are considered essential, which are recommended and why?
First we need to understand what a vaccination is. Vaccination is the administration of antigenic material (a vaccine) to stimulate the immune system of an individual to develop adaptive immunity to a disease. In other words, the exposure to the antigen will cause the body to develop a protective response.
Vaccination is not the ideal vehicle to protect the body against a particular antigen. It is usually a mutated form of the pathogen that is laced with harmful preservatives, chemicals, and toxic metals like mercury and aluminum. Repeated exposure to these can create other health issues. It also has an additional hazard in that the antigens are being placed into the body in an unnatural manner. An example of that is a virus that we would normally contract by inhalation or ingestion is subjected to normal body defenses. Most vaccinations are injecting the virus into muscle and other body tissues that are not designed to defend itself against this type of threat.
Now that we are aware of what vaccinations are and also of what they are supposed to do, we have to determine if our particular pet’s lifestyle and environment would expose them or cause any particular disease and if the risk of potential adverse events is worth the so-called benefits. Understand that most of what we are encouraged to vaccinate for is really treatable if we keep our pets naturally healthy.
Veterinary science breaks vaccines into what is known as core, those that are recommended for all pets, and non-core which may be recommended under special circumstances. For instance, rabies is a threat to both pets and owners and is required in most states. This is the only vaccination that is normally required in most states. Other core vaccines for dogs would be distemper and parvo which are both puppy challenges. Parvo & Distemper Vaccines are NOT mandatory…. The reason they do multiple repetitive vaccinations is that there is no simple test to see if they work or when…. So we must guess that doing more is better and also more profitable…. However each new vaccination is a challenge to the body’s immune system …. At what point does the immune system begin to decline?
All the dozens of other vaccinations would be options based on threats in specific areas. There are similar approaches for cats and other pets as well.
How effective are they? Well, the manufacturers say they work, but they will not guarantee it. Is it marketing or science? How long do they work? New research shows that most vaccinations last indefinitely so “boosters” are not necessary.
How can you tell if your pet may be at risk? There are specialized blood tests call titers that indicate if your pet has immunity that should be done before any vaccine is given. This is good assurance to limit any side effects from excess vaccination and keep costs down as well. A healthy, natural immune system by feeding a species appropriate diet and limiting exposure to toxins also provides natural protection and defenses if the body is exposed to a challenge.
Our advice is always the most natural approach. Decide only after you research and weigh the true risks and benefits; do the testing first, keep track of what vaccines have been given, how many and how often, and always think overall health first and treat only when absolutely necessary.