Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pet Vaccinations: A sickening subject

If there is anything getting my blood boiling it is when I receive yet another call from my vet’s office in the mail: One of the seven pets is up for a vaccination again. And surprisingly, with having 5 cats and two dogs I need to see the vet about every two weeks or so. At least I get the impression that this is the case. This year they came even up with a great new and neat, or I’d say quite tricky idea: A wall calendar for the entire year clearly showing me every birthday. Of course cat and dog birthdays only. It really doesn’t help me to remember my wife’s or any other to her of the same importance relevant dates such as for example our wedding anniversary. I am getting better though, by now at least I can remember Valentine’s Day (that’s around the time when the History Channel shows its annual about Al Capone’s Valentine’s massacre in Chicago). Now, before I get carried away with my capabilities of memorizing what is more or less important to me or to others, let me come back to this new wall calendar. I am honest with you: I threw it in the trash. The calendar was not useable for me, i.e. there was no room for me to make any notes. All room was taken to remind me of yet another vaccination for any one of our beloved pets.
The entire incident made me decide to share with you what a dear friend of one of my pet buddies as a vet once had to say about the issue of vaccinating our pets. Dr. Larry Siegler, D.V.M. He writes in his article “The Truth about Vaccinations”:
“ Most guardians have never been told the truth about vaccinations. On the contrary, you are likely to get annual notices from your veterinarian that your companion is “due for their annual booster shots”. The evidence against vaccinating, however, is overwhelming. Most veterinarians just choose to ignore the research because they don’t want to lose the income from giving booster shots to all those animals each year.
Vaccinations represent a major stress to the immune system. They can not only cause side effects and allergic reactions, they also contribute significantly to long term chronic disease. Chronic health problems frequently appear following vaccination including skin allergies, arthritis, leukemia, upper respiratory infections, irritable bowel syndromes, neurological conditions including aggressive behavior and epilepsy, auto immune diseases and cancer.
I have been practicing veterinary medicine for over 20 years and I see sicker animals at a younger age now than when I began. It is more and more common to see cancer in dogs and cats under 5 years of age. Autoimmune diseases are on the rise as well. Our companions are suffering from generations of over vaccination, which combined with inadequate nutrition, poor breeding practices and environmental stresses are leaving each generation more susceptible to congenital disorders and chronic disease.
Vaccinations do help prevent serious illnesses, but they should be used with restraint. Before vaccinating, consider the risk. If your cat is indoor only and will never be exposed to unvaccinated animals, the risk of infection is low. The decision about vaccinations is very individual and should be guided by your own research on the subject before you go to the veterinarian.
Puppies and kittens should not be vaccinated until at least 12 weeks of age. Their developing immune systems are especially vulnerable to the stress of vaccines. Request individual vaccines and vaccinate at least three weeks apart if possible. Until 12 weeks of age keep your companion safe by avoiding exposure to public areas such as parks and pet stores. Keep them close to home and only expose them to animals you know are healthy. For puppies consider parvovirus and distemper at 12-15 weeks, and not until after 6 months of age for rabies. For kittens - consider one Panleukopenia combination (FRCP). Again, if available, give the vaccine components separately spaced three to four weeks apart. Feline leukemia and FIP vaccines may not be necessary for your cat. Consider its lifestyle and environment. IF your cats go outside and you have rabies in your area, give a rabies vaccine at six months of age. (Legal requirements vary from state to state.)
Vaccinations do not need “boosting”. Studies have shown that a single vaccination for parvovirus, distemper and panleukopenia results in long term protection from disease. Simple blood tests can determine if your companion’s antibody levels for parvovirus and distemper remain high enough to resist infection. Next time your veterinarian suggests a booster shot, request the blood test first. (Rabies may be required by law every three years. Check the regulations in your state.)
I do not recommend vaccinations for Bordetella, corona virus, leptospirosis or Lyme vaccines unless these diseases are endemic locally or at a specific kennel. The currently licensed leptospira bacterins do not contain the serovars causing the majority of clinical leptospirosis today, so it is generally not a useful vaccine.
Homeopathic Nosodes are an alternative some guardians are using when choosing not to vaccinate. They can also be used before three months of age if an animal is at risk. Many guardians use these homeopathic medicines to help protect their companions against Parvovirus, Distemper, Kennel Cough, Panleukopenia and FIP. Some nosodes seem to work more effectively than others. Homeopathic nosodes are not vaccinations. They do not produce titers against these diseases like a vaccination. They do seem to offer some protection by reducing the severity of illness if the animal is exposed, even if they don't prevent it.
Never vaccinate a sick or weakened animal. If your puppy or kitten is showing signs of allergies or skin problems, wait. Vaccinating an already compromised immune system is almost sure to compound the problem!
Educate yourself. Your veterinarian cannot make this decision for you, nor should they. You are your companion’s guardian. It is your responsibility to give them the best care you can by researching and carefully weighing your decisions about their healthcare.”
Dr. Siegler is not the only one stating his take on vaccinations so clearly. More and more of his peers seem to be willing to share his view and speak up against the nonsense going on in may vet offices. After reading the above I would say nobody can blame me for deciding against vaccinating. I will do whatever is minimally required by law and that’s it. There is plenty of other ways my pet can get ill and catch a disease. Like the wrong nutrition for example. And most of the times the exact same vets who are insisting so much on vaccinations are the ones who are trying to sell me their junky prescription food. Here’s an idea: If you guys (i.e. “these” vets) want job security, why don’t you try a government job? Or wherever else you may feel safe and secure. Just don’t make your living at the expense of my pet’s health.

1 comment:

souljourney said...

I could rant on and on about this one!!
I am glad we have a holistic vet.
Dad's cat... 16 years old. Have vaccinations only once or twice and that was before he got her at 4 months of age. None since. Totally healthy cat. Only thing she's ever been to vet for was a teeth cleaning, once. She also did her battery of tests and the cat showed SLIGHT signs of kidney issue... but that is because he'd been feeding her mostly dry food (good quality however), with some wet food everyday. She is converting to more wet. Unfortunately she is a picky little punk.
Personally if I had kids I would limit the start time and frequency of vaccinations or not even do them.