I am an advocate of minimally vaccinating pets to keep them safe from the dangers of over-vaccination. I have gathered and studied data and research from top vaccination experts such as Dr. Ronald Schultz and Dr. Jean Dodds. Here are some short points to provide you savvy dog and cat owners with an accessible, commonsense guide to safer vaccination.
DOS, DON’TS (AND NEVERS!)
DO…ask about measuring vaccination titers as an alternative to vaccinating adult or chronically ill pets or those with previous vaccine reactions.
DO…avoid vaccinations such as Lyme, Bordetella, and Leptospirosis (dogs), and Rhinotracheitis, Calici, and Feline Leukemia (cats), which have questionable safety and efficacy.
DO…give only one modified live canine parvo/distemper vaccination between the ages of 14 to 18 weeks; this can provide many years and often a LIFETIME of immunity in most dogs.
DO…give only one modified live feline distemper (panleukopenia) vaccination between the ages of 14 to 18 weeks; this can provide many years and often a LIFETIME of immunity in most cats.
DO…wait as long as legally possible to vaccinate your puppy for rabies and wait at least a month after completing all the others. In Iowa, it is required at 6 months. If your state requires it at 4 months, then get the rabies vaccine at 16 weeks (4 months) and carry on with distemper and parvo at 20 and 24 weeks.
DO…vaccinate your kitten for rabies (if the law requires) at least one month after the distemper vaccine (5 months).
DON’T…vaccinate young puppies under 12 weeks of age. At this young age, vaccination is not usually effective because of pre-existing antibodies from the mother’s milk.
DON’T…vaccinate with multiple combination (polyvalent) viral vaccinations at the same time; it confuses and overburdens the immune system. It is getting increasingly difficult to find the monovalent vaccines, so create demand by insisting on them from your vet (who may balk at such a request). It shouldn’t be this way, but unfortunately it is.
NEVER…vaccinate at the time of hormonal, surgical or emotional stresses, including at the time of any surgery, dentistry, life changing events or while boarding.
NEVER, EVER…vaccinate a pet who is ill with ANY symptoms, including those pets suffering from skin/ear allergies, and those with any digestive upset.
- Over-vaccination is not only a waste of money for animal guardians, but may jeopardize the long term health of our animal companions.
- Vaccine reactions are quite common, and may occur not only immediately after the shot, but over days, weeks, months or even years later in what is immunologically accepted – this is known as a delayed hypersensitivity reaction.
- Autoimmune conditions, cancers and severe neurological disease have been reported in recently vaccinated pets.
- Modified live parvo/distemper vaccination has been shown to cause immune system suppression for 10 to 14 days after administration.
- Modified live combination parvo/distemper vaccination has been demonstrated to increase allergic responses to grasses and pollens in recently vaccinated dogs.
- Environmental shedding of modified live viral vaccine antigens may cause immune reactions in sensitive pets that have not even been vaccinated!
- Rabies vaccination can lead to the production of antibodies against the thyroid gland and other organs in dogs recently vaccinated for rabies.
- Most commercial animal vaccinations contain unhealthy levels of mercury, aluminum and other heavy metals.
- Many commercial vaccines contain the animal proteins used to grow the virus and can cause the immune system to recognize them as a foreign invader leading to food allergies and intolerance.
- Many commercial vaccines contain vegetable oil adjuvants (corn, soy, peanut) that can cause the immune system to recognize them as a foreign invader leading to food allergies and intolerance.
A FINAL NOTE
PLEASE support the work of the RABIES CHALLENGE FUND whose goal is to increase the duration of required rabies vaccinations to at least 5+ years, as well as allow medical exemptions of dogs deemed too unhealthy to be vaccinated.
Rabies is the only vaccine that is mandated by law, yet lawmakers do not understand how vaccines work and that “more” (i.e. yearly) is not better and can actually be harmful to pets. Anti-dog legislation is rampant in this country, and the only way to stop it is for ALL pet owners to band together and contact legislators, both local and outside their area. These laws spread like wildfire to other areas once passed, and none of us (i.e. our animals) is safe. Please phone, fax or email your opposition to public officials. Changing the law in Iowa (and then Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas etc.) could stop similar laws from being implemented in your city/state.