If you know me at all, you know that I don’t like to vaccinate. I’ve said it before – there is NO data to support giving a dog (or cat) a yearly cycle of vaccines. it is hard on the body, hard on the immune system. Consistent up-regulation of the immune system can only create issues long term.
So the question then is – When do we stop vaccinating? To date, most experts agree that puppy vaccines are actually necessary. Spread them out and try not to do them all at once. If you’re not going to board your dog, bordetella is not necessary. And, let’s get serious about bordetella (aka kennel cough). What exactly is it? it’s a bacterial viral infection. We can also call it the common cold. So that begs the question – Do we really need to vaccinate for a common cold? Would you get vaccinated for a common cold? Let’s take it a little deeper…When we get the flu shot (which I don’t) how often do you hear, “I had flu symptoms anyway”, or “I flat out got the flu anyway!” Just because you’ve given your dog the bordetella vaccine, that does not ensure that your dog will not contract kennel cough. Case in point – Little Miss Daisy Mae, our new foster, brought kennel cough into our home even though she had been vaccinated, and yes, my dogs contracted it and they have not had the vaccination. Am I concerned? Um, no. In my mind the vaccination is much more dangerous. One of my guys has lymphoma and I’m much more concerned about the vaccine than I am a cold. Now there’s always concern about cancer and him being immunocompromised but I still have to find the way to do the least amount of harm. Last point and I’ll move on…antibiotics don’t work for viruses. This goes for animals and humans. If you or your pup has a viral infection, it will have to run its course.
Giardia vaccinations show no efficacy toward keeping a dog from becoming infected with the bacteria. The leptosporosis vaccine is very hard on a dogs body. I chose not to do lepto but if you are around an area with consistently damp ground and wild animals such as mice, raccoons, skunks etc, it might be decision you need to make. It’s in the urine of the wild animals and can live for quite some time in moist, damp ground. Once infected with lepto, it can progress to organ failure. But, if it doesn’t progress, your dog can heal. Always pay attention the even small changes in your dog – skin, coat, gums, eyes, eating, drinking, and sleeping habits, urination and pooping. All can be signs of something that could be a problem
Now, back to the question at hand – when do we stop vaccinating? We brought Sage into our home when she was about a year. We have no history on her so puppy vaccines were necessary. Recently, the time came for her yearly vaccine. The vet asked if I wanted to go ahead and vaccinate. She knows me well enough to know I’m not on board and I told her I wanted titres. If you don’t know what a titre is, it measures the amount of antibodies in the blood stream. When we got her results back, she had plenty of antibodies which means vaccinating was not necessary. Pretty cool that only one set of vaccines was enough keep her safe – and pretty uncool that vaccines are pushed on our dogs every year.
Please, think about whether vaccination is actually necessary for your furry family members. A few years ago, my older guy Chile was diagnosed with pancreatitis. I reached out to a homeopathic vet that I respect and he said he believed that pancreatitis often happens because of over-vaccination. On a side note, the vet that diagnosed him told me I needed to give him a special diet of kibble by a prescription dog food company. That did NOT happen and I focused on healthy, raw foods.
Love on your furry family members every day and give them big hugs from Chile, Sage, Daisy Mae, and me.