Why do we vaccinate our pets so much?
Why is it that our pets “need” to get vaccinated almost every year? Humans certainly don’t need to do this except for the flu shot which is a different situation… It seems to me that immunological memory should exist in cats and dogs too.
Despite popular belief, it is actually not good for your pet to get vaccinated every year. Read the book “protect your pet” by Ann N. Martin. She also wrote a good book about the facts of pet food. Here is a link to a page describing both books that she has written.
and here’s a quote from that website:
“Some major veterinary colleges such as Colorado State University, along with a growing number of veterinarians in private practice, now question if the risks of yearly vaccinations might outweigh the risks of animals contracting some of these diseases. Titer testing, described below, gives a pet owner a good indication how often an animal companion should be vaccinated. Even the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) cautions against excessive vaccinations. In August 1999, the AAHA released its opinion paper regarding vaccinations. The AAHA President, Michael Paul, DVM, wrote, “The intent of the opinion paper is to encourage veterinarians to consider vaccination procedures as medical decisions and not automatic actions prompted by a calendar.”(4)
Although some veterinary colleges and veterinarians are stating publicly that pets are immune to these diseases for one, two, three years, and even longer after the initial vaccinations, it is still common practice in the United States and Canada for veterinarians to recommend yearly vaccinations. The necessity of frequent vaccinations is now being called into question.
Jean Dodds, DVM, a veterinarian in private practice in Santa Monica, California and one of the foremost experts in pet vaccinations, believes that vaccinations with single or combination modified live virus are increasingly recognized contributors to immune-mediated blood diseases, bone marrow failure, and organ dysfunction. Dr. Dodds also lists leukemia, thyroid disease, Addison’s disease, diabetes and lymphoma as diseases that can be triggered by vaccines. “Combining viral antigens, especially those of modified live virus (MLV) type, which multiply in the host, elicits a stronger antigenic challenge to the animal,” explains Dr. Dodds in an article on the immune system. “This is often viewed as desirable because a more potent immunogen presumably mounts a more effective and sustained immune response. However, it can also overwhelm the immuno compromised or even a healthy host that is continually bombarded with other environmental stimuli and has a genetic predisposition that promotes adverse response to viral challenge.” (5)
In October 2000, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published a study that was undertaken by Dodds and Lisa Twark, DVM. The purpose of the study was to assess whether serum canine parvovirus (CPV) and canine distemper virus (CDV) antibody titers, (titer tests are discussed later in this chapter) could determine revaccination protocols in healthy dogs. For this study, 1,441 dogs were used ranging in age from six weeks to seventeen years.
The interval between the last vaccination and the antibody measurement using a titer test was from one to two years for the majority of dogs, 60 percent, and two to seven years for 30.3 percent, and one year for 9.6 percent of the dogs used in the study. The conclusion arrived at by Drs. Twark and Dodds: “The high prevalence of adequate antibody responses (CPV 95.1%; CDV 97.6%) in this large population of dogs suggests that annual revaccination against CPV and CDV may not be necessary. (6)<
All packages of vaccinations carry warnings that they should be injected only in healthy animals. In the case of cats, vaccine manufacturers advise against vaccinating pregnant or nursing cats. However, many pets are not healthy when vaccinated although they might not have outward signs of health problems. Charles Loops, DVM, a holistic veterinarian from Pittsboro, North Carolina, notes that "chemically killed viruses or bacteria are injected directly into the blood stream, which is an unnatural route of infection." (7) This causes the animal’s antibodies to attempt to fight off the offending virus molecules and render them harmless. If the animal’s immune system is too weakened, he or she cannot fight off these viruses and can develop a reaction to the vaccine. Even small amounts of a virus that is introduced through a vaccination may be too much for sick animals to fight off. They then may fall ill from the very disease to which they have been vaccinated.
If you have concerns about vaccinating your pet, Michael Lemmon, DVM, suggests the following: "First, don't vaccinate your dog or cat when he is showing any signs of illness. If your pet is already ill, his immune system may not be able to produce antibodies the vaccination is supposed to stimulate; and he stands a chance of being overwhelmed by the small amount of virus in the vaccine, and succumbing to the illness he’s being vaccinated against." (8)
Some veterinarians believe that vaccines are outright damaging to our pets. Dr. Loops writes in an article, "Veterinarians and animal guardians have to come to realize that they are not protecting animals from disease by annual vaccinations, but in fact, are destroying the health and immune system of these same animals they love and care for." (9) In the same article, Christina Chambreau, DVM, Founder and Chairperson of the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy, expresses similar views: "Routine vaccinations are probably the worst thing that we do for our animals. They cause all types of illnesses but not directly to where we would relate them definitely to be caused by the vaccine."(10) "
I hope this educates you about your pet's health and educates others who have read this. Spread the word and protect your pets please!
What should i consider before i buy a ferret?
I was going to buy a ferret but i needed to know of any special things i need to consider,avoid, or buy before i get her. For example specail food, housing, other pets i should avoid getting, things like that. How well do they get along with cats and dogs and is it true that you can litterbox train them? Do they prefer running around or must you keep them in a cage? Can you get them spaid or nuetered? and around how long do they live?
I think the first two things you should ask yourself when considering a ferret are – “Can I afford one?” and “Will I have the time for a ferret?”
Ferrets can be very expensive to care for – good food is expensive (unless you go for a raw diet, which isn’t that expensive), they need an extra large cage (size really depends on how much time it will be in the cage), and, the biggest expense of all is the vet bills. They require yearly vet visits (bi-annual as they get older, like 4 and over), blood work should be done on occasion (once or twice a year starting at age 3 or 4), and they are prone to some very expensive illnesses that require surgery and/or long term meds. Usually you won’t have huge vet bills with the younger ferrets, but there’s always exceptions (blockages and juvenile lymphoma are two things that can affect the younger ferts). Back in August, my 2.5 year old ferret developed ulcers. We got through it once, six weeks later they came back – over that six week period I spent about $3000 in vet bills on her and I ended up losing her anyway. I also spent another $1000 for the other four I had at the time for dental work, blood work, and x-rays.
As for time – they require at the very least four hours of out of cage time every day. For the majority of that time, you should be down entertaining your ferret, especially if you only have one (if you have two or more, they can entertain each other, but would still require interaction from you). Along with out of cage time, it will take time to train (nip and litter train) your ferret, ferret proof your house (or room, wherever the ferret has play time), and clean the cage (should be done at least once a week).
“Do the get along with cats and dogs?” – They can, it really depends on the cat, dog, and ferret. Hunting dog breeds usually aren’t good around ferrets, other than that, you really won’t know for sure until you introduce them. I don’t let our dog near the ferrets – she drools at the site of them like she’s about to get a nice, juicy steak (she’s a mutt – part lab, dalmation, and hound). My ferrets are very intrigued by the cats, but the cats prefer to keep their distance and swat at them if they get too close.
Pets you should avoid – Rodents, rabbits, birds, lizards, reptiles – these kind of animals a ferret might hunt and severly injure or kill (ferrets are predators). You can have one of those animals as well as a ferret (I have chinchillas, too) but you must make sure your ferret never has the chance to get near them. Never let them out to play together and I suggest not keeping them housed in the same room either (even if they are both in a secured cage).
“Can you litter box train them?” – Yes, but they’re rarely 100% accurate. (Mine are 100% accurate when in the cage, about 90% accurate when out of the cage).
Free roam or in a cage – Some people let their ferrets have free roam of the house 24/7, but this requires A LOT of ferret proofing. This isn’t something I suggest for the first time ferret owners. Some people keep them confined to one room. This is a really good idea if you have a spare, emtpy room. And some people keep them in a cage for the majority of the time (this is when you need that extra large cage). What you do with your ferret is really up to you – you have to do what works for you and your ferret. Just make sure it’s safe and gets at least 4 hours of run time daily. My ferrets share my bedroom and the cage door is left open all day. At night, they get put away (I tried leaving them out through the night, but my cat decided she didn’t like that and kept me up ALL night).
Neutering – If you live in the US and purchase your ferret from a pet shop or shelter, then they will already be spayed/neutered (as well as descented).
Life span – Average is about 6-8 years, but they can live to be 10 or older.
Food – Here’s some requirements you should look for:
*Protein – should be at least 38%, but higher is better, except when it comes to older ferrets (four and over – high protein can sometimes cause kidney problems for the older ferrets). This should also be meat-based protein because ferrets are carnivores.
*Fat – 20% or higher
*Fiber – Ferrets don’t need a lot of fiber in their diet, so 3% or less is better.
*Carbs – The carb count for most foods (cat and ferret) is in the 30% range, but lower is better. If a food has lower carbs, it will advertise as a “low carb” food, if it doesn’t say that somewhere on the bag, then chances are the carb count is in the 30% range. (Too many carbs are thought to be a cause of insulinoma, which is why lower is better).
*Ash – The lower the better, preferably no higher than 6%.
*The first few ingredients should be meats, not fillers, grains, fruits, or veggies.
*Too much fish can create some really foul-smelling poo. Some fish is good for your ferret, but you don’t want them to have too much of it.
*Try to find foods that contain *no* corn or any corn products (this can lead to digestive problems). If it is in the ingredients, it should not appear in the first six ingredients.
*Ferrets need taurine in their diets. Some foods might not say “taurine” on the ingredient list, but that doesn’t always mean it’s not included (ZiwiPeak Cat Cuisines are one that don’t add extra taurine, but it *is* in their food).
*Grain-free foods are better (if it’s a grain-free food, it will say somewhere on the bag “grain-free” otherwise it does contain some grains).
Hopefully this helps. I think someone else mentioned “Ferrets for Dummies” and that is a good book to check out (*before* getting a ferret). There’s also some really good sites to check out (I listed a few in my “source”section).
How much garlic is too much garlic?
I regularly give my dogs some fresh, ground garlic. The benefits of garlic are well-documented and many holistic vets recommend this.
However, garlic is also a member of the onion family, which is of course poisonous to dogs.
I usually give my dogs about a teaspoonful of minced garlic in their food every day.
Does anyone know how much is too much?
amysamida–thanks for your informed answer.
Actually, I don’t feed any measured amount. Usually it’s less than a teaspoon but a teaspoon or so is the most they ever get. Also smaller for the smaller dog.
I have a Brittany and Miniature Schnauzer, both on the large side for their breed.
In feeding, I follow the Goldstein’s feeding program, which is a recent book and does recommend garlic. http://www.amazon.com/Goldsteins-Wellness-Longevity-Program/dp/0793805457/ref=sr_1_12/104-5667176-8248749?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1189202705&sr=1-12
Thanks amysamida and Shanna for your excellent, helpful answers. I respect both of your knowledge and advice. I’ve decided on the issue for myself, but I don’t know enough to choose between the two for this answer. So… I’m letting it go to vote.
Personally, as a vet tech who formulates custom diets for dogs and has done a lot of research on nutrition, I say no garlic is about the right amount. Garlic does have benefits, but they are outweighed by the possibility of causing a hemolytic anemia. What benefits are you hoping to get from the garlic? Do a little research and you’ll find something else without the possible side effect of killing your dog. Also, you don’t say what kind of dogs you have. A teaspoonful of garlic a day is a huge amount for a toy poodle, but not for a St. Bernard. And giving it every day, that’s a lot of garlic. Being in the field I can tell you that the vets in this area, holistic or allopathic, no longer recommend garlic. The only time I ever use it is if I am formulating a cancer diet, and need the anti-oxidants it contains. Even then, it is used with caution, never in dogs with immune type cancers (ie lymphoma), and the owners sign a release. I hope you can find an alternative you feel comfortable with. You’re obviously a dedicated owner, and I’d hate for you to have to deal with a possible toxicity problem.
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