Should I Get My Pets Vaccinated?

Should I Get My Pets Vaccinated?

Wellness Mama®
Simple Answers for Healthier Families
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Vaccines are a hot debate and elicit fear and anger from both sides. But pet vaccines are just as crucial for pet owners to think about as heartworm tests. No one wants their beloved pet to get a life-changing or deadly disease, so it’s important to understand what your options are to protect your pet.
The problems with pet vaccines are similar to the issues with human vaccines, including ingredients, adverse effects, and over-vaccination.
Pet vaccines contain dangerous ingredients, including:
Additionally, contaminants in vaccines are a problem. This means anything that isn’t supposed to be there. One study published in the Journal of Virology found there was feline retrovirus DNA in vaccines intended for both cats and dogs. The obvious problem is that we don’t want viruses injected into our healthy animals, but another is that they may be xenotropic, according to one 2010 study. That means that the diseased DNA may not cause disease in the animal it was derived from (in this case, cats) but can be harmful and even cause tumors in other species. 
Another issue with pet vaccines is the adverse effects pet owners reported in this article written for the Canadian Veterinary Journal. These effects include:
Another effect that the study mentions is the suspected lack of efficacy. If the vaccines aren’t helping reduce diseases, then the risks are very clearly too high.
Additionally, Dr. Patricia Jordan, author of the book Vaccinosis: Hidden in Plain Sight, has an interesting theory that vaccines actually change genetics, so not only the animal may have adverse effects, but so could their offspring.
Many animals are getting vaccines when they are already immune to the disease. For example, some already have antibodies from their mother or exposure to other dogs. A single vaccine is enough to protect for many years in some instances. Unfortunately, the conventional wisdom on vaccines for pets is to give a booster shot every year (a combination shot). 
Ronald Schultz, professor and founding chair in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) believes that vets are giving too many vaccines in an effort to increase office visits. He also says that too many vaccines can have a serious effect on pets’ immune system.
If you’re not sure going vaccine-free is the best choice but want to reduce the number of vaccines you give your pet, consider sticking with the core vaccines, space them out, and give your pet a chance to detox between puppy vaccinations. 
Core vaccines are vaccines that the World Small Animal Veterinary Association recommend every dog or cat should get. In contrast, non-core vaccines (like bordetella, Lyme disease, parainfluenza, leptospirosis, and other causes of kennel cough) may be helpful for certain animals in specific risk categories (there are also not recommended vaccines but we aren’t going to discuss those here). Experts base core vaccines on the risk of exposure, the severity of disease, or transmissibility to humans.
Dr. Schultz is a key author of the canine and feline vaccination guidelines recommended by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. 
Core vaccines for dogs:
Experts don’t recommend rabies as a core vaccine, but many local laws require it.
Core vaccines for cats:
Dr. Schultz recommends getting titer tests (a test that checks for antibodies to certain diseases) to help avoid excess vaccines. This is especially helpful for adult dogs. Other pet care strategies holistic vets recommend for reducing the negative effects of vaccines include:
Also, always ask your vet about the risks and benefits of any vaccine (and the risk of the disease) before agreeing to it.
You can reduce the damage vaccines cause to your pet by giving them a homeopathic detox. A holistic vet should provide Thuja to you to neutralize most vaccination side effects. If you can’t find a holistic vet, you can buy the homeopathic Thuja remedy online here. To detox the rabies vaccine, ask for Lyssin (or get it here yourself.) 
Also, remember to avoid boosters by getting titer tests regularly.
If vaccines are something you’d rather avoid altogether, there are some natural pet care solutions.
Additionally, consider your specific pet’s risk. If you have an indoor pet, chances are they won’t come in contact with many diseases, so skipping vaccines would be low risk. If you have an indoor cat, you don’t plan on letting him outside, but being extra careful not to let him slip out can mean you can avoid vaccines without much risk.
Vaccines continue to be a topic of contention for many, even regarding pets’ health. The best way to decide what’s best for your pets is to find a holistic vet to whom you can express your concerns. Additionally, consider the risk vs. reward of each vaccine, and do your best to reduce side effects by following some of the guidelines above.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Amanda Bradbery, Ph.D. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your pet’s veterinarian.
What do you do for pet vaccines?
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Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a wife and mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

The expert saying to just get your pets’ titers tested is not giving the whole truth on the matter. I work in the vet world. Even in the most recent studies, titers are known to not be very accurate. When you send the animal’s blood sample to the lab it will give you the results as the best estimation of the titer. Then immediately after this number you will get a disclaimer saying that these numbers are not considered accurate to how protected the animal is against “fill in the blank” (ie parvo, distemper, lepto) due to the fact that there is not enough research on the subject and you should only use these numbers as a guideline. Then to consult your vet.
This to me shows how little we actually know about titers and how “effective” they are at letting us know the pet is protected against common diseases.
Example: a dog owner requested we send her two dogs blood samples in for titer tests on distemper. She felt her 9yr old dog no longer needed vaccinations at his age and that he should have high titers considering he’s been getting vaccines most of his life. Her younger dog was 3 yrs old and had only had two vaccines so she wanted to get him tested as well.
The results were that the young dog actually had pretty high titers and the old dogs barely registered. Why? Even the lab experts could not say: there is not enough research to support this practice.
This is the point of the disclaimer.
More research needs to be done in order for us to use this as a way of vaccinating or not vaccinating our pets.
You also have to factor in so many additional things such as breed, genetics, overbreeding or inbreeding…, exercise, home environment, do you travel, do they get boarded or groomed, etc…. There are so many factors that need to be considered.
Sometimes vaccinating is the safest route. When you consider the alternatives: very expensive hospital treatments with low odds of survival or the fact that most of these diseases/viruses can be easily vaccinated against. Vaccination IS the right answer.

I’m not sure if the comment about vets just wanting to make money off you holds as much weight when the “alternative” is to spend a lot of money on “holistic” and “natural” products that haven’t been proven effective or safe but just anecdotally effective.

The good vets don’t want to “make money” off of their clients., not do they do unnecessary treatments or vaccines. We just want pets to be healthy and safe. It’s actually the majority of vets that work this way.
Unfortunately, that was a very negative blanket statement that doesn’t have much basis in reality.
Patti McTee

You mentioned the need for a species specific diet, but didn’t elaborate. Our cats and dogs are obligate carnivores, which simply means they need or are obligated to eat meat, and specifically raw meat. To avoid the very unhealthy junk food sold, I make my own pet food, basically using organic primal grass-fed beef and organic high omega-3 chicken, a bit of spinach and carrot, a little shredded coconut, and powdered gelatin. Animals fed a healthy raw food diet have close to double the life expectancy of pets eating other food, and rarely get cancer.
Dorothy Steben

One big thing to also consider, if your pet is not up on distemper vaccine and they bite someone, you can get sued because it is a law.
The other vaccines that are not legally required, you can get them tested to see if they have the protection needed. A simple blood test will tell.

My 14 year old dog got one vaccine before we got him. He is getting old, but unlike all the dogs around us he hasn’t got cancer or tumors or diabetes. His breed lives for about 8-11 years on average. He is still healthy and we just treated a bladder infection naturally which is the first time he’s ever even been sick in his life.
I think not having the toxins in his body has been a really good thing.
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