Today’s topic is something WE ALL need think about. Please don’t accept what I recommend or what your vet (or your doctor) tells you to do without undertaking some additional investigation on your own. Whether or not to vaccinate is a topic that pertains not only to our pets but to our children as well. The big question is whether or not it is the right thing to do.
I have spent almost 40 years teaching people that feeding a raw food diet is a more appropriate way to feed a dog or cat than feeding it heat processed, kibble dry food. Although it’s been tough trying to “teach an old dog new tricks”, I’m happy to report that in the last several years the popularity of raw feeding for pets has skyrocketed…and we have a healthier pet population to prove it.
Thank goodness there are people like you who now realize that raw feeding is an effective and safe alternative to the chemically laden, genetically modified, heat processed diets that are sold everywhere today. Thank goodness people like you have become knowledgeable about how to read a label (and you actually read them before you buy). Thank goodness YOU know that over time, feeding a kibble or canned diet can result in potential medical conditions caused by dehydration, residual toxin accumulation and chemical residues. Thank goodness you THINK about all these things.
The scary thing is that most people don’t THINK anymore. They just believe what they hear on the news or whatever the vet or doctor tells them…and then they follow blindly along. This brings me to the subject of vaccination…and whether or not it’s the right thing to do.
Vaccination is definitely a controversial topic and it’s a question that I get asked a lot. Like anything else that carries two sides to the story, there is a good side and a bad side. You must consider the advantages and weigh them against the disadvantages. I do this by asking myself the question: what affect will vaccinating have on my dog or cats immune system? Do the benefits outweigh the potential harm? (By the way, I always recommend this same line of reasoning to customers when they first consider feeding raw vs. kibble or heat processed diets.)
The use of the canine vaccine against Lyme disease is a good example, which illustrates this point. It is believed now that if your dog has already been exposed to the Lyme organism, there is no known benefit of vaccinating further against the disease. Tick control for all dogs in tick-infested areas is more important than vaccination. Tick collars and topical products are safer and more effective deterrents.
But My Vet Recommended It. Like many other drugs, over-vaccinating can cause more harm than good. Most vets agree that some vaccines are effective and have saved millions of pet’s lives. A vaccine works by introducing the potential virus and then triggering an immune response that prepares your pet to fight future infections. But here’s what you may not know. Once your puppy or kitten is fully immunized against future viruses, he is immune for years, and often for life.
What this means is that after your pet has received all his puppy shots, the antibodies he develops to the viruses he’s been immunized against will actually protect him from the same viruses introduced in future vaccinations. Therefore future vaccinations against the same virus are virtually useless!
Dr. Karen Becker DVM in Illinois claims that vaccines, like any pharmaceutical drug, are not without side effects. So re-vaccinating for the same pathogens year after year is more than a waste of money-it also poses ever- increasing risks to your pet’s health.
But there’s a darker side too. Dr. Becker feels that the vaccination business is a major profit center for many veterinarians who depend on vaccination schedules to keep the doors open. An eye-opening example is the markup on the rabies vaccine. She indicates that it can escalate from 2400 to 6200 percent profit in many cases. Estimates indicate, that removing the one-year rabies vaccination/office visit for dogs alone could reduce a veterinarian’s income from $87,000 to $25,000. And this example involves just one variety of one vaccine, and only for dogs.
Just as you did when deciding to switch to a raw diet for your pet, please take time and do your own research on this important subject. Become well informed and consider the risk to benefit ratio before you make that vet appointment to have your pet vaccinated. It’s a hot topic…and one that requires THINKING! Thank goodness you are not one of the blind followers.
Robert Mueller, BSc, Pharm. is a registered pharmacist, author of “Living Enzymes: The World’s Best Kept Pet Food Secret”.