Thinking It's Time To Booster Your Pet? Think Again!
Keelie and Peg were six months old when I adopted them eight years ago. They were thought to be Shepherd/Sharpei mixes. Both girls were happy, well-nourished, and apparently healthy. Their coats were lovely. Both girls' vaccinations were boosted the day I picked them up.
About a month later, Peg's beautiful coat began to turn coarse and dry. Within a week, bald patches began to appear on her sides, and I could easily pull out handfuls of hair along her topline. I scheduled an appointment with my holistic veterinarian. The veterinarian diagnosed vaccinosis, an adverse reaction to vaccines. She prescribed rest, low stress, good nutrition, and patience.
Looking back, I now realize how lucky we were. Peg's lovely coat came back with time, and she appears to have suffered no lasting effects from her adverse reaction to vaccination, but now I titer. I don't vaccinate except as mandated by state law.
Every time vaccinations are administered, the body's immune system is challenged. Sometimes the body finds the challenge to be manageable, sometime it does not. If the body is not able to withstand the immune system challenge, and a reaction is seen immediately post-vaccination, then the connection to vaccination is made. But if the body struggles to recover, and the vaccination reaction is masked for days, weeks, or even months before the body finally yields, then the connection to vaccination may be dismissed or completely overlooked.
Adverse reaction to vaccination is now suspect in ever-increasing numbers of cases of serious illness and chronic disease.
Talk to your veterinarian about implementing protocols for minimal vaccination of your pet. If your veterinarian is dismissive of your concerns, insist. If your veterinarian refuses, find another vet. Adverse reactions to vaccines can be very, very serious, threatening quality of life, and life itself.
Once minimal vaccination protocols have been met, ensure that titers (blood tests) are performed in lieu of vaccine boosters. Vaccinate only if titers show antibody levels below normal limits, and then ensure that a monovalent vaccine for only the antibody that tested low is administered. Monovalent vaccines may not be easy to find, but they are available.
At present, state-mandated rabies vaccinations are the only exception to the acceptable substitution of titers for vaccination boosting. There is, however, hope that state mandates which are causing our pets to be needlessly exposed to serious over-vaccination may be modified to reduce the frequency of required boosting. The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust research project currently being undertaken at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine expects to demonstrate that rabies titers hold for at least seven years, rather than the mere three for which vaccine producers tested. Please visit www.RabiesChallengeFund.org for more information, and please donate to this exceptionally worthy cause if you can.
This article by Kristina Dow appeared in the August 2009 issue of 'Our Berkshire Green'.