The Vaccination Dilemma

Frida at 12 weeks, 2-1/2 lbs. . . . before the sore butt!

Frida at 12 weeks, 2-1/2 lbs. . . . before the sore butt!

I must admit, I’m pretty averse to vaccinations in ourselves or our animals — or at least to too many of them. We seem to have become convinced that one major way to become healthy is to vaccinate against anything and everything possible. But, while following a sane and cautious vaccination schedule is well justified, much of what is now recommended and given is not.

In an animal health workshop I once attended, a state veterinarian reported that it had been proven that one 1-year shot of the rabies vaccine protected dogs for five years. And it was suspected that they were protected for longer, but their antibodies weren’t tested past the 5-year mark so beyond that was an unknown (or at least was at the time of the workshop a few years ago, and this was before the 3-year rabies vaccine recommendation).

Every time a vaccine is introduced to the body, the body’s immune system has to work overtime and try to fight it off — it is an invader. So repeated vaccines can be very stressful, especially if given to an animal who is unhealthy or undergoing other stressors, like surgery. And (most people don’t know this), the vaccine itself is not what protects against disease; it is the body’s hoped-for response that does. So over-vaccinating is weakening and overall can degrade the body’s ability to fight off disease.

I have a dear friend who caught the flu this past January. And, golly gee, he had had a flu shot. He wound up in the hospital and caught pneumonia and a bacterial infection in his heart to boot, so has been down and out for five months now. I’m not blaming the flu shot for this; but it certainly did not protect him from contracting it, and, who knows, it might have been a factor that tipped the scale to set him up for getting sick. One will never know, but, in spite of occasional pressure from friends or family, I never get a flu shot.

So all this leads me to the current dilemma. Dear little Frida. Weighing in at 2-1/2 lbs. now. She has been past due for her second parvo/distemper innoculation for a couple of weeks, and I have been agonizing about whether to get it or not. I do believe in vaccines for babies, and all my animals get what they need until they are old enough to “hold” the protection, usually around four to six months. But I was thinking of skipping the middle parvo/distemper shot simply to ease the stress on such a tiny dog’s system. And a holistic vet I work with and trust recommended skipping the middle shot IF I could keep Frida unexposed until the next round. So that’s the direction I was headed.

But fate intervened and I realized Frida has seriously needed worming for the past couple of weeks. So off we went today to take care of all that, and back we came back with a sore little butt from a parvo/distemper shot. I just couldn’t take a chance with this little one. And even taking her into a vet’s office felt like “exposure,” so what was I to do?

She came home and slept all day and night with intermittent play times, but squealed when I picked her up from her nap because she was sore. It literally hurt my heart when she cried, but I know it would be so much worse if I were negligent and she somehow became gravely ill. I couldn’t take that.

So, while I will always be very conservative on the topic of vaccinations, I AM very thankful for modern medicine and the help it can provide. Amen.

If you’d like to read more about vaccinations from the horse’s mouth (actually from a veterinarian’s), please visit Dr. Marcia’s Blog. There you’ll find a wealth of information on this topic as well on alternative and holistic medicine in general.


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