Alternative Vaccinations

Vaccinations have long been considered beneficial to the protection of pets” health. However, some researchers and veterinarians are discovering that vaccines may not be needed as frequently as was previously believed. Additionally, alternatives to canine vaccinations are being presented and put into practice by some veterinarians and animal hospitals.

Many dogs are considered to be over-vaccinated, which can lead to problems in the future. Auto-immune diseases can result from vaccinating a pet too often. While vaccines were previously thought to be needed every year, some may actually be effective for three years.

However, even if you and your veterinarian decide on less frequent vaccinations, do not eliminate the yearly check-up that your dog usually gets when he goes in for vaccinations. This yearly check-up is extremely beneficial to your dog”s health and could prevent any problems from becoming serious or life-threatening. Veterinarians often catch diseases and conditions early during check-ups, so they are important to continue.

Many people believe that simply making sure your dog leads a healthy lifestyle can be an alternative to yearly vaccinations. However, this does not apply to all vaccinations. Rabies vaccinations are required by law in many areas, and a healthy lifestyle should not be used to replace all vaccinations, especially those that could prevent life-threatening diseases in your dog. Discuss which vaccinations are truly necessary with your veterinarian.

Homeopathic Nosodes

Aside from healthy lifestyles and less frequent vaccinations, other alternatives to vaccinations are also becoming more popular. Homeopathics nosodes, or medicines made from diseased tissue or diseased body fluid, are gaining in popularity.

Homeopathic nosodes follow the same principles as a vaccination, as a vaccination is simply an injection of diseased particles.

However, homeopathic nosodes have not been researched in-depth and there is still a great deal of controversy surrounding this type of alternative medicine. Some veterinarians believe that they are not helpful in preventing disease.

Traditionally, homeopathic nosodes have been used directly following an epidemic or exposure to a disease, but this use is infrequent. If homeopathic nosodes are used on a regular basis in place of vaccinations, many veterinarians believe that they will be harmful to dogs and other pets and cause them to get sick.

Vaccinations in Dogs

With this in mind, most veterinarians will not recommend using only homeopathic nosodes to prevent disease in puppies and dogs.

However, one alternative to yearly vaccinations is to come up with a modified schedule with your dog”s veterinarian. Discuss which diseases your dog is at higher risk for and which diseases he is unlikely to acquire.

Also, discuss the length of time that vaccinations are effective. This may be different for different vaccines. Only give your dog vaccinations that are necessary for his health, and do not give your dog vaccinations more frequently than your veterinarian recommends.

Other Disease Prevention Alternatives

In addition to a modified vaccine schedule, veterinarians may be able to recommend other things that can help a dog”s immune system protect against diseases.

Dietary recommendations, vitamins and supplements can all be helpful in building up a dog”s immune system. Special foods or additions to a dog”s diet may also be recommended by a vet.

Resources

Canis Major Publications (2007). Dog Owner”s Guide: Annual Vaccinations. Retrieved October 22, 2007, from the Canis Major Publications Web site: http://www.canismajor.com/dog/vacci01.html.

Keith, Christie (2007). Nosodes: An Alternative to Vaccination? Retrieved October 22, 2007, from the Caber Feidh Scottish Deerhound Web site: http://www.caberfeidh.com/Nosodes.htm.

Wynn, Susan, DVM (2003). Vaccination Decisions. Retrieved October 22, 2007, from the Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine Web site: http://www.altvetmed.org/articles/vaccinations.html.