The Controversy of Vaccinations - McDowell's Herbal Treatments


Obviously not being Vets we are not able to totally advise with regards to vaccinations. We can though most certainly give an opinion.

The immunity that a puppy obtains from it's mum wears out somewhere between the age of 6 to 16 weeks of age. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing when that time is for each individual puppy and whilst there is still a high level of antibodies they will unfortunately prevent the vaccine being taken up by the puppy's immune system.
This is why there is a vaccination protocol of set times (most commonly 6 to 8 weeks, then 12weeks then 16 weeks) for vaccination to cover the times when MOST puppies maternal antibodies have decreased sufficiently to allow the vaccine to take.

Some owners of susceptible breeds such as Rottweilers, who for some reason seem to be very susceptible to Parvo, actually vaccinate every 2 weeks up to 16 weeks of age.

Now - I used to be very happy and in fact used to recommend vaccinating every 12 months to 2 years for dogs when I was Vet Nursing but over the last 5 or more years there has been some concern that vaccinating this often may in fact cause the immune system to have problems such as auto-immune diseases or skin allergies etc. Keep in mind this seems to only be a problem for SOME dogs and I certainly over my 15yrs of nursing saw many dogs who had yearly vaccinations with NO adverse effect.

However, having said that, I personally for my own dogs now elect to vaccinate at 8 weeks for the first (so long as Mum is up to date with vaccinations) then 12 weeks and again at 16 to 18 weeks of age. I strongly believe in socialising puppies during their first 4 months of age (and beyond of course) as this is the critical age that puppies need to be exposed to as many stimuli as possible to be a well balanced emotional individual. So obviously ensuring that they are covered as much as possible is necessary as having nursed many Parvo cases I most certainly do not EVER want my puppy to come down with it. Obviously I do not take a puppy where there may have been lots of stray or uncared for dogs especially during the time of year when Parvo is most prevalent.

I do not worry with the Kennel Cough vaccine as like any "flu" vaccine it is not 100% effective although it will usually mean that if they get Kennel Cough it is to a lesser degree than an unvaccinated dog. Kennel Cough however is not a deadly disease like Distemper, Hepatitis or Parvo. etc although in some RARE cases it can progress to pneumonia. I may elect to vaccinate against Kennel Cough should my dog need to be boarded in a kennel that has had recent outbreaks. There are kennels that require certificates of vaccination for certain diseases.

I then vaccinate in another 12 to 18mths time and then every 3 years or more after that. We have not been able to titre test in Australia until recently and I will probably do a titre test and if all looks well may even elect to not do the 3 yearly booster but titre test instead. My dogs are constantly out and about with me being exposed to possible low level viral contamination and therefore their immune system will be generating antibodies.

I do also feel it is important to have a wellness check every 12 to 18mths or so to pick up on any problems that may be starting that you are unaware of - abdominal masses for instance. It also allows the dog to feel comfortable within the veterinary environment should any problem develop and allows you to develop a relationship with your vet - again in case you come up with a problem. There is nothing worse than having some serious illness and not knowing a vet that you are confident with. In fact with young dogs I often just take them into the waiting room and pop them on the scales and give treats and let them socialise with the vet nurse etc so that it is a fun thing to do!

I hope this has been of assistance and please keep in mind that these are personal views.

A New Puppy

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McDowell's staff Herbalists can not diagnose your disease or illness. What they can do is offer a herbal program to assist with healing, after you have had advice from your doctor or specialist. If you have unexplained pain or symptoms, seek medical advice.

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