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Did You Know? Vaccines that Prevent Illnesses may also Endanger Your Dogs?

Is it safe to vaccinate your pet dog? Are common shots, such as the DHPP vaccine, or rabies vaccine really that important?

Even though a dog vaccination can be bought easily, it does not mean that your dog must absolutely get it. Over-vaccinating pets has become an issue in the veterinary world, but immunizing your dog is nonetheless an important aspect of having one. Over the last few years, many veterinarians have moved away from administering dog vaccinations annually.  Instead, they now suggest shots for parvo and distemper be given every 3 years.

Dog vaccinations are never without potential risks. That, on its own, presents debate. But, it doesn’t stop there. Some vaccines contain adjuvants, or immune system boosters that encourage the body to fight the disease stored by the vaccine. These adjuvants may cause inflammation of the vaccination site. A number of vaccines even have preservatives and mercury, a highly-toxic chemical.

A dog's reaction to a vaccine can really sap this pet’s  strength, similar to how it is when the body is responding to a "real" illness. To be more specific, a dog's WBC or white blood cell count decreases after vaccination. Therefore, logic tells us that for a period of time following a dog's vaccination, his/her level of immunity is in a weakened state and he/she could be susceptible to several diseases.

Here are things to keep in mind when planning pet vaccinations:

Vaccinations are important for puppies 7-14 weeks old since this is when the immunity from their mother begins to wane so their immunity is weakened and therefore they are more susceptible to some serious diseases.

• Giving a distemper/parvovirus vaccination every 3 years is unnecessary.  Rather than vaccinate needlessly, it is better to test the level of immunity prior to vaccinating a pet using a titer test.  Many dogs and cats do not need to be vaccinated as often as every 3 years as it turns out.

• Autoimmune diseases have increased and can often be attributed to over-vaccination.

• Vaccination programs should be custom-fit to your pet and it should depend on their  current health conditions, lifestyle, and potential exposure to specific diseases.

• Waivers are available for pets whose severe medical condition precludes vaccinations.

Report all symptoms to your vet instantly.  If your dog has difficulty breathing or moving,  develops hives, or develops swelling in the facial region, go to a veterinary clinic right away.

If you are concerned about your dog, call your vet or an emergency clinic and ask if there is a need to come in. Make sure you know where the nearest clinic is — just in case.

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