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The controversy over vaccinating your dog or cat

By Gay Published: June 25, 2009

There is a growing body of immunologists and health care experts who are questioning the vaccinations given to dogs and cats. The debate extends to humans as well. There are some animals who have had adverse reactions to the vaccines, but the traditional theory is that those are very few, and many, many more lives are saved by vaccinations than cause death or illness.

It's a controversy that needs close examination, and while I am not qualified to participate in the dialogue (nor is anyone who is not a health care professional. Your next door neighbor or great- aunt Hilda, if not a DVM (or an MD, in the case of humans) is not knowledgeable enough, either. That is not to say that you can not take a stand, but you should talk to many qualified vets before you make your decision.

There is a growing body of degreed, holistic veterinarians who question the wisdom of vaccinations. There is some evidence that vaccines that combine several viruses suppress the natural immune system's ability to fight germs.

Some holistic healers believe that all vaccines interfere with adult health as well as that of kittens and puppies. Traditional, or allopathic, veterinarians absolutely believe in vaccinations for every animal and, while they may recognize a few problems, they think the greater good is served by vaccinating animals.

Some researchers have shown that the site of the injection of the vaccine causes a serious cancer, and they also suspect that interfering with the immune system causes cancer. There are documented side effects from vaccines in animals ranging from serious problems to minor ailments. Some veterinarians who are very opposed to immunizations have observed autoimmune and degenerative diseases in animals that they believe are due to the vaccines.

It is true that in humans, virulent disease like polio and smallpox have been all but eliminated by vaccinating. But those who oppose vaccination point to better sanitation around the world, and certainly in the United States, as the reason for the drop in these dreaded diseases. In the US, you can turn on a tap virtually anywhere and get clean water, and sewage treatment and methods of removing waste are vastly improved during the last century.

What to do? I suggest that, if you are concerned, you speak with several veterinarians and ask their positions and ask them to defend and explain those positions.

In the human population, there are those who blame the rapidly rising rate in disorders such as autism as an effect from “shots.”

As for me, although I prefer a natural approach in many, many things (for instance, I poured a bottle of hydrogen peroxide down an odiferous shower drain with very good results, and I didn't have to resort to harsh chemicals. Would it always work? I'm not sure; I haven't the answer.

We do vaccinate our animals, and I believe in it because the statistics are on the side of vaccines. While there may be a few animals experiencing side effects, I have seen the damage done by the diseases they prevent. However, I am neither a veterinarian nor a veterinary researcher. I'll leave it to them to duke it out. In the meantime, I think the risk is worth it.

By Gay Fifer, owner, Parsley Hollow, Inc.

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