by Dr Donna Starita Mehan
The purpose of vaccination is to protect your pet from potentially fatal infections by pathogenic (disease -causing) viruses such as distemper, " and others. The way this is done is to Inject either a killed or a "modified" (non-pathogenic) live virus, which sensitizes the immune system to that particular virus. Thereafter, if your dog or cat is exposed to, let's say, parvo-virus/he will be able to respond quickly and vigorously, producing antibodies to overcome the infection.
This sounds like a pretty good plan, on the surface. However, as with any medical procedure, we must ask the simple and direct questions, "Is it safe? Is it effective? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?"
The Problems With Vaccinations
"Routine" vaccination, as it is practiced today, is not always effective (especially in the case of the feline leukemia vaccine), and frequently has adverse side-effects, either short or long term. With the use of multivalent (combination: 4 in 1,6 in 1, etc.) vaccines that are repeated year after year, the frequency and severity of these side-effects in our pets has increased dramatically.
Not surprisingly, most of the problems involve the immune system. After all, the immune system is what vaccines are designed to stimulate. But they do so in a very unnatural way that can overwhelm and confuse the immune system. The body may overreact to normally harmless substances (allergies, especially flea allergies and other skin problems), or even produce antibodies to itself (autoimmune disease). At the same time, the body may be sluggish in responding to those things that it should reject, such as common viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. This can result in increased susceptibility to acute infections (such as ear infections in dogs, bladder infections in cats), chronic tapeworm problems, or in more degenerative cases, cancer.
Lack of Alternatives
The big question has always been: What alternative is there? Despite these potential problems, vaccination must surely be preferable to losing puppies and kittens to distemper, parvo, and other fatal diseases! Until recently, there have been no practical alternatives, so the short term benefits of vaccination have seemed to outweigh the long term risks. Now, however, there is a safe and effective alternative to vaccination: homeopathic nosodes.
Homeopathic Nosodes: a Better Alternative
A nosode is simply a homeopathic remedy that is made from a disease product. Nosodes are not in any way infections, and can be used in the same way as vaccines, that is, to prevent viral infection.
Like vaccines, nosodes sensitize the body to a particular virus, so the immune system can react quickly and effectively to natural exposure. Nosodes are at least as effective as vaccines, and in some cases have been shown to be significantly more effective than vaccines in preventing infection.
The biggest advantage of nosodes over vaccines is the fact that they are completely safe. There are no risks or side-effects whatever. And they can be safely given to puppies and kittens much earlier than vaccines can. In fact, the mother can be treated before she gives birth" giving the puppies or kittens protection from the moment they are born.
Nosodes" like all homoepathic remedies, are very easy to administer: they are given by mouth" and don't even need to be swallowed. They are also very economical - far less expensive" in fact" than vaccination.
Limitations of Nosodes
There are some limitations to the use of nosodes. Rabies vaccination for dogs is required by law in most counties of America, and the rabies nosode" called Lyssin" will not satisfy that requirement. You should know, however, for the health of your animal, that all vaccines, including rabies are legally and medically approved for use in healthy animals only! So if your dog is showing any signs of acute or chronic disease, s/he is exempt from that requirement and should not be vaccinated.
Despite the obvious advantages of nosodes, most boarding kennels and veterinary hospitals will not accept them in lieu of vaccination. If you need to board your dog or cat in a boarding kennel or veterinary hospital, you may be forced to have him/her vaccinated. This is a problem that will hopefully improve with time as more kennel owners and veterinarians become familiar with nosodes.
If You Vaccinate
As a veterinary homeopath, I do not recommend routine vaccination for dogs or cats, except for rabies in healthy dogs. If, for whatever reason, you decide that you must vaccinate your pet, I would make the following recommendations:
1. Never vaccinate an animal with symptoms of acute or chronic health problems, or at the time of surgery or any other physical or emotional stress.
2. Vaccinate for one disease at a time that is, avoid multivalent (combination) vaccines.
For cats" vaccinate for feline panleukopenia alone. The vaccines for the two upper respiratory viruses (calicivirus and rhinotracheitis) can be given together. I strongly recommend against vaccination for feline leukemia or feline infectious peritonitis virus.
The vaccine is ineffective, and in my opinion, extremely hazardous.
For dogs, give parvo separately from distemper.
Do not vaccinate for leptospirosis, hepatitis" or parainfluenza.
Never give the rabies vaccine at the same time as any other vaccine.
3. Avoid modified live virus vaccines whenever possible. Get killed virus vaccines, especially for rabies, canine parvo virus, and feline panleukopenia. (The canine distemper/hepatitis vaccine is not available in a killed virus form).
4. For middle ages dogs and cats, "vaccinate every 2-3 years" instead of yearly.
5. After vaccination, give a dose of Thuja 30c. Wait one week" then give a dose of Sulfur 6x once daily for 7 days.
Therapeutic Use of Nosodes
In addition to helping prevent specific viral diseases with prophylactic use, nosodes can be used even after exposure to a virus has taken place. If given immediately after exposure, before symptoms develop, these nosodes can prevent the development of clinical disease.
Viral diseases such as feline leukemia, feline infectious peritonitis, canine distemper and canine parvo virus are usually incurable with conventional medical treatment (antibiotics, steroids, etc. ).
However, they frequently respond very quickly and favorably to homeopathic treatment. If your pet shows any symptoms of illness, specific, individualized homeopathic treatment will be needed. Due to the potential seriousness of these conditions, you should seek professional help
Printed with permission of author Donna Starita Mehan,DMV
A County Way Veterinary Care
27728 SE Haley Road, Boring, OR 97009 USA.