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This is a copy of an article that appeared in the Winter edition of "The Prairie Wheaten", the newsletter of the Assiniboine Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier Association and has been reprinted with the permission of the authors.

Health Concern by Roz Bacon and Carolyn Fox

The Vaccination Controversy

....something to think about

In recent years there has been some controversy about yearly booster shots for our dogs. Some veterinarians, researchers, breeders and pet owners are questioning the value of booster inoculations. Do vaccines cause more diseases than they cure? Why are humans covered for life by their childhood vaccinations while pets require annual booster shots?

Vets are taught at Veterinarian School that these are to be done annually. Pharmaceutical companies do not want to lose the millions of dollars generated by annual booster shots. Researchers cannot agree with each other. One third to one half of a Vet's income comes from these annual boosters. All of these issues make the problem a difficult one to pursue. However, we believe it is something you should pursue and think about for the sake of your Wheaten's health.

The book, Natural Immunity by Pat McKay explains with a series of essays and articles by various experts why you should not vaccinate. She, and others, believe that most skin allergies, skin diseases and skin tumours, cancer, arthritis, respiratory problems, inflammatory bowel disease, and autoimmune diseases are the result of repeated annual vaccinations. It is possible that routinely vaccinated dogs are developing autoantibodies to their own biochemicals causing the dog to attack their own body. The autoimmune diseases Protein-Losing Nephropthy (PLN), Protein-Losing Enteropathy (PLE), and Addison's Disease are a major concern in Wheatens. Skin diseases, bowel problems and cancer are also common in Wheatens.

We all need to give thought to these concerns before the next reminder comes from our Vet's office saying that "Max's" or "Willow's" annual booster shots are due. It is not known how long these vaccines last, but in some cases blood tests show antibodies still present at least six years after the last booster shot. Some believe the dog is immune for life. Is it necessary for us to subject our dogs to this mixture of, as Pat McKay puts it, "decayed animals, diseased blood, sera, bacteria, viruses, fungi, mucous, pus, urine, feces, antibiotics, formaldehyde, mercury derivatives, acetone, aluminum and carbolic acid" each and every year?

The most radical view is no vaccinations at all. There is also the status quo. After all, many dogs live to a ripe old age despite the yearly booster. A middle-of-the-road viewpoint seems to be the most popular at this time. This view varies but many think that booster shots should be maintained as usual until the age of two (another viewpoint - until twelve to seventeen months) followed by booster shots every two or three years. Some think distemper and parvo shots are unnecessary for most dogs after the two year annual vaccination. There is a three year rabies vaccine available now so DO make sure you take advantage of that. A three year rabies certificate is all that is required to cross into the United States. Some experts suggest the rabies vaccine be administered a few months after the other booster shots to help prevent vaccine overload on a dog's system. If Lepto and Lyme vaccines are necessary for a particular area of the country they are still not recommended as adverse reactions have been known to occur in Wheatens. Dogs should not be vaccinated within thirty days of a female's heat cycle or during heat, during pregnancy, during lactation, during cortisone treatment, or if the dog is stressed or ill. Vaccination may even be eliminated in a dog over ten years of age. A breeder we know advocates no vaccinations after the one year booster. Each vaccine is given separately at one week intervals and rabies only after six months of age if the dog has to travel or it is required by law. Some owners choose to have their dog's immunity levels checked with a blood test before revaccinating.

You now have some thinking to do! Talk to your vet. Check with your breeder for an opinion. Do your own research. The Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital web site (listed below) says there are 1700 different vaccination recommendations for dogs across the United States. There is little consensus. It will be up to you, the owner, to make the final decision. At the VERY least, we want you to ask one question of your vet before the next booster shots: ARE YOU GIVING A THREE YEAR RABIES SHOT TO MY DOG ON AN ANNUAL BASIS? This IS happening to some Wheatens in the year 2000!!

Sources for Research:

NATURAL IMMUNITY ..... Why You Should Not Vaccinate!
a book by Pat McKay
Oscar Publications, June 1997

THE VACCINE CONTROVERSY / COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY SMALL ANIMAL VACCINATION PROTOCOL - a comprehensive discussion of the various controversial aspects of vaccines for your pet, along with their protocol for immunization.
by Susan Thorpe Vargas MS, Ph.D.

Look up "Vaccination Protocol" on the search engine of your computer for many other points of view.

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