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Guest Post: Pet Vaccine Recommendations – A Holistic Perspective

The vaccine issue is a hot topic amongst veterinary professionals as well as the general public. Emotions run high in the respective camps. Opinions abound. It is difficult to know what to do in the best interest of our pets. Fear and guilt enter into the equation as we weigh the risks, on the one hand, of not vaccinating and risking life-threatening acute infectious diseases and, on
the other hand, giving the vaccines and risking vaccine-associated reactions and complications. It’s a tough choice…

In making my recommendations, I’d like to start by explaining what a vaccination is. Vaccination may be defined as inoculating an individual with a weakened form of an infectious organism
known to cause disease, with the purpose of generating a protective immune response. In the last one hundred or more years, great inroads have been made in eliminating or virtually eliminating some of the devastating epidemic diseases known to mankind, by means of vaccination. However – and this is where it gets a bit controversial – there may have been a trade off…

You see, I have become of the opinion, through my recent training in homeopathy/holistic veterinary medicine, that when we vaccinate a patient, we may protect against the acute infectious agent, but, in the process, may inadvertently introduce factors that can contribute to chronic disease, including mental, emotional, and immune system abnormalities.

So, when it comes to vaccination, I feel strongly that some vaccinating is probably necessary to avoid some of the devastating viral diseases our pets may be exposed to. However, we can
probably get by with much less than we’re doing. When deciding on a vaccination program for your pet, I urge you to:

  • Speak frankly with your vet about the risk-benefit ratio of any recommended vaccines.
  • Consider titre testing (a blood test to evaluate your pet’s immunity to various diseases) as an alternative to potentially unnecessary booster vaccines.
  • Start a bit later with puppy/kitten vaccines (i.e.: 12 weeks rather than 6 to 8 weeks). The immune system isn’t fully developed until 16 weeks of age and will have a more difficult
  • time properly processing the vaccine the earlier it’s given. However, if waiting longer, you need to make sure your puppy/kitten is not exposed to environments where they
  • will likely be exposed to virus (i.e.: dog parks, public beaches, cat shows, etc).
  • Avoid vaccinating at the time of a stressful event such as surgery.
  • Avoid giving more than one vaccine at a time.
  • Avoid vaccinating an animal that’s not in excellent condition or that’s suffering from concurrent medical or nutritional conditions.

Dr. Lavroff is a local Kelowna veterinarian with more than 25 years of experience. He will soon be starting a house call practice for pets, using only homeopathic treatment without the use of pharmaceuticals.

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