C.L. Galka-Agnew,  D.V.M.                      Companion Animal Care Center

Text Box:         As animal caretakers, we have all been taught about the importance of vaccinations.  As a veterinarian, I was taught that annual boosters were a necessary part of maintaining the health of my patients.  As more and more research has accumulated over the years, the “science” of vaccination is changing  --  what isn’t in this day and age?   Fortunately, the changes that are being discovered provide good news for you and your animals!

         The current recommendations for vaccinating our companion animals are causing many illnesses and need to be altered.  Puppies and kittens are vaccinated at far too early an age, causing serious damage to undeveloped immune systems in many of these infants, leading to chronic illnesses later in life.  Annual vaccination “boosters” are unnecessary and actually harmful in many animals.   Vaccinating geriatric animals is especially harmful and I do not  advise boosters on elderly patients --  ever!

         Some of the diseases that are commonly associated with over-vaccinating are: 
 disorders of the blood that are life threatening, 
inflammatory bowel disease in both dogs and cats, which was unheard of a generation ago,   
cardiac problems where the heart muscle, itself, either thickens or becomes too thin and results in heart disease,  
behavior changes of many types, including aggression, 
thyroid disorders,   
allergic conditions manifested as skin disease and  
 various cancers.  
      Many other disorders that cannot be pinpointed in particular animals are possibly due to over-vaccinating.

      My goal is to protect youngsters against the viruses that can kill them without causing harm to their immune system in the process.   The new vaccine protocols  greatly  reduce the risks involved in vaccinating:

 Recommended Protocol for dogs (by Dr. Jean Dodds):  
 Give  ONLY  Distemper and Parvo at  8,  12  and 22 weeks of age,  with one adult booster at 16 months of age.   DO   NOT  vaccinate puppies earlier than 8 weeks of age!    Breeders concerned about Parvo before 8 weeks of age can use homeopathic nosodes which are a safe alternative before 8 weeks of age.  It is highly unlikely that any boosters after the 16 month of age vaccine are necessary, as evidence is showing that most dogs  have many years immunity to distemper/parvo. 

Rabies:  Give initially at 5 months of age, then repeat at about 17 months of age.  There is a new study, ongoing as of 2006, regarding rabies vaccinations - to determine how long immunity lasts.  As with the human polio vaccine lasting lifelong, it is hoped that this study will provide scientific proof that rabies vaccines last many years, if not lifelong in dogs and cats.                             

Recommended Protocol for cats: 
  Distemper at 10 and 16 weeks of age and then one booster at about 16 months of age for lifelong immunity.    Rabies,  upper respiratory and leukemia vaccines  only  in high risk outdoor cats.  Protocol is varied depending upon each cat’s level of outdoor activity.  Leukemia is a very high risk vaccine and should not be given to cats that are not at high risk of exposure.

There are very informative sites to research vaccine matters: (Leerburg kennels)  great article on vaccinosis 
Article by Dee Blanco DVM  “Vaccines - Are they safe for your Dog?” has very detailed info on vaccine concerns by Dr. Dee Blanco  has good information on titer testing
As this information spreads through various animal care networks and as we give less unnecessary booster vaccinations, hopefully we will see positive benefits in that the animals we love will be healthier, living longer with better quality of life and less dis-ease.

“Be wise and vaccinate, but vaccinate wisely.”   Dr. Ron Schulz