Vaccine labeling – do you know what your pet is getting?

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Do you know what is really in the vaccines that are given to your pet?  Vaccines are used to build immunity against certain diseases and will contain a modified or killed form of the organism.  Vaccines also contain other ingredients that may cause adverse reactions in your pet.  All vaccines will have preservatives of some sort.  These are typically either antibiotics and/or thimerosal, which is a mercury based preservative.  Vaccine companies and the FDA will consider these substances safe if present in certain low percentages.  The problem is that you never know how a certain individual is going to react to even a small amount of a chemical or antibiotic.

I recommend that you ask what is in the vaccine that is being given your pet.  I have also found that package inserts are not complete.  In an effort to investigate the ingredients in a certain rabies vaccine that we have in our clinic, I found that the package insert only listed gentamycin as a preservative.  When I contacted the company asking about any other ingredients, I was sent the MSDS (material safety and data sheet ) that report the presence of neomycin(another antibiotic) and thimerosal.  You can ask to see the MSDS sheets or find them your self online if you know the brand of vaccine that is to be used on your pet.

Remember – vaccines are not benign and may contain other substances with the potential to cause reactions in your pet.  You have the right to be informed and deserve full disclosure of what your pet is receiving.

When it is time to say good-bye

Our pets bring so much to our lives – love, companionship, joy, playfulness.  It is devastating to face the moment of truth when a beloved pet may be leaving our lives.  There are difficult decisions to make, finances to consider, and most importantly, we do not want our pet to suffer needlessly.  These decisions can be heart-wrenching, to say the least.

How do you decide how long to treat your pet, and with what?  Do you feel selfish by keeping your pet alive in order to avoid the loss?  There is often a dead end reached in allopathic medicine where ‘no more’ can be done.  In alternative medicine, however, there are many options to choose from regardless of your pet stage of life.

This is not to say that we can stop your pet from aging or stop the progression of disease, but there are definitely options that can improve your pet’s quality of life both mentally and physically.  These options include energy work, essential oils, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic care, homeopathy and animal communication.  Within each of these modalities, there are many options available to help your pet.

As you pet reached its ‘golden years’  seek out alternative therapies that you are comfortable and you will find great comfort for both you and your pet.

Nosodes – fact or fiction?

Nosodes are a type of homeopathic vaccination that will not cause the potential side-effects of traditional vaccines – see vaccine reactions .  Nosodes are made from exudates or discharges from an infected animal.  These substances are diluted to a degree such that there is no real biological substance remaining.  The reasons that nosodes cause fewer side-effects include:

1. There are no toxic preservatives or carriers that can cause the reactions seen when traditional vaccines are given. 

2. Nosodes are given on the mucous membranes of the mouth which is a more natural route of exposure than traditional vaccines, which are injected. 

When an unknown substance is injected into the body, there is often no established way for the body to deal with it at that level.  This causes unusual inflammatory reactions that can result in disease elsewhere in the body.  These reactions are not necessarily immediate, but can occur up to several months later, and recur on the anniversary date of the vaccine.

Nosodes do not generate a measurable antibody level in the blood, and can thus be a hard sell in traditional medicine.   There is, however, a great deal of clinical evidence from veterinarians that have used nosodes in clinical practice that they are equally as effective as vaccines, and most importantly, NO side effects.  I believe that a great deal of disease is caused by the overuse of vaccines in veterinary medicine.  If there is an alternative that is equally as effective, with no side effects, then it should be the treatment of choice.

Nosodes can also be used in the face of exposure, unlike traditional vaccines that are only effective if given in advance.  This is a huge advantage, especially in very contagious diseases such as kennel cough.

There are legal issues when it comes to vaccines, and Rabies is required by law in most places.  There is a homeopathic remedy called lyssin that can be given after the Rabies vaccine to help prevent adverse effects of the vaccine.

Nosodes can be a very effective alternative to traditional vaccinations.  A variety of different protocol have been used effectively, so it is best to treat your pet under the guidance of a holistic veterinarian.

Helping your dog through thunderstorm and firework season

It is that time of year that the skies begin to boom, much to the terror of many of our canine friends.  Many dogs have fears of loud noises , and thunderstorms and fireworks seem to top the list for most.  The good news is that there are some very effective natural ways to help calm your pet this time of year.

1. Flower essences – the best known essences are the Bach flower essences, of which there are 38. Every flower actually has its own energetic essence that can have therapeutic benefit.  The most effective remedy will vary with the individual constitution of your pet, so you may need to try a few to see which is most effective.  These essences can be given full strength in the mouth or put in the water dish for ongoing benefit.  Two of my favorites for fear and anxiety are Rock rose and Mimulus, or you can try the old standby Rescue remedy which is a combination of five of the essences.

2. Essential oils – these are also plant products, but are processed differently than the flower essences and use a variety of  parts from the plants.  Some suggestions on specific oils include lavender and valerian.  These oils can be applied topically, ingested in a capsule or used as aroma therapy.  It is very important to check for the purity of oils before used for ingestion, as some are diluted with potentially toxic substances.  Caution must be used when administering essential oils to cats as there is some evidence that they may not be able to process them properly which can lead to toxicity.  I do not recommend direct application in either the oral or topical form to cats, and aromatherapy should only be used intermittently.

3. Body wraps – many of you have heard of Thunder shirts.  I have seen better success with a product called the Anxiety wrap, see more at anxiety wrap.  This product actually targets specific acupressure points that help with anxiety.

All of the above can be used alone or in combination.  Often times, the effect is enhanced when more than one modality is used.  In some cases, we still need to go the route of traditional sedatives such as Valium or Acepromazine, but I still recommend the use of the natural therapies as they will often decrease the amount of sedative that is needed.

Remember also to keep your pet confined in a place it cannot escape from or become injured while trying to escape.  A panicky pet will often exhibit unusual behavior such as jumping fences or chewing through enclosures.

If you are with your pet when it becomes frightened, try a distraction such as a toy or treat and reward any signs of calm behavior.  We sometimes re-enforce the fear by providing attention for the behavior in the form of comfort.

All pets are different and will respond differently to different therapies.  I recommend trying a variety of combinations until you find the best one for your friend.

Heartworm prevention, traditional and holistic alternatives

Heartworm disease is a very real risk for dogs.  For more information, see my post at Heartworm disease .  There are a number of effective ways to prevent heartworm disease, both holistic and traditional.   

The most important preventative measure is to keep your dog’s immune system strong with an appropriate diet and decreased use of toxins in the body.  Vaccinations and all traditional medications, including antibiotics and pain medications can cause toxic reactions in the body that will decrease the efficacy of the immune system.  See my post about vaccine reactions for more information about vaccine side effects.  There are many reports of this approach alone proving effective in preventing heartworm disease in dogs.

The traditional method of prevention consists of a medication given in a chewable treat once a month during the mosquito season.  These are effective, but come with a higher risk of side effects and adverse reaction.  There is also no guarantee that a dog on a traditional preventative will be protected from heartworms.

There is also a natural alternative called nosodes.  Nosodes are a homeopathic preventative made from the diseased tissue of an infected animal.    Get more info in my post on Nosodes.  Nosodes, in combination with the immune-building steps listed above can be very effective at preventing heartworm disease in your dog. 

Heartworm testing should be performed yearly to be sure that your dog has not contracted the disease, regardless of the preventative option you are using.

Vaccine alternatives

A great deal of veterinary care for pets has been based on the use of vaccinations to prevent disease.  Traditional vaccines, however, can cause a wide range of side effects, some of them life-threatening.  I believe very strongly that vaccines should be given on a case-by-case basis, and their use based on an animal’s risk of exposure to a certain disease.  Pumping pets full of vaccines each year is not only unnecessary, but can cause debilitating disease in some individuals.

There are alternatives to vaccines called nosodes.  Nosodes are homeopathic dilutions of discharge or bodily fluids from a diseased animal.  They are so dilute that there is not any actual biological substance remaining, only the energy of the substance.  This energy is so potent that it will help stimulate the animal’s own energy to help fight disease. Nosodes have been shown to be very effective in preventing disease, or treating a pet after an exposure to disease in order to prevent the development of symptoms.

Nosodes may not be accepted by kennels, day care facilities, or groomers and are not recognized as a substitute for the Rabies vaccination as dictated by state law.  Although they have limitations, nosodes are a viable alternative to traditional vaccines in many cases.  For more information about nosodes and your pet, visit http://belleviewanimalclinic.com/homeopathy/vaccine-alternatives .

Do dogs get the flu?

Yes, dogs can get the flu, just as humans can.  There is a Canine influenza virus that was recognized in 2004.  The flu virus is very contagious and about 80% of dogs will get symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, sneeze, lethargy and fever.  20% of exposed dogs may not have any symptoms.  The fatality rate is very low in otherwise healthy individuals.  Most of the outbreaks are in shelters and kennels where dogs are confined under stressful conditions and exposed to many other dogs. The average house dog is at very low risk of even contracting the virus.

Should you vaccinate your dog against the flu?  The majority of flu cases in dogs will heal uneventfully, just as you and I do, in about 2 weeks.  There will be a few that progress to a more serious pneumonia that can become life-threatening.  The thing about vaccines is that they are not benign.  Vaccines can cause a number of side-effects and weaken the immune system rendering it ineffective to manage future disease exposures.  A healthy dog that goes through a disease exposure and recovery will build strength in its immune system and be better able to fight disease in the future.

It really is ok for your pet to get sick.  It is a part of life and will help your pet gain strength.  http://www.belleviewanimalclinic.com/vaccine-alternatives