Steffi survived her battle with
distemper but has been left with physical reminders of the
disease's path of destruction
Here we are in the 2000's and there is much debate on
immunizations and vaccinations. Should we be vaccinating
children and dogs? Is there too much of risk involved in the
administration of vaccinations?
Although vaccinations have the potential to protect pets against
life-threatening diseases as well as contributing to overall human
health, they do have their risks. Recently, controversy has
sprung up regarding the duration of protection and the timing of
administration as well as the safety and necessity of certain
What is the controversy?
There is a growing train of thought that we have overvaccinated
our dogs and caused an increase in epilepsy, allergies and
cancers. The approach these individuals propose is to
eliminate vaccinations altogether and we will eliminate disease in
Now, here is where my bias as a dog rescuer comes in.
In one article I read opposing vaccination recently, the author
suggested that "kennel cough is so easily treated, that why would I
worry about vaccinating for this". Well, it seems to me that
by using antibiotics to treat for the bordatella bug, you may
actually be doing your dog a disservice by building up a resistance
to common antibiotics.
Another article suggested that "distemper is so rare now, vets
haven't seen a case in over 10 years". This is completely
untrue, as I sit typing this, a 3 year old dog who survived
distemper is sleeping at my feet. Had Steffi been vaccinated
against distemper she would not have experienced the mucosal,
respiratory and neurological impact of the disease. As a
result, she has neurological twitch that remains, she has lost her
teeth (a result of the enamel on her teeth not forming properly),
has a dent in her skull (a result of her bones not forming
properly), has keratosis on her nose (callus like skin) and will
experience a shortened life span. Now, can you honestly say
that she is better off not having had a simple sub-cutaneous
injection to fight distemper?
Another article points to "parvovirus is rarely a problem in
adult dogs, this vaccination is not required in this day and
age". As a dog rescuer, I have admitted numerous
puppies to the vet because of parvo. It is cruel disease that
causes lethargy, severe diarrhea and extreme vomiting. If you
read the last post, you know that little Hawkeye was vomiting so
hard he wrenched his GI tube out. This caused him to aspirate
and the fluid in his lungs caused him to stop breathing. The
rest of his litter fought hard to win their battle with an
entourage of veterinarians administering a plethora of
supports. Can you honestly tell me that Hawkeye is better off
not having had this vaccination?
Heading under Hawkeye's
image: Despite all efforts, Hawkeye did not survive his
diagnosis of parvo.
Please do not get me wrong. I do not, and hart does not,
think that overvaccinating is a positive thing. But the core
vaccinations are essential.
We are proud to say that dogs in our care receive DACPP (Canine
Distemper, Adenovirus Type 2, Coronavirus, Parainfluenza and
Parvovirus), Rabies, Bordatella Bronchiseptica, Pyran/Panacur
(deworming) and Capstar/Advantage (flea and mange).
We have held too many puppies while they take their last
breathes due to completely preventable diseases.