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I don't give heartworm meds, just test for it annually. My vet is fine with this and I do minimal vax too, only rabies after the puppy shots.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Interesting! I will definitely be bringing this up with my vet. I could see not giving heartworm meds and doing 2 annual checks.

The problem is a lot of places I take my dog (training classes, daycare, boarding) require distemper and bordetella. Perhaps I could talk them into accepting titers.
 

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That is part of the reason I don't go to training classes. I don't want to pump my dogs full of crap. I love my vet because she supports that. It is a holistic practice that covers homeopathic and traditional chinese medicine. They also use traditional medicine as needed. Many traditional vets are still recommending yearly boosters and over vaxing along with all the flea/tick/heartworm poisons. I'm not saying they are never needed, but I feel they are over used.
 

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No heartworm preventatives or vaccines here. I have an almost-six-year-old dog who has never required a sick visit to the vet in his life. He is a healthy, vital dog who has never had any antibiotics or other medications in his life, no ear infections, UTIs, itching, food intolerances, or other chronic conditions. Never had a flea on him either.

Not vaccinating is certainly something that most people aren't comfortable with, but I have been researching the topic for well over 20 years and am totally comfortable with my position. I also have two completely non-vaccinated teens who are also strong, healthy, well-balanced young people who are rarely sick, and if they are they bounce back within a couple of days. They also have never needed antibiotics.

You are right it will restrict your dog's access to training classes/daycare/boarding, but for me, that is a price I am willing to pay for a healthy vital dog.

Check out Dr Will Falconer's vaccine waivers for groomer's/boarding/daycare etc and for your vet.

Getting a Vaccination Waiver

I hope these links work:

Vaccine Waiver - to be signed by vet for daycare/groomers/trainers etc


Waiver for vet's files

Bracing for the backlash.......:eek:
 

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Where do you live? I live in the Southern U.S. and if I do not give my dog a heartworm preventative it's just about guaranteed that he will get heartworms, it is an epidemic down here. I had to treat a rescue dog for heartworms and she was around 3 years old when I rescued her. I also know more then one dog who has either gotten heartworms, and I've known more then one who has died from it.

The treatment for heartworms is harsh and I expensive, and it can kill a dog.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
I live in the Midwest. I haven't heard of many cases of heartworm in this area, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

Around here, Lyme is prevalent, so I vaccinate for that. The vets also push Lepto, but I have declined so far.
 

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I'm not going to argue, just say what I have read and have been told. I'm also not going to be scared into poisoning my dogs every month. I also have to add that I have problems explaining myself sometimes, but I'll try the best I can.

If the heartworms are not treated by a certain point then it can be a problem. It takes them time to get to that point so testing yearly or biyearly can detect them while they are in the larval stage. If they are detected while still in that stage they are easy to treat. It isn't real common around here, maybe if I were in the south I'd rethink it, but I'm not. Everyone will do what they feel is best for their dog(s). I've seen what a traditionally raised dog is like, I've seen what a more naturally raised dog is like. I've seen the positive changes in my cat, who was already over five when I switched him to raw and quit putting poisons on him. I've seen the changes in Vegas too, when he was a puppy. Everyone else has been switched as soon as they come into my home. I have a great vet who supports the choices I make with them. A healthy immune system works wonders, sadly my immune system sucks. But I do what I can for my animals.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I appreciate everyone sharing their viewpoints. I realize this is a sensitive topic, but I hope we can continue to discuss it constructively and not argue with one another.

Remember, we all just want what is best for the dogs :)
 

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I treat and vaccinate for a few reasons;

A) the rate of unvaccinated and untreated dogs where I am means that Echo and other dogs she comes in contact with are at risk of catching a nasty if I don't.
B) she has demonstrated a susceptibility to parasites.
C) I'm moving to Australia in the future and they have extremely strict entry requirements.

Do you have a vet in the area you feel comfortable with? If you have one happy to explore all options they would probably be able to advise you based on what is prevalent in your area.
 

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The small percentage of the population that choose not to vaccinate at all are able to do so without issues because of herd immunity. When enough people vaccinate, it basically eliminates the spread of the disease so that the few unvaccinated aren't at risk. The problem is that if enough people don't vaccinate, herd immunity is lost. This is bad news for those who depend on herd immunity because they can't be vaccinated for various reasons. For this reason, I personally think that people should vaccinate if they can.

That said, there are problems with vaccines. Over vaccination is a big one, but probably the easiest to remedy. Do some research and determine an appropriate vaccination schedule for your pet. Do titer tests. More worriesome are the negative side effects. I personally have not researched them very much, but I know that they are the main reason people choose not to vaccinate.
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Here's a map that shows heartworm prevalence, I live in Texas in the dark red portion. https://www.heartwormsociety.org/images/incidence-maps/IncidenceMap2013.pdf Like I said in my other post, where I live I'm basically guaranteed to have my dog get heartworm if I do not keep "poisoning" him.

The test to detect heartworms are not failsafe. The SNAP test only detect adult heartworms and then only female heartworms, it does not detect males, so it's possible to get a false negative. The blood test that detects microfilaria needs enough of them to be present to be detected, so again it's possible to get a false negative. Heartworm Disease in Dogs - Signs & Treatment | VCA Animal Hospitals

This is what I'm dang near guaranteed to be doing if I decide to forgo heartworm treatment and hope for the best https://www.heartwormsociety.org/heartworm-positive-dogs
Heartworm Treatment for Dogs: What You Need to Know

I try to minimize what drugs I expose my dogs to, I'm planning on talking to my vet about doing titers rather then giving him vaccines. I treat for fleas as needed. I don't give him kennel cough unless I'm going to board him and it's required. I buy him the best food that I can, and treats with the least amount of chemicals, but heartworms are one of those things that I will not be going the "natural" route to try and prevent, or skipping the preventative that I use.
 

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Heartworm is a big problem in Australia, (many mosquitos!) so my guys get a vaccine once a year for heartworm and a C5 (kennel cough, distemper, parvo, Hepatitis) . But I do this because we like our walks, and frequent (some) dog parks, a lot of pet owners unfortunately do not get their dogs vaccinated, both my guys have had kennel cough in the past from dog parks, thankfully never as bad due to vaccines.

But hey that's just what I do. I think no one knows your dog better than you yourself so if you choose not to that's cool too.
 

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I treat and vaccinate for a few reasons;

A) the rate of unvaccinated and untreated dogs where I am means that Echo and other dogs she comes in contact with are at risk of catching a nasty if I don't.
B) she has demonstrated a susceptibility to parasites.
C) I'm moving to Australia in the future and they have extremely strict entry requirements.

.
Well you remember the Johnny Depp saga lol
 

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I think this is dependent on the dog and what is prevalent in your area. I'm all for as minimal vaccinations and such as possible, but it depends on my dog and where I happen to be living what I decide to do.

I have had a dog with heartworms in the past and I do not want to go through that again, and I think his weakened heart was a contributing factor in his death a year later. So, since mosquitoes are so prevalent here, I do give my dog heartworm meds.

When the rabies "outbreak" happened a few years ago, I thought I would have to give my dog the rabies shot, but when I asked the vet, he told me it was only necessary if I ever take her into the mountains. Since most of the trails I walk on in the mountains ban dogs, I have never taken her to the mountains, so the rabies shot wasn't necessary.
 

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The small percentage of the population that choose not to vaccinate at all are able to do so without issues because of herd immunity. When enough people vaccinate, it basically eliminates the spread of the disease so that the few unvaccinated aren't at risk. The problem is that if enough people don't vaccinate, herd immunity is lost. This is bad news for those who depend on herd immunity because they can't be vaccinated for various reasons. For this reason, I personally think that people should vaccinate if they can.

That said, there are problems with vaccines. Over vaccination is a big one, but probably the easiest to remedy. Do some research and determine an appropriate vaccination schedule for your pet. Do titer tests. More worriesome are the negative side effects. I personally have not researched them very much, but I know that they are the main reason people choose not to vaccinate.

@piano88, you bring up herd immunity as a reason to vaccinate and you also seem to imply that those that choose not to vaccinate are somehow mooching off those who do and take the risks (which you haven't researched). As a non-vaxxer, I can assure you mooching off others is not what I am doing. I don't rely on the vaccinated to protect my children or animals, I have faith in their fully functioning immune system to keep them healthy and disease-free, and so far this seems to have worked perfectly for both my children and my dog.

As for herd immunity, you have repeated the common misunderstanding of the concept that the media parrots ad nauseum, and went into a frenzy about with the Disney measles outbreak. The problem is the vaccinated get the diseases for which they are vaccinated. Take measles, for the first twenty or so years that the vaccine was used only one dose was "needed" but there were enough outbreaks of the disease in the vaccinated that a second dose was introduced in 1989, supposedly to catch the 2 to 5 percent of non-responders to the first dose, (note once a non-responder always a non-responder). The vaccine immunity to the first dose lasts between 5 and 10 years, to the second dose even less, maybe 2 years, and the mumps component probably less than that*. People who are old enough to have gotten by with just one dose of MMR are likely now no longer immune to measles (or mumps), so where's the herd immunity there? But the thing is we really are not seeing major outbreaks of these diseases. I will also note, that in China 99% of the population is vaccinated for measles and they do see major outbreaks of the disease.

As for whooping cough (pertussis), even they CDC has admitted the non-vaccinated have nothing to do with the outbreaks. NIH research has demonstrated in baboons that those vaccinated with pertussis, can still harbor the bacteria when exposed for up to 35 days and infect others. Those with naturally acquired immunity are able to neutralize the bacteria and cannot infect others (naturally immunity to whooping cough also likely lasts at least 30 years and around 25% of infections in the pre-vaccination era were asymptomatic), so in all likelihood, the vaccinated are spreading the disease. So where's the herd immunity? This is probably the same with kennel cough (similar bordetella bacteria), as we see many cases of the disease in fully vaccinated dogs.

I can go into the history of the theory, but this isn't really the right forum to do this, but I will say that herd immunity as a theory was formulated in relation to naturally acquired immunity which for almost every disease is life-long, vaccine-acquired immunity is not by a long way.

* Merck, the manufacturer of the MMR and specifically the mumps vaccine is currently being sued for fraud by two former Merck virologists for falsifying the efficacy of the mumps vaccine. We are now seeing outbreaks of mumps in fully vaccinated (two doses) populations, mostly college students, oops.
 

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@piano88, you bring up herd immunity as a reason to vaccinate and you also seem to imply that those that choose not to vaccinate are somehow mooching off those who do and take the risks (which you haven't researched). As a non-vaxxer, I can assure you mooching off others is not what I am doing. I don't rely on the vaccinated to protect my children or animals, I have faith in their fully functioning immune system to keep them healthy and disease-free, and so far this seems to have worked perfectly for both my children and my dog.

As for herd immunity, you have repeated the common misunderstanding of the concept that the media parrots ad nauseum, and went into a frenzy about with the Disney measles outbreak. The problem is the vaccinated get the diseases for which they are vaccinated. Take measles, for the first twenty or so years that the vaccine was used only one dose was "needed" but there were enough outbreaks of the disease in the vaccinated that a second dose was introduced in 1989, supposedly to catch the 2 to 5 percent of non-responders to the first dose, (note once a non-responder always a non-responder). The vaccine immunity to the first dose lasts between 5 and 10 years, to the second dose even less, maybe 2 years, and the mumps component probably less than that*. People who are old enough to have gotten by with just one dose of MMR are likely now no longer immune to measles (or mumps), so where's the herd immunity there? But the thing is we really are not seeing major outbreaks of these diseases. I will also note, that in China 99% of the population is vaccinated for measles and they do see major outbreaks of the disease.

As for whooping cough (pertussis), even they CDC has admitted the non-vaccinated have nothing to do with the outbreaks. NIH research has demonstrated in baboons that those vaccinated with pertussis, can still harbor the bacteria when exposed for up to 35 days and infect others. Those with naturally acquired immunity are able to neutralize the bacteria and cannot infect others (naturally immunity to whooping cough also likely lasts at least 30 years and around 25% of infections in the pre-vaccination era were asymptomatic), so in all likelihood, the vaccinated are spreading the disease. So where's the herd immunity? This is probably the same with kennel cough (similar bordetella bacteria), as we see many cases of the disease in fully vaccinated dogs.

I can go into the history of the theory, but this isn't really the right forum to do this, but I will say that herd immunity as a theory was formulated in relation to naturally acquired immunity which for almost every disease is life-long, vaccine-acquired immunity is not by a long way.

* Merck, the manufacturer of the MMR and specifically the mumps vaccine is currently being sued for fraud by two former Merck virologists for falsifying the efficacy of the mumps vaccine. We are now seeing outbreaks of mumps in fully vaccinated (two doses) populations, mostly college students, oops.
You have obviously researched this extensively, and I completely respect your opinion. Who knows, I might even share it one day after I have done my share of research.

You are mistaken when you say that I haven't researched the risks of vaccines. I have a dog - of course I did some research on side effects before getting him vaccinated. Not super extensive research, but I am not ignorant. I have only recently reached the age where I believe people start being able to do "smart research" on a topic this complex. By that I mean being able to recognize reliable sources and analyzing complicated information in a logical manner. Considering the relatively limited amount of research I have done, it wasn't one of my best ideas to post as I did :).

I would be very interested in any peer-reviewed studies on the subject that you could refer me to.
 

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Here's the issue I have with vaccines from a human standpoint. Small pox, polio and others notwithstanding...

I've had all the childhood diseases, I'm currently immune to them - and I say currently. I have had friends over the years, vaccinated for the basic stuff - had to leave their home under the advice of their doc because their child had measles, mumps, pox whatever. People that are vaxxed are not 100% immune, you can still get the virus, but suffer far less - or you don't know you have it. Being a carrier, and not knowing you have the active virus...

Look at the newborn baby, breast fed etc. The baby is dependent on the mothers immune system for antibodies - it is known that a vaxxed mother can't produce the same antibodies as a mother that's immune from the disease itself.

Viruses don't go away, they don't die, they don't disappear. Typical flu virus is a constant battle - but I've never had a flu vax, never had a real flu. Viruses mutate, thats what they do, that's what they are good at. That's what worries me the most. I suspect one day, we are going to find out that the vaccine itself is going to cause the mutation and the herd is going to stampede.
 

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You have obviously researched this extensively, and I completely respect your opinion. Who knows, I might even share it one day after I have done my share of research.

You are mistaken when you say that I haven't researched the risks of vaccines. I have a dog - of course I did some research on side effects before getting him vaccinated. Not super extensive research, but I am not ignorant. I have only recently reached the age where I believe people start being able to do "smart research" on a topic this complex. By that I mean being able to recognize reliable sources and analyzing complicated information in a logical manner. Considering the relatively limited amount of research I have done, it wasn't one of my best ideas to post as I did :).

I would be very interested in any peer-reviewed studies on the subject that you could refer me to.
It is awesome that you are even willing to look at the issue with honesty, I commend you, because most cannot. Vaccines are considered untouchable, sacrosanct, where in fact, the subject is a cesspool of misinformation and down right lies.

What kind of "peer-reviewed" research do you want? It is not created equal, just follow the money. This topic is a vast rabbit hole kind of one, so as a start, I would recommend looking at the analysis of the research that has been done by Dr Suzanne Humphries search for her presentations of youtube she always provides citations, so you can read it for yourself and make your own mind up.
 
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