I know this is a sensitive topic for some, so I’ll try to stay in between the lines and not place any of my own beliefs around vaccinations for pets and livestock into this article.
Everyone should make their own minds, and will need to live with the consequences behind vaccinating or not vaccinating their animals.
When I lived in the city I never hesitated to get my cats and dogs into the veterinarian’s office for their vaccinations, boosters, and rabies shots. Looking back now I wish I’d saved the money spent on the cats and used it for veterinarian fees later in life when I had larger animals to look after. The cats, never left the house, nor were they ever exposed to other animals.
Dogs and the Parvo Virus
My dog Max (a spunky English Bull Terrier – the runt of the lot and a fine friend for many years) however spent hours in the park every day, back in the day when Parvo ran rampant and friend’s dogs were actually dying from the virus.
Parvo, at that time, was thought to be tough enough to survive and pass onto non-vaccinated dogs through the dirt on a person’s shoes or a dog’s paws.
Vaccination against the parvo virus is performed at an early age. Follow-up boosters help to build up and maintain immunity.
Rabies on the Farm
Another very real illness to vaccinate for is Rabies. I remember as a young girl seeing skunks and foxes wandering along the road, friendly as could be, in the middle of the day. They were, of course, rabid and eventually met with some doom (a farmer shooting them or being struck by a car due to their incoherent minds).
Rumor has it that in Ontario the government has dropped thousands of pounds of raw meat into the forests for a few years running – meat that is laced with an anti-rabies medication.
I nearly believe it. In the past three years I have spent far more time in the forest than at any other point in my life. I’ve only seen one wild animal in the last 5 years where I wondered if it was rabid – it was a coyote, standing in the middle of my barnyard looking squarely in my face (while it watched the chickens milling about). Before I had time to gather my thoughts, I yelled at it and it left. In retrospect I should have reached for the gun. Aside from and including Canada, vaccinations are performed on domestic animals that might become infected with rabies as a result of contact with a rabid animal.
Cancer Causing Vaccinations?
Some people believe that vaccinations do more harm than good – especially when discussing livestock to be consumed by humans. There is speculation that the rise of cancer in humans is a result of trace vaccination in the milk and meat we consume. Steroids given to animals are another cause, but we’ll save that conversation for another day…
Talk to your pet or large animal veterinarian about current research and legislation on vaccines. Every state, province or country may differ. Vaccinations generally start at the age of six weeks – maternal antibodies protect most animals through natural feeding practices.
Most vets will tell you to de-worm any animal before a series of vaccinations.
Vaccination against rabies is mandatory in the western world. Rabies tags are fixed on to the dog collar and fines are issued if a dog is found to not been immunized annually. Rabies vaccinations begin at thirteen weeks and is then repeated every year. Some of the newer vaccinations are found to be effective for three years.
For dogs, ask your veterinarian about leptospira serovar, bordetella, and lyme disease, canine parainfluenza, canine parvovirus, and canine adenovirus type- two.
For all other animals, check with your local large animal veterinarian about governmental requirements and local disease prevention.