Updated: Nov 19, 2018
Like any medical procedure, vaccinations have risks and benefits. When I adopted my dog Tika in 2011, I didn't put much thought into it as I was under the impression it HAD to be done regularly to protect my dog against serious diseases. By the same token, it shows that you are a caring and responsible guardian. Before I go any further, I want to stress to you that this article is not about discussing the pros and cons of vaccinations. It is up to you to do a thorough research and make the best decision for your pet. I am not a veterinarian and the information below is not intended as veterinary advice. At this time, I simply would like to share with you the pre and post vaccination protocol that I put together and followed for my dog Tika. However, before I explain what I did, let me give you a brief history of what led me to put the protocol together.
Tika was found as a stray and received a 1 year rabies vaccine, DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvo and ParaInfluenza) and Bordetella Intra Nasal. These are standard vaccines that most cat/dog rescue organizations administer (through a vet of course) when they take in an animal. I personally think vaccinating for so many diseases at once (combination vaccines) can be health threatening, as an animal would normally never be exposed to those germs all at once. It overwhelms the immune system and may create short and/or long term conditions. I believe our pets should be vaccinated (not over-vaccinated) based on the real threats that may come from their environment and their day to day lifestyle.
A year after Tika's initial shots, I received a note from my vet concerning the upcoming annual boosters. I refused all vaccines except for the mandatory rabies vaccination. Tika is a chihuahua and is not an outdoor dog, therefore her chances of being exposed to rabies, or any of the diseases that are part of the core vaccines, are pretty low. We don't walk in dog parks or wooded areas but simply take regular walks within our neighbourhood. At that time, I started doing some research about vaccines and found how side effects are rarely reported since they may occur years after vaccination. I strongly encourage you to do your own research, as veterinarians don't always explain the pros and cons and unfortunately vaccination has become a routine procedure.
Below I have listed some possible short and long term reactions and/or side effects to vaccines:
Short term: anaphylaxis, ichting, vomiting, facial swelling, weakness, fever, loss of appetite, etc.
Long term: vaccine induced skin cancer, thyroid disease, skin allergies, arthritis, leukemia, neurological conditions and many more.
Three years after Tika's last rabies shot, Tika was, once again, due for her shot. This time, I requested to use a titer test in order to assess her immunity rather than vaccinating her again. My vet recommended that I vaccinate, as it is less expensive than a titer test. Regardless of the difference in cost, I requested the titer test, which by the way came back positive, confirming that Tika was still protected against rabies.
We are now in 2017 and Tika hasn't been vaccinated since 2012 as her titer tests have all come back positive. However, I recently had to make the decision to vaccinate her for rabies again since I am going to Europe with her later this year. Unfortunately it is an EU requirement that cats and dogs (and ferrets) must be vaccinated every 3 years to be allowed in the EU. I must say that it is very upsetting to me that titer tests are not recognized as proof of immunity; only the act of vaccinating is, which is very misleading for many reasons that I won't expose here as it is not the purpose of this article. Knowing the potential side effects of vaccination, I started a pre-vaccination protocol based on extensive research and on information I gathered from various sources such as holistic vets and other holistic care professionals. I also incorporated therapies and holistic approaches that I offer in my own practice as an animal Reiki and animal acupressure practitioner. I started the protocol 3 months prior to the vaccination date to boost Tika's immune system in order to minimize any adverse reaction during and after vaccination. As follows:
Weekly acupressure sessions focusing mainly on the Large Intestine and Stomach meridians to boost the immune system.
High quality flax oil, rich in Omega 3, which is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Alternatively, you can use New Zealand greenlip mussel, also known to be a rich source of 33 essential fatty acids, 18 of which are Omega 3. It is best when it is cold-extracted and certified mercury-free. Fish oil is also rich in Omega 3 however unlike many other oils, it has a chemical structure that makes it highly susceptible to spoiling or oxidation. The oxidation process begins as soon as the fish is caught and continues as the oil is exposed to oxygen, heat or light. As the oil oxidized, it creates free radicals and inflammation when ingested. Therefore it is important to pick a high quality oil and keep it in the fridge. Recommended amount is 1,000 mg of fish oil per 30 pounds of body weight. For cats, fish oil is preferred. Dogs respond well to flax oil at one tablespoon per 50 pounds body weight daily.
Daily supplement of curcumin (antioxidant found in turmeric), spirulina (green algae rich in vitamin A, also known for strengthening the immune system) and probiotics.
Weekly Reiki treatments to boost the immune system.
Vitamin D is a powerful anti-inflammatory and helps if your pet over or under reacts immunologically. Unlike humans, dogs get the majority of their vitamine D requirements through diet. They can't really synthesise vitamine D through the skin. If you want to supplement, it is best to talk to a holistic vet as vitamin D can be extremely toxic in overdose.
After 3 months of this regimen, I must say that Tika's coat was the shiniest I have ever seen! On the day of her vaccination, I switched to “phase 2” of the protocol:
Energy work to boost the immune system 24 hours before vaccination and then daily for 2 weeks after vaccination.
One hour before vaccination, administer a dose of flax/fish oil and turmeric.
I made Tika fast 12 hours prior and after vaccination in order to optimize the immune response. Digestion takes up a lot of energy and fasting allows the body to allocate all its energy to fighting the toxins from the vaccine.
After the injection, apply a cold ice pack on the injection site to keep ingredients from spreading in to the blood and surrounding tissues.
I gave a dose of homeopathic Thuja Occidentalis 200 C 24 hours prior to vaccination then one dose just before the injection and another one after.
Daily acupressure sessions for 2 weeks after vaccination. Acupoints I used are on the Liver meridian as it is the organ responsible for clearing toxins from the blood.
After vaccination, give 2 drops of homepathic Dr. Reckeweg R7 once a day in the evening for 6 weeks. This remedy is a gentle liver cleanse.
I continue with daily supplements of flax oil and curcumin as they have been found to block the ability of vaccine adjuvants to trigger a long-term immune reaction. I also give probiotics weekly to boost the immune system.
After this protocol, Tika looks healthy and hasn't shown any negative reactions. Hopefully there won't be any long term reactions either but only the future will tell.
About the author: I am an Animal Reiki and Animal Acupressure practitioner, Reiki Teacher and Animal Communicator. In my practice, I also incorporate vibrational medicine such as crystals, Bach Flowers, homeopathy and sound healing. I am an environmental advocate as well as a holistic health care advocate for both pets and people.