March 02, 2013

A Tale of Two Dogs

I have been harboring self doubt about the approach I took to my dog's health care.

For the first eight years, we followed doctor's orders, saw the vet annually for routine shots, gave monthly heartworm preventative, treated fleas with monthly neuro-toxin too dangerous to touch and fed him the "best quality" kibble we could find.

For the last seven years, I went to the opposite extreme - no vaccinations, vet check every six months, tested for heart-worm disease instead of using a preventative, bathed every week or so with neem shampoo instead of using a toxic flea treatment, fed him a diet of raw, meaty bones, mostly from grass-fed animals, treated any acute illness with homeopathy, only used antibiotics for serious illness and I would not even discuss steroids or surgery.

Matisse was never well after his first vaccination, but for the most part, he was a happy boy with a good attitude. If he was suffering in his waning years, we didn't know it until the very end when it was clear as day his time had come.

Stuart and I have talked about this: would he have enjoyed a better quality of life, albeit shorter, if we had gone the route of conventional drug treatments and surgical solutions?

Then I read A Case Study in the Over-Servicing of Dogs by Veterinarians in Dogs Naturally Magazine.

It's the tale of a beautiful German Shepherd Dog whose owners did not know the risks of over-vaccination and the dangers of conventional medicine that is ill-equipped to deal with its fallout. More, they placed absolute faith in the veterinary generalists and specialists they consulted.

After her normal puppy shots, Thunder’s owners willingly responded to their vet’s expertise and vaccinated according to their guidelines. So they dutifully brought Thunder in every single year to receive these vaccines. Had they known that the rabies vaccine was only required every three years would they have consented to vaccinating Thunder yearly? Had they known that the core vaccines that Thunder received were likely to protect her for life, would they have agreed to keep giving them to her every year? Had they known that vaccines can and do cause chronic disease and cancer, would they have allowed the vet to vaccinate Thunder yearly?

Five years and 56 injected diseases later, Thunder began showing the signs of this accumulated damage and the downward spiral of conventional medicine induced disease began.

 I believe that for the most part, we treat our animals’ health care like we treat ourselves.

We follow doctor’s orders, put blind faith in vaccinations, use prescription drugs for simple illness, feed over-processed convenience foods loaded with fat, sugar and salt and invest the least amount of time possible in activity that works up a sweat.

Consequently, both we and our pets are over-medicated, often obese and suffer an epidemic of preventable disease, chief of which are allergies, diabetes and heart disease.

I may know a hand full of people who do independent research and go to the wall to protect their own and their pet’s health. But I suspect that most people choose what’s easy.

We trust that if it’s broken, "the doctor" has a vaccine to prevent it, a pill to fix it or a surgical solution to cut it out.

The last three years of Thunder's life were a case study in how misplaced our trust can be. As the story tells it: 
This equates to millions of pets just like Thunder who are exposed to unnecessary vaccination when conventional medicine isn’t equipped to deal with the carnage it creates. Don’t let your dog fall victim to what noted vaccine researcher Dr Ronald Schultz calls “an indefensible practice.” Every vaccine has the ability to cause a lifetime of misery in your dog, so remember Thunder’s story and choose your vaccinations wisely and sparingly. Most importantly, don’t trust that your vet is well equipped to make vaccine decisions for you.
At the same time, let's not paint all veterinarians with the same broad brush.

Many knowledgeable, ethical, compassionate veterinarians are willing to work with the individual needs of you, your animal and your finances. Also, more and more veterinarians who have been trained in conventional medicine are integrating alternative treatments into their practices. It may take some diligence on your part, but you can get the help that you and your companion animal needs if you seek it.

 “…a dog that is appropriately immunized as a pup probably never requires another core vaccine during its lifetime.” Michael J. Day “How I Vaccinate an Animal with Previous History of Adverse Reaction”, Proceedings of  2010 WSAVA Congress, Geneva

H/T: Dogs Naturally Magazine - A Case Study in the Over-Servicing of Dogs by Veterinarians

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