Puppy vaccinations you need to know

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Puppy Shots What Vaccines Your New Pup Needs

The normal "core" puppy vaccinations (compulsory by law in many places) consist of components against distemper, hepatitis (adenovirus), and parvovirus. Rabies is also a core vaccination, but is described separately. Noncore vaccinations are available for lyme disease, leptospirosis (two forms), and kennel cough.
There are several serious diseases that can kill your dog, making some form of protection essential. The main ones are:
* Distemper
* Hepatitis (adenovirus)
* Parvovirus
* Leptospirosis (two forms): L. canicola and L. icterohaemorrhagiae
* Rabies
There are other canine diseases (usually nonfatal) for which vaccines are available. A nosode (see opposite) is available for each of the above diseases, so ask your holistic vet.


This is a commonly fatal disease affecting all body systems, resulting in great suffering. When the nervous system is affected, dogs
can exhibit convulsions. It is spread by contact and infected discharges.

Adenoviridae (infectious canine hepatitis):

This disease can be fatal, but even those dogs that recover can be very ill and may never regain full health. It is spread by infected saliva, feces, and urine.


This is a commonly fatal viral disease affecting the gastrointestinal tract. It presents as violent vomiting and diarrhea with dysentery. Dehydration, heart damage, collapse, and death usually follow, despite intensive care.

Lyme disease:

This is a tick-borne bacterial disease associated with various Borrelia species of bacteria. It affects the musculoskeletal system, causing lameness and also sometimes heart damage.

Kennel Cough (canine tracheobronchitis):

This is a highly infectious respiratory disease that is rarely serious. It is manifested mostly in "nuisance” symptoms that can often last for three weeks. It has a complex etiology, and vaccines are variably effective. Intranasal vaccination is not well accepted by dogs.


There are two forms of leptospirosis that affect dogs: L. canicola, which damages the kidneys, and L. icterohaemorrhagiae, which affects the liver, with jaundice. In the case of the latter, infected urine from rodents (even just in a body of water) is the usual source of infection for dogs. In the case of L. canicola, other dogs and wild canines are the reservoir of infection.

The vaccination debate:

There is a great deal of discussion about the necessity, advisability, and safety of vaccination and about the efficacy of the alternatives (nosodes). The Internet will provide the reader with much to ponder when making a decision. Certainly there is no scientifically accepted proof of efficacy for nosodes as a means of protection against infectious diseases. Equally certainly, no manufacturer can claim 100 percent safety for vaccine products, and some people believe there are serious dangers in using them on dogs.
 Vaccine products contain many more components than the required antigenic material. The list of possible "other" ingredients includes mercury, aluminum, phenol, formaldehyde, antibiotics, oils, and animal tissues, and there is even the possibility of cancerous DNA from continuous cell lines on which the viruses were cultured.
 Science provides no definitive answer to how often vaccine booster shots should be given. There is no science supporting an annual booster, and the debate goes on: whether to revaccinate every second year, every third year, intermittently, or once only.
 Antibody titer-testing (to ascertain the level of antibodies in the blood) gives an incomplete view of immunity. The presence of circulating antibodies indicates a level of immunity, but a negative result does not necessarily indicate a lack of immunity. This test is often recommended to help decide whether revaccination is necessary, but it cannot serve as a complete guide.
 There are many anecdotal reports of the side effects of vaccination, with conditions such as eczema, epilepsy, autoimmune disorders, colitis, tumors, and cancer being cited (including some fatalities). These far outnumber the officially reported cases. In a survey of more than two hundred cases conducted by the author, in those animals in which the start date of a chronic disease was certain, it occurred within three months of a vaccine event in 80 percent of cases.
 Many dogs are given nosodes as the sole means of protection, and have withstood definite local outbreaks and contact with the named diseases. There are reports of high titers against parvovirus in unvaccinated dogs that have been given nosodes only, never having received a conventional vaccination against the disease. This can only arise as a result of infection that has been encountered and successfully withstood.
 The protection of precious pets against dangerous infectious diseases is vital. It is the duty of each reader to research the available information, whether in books or on the Internet, to help when making a decision on how to protect your dog.


Rabies is a fatal viral infection of dogs, and humans can also be infected. It is therefore a zoonosis—a disease of animals that is transmissible to humans, among whom it is potentially fatal.
 The usual mode of transmission is by a bite from an infected animal. In 2007 the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) formally declared that canine rabies had ceased to exist in the United States. "The elimination of canine rabies in the United States represents one of the major public-health success stories in the last fifty years," stated Dr. Charles Rupprecht, chief of the CDC rabies program. However, it is still possible for dogs to be infected by a bite from an affected wild animal, such as a bat, coyote, skunk, raccoon, wolf, or fox. A domestic dog is considered most likely to infect humans. For this reason, most states have laws that make rabies vaccination of dogs compulsory; these laws may vary locally, but cannot be less stringent than the respective state legislation. The regimen that is specified by law can also vary, from once every year to once every three years. The legal starting age for vaccination may also vary, usually from eight weeks to six months.
 In Europe, rabies is still present, although large areas of western Europe are gaining rabies-free status, helped by the strict implementation of regulations controlling the movement of pet animals and the necessity of vaccination before travel. The main sources of rabies infection are dogs in eastern European countries and on the borders of the
Middle East, along with foxes, raccoons, and insectivorous bats.
 There is no alternative to legally required vaccination shots. However, it may be that a puppy or dog can be given a nosode and other homeopathic medicines by a holistic vet in an attempt to minimize any possible ill effects from the rabies shots. No adviser can make the decision for you.


Nosodes are medicines prepared according to the same methodology as normal homeopathic medicines, but they are derived from disease material, whether tissues, discharges, or secretions. Because of the extreme dilution process (usually to the thirtieth centesimal dilution or "potency"), no active material remains from the original infection, so they are safe. Nosodes serve many different purposes in homeopathy, one of which is their prophylactic use in an attempt to prevent infectious disease. Nosodes have been made from most infectious canine diseases, and new ones can be made to order by a pharmacy with the correct experience and equipment.
Many dog owners in the United States and other countries rely on protection by nosodes alone for the core diseases mentioned above (with the exception of rabies, for which conventional vaccination is compulsory in most states).