Distemper Vaccine & the Prevention of Distemper in Dogs
The distemper vaccine is effective and necessary, even for the most holistic-minded of us.
The question becomes when and how often it’s appropriate and safe...
- Conventional vs. Holistic Approach to Distemper Vaccination
- Distemperinum – Distemper’s Wonder Remedy
As advised on our Dog Vaccination Schedule page, receiving the distemper vaccine once when your puppy is 22 weeks old is sufficient from the perspective of most holistic veterinarians.
Conversely, conventional vets give two distemper vaccinations as a part of a combination vaccine such as DHLP-P (Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus) usually between 6 weeks and 9 weeks of age followed by another about 6 weeks later. After the first year, conventional vets usually recommend a distemper shot every three years (if not more frequently).
Holistic veterinarians feel that the combination approach at such a young age is a bad idea for several reasons:
- A vaccine literally contains part of the virus that it is attempting to prevent in order to stimulate the puppy’s immune system to create antibodies that will ward off future and more severe infestations. A puppy’s immune system is much weaker than an adult dog’s (especially after they stop receiving milk from their mother), and the younger they are, the weaker their immune system is. Their immune system may not be able to handle even a part of the virus if they are too young.
- What’s more, the virus parts are being injected directly into the puppy, rendering the other barriers of their already weaker immune system useless (i.e. filtering out harmful bacteria through mucus in the nose).
- Combination vaccines are all the more damaging to a puppy’s immature immune system. Instead of coping with one vaccine, combination vaccines require your puppy to deal with multiple.
- Many vets still use “modified live” vaccines instead of “inactivated” or “killed” vaccines. Modified live vaccines are more likely to grow inside your puppy’s body.
Holistic vets also feel that the every-3-year distemper booster is unnecessary due to the lack of evidence that it has any effect. Some holistic vets recommend the distemper shot every 5 years, while others do away with it altogether after the first shot.
If the completely holistic route of vaccinating only once at 22 weeks makes you feel uneasy, consider an effective compromise: provide the first distemper shot at 16 weeks followed by a second at 24 weeks. Work with your local holistic vet to decide if a booster every 5 years is necessary.
One of the most effective treatments and methods of prevention for distemper in dogs is feeding a dog the homeopathic nosode called distemperinum. Nosodes are similar to a vaccine in that they work to build the dog’s immune system to fight of disease.
Distemperinum has been found to both prevent distemper and to effectively treat it.
According to Dr. Horace Jervis, the pioneer of this treatment:
"After a period of about 25 years of fruitless struggling with distemper, having to contend with it day after day in an (extensive) small-animal practice ever and always having the same disappointing results, losing the same large percentage of my patients all the time, I was led to earnestly seek some way out of this most trying predicament.
So of late years I have turned absolutely from the old and dominant school of medicine, and have taken up the study in earnest of homeopathy. And right here I wish to say that my one regret is that I did not take it up years before…since I have been employing this method, not one of my surgical cases have been reported as being sick.…
If this is not a means of permanently immunizing a puppy, it would appear most likely to modify the severity of the attack.”
Distemperinum can be purchased as a standalone homeopathic remedy or as a premade solution such as Vi-Pro Plus from PetAlive.
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