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Flu Shot: Most Dogs Are Better Off Skipping This Vaccine

Flu Shot: Most Dogs Are Better Off Skipping This Vaccine

Story at-a-glance -

  • Canine flu shots are the latest vaccine being promoted by drug companies and many veterinarians.
  • If your healthy dog gets the canine influenza virus (CIV), chances are she’ll recover quickly on her own.
  • The CIV vaccine doesn’t prevent infection; it reduces viral shedding and may lessen the severity and duration of symptoms.
  • Over-vaccinating your pet can devastate his immune system and create a cascade of health problems associated with vaccinosis.
  • Keeping your pet's immune system strong and in balance will help her resist viruses and other pathogens.

By Dr. Becker

A little jewel of a video and article posted by 22News/ in Northampton, Massachusetts recently caught my eye.

It started with the headline:

"Canine flu shot may not be worth it."

I was pleasantly surprised to witness a mainstream media outlet NOT recommending the flu vaccine for dogs!

And then there was this little bit of music to my ears at the beginning of both the video and the article:

"Flu shots for dogs are the latest vaccination that drug companies are pushing, but for your pet here in western Massachusetts, you may just want to hold off."

I thought to myself, "Wow! Someone in mainstream media is actually saying drug companies push vaccines on the public!"

Local Vet is in No Hurry to Give Canine Influenza Vaccines

According to a local veterinarian WWLP consulted for their story – a DVM who services all of western Massachusetts – there have been no reports of canine influenza at all.

And since canine flu spreads from one dog to another just as human flu spreads among humans, the vet doesn't see doggy flu as a threat.

"It's not common enough for me to consider vaccinations here in this area," said Dr. Robert Sidorsky of Mobile Veterinarian Services of Western Massachusetts.

Dr. Sidorsky continues:

"That isn't to say in six months from now we might find outbreaks and that might be a problem, but right now that doesn't seem to be the issue."

Note Dr. Sidorsky doesn't say if an outbreak occurs, he'll be vaccinating up a storm. He simply says if there are outbreaks of canine influenza down the road, they could present a problem.

The piece ends with two more common sense observations:

  • Canine influenza can't be spread from dogs to people
  • If your dog does catch the flu, it's treatable and dogs very rarely die from it

The Real Price of a Canine Flu Shot

The main thrust of the WWLP piece is that local dog owners should save the $25 to $60 for a canine flu shot in western Massachusetts, because it won't be money well spent.

The financial cost of the vaccine is certainly a consideration. But more important is the potential cost to your pet's health from unnecessary vaccinations.

Too many vaccines, in particular non-core vaccines like those for doggy flu, can seriously compromise your pet's immune system, affecting its ability to protect your dog naturally from pathogens like the influenza virus.

In addition, non-core vaccines (any canine vaccine other than distemper, parvo, adenovirus or rabies) have proven to be less safe in terms of adverse reactions than core vaccines.

Some well-known side effects of vaccines1 include:

Development of symptoms of the disease being vaccinated against Introduction of foreign genetic material into the body Development of localized sarcomas and other cancers
Suppression of the immune system Development of latent viruses Interference with diagnostic test results
Hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis Development of autoimmune disease Worsening of current disease states
Vaccine contamination Vaccine ineffectiveness System overload

Assessing Your Pet's Risk for Canine Influenza

The canine influenza virus (CIV) is primarily associated with overcrowded conditions like those found in some shelters, kennels and dog racing facilities.

It's unlikely most family dogs will be in a situation to contract CIV, but even if your pet does acquire the virus, chances are she'll recover quite nicely without medical intervention, thanks to a healthy immune system.

Keep in mind the CIV vaccine doesn't protect against infection. It reduces viral shedding once infection is acquired, and it may lessen the severity of symptoms and their duration.

Tips for Preventing Canine Influenza

  • Feed your a balanced, species-appropriate diet.
  • Keep your pet's immune system in top shape by avoiding unnecessary vaccinations and overuse of veterinary drugs and chemical parasite and pest preventives.
  • Reduce the environmental toxins your dog is exposed to, which will in turn lesson his toxic burden and biological stress.
  • Talk to your holistic vet about natural immune boosters like turmeric, oregano and fresh garlic, as well as useful herbs and essential oils to support the immune system.


+ Sources and References