dog vaccination homeoopathic nosodes



Following another week of fairly hysterical posts in the doggy social media our Holistic Vet Vicky Payne presents a more balanced view of the risks and benefits of vaccinating your dog… 


There is evidence that for many dogs the Distemper, parvo and hepatitis part will last for at least three years IF the dog receives at least two puppy… vaccinations and a booster a year later. Some drug companies have proven over 95% efficacy in laboratory dogs at 3years and are licensed for such use. They can’t get a licence for further duration if only 90 or 80% are protected BUT you could check your own dogs’ level of cover by blood titre testing after the three years (and annually thereafter). A bench side kit has recently become available which should reduce the cost of DHP titre testing to around £30. Parvovirus remains a common illness in unvaccinated dogs, especially puppies and can kill. Distemper is much less common but a handful of cases occur each year, especially if the dog has had contact with Irish dogs where the disease is more common. The incidence of hepatitis caused by adenovirus is hard to gauge as most dogs with liver problems won’t be specifically tested due to costs.


Leptospirosis is not found in some areas of the world but is found widely in the UK and Europe. This vaccine differs from the others in that laboratory testing shows a short duration of immunity, as such all vaccines are licensed to be repeated after 1year and a double re-start course will be required if it’s been more than 18months since vaccination. Titre testing is not available to show protection from leptospirosis. There are around 250 confirmed cases of leptospirosis in dogs in the UK each year. Many more are suspected but a diagnosis is not confirmed due to the cost to the owner of testing. In addition leptospirosis could be implicated in many chronic liver and kidney cases, infertility and sudden death. Leptospirosis is particularly concerning as it is a zoonotic disease which can have carriers meaning a healthy looking dog could be shedding the bacteria into the environment and then it could cause illness in humans. Human illness ranges from ‘flu like symptoms to liver and kidney problems and death. Lepto is common in the environment in the UK as it is spread via the urine of rodents, wildlife and farm animals either directly or via contaminated food or water. (One company has just launched a new lepto vac which will cover 85% of the current important strains as opposed to the 35% in most vaccines. Lepto strains have changed over time, possibly due to vaccination of dogs and farm animals) and 10years of work has gone into this new vaccine. It will require all dogs to have two boosters for lepto, but it is the company with the safest jabs!)


As far as reactions go all vaccines are not the same. The brand used at our associated practices (Companion care Eastbourne and Goudhurst Vets) has a better safety profile due to differences in manufacture than some other brands but all are very safe. You will hear a lot about horrific reactions and deaths but that’s because they are horrific for that owner….there are no ‘my dog had his jabs and was fine’ Facebook groups because we don’t tend to talk about stuff that goes as planned! But these types of reactions are extremely rare, and certainly rarer than disease in unvaccinated dogs. Common reactions include transient pain or swelling at the injection site (which is common to all injections not just vaccines) and being off colour for 24hours. A common misconception is that lots of dogs get other illnesses shortly after vaccination but this was not found to be true in the POOCH survey.

Not all unvaccinated dogs get ill, but they become more at risk the fewer dogs are vaccinated. If most dogs are vaccinated the disease is unlikely to spread to unvaccinated dogs but the more unvaccinated dogs there are the quicker it will spread. They call it herd immunity. In addition the more we vaccinate dogs the less risk there is of them re-vaccinating naturally so the more reliant they are on the vaccines.

The longer term stuff; cancers, autoimmune problems…well, I think vaccines have a role BUT so do wormers, flea treatments, a variety of medications, processed pet food, pollution, inbreeding…you get the picture! I am not aware of any good quality study showing a causal link between dog vaccinations and any long term canine health concern. There are however several studies showing that genetic problems and inbreeding may be altering dogs’ likelihood of developing immune problems.

For us at Four Seasons Holistic Veterinary Care the only ‘alternative’ to following an annual Lepto/ tri annual DHP strategy is to titre test. Homeopathic nosodes have been shown not to provide protection and in fact are not recommended by some of the leading homeopathic vets in this country or by the two human homeopathic bodies.

So…in conclusion, if you are concerned about vaccines, talk to your vet. If they aren’t on a three year DHP/annual Lepto vaccine or do not offer titre testing ask them why not! Or book an appointment to talk to us! Most vets are now embracing the idea of an Annual Health Check at which they can discuss all manner of health issues and decide which vaccination strategy to use rather than just sticking jabs in regardless of need.

If your dogs have health concerns or history that make you concerned over vaccination just ask! Far from being evil the best drug companies are very helpful and often have data, which though not strong enough to be published or to make a data sheet claim, can help you and your vet make the best decision for your dog.