Back in 2009 when the canine flu vaccine was first released, Dr Karen Becker remarked that vets were “jumping on the H1N1 Bandwagon of Fear.”
Why the bandwagon?
Well, people were already pretty scared of the recent swine flu outbreaks in 2009 and vets and vaccine manufacturers were eager to prey on pet owners’ fears and cash in when canine influenza (dog flu) hit at the same time.
That’s the old news, but today, six years later, the dog flu is back in the headlines.
And once again, vets are adding this vaccine to the list of yearly shots.
But not all vets …
Holistic vets have a bit different outlook on the dog flu and the canine influenza vaccine.
Canine Influenza: Why The Vaccine Is Useless
The canine influenza virus first showed up in 2003, when racing greyhounds in Florida started showing symptoms of a brand new virus.
But canine influenza wasn’t exactly new …
The affected greyhounds were housed near racehorses that had been vaccinated for equine influenza. The virus mutated, and then jumped species, infecting the dogs that were housed nearby.
In 2009, the canine influenza vaccine was introduced and vets began recommending it as a yearly vaccine after two initial boosters. This original strain of canine influenza was known as H3N8.
Now, if you pay any attention to human flu vaccines, you’ll know that the vaccine differs from year to year, based on how the virus mutates and changes every year.
But this didn’t happen with the canine influenza vaccine.
Today, pet owners are in an uproar because canine influenza has infected dogs in the Midwest. Vets are urging them to bring their pets in to be vaccinated, but there’s one problem with this …
The vaccine available to vets today is the same vaccine used in 2009.
But dogs are being infected with a completely different strain of dog flu called H3N2.
Dr Colin Parrish, Director of the Baker Institute of Animal Health warns, “it is not known if the current vaccine will provide any protection from this new virus.”
Despite this, more and more pet owners are pressured into vaccinating their dogs.
So What’s The Harm?
Even if today’s canine influenza vaccines could protect dogs from the H3N2 strain, pet owners need to consider the cost.
Holistic vets already are …
Dr Michael Dym claims the vaccine is “not only ineffective (as it is in people), but its long term safety is also a concern, given the metal content.”
Dr Becker maintains most dogs will recover on their own without the vaccine if they have a healthy immune system.
But vaccinating dogs can have a crippling effect on your dog’s immune system, reducing his ability to fight not only influenza, but any other disease.
Dr Steven Blake explains, “injecting … chemicals into animals is not prevention. A strong, healthy immune system is.”
Other holistic veterinarians agree that the best way to prevent the dog flu is not vaccination, but building and maintaining a healthy immune system.
Protecting Your Dog From Dog Flu Naturally
Here are some key components of protecting your dog from canine influenza and other infectious diseases.
- Feed your dog a balanced, species appropriate diet.
- Avoid as many toxins as you can – environmental toxins, drugs, antibiotics, and yes, vaccines.
- Dr Dodds suggested avoiding dog-friendly areas until the flu outbreak has subsided as well.
- Boost the immune system with natural supplements including turmeric, echinacea, goldenseal, oregano, and garlic.
If the dog flu hits your area, make sure you read all of the above before allowing your vet to vaccinate your dog. The media reports are scary, we know, but try to temper that fear with some common sense.
As holistic vet Will Falconer advises, “Fear is NOT a good emotion with which to make health decisions, for you or your animals …Vaccines are not safe, and never have been.”