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I don't recommend that everyone not vaccinate, but I do recommend giving as few vaccinations as possible.  Most veterinary colleges, the American Animal Hospital Association, and the American Veterinary Medical Association have stated that annual vaccination is not needed.  There is ample evidence showing that duration of immunity from vaccinations given after 12 weeks of age lasts at least three years, up to seven years and probably for the life of the dog.  As well, most of the vaccinations given are not necessary for the majority of dogs - the "core" vaccines are parvo, distemper, and rabies.  Beyond that, vaccines should be considered on a case-by-case basis, and most dogs will not need anything other than those three.  The AAHA put out guidelines in 2003, updated in 2006, which recommend puppy shots (9, 12, and 15-16 weeks), a booster one year later, and then boosters every three years after that.  This is, admittedly, a random-interval compromise, but it is still far better than vaccinating yearly.  (There are legal considerations as far as rabies vaccination is concerned - most states and municipalities are now accepting three-year vaccinations, but you'd want to be aware of the law in your area.)  Some vets and immunologists also recommend staggering the boosters, so that the dog isn't getting rabies and parvo/distemper in the same year (or, better yet, give each separately a year apart).

My own dogs are not vaccinated (*rabies is not discussed here due to the legal issues); because I feed a raw diet, and raise them holistically and naturally, I rely on their healthy immune systems to 'protect' them from disease.  I believe that repeated low-level exposure builds natural immunity that is stronger than vaccine-induced immunity, which bypasses the primary defense systems by injecting the antigen right into the animal's bloodstream.  This is, as I said, not something I recommend for everyone - there is quite a bit of research and a major paradigm shift that needs to occur before one should consider not vaccinating at all.  I've had three puppies now who were never vaccinated*, and all are mature adults, thriving, and healthier than any of the vaccinated dogs I've had.  :)
 

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This is something people debate about with kids too....  personally I would vaccinate - I know plenty of dogs that are vaccinated and very healthy.  I am sure there are some dogs that are not vaccinated and are healthy - I just know a lot more that are...  so that's what I go with.
 

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Oh, sure.  My vaccinated dogs were healthy; it wasn't until I stopped vaccinating and started raw feeding that I realized there's a difference between health and optimal health.
 

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Regarding vaccinating children, a few years ago in Ireland and the UK there was a huge trend not to give children the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination as one scientist had postulated that there MIGHT be a link between the vaccination and autism.  Thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of parents refused to vaccinate their children and the public health services had a nightmare over it.

To me, the choice was clear and should have been blindingly obvious to anyone - the risk of contracting any of the MMR diseases by not vaccinating are far, far higher than any chance a child had of becoming autistic after having the vaccination.  And any three of those diseases can have devastating long-term effects, while autism (while heartbreaking, of course) can be much more easily managed.

And then the link was disproved anyway.  Imagine if you were a parent who panicked and refused to vaccinate and ended up with a child who was deaf because they caught measles? (Which happened to at least 3 children here in Ireland.)  How could you live with yourself?

To me (for both children and dogs) the benefits of vaccinating far outweigh any risks.  It's like people refusing cancer treatment because they think a macrobiotic diet will cure them.  Modern medicine does have the answers sometimes!

I just don't see why living healthily and having faith in medicine/science have to be mutually exclusive.
 

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I just don't see why living healthily and having faith in medicine/science have to be mutually exclusive.
They don't - but there's a difference between faith and blind faith, and the latter is what is all too often followed in making medical decisions (for ourselves and for our pets).  Again, there is no medical/scientific reason to vaccinate our pets annually - and there never has been.  There is now scientific proof that immunity from vaccines lasts at least seven years, and probably the life of the dog.  (In other words, it wasn't that after seven years the immunity was gone - it was that after seven years, the study ended.)  Yet some people - even some vets, who you would think would have quite a lot of faith in medicine/science - refuse to acknowledge these medical/scientific facts, and continue to vaccinate every dog, for every thing, every year.

As for the autism thing - I'm not exceptionally 'up' on it since I don't have children, but I know for many the connection to vaccines has not been completely disproven - there are still questions there.  As far as the three children who went deaf, I wonder - how many children developed autism in the same time period?  How many of those were vaccinated?  My nephew is autistic, and let me assure you - it is not remotely an "easily managed" situation.  Deafness would be far, far easier to deal with.

And if people choose a macrobiotic diet over radiation and chemotherapy, so what?  It is their choice, and for many people it has provided a cure.  While not vaccinating could, in certain situations, create public health concerns, and so the larger impact needs to be part of the consideration, choosing diet over chemo doesn't pose a danger to anyone other than the individual, and it should be entirely their choice.  Modern medicine has the answers sometimes, but not all the time - things we "knew" were true 50 years ago have now been proven to be false; we may find out 50 years from now that we were wrong about many of the things we believe today.  

The main point is that any medical decision should be based on information and made with consideration, and not by just blindly following "the way it has always been done".
 
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