Last week we had 2 families phone to say their dogs were vomiting shortly after being given their flea and tick oral treatment. This made us think once again about how we can best help keep our pets safe from harm.
Let's consider flea and tick treatments, worming, and titre testing before vaccinating. We must keep in mind that ALL drugs/chemicals that go into our pets have an accumulative effect over time; so while we cannot make ticks, fleas, worms or diseases disappear, we can be aware and informed to help protect our pets from negative effects of treatments. At Ridgy Didge, there are a number of ways we help maximise our dogs’ health and safety, while protecting them from negative effects of preventative treatments.
PROTECTING PUPPIES EVEN BEFORE THE START!
From the time our female dogs come in season and throughout their pregnancy, they receive no insecticides or drugs of any kind - including flea & tick, worming and vaccinations, as recommended by Queensland Veterinary Specialists. We want to ensure the healthiest pups possible.
In the past, most people took their pet to the vet every year for their ‘annual vaccinations’ and check up. The Australian Veterinary Association now recommends core vaccines only every three years after completion of the usual puppy schedule and 12 month booster. This is to avoid any negative effects and unnecessary over-vaccinating, however pets can still be taken to trusted vets for an annual check up and an annual titre test.
TITRE TESTING BEFORE VACCINATING
Titre (pronounced same as ‘tighter’) testing is a laboratory test that measures the level of antibodies in the blood to check the dog’s level of immunity; this can indicate whether to vaccinate or not. Antibodies are produced by the immune system and circulated in the blood in response to the threat of a foreign micro-organism such as virus or bacteria in the body. This immune response can result from natural exposure or vaccination. It has been noted that titre testing results in some pets needing vaccinations only at 5 or 7 year intervals, and some manage to have lifetime immunity! So by doing a titre test you can check and see if your dog is still immune to the diseases you are being asked to vaccinate for. Wow!
Dr Dorrothea Hoffman from Glass House Holistic Veterinary Services says “By knowing how immune our patients are we can then much more strategically target vaccination requirements, allowing us to give vaccines only when necessary.” Glasshouse Holistic Veterinary Services offers titre testing for $98, which is less than the cost of a vaccination that may be unnecessary at that time. She also says “Manufacturers of vaccines clearly state the vaccines should only be given to normal and healthy animals. We strictly adhere to this policy as we feel that it is not in the animal’s best interest to vaccinate them while they have an underlying condition.”
We recently titre tested our 18 month old dogs with Glasshouse Holistic Vet Services, and the dogs still have full immunity from their puppy schedules! These dogs didn't receive a 12 month booster either as we really prefer to test their immunity prior to further vaccinations.
TICK & FLEA PREVENTATIVES
As with looking after our dogs’ immunity, we also believe in caution with the insecticide preventatives. There is growing evidence to say that some flea and tick treatments can have toxic effects in some dogs, and continued use in cases where dogs are showing negative effects (lethargy, loss of appetite, loss of coat/ shedding, seizures, lameness, vomiting) would be unwise. If you give these treatments, watch your dog carefully in the next few days; negative side-effects indicate that that treatment may be harming your dog, and should be discontinued and an alternative method tried. For example, a 1-month dose of Nexguard is much lower than a 6-month dose, and may be tolerated better. The Natural Vet at Forest Glen offers a herbal spray as a tick deterrent, and also recommends keeping the coat short and doing thorough daily inspections . You can also keep your dog out of long grass when out walking and keep your grass at home short. Do your research and consult your trusted vet; our blog on Paralysis Ticks – Prevention is better than cure is a good starting point.
Remember, all the chemical substances that go into our animals have an accumulative affect, but we can help our pets stay healthy and reduce the chances of negative effects by being informed and vigilant, observing carefully after treatments, and by titre testing before further vaccinating.
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