Q1. My friend doesn’t have the conventional vaccinations for her dog but uses herbal remedies instead. What is the difference and what should I do when I get my new puppy as I want to make sure he is safe from any diseases?
Please take some time to carefully research your decision. There are comitted proponents both for and against the use of conventional vaccination but at the present time this remains the only method for which there is conclusive scientific evidence for protection against preventable diseases such as parvovirus and distemper. Parvovirus is certainly still all too common a disease and can have devastating consequences. Although many people worry about the risk of adverse side effects following a vaccination, research would suggest that this is rare and normally restricted to mild and transient problems such as a temporary area of inflammation at the site of the injection, or your pet being a little out of sorts for a day or two. Steps have also been taken to look at how often vaccinations really need to be given – as a result your vet will have a vaccination schedule that takes into account how long immunity truly lasts following an injection and you may find that there are some parts of the vaccine your pet only receives every three years or so. If you want to be really sure you are only giving a vaccine when your pet’s immunity against a disease starts to fall, then your vet should be able to organise a blood test to help you determine this. However this is not a cost effective option and will often cost more than the booster vaccination itself! With regard to herbal remedies, certainly herbs have a long tradition as medicinal products, and indeed many form the basis of modern drugs. However they should only be considered following consultation with your veterinary surgeon and not in place of proper diagnosis or proven, licensed medications.