Friday, June 18, 2010

Vaccines, the necessary evil

Here I am, a month past my last post. Haven't been doing very good at this blog thing. 

Update: Haven't accomplished much with the horses, again. In one word-RAIN. Another word-FLOODING, One more-THUNDERSTORMS

While I realize folks here in the midsection of the US have suffered through much worse than we have locally, I feel I am forever at the mercy of WEATHER. 

Yesterday was the first day in a week we hadn't experienced heavy rain and/or storms of some kind. May, and now June, have been very wet. We are now in a heat wave of over 90 degrees each day. 

I am past the age of enjoying hot days out in the sun. So, my next move must be, to try to get back with my horses in the early mornings as long as we get a dry spell.

I do not have a covered arena. I have two open fields. I have a run-in stall area, nice, but  mud is a major issue during times like these. Thus, my  two horses have once again, basically, become pasture ponies. I'm sure they're happy with that situation, though a bit bored. They are getting grazing time since the front field is open. Takes some of the boredom out of they're system for a few hours a day. 

Yesterday I gave my two guys their yearly vaccinations. I have been using the Fluvac Innovator 5 combo. When I administer the injections I always keep an eye on the horses for any swelling for the first hour. In the past I haven't had any problems but I always think, maybe this time. No, they managed fine by the time I fed them later in the evening.

Today, however, I'm seeing the typical lethargy I notice every year after I've given my horses their injections. So, when I see them in this state for the next twenty-four hours, I can't help but wonder- Are the vaccines we give all our animals simply a necessary evil for the duration of twenty four hours of misery for them? Or, would they survive if we didn't vaccinate? 

Of course, I realize, they don't really know they're miserable. They don't really understand what's going on. But I know I see the change in them, and I know the vaccines are what is affecting them. I've seen it every year.

I know, I know, the vaccines are arguably the best protection for them, but the older I get the less and less I like having things injected or added to my own body. I always have faith I'm doing the right thing for my horses, and other animals, but I know the vaccines definitely affect my guys for about twenty-four hours. That period of time is enough for something to go haywire.

Does anyone else see this in their horses?  If you have a big event coming up, do you vaccinate earlier so it doesn't interfere with the event?

I'm running a little late this year on vaccinations. Buddy, our cat, has developed cat asthma which is requiring steroid injections every couple of months. I'm also wondering about that. But about 24 hours after Buddy gets the injection, he is no longer coughing. I've read that at his age, he's eight, the shots could bring on diabetes. Great, another diabetic in the house! I'm a Type 1 myself. Sure wouldn't relish the idea of giving my cat an insulin injection. Have enough trouble getting the Frontline Plus on him monthly. Which brings to mind yet another question...What about all this flea and tick repellent we put on our animals?

Well, at any rate, horse vaccinations are done for the year. I'll just have to keep an eye on them for a couple of days. I doubt they'll have any problem with the rest and relaxation part since that's pretty much their daily activities right now anyway.


Patricia said...

I am a veterinarian and I stopped administering yearly vaccinations to the horses 10 years ago. Horses have a mammalian immune system similar to humans and dogs and the viral vaccines confer lifetime immunity with only the initial series of vaccines, I don't vaccinate against anything else. If the tetanus had been given then a booster if deep puncture occurs below the knees. If you give vaccines more frequently that that, you my friend are diseaing your horses, dys regulating their immune systems and inviting adverse reactions and chronic disease.Yearly vaccines are evil and NOT necessary.

Cynthia said...

Amen ! to what Patricia said...and if you must vaccinate because you have not done the research to understand just how harmful they are.....Then at least split them up and do one at a time a few weeks apart and be very selective about which ones you give !!Look at risk vs. benefit..Consider pulling titers instead to check immunity. I no longer vaccinate any of my horses.They are all 10+ years old and have been over vaccinated their entire early lives due to my ignorance.Studies show that the duration of immunity for most vaccines is at least 10yrs. and probably lifelong.My horses have less disease, lameness and colic then ever before since I stopped vaccinating and switched to natural feed and medicines.No more fall colds or spring allergies and hives (immune related) either !Please do your research before you start spewing to other unaware (although kindhearted) horse owners that vaccination is a necessary evil.Or listen to the horses' bodies.They're sick afterwards !The best defense against disease is a healthy immune system !!This comes from nourishing food in a natural form, healthy lifestyle and avoiding putting boat loads of toxins (vaccines, pharmaceuticals) in the body.I also suggest you find a vet that agrees with this thinking.They are the ones willing to sacrafice vaccination income for the well being of the animals.That's who I want caring for my animals.

Leslie said...

To both Patrician & Cynthia: While I am always open to points of view different from my own, I also believe others should be as generous and not come across as pointing fingers.

To be perfectly honest, I felt a little blasted after reading your comments. Maybe it was just my perception or the time of day...

I did, by the way, look up both your websites and found them interesting.

Being the obviously ill informed horse owner I must be, who obviously doesn't do research and must be kind of ignorant when it comes to my horses, I would like you to know that I worked at a riding facility with anywhere from 14-30+ horses to care for at various times of the year for almost three years. The folks I worked for were equine specialists,not just some stable owners. Just FYI.

At the stable, we were required to vaccinate our herd for transmission of disease issues. During the summer camp months 20 horses were brought in from another barn, from another state. We could not get away from vaccinating the horses. So, I learned about immunizing and vaccinating from that experience and a good local equine vet.

I never stated I agreed with yearly vaccines, I was simply posing the questions, asking what folks may do if they have important riding events approaching and vaccinations are due. I was also interested in knowing if other people had horses who sometimes showed symptoms of lethargy after the injections. At the barn where I worked, our horses never really showed reactions. We vaccinated the horses in the spring.

I do believe vaccines are often a necessary evil for people and animals alike. Depends on the situation.

Is it not true that some riding events, especially not in your own state, require a Health Certificate of updated immunizations? This was simply my thoughts of that day.....what do folks do?

"Please do your research before you start spewing to other unaware (although kindhearted) horse owners that vaccination is a necessary evil."

Cynthia, I was not advising anyone that immunizations/ vaccines are absolutely a necessary evil, it was my OPINION and thought for that day.

Please know that I truly appreciate your input, both of you, and this is obviously a passionate topic for both of you.

Sometimes though, we should take these blogs as they come, OPINIONS and THOUGHTS of the day, of the blog writer. If I were stating researched FACTS, I would have stated my resources. Thanks for your participation!