Vaccines and Demodicosis

[Updated July 10, 2017]

One of the hot topics in holistic animal care these days is vaccines. Some people maintain today’s high rate of demodectic mange is related to over a hundred years of feeding kibble diets, over-breeding and over-vaccinating. This is a debate we have no business wading in to but one thing is undeniable – vaccinations play a role in managing mites and should be approached carefully if you have a puppy or a dog that’s not in tip-top shape.

Here’s why:

Demodectic mange is a progressive skin condition caused by an overpopulation of the Demodex mite. It is initiated by a weakened immune system and as long as the dog’s immune system remains weak, the mites will persist and the mange will likely get worse over time.

Mite Avenge® is your best avenue for reducing the number of mites but unless the immune system is strengthened back to a point where it can fight them, they’ll bounce right back. And vaccinations create a significant impact on the immune system and sometimes the overall health of a pet. That’s why there needs to be a much stronger discussion in terms of vaccinating animals.

Vaccines work by injecting weak forms of disease-causing microorganisms into a dog. The dog’s immune system responds by destroying them and building up a resistance in case similar microorganisms invade her body in the future. This is great much of the time.

However, the flip side is that any foreign substance introduced to your dog’s body temporarily upsets the immune balance further plus it carries a risk of an allergic reaction. If a dog is teetering on the fence of immunodeficiency, vaccinations can mean problems. Weak or unhealthy animals may actually become sick from the vaccines themselves or the stress the vaccination puts on the dog’s body can trigger auto-immunes problems like demodectic mange.

After a dog has been given a vaccine, his system is stressed by learning how to fight a new disease. While your pet’s natural defenses are being redirected, those ever-present, opportunistic Demodex mites take advantage of the dog’s diminished ability to control them. If the dog’s immune defense’s were weakened enough by the vaccine, the mites can break through and overcome it, starting yet another case of demodectic mange.

If your dog is already fighting demodectic mites or other health issues, delay vaccinations until the problem is resolved. Likewise, avoid any unnecessary procedures that will stress your pet. The already-weak immune system is already losing the fight against Demodex mites, so stopping any unnecessary vaccines will help it to focus on what’s important: helping to recover from demodectic mange.

Puppies’ immune systems do not mature until they are around 2 years of age. Until then they may have difficulty keeping the mites under control even under normal circumstances and are easy prey for demodectic mange mites. Vaccines can cause the mites that are already there to multiply out of control and attack the pup.

If you have a puppy, you should know that you have options regarding how often and with what your pet is vaccinated. Not all vaccines are mandatory. And even the schedules for some of the mandatory shots can be adjusted. This is something you may want to investigate if you’re concerned about weakening your dog’s immune system further.

While we don’t make recommendations or provide veterinary advice, we feel good about pointing you to information-gathering resources. Here‘s an article from Dogs Naturally Magazine to consider. There are also plenty more out there covering the issue from many angles. Get Googling!

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