Ask Anette the Vet!

Ask Anette the Vet!

The Truth about Vaccinations.    

Are immunizations life saving jabs that can save you on veterinary bills? Or are they yet another way that greedy veterinarians can rob you of your last penny and endanger your pet in the process?

When first invented, vaccinations revolutionized the medical field and have saved many lives. Anyone who has seen a puppy die from the Parvovirus is going to be an avid fan of vaccinating.  Jackson County requires rabies vaccines for dogs.

Ironically, many vaccines have been used liberally and without due consideration of what may be in the pet’s best interest. Vaccinations carry risks, and these risks can be minimized by vaccinating selectively. Manufacturers have been guilty of labeling their vaccines for continuous sales, rather than taking an approach that would lower risks. Many vaccines last more than a year, and many minimalists choose to have titers run to determine whether a vaccine is necessary. Vaccine titers are blood tests that can measure the level of immunity. They are an excellent alternative to vaccines but they are costly. I especially recommend titers for pets with immune conditions such as severe allergies, thyroid disease, and skin problems.

I recommend minimizing vaccines, and vaccinating during illness should be avoided.  Your veterinarian can tailor a vaccine program for your pet. 

 A rare but avoidable risk in cats vaccinated with a regular “adjuvanted” vaccine is a fatal cancer at the injection site.  For cats, I recommend using a safer non-adjuvanted vaccine such as “Purevax Leukemia” and “Purevax Rabies”

Some indoor cats may not need the leukemia virus and rabies vaccinations. Most dogs may need a DHP (distemper, hepatitis, Parvo) vaccine, not a DHLPPC.

Modern protocols recommend vaccines such as DHP and FVRCP (Feline rhinotracheitis, calica, panleulcopenia) be given every 3 years in pets that have had their initial series.

Another risk (though rare) is anaphylaxis, a severe over reaction of the immune system. Observe your pet for warning signs such as facial swelling, rapid breathing, and significant vomiting or lethargy. Most often reactions (if any) are mild and it is not uncommon for Fido to be a little quieter for a day after the vaccine is given.

Giving multiple vaccinations on the same day increases the risk of a reaction.


Rabbit food makes great cat litter! Easy on the environment, smells sweet, the dust is not harmful, and sold cheaply by the 50 pound bag at your local feed store.

A dab of peanut butter or cream cheese will help Fido swallow that pill. A trick is to have another treat in hand, and give it to him immediately after giving him the pilled treat. He’ll swallow quickly to make room for more!

A simple hair comb or flea comb is the best way to get those annoying little burrs out of your dogs fur.

Anette Heaslet practices holistic and conventional medicine at Lithia Springs Veterinary Care in Ashland Oregon. More information is on their website at

Stanley in the arms of his new servant, Beckah.
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The Cheerful Vet

Dr. Anette Heaslet, born in Denmark, practices at The Cheerful Vet in Ashland, Oregon. A UC Davis graduate also certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, she has helped pioneer Veterinary Integrative Medicine. The philosophy at The Cheerful Vet is simple. “There is no alternative medicine, there is medicine that works and medicine that does not.” Visit us today!

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