loving our animals to death

My springer spaniel Dulcinaya just died recently. She was 18 years old. Last year my other springer Breeze died at that same age, 18. Both died of old age.

And although upset to see them go. Realized they had such LONG lives. And i wasn't so upset anymore. they both lived way past the breed standard. another 8-10 years past it. And a friend commented on how long they lived, and laughed and said, of course my animals would want to stick around so long, since i am such a good mom. Although i appreciate the compliment, I can't really take much credit. Except the credit of omission. I say omission, because I'm not all that diligent with my animals. And at first it was just a personality flaw. A right brain thing. But now i am seeing and reading that maybe this is a good thing. Forgetfulness to my advantage. I do believe that my LACK of care helped them live a long and fruitful life. I don't pamper my dogs, I treat them like dogs. I didn't run to the vet for every little thing. And i believe they lived longer because of it.

As i became more experienced, i wouldn't take them at all, unless it was life threatening. Granted these two were always house dogs. And a bit more pampered than my other two: Oliver and Oldman. Both of which are found strays. but i didn't love them to death. Sometimes less is more.

For instance, breeze and dulci were never vaccinated. EVER.... I didn't vaccinate for rabies except when they were babies, and only because of my lack of understanding of vaccines. I did do all the puppy vacs, but after that? It was more hit or miss. When Dulci got hit by a car, she was probably vaccinated and given steroids (yikes). Or when breeze was owned by Mark, he probably did it religously. But, over the years, i can't remember when the last time those two went to the vet just for a vaccination for yearly shots, or any extraneous thing. No supplements, no vitamins, no additives, no nothing....

Now, Oliver and Old man are both found dogs. They also escape and come home with all sorts of found items. Bunnies, squirrels, or worse. They did get rabies shots and they both are on heartworm. Old man is already heartworm positive since before he came to me. But i am curious to see how they fare into old age. will they live as long? Will they get some kind of cancer? Can all this "loving" we do for our animals hurt them in the long run? Oliver is epileptic. Some vets advocate putting them on meds. But now some are saying don't. There is no definitive answer on this. So i choose to err on the side of wait and see.... and thats what we are doing.

So, are we over vaccinating our dogs to death? Look it up. Type in over vaccinating dogs and see what come up in google. Article after article discussing the cons of all this.

I think we are. Do you know what a live vaccine is? or a dead one? Do you understand what a vaccine really is? or just blindly follow your vets advice? Do people realize a vaccine isn't a cure. And that in some instances it can make whatever you are vaccinating for worse? Do people realize some vaccines last for years, but some advocate doing it yearly? Why? when no one really knows the answers do we blindly follow.

Strangles in horses is a good example. I used to vaccinate for Strangles on the advice of my vets. Strangles is a "live" vaccine. So, now that the horse has it in it's system, and the horse gets exposed to the viurs, it can now make the virus worse. Mutating it into another form of strangles. Very odd. Very confusing. I started vaccinating for West Nile Virus too, when the outbreak started in Florida. This also, now makes testing the horse for it very difficult. Once a horse is vaccinated, they will now test positive for the disease. Which can make diagnosis even more difficult. Some say the vaccines are necessary, some say they only last 4-5 months instead of yearly. Some advocate it still and some are saying not necessary any longer. so what does one do?

Now my vets don't push it. They understand it more. My dogs vet doesn't push it. My horse vet is starting to say its not necessary for an older horse. And once where i would vaccinate for all sorts of things. I am more methodical in my decisions. My mare is 24 years old. Pretty decent age for a horse. They can live till around 30-35, but more often than not are put down much younger than 24. I've stopped vaccinating her. Its just too much on her system. Why should i take that chance on her having a reaction vs. will the vaccine really do its job and save her from some disease. It' s more likely it will stress out her immune system more so than the benefit of vaccinating.

Most animals die long before they are old. They die of other man made diseases, or of cancers. why then not of old age? Growing up we had at least 3 dogs in a fifteen year span. Living at the most 6-8 years. Why is that? And i know that we (my mom) were diligent owners. Always taking them in for their yearly shots. So what is the answer to this?

Now that i have goats, and a pig, and birds, i am finding that i can go blind reading before i can safely say yes they NEED this. or need that. My latest findings are don't worm the livestock till you know for sure what worms they have. Because worming them haphazardly will help the parasite become resistant to it. Once as a babies they are vaccinated, do they really need to do it every year? The verdict is still out on these guys, since i am so NEW to having them. The education is just not there yet. Am i harming them? or hurting them? Such a learning curve.

Why aren't we vaccinated every year? Why is it the tetanus vaccine lasts 10 years in people. Yet its recommended yearly for animals?

I don't have any answers. But i hope, whoever might read this, takes away a couple questions. Is this all necessary? And maybe enough to ask the vets why they feel this vaccine or this supplement, or that additive is necessary.

Oh, and i forgot... my cat? she is going on 20. I have never vaccinated her either. And the only time she went to the vet, was when i first found her in a dumpster all those years ago.

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