I'm just at the VERY beginning of thinking about vaccination and my pets. They've always been fully vaxxed. I probably won't change much with my current pets (2 older dogs,) but if and when I get new pets, I'll dive more deeply into this issue. I primarily use a ND and I found out that there are holistic vets, too. So, similarly, I'll seek out a different vet if problems arise (or if I get a new pet) and I will likely go buy his/her advice. I'm starting to feel the same way about vets as I already feel about medical doctors. . . (My skepticism started when they continued to push Science Diet food on me, at EVERY turn. Yeah, like I'm going to pay that much money for dog food when the first ingredient is CORN.)
One of my dogs actually had a reaction from the rabies vaccine - the site of the injection swelled to the size of half a tennis ball and it was red, hard and painful. It took many days for the swelling to go down. After that, the fur at the injection site fell out - about the size of a half-dollar. Over many months, the hair grew back, but was a much darker color. Only after a few years can you no longer see the spot. Unfortunately, I was forced into getting it again for her, even though I was very reluctant, because I was moving across the country and needed to transport her via the airlines. Current rabies, as well as other vaccines, was required. Thankfully, she had no reaction this last time.
I've been a volunteer for many years working with homeless animals in southern Louisiana, so I've seen a LOT of dogs with heart worm disease. My dog (same one that had the vaccine reaction) is a rescue, and had heart worms when I got her. I don't know of any other way to prevent heart worms than to use ivermectin, (Heartguard brand) though I'd love to hear if anyone knows of anything else that is more natural. I'm living in La. again right now and there are still mosquitos in JANUARY - just killed one today. When I was living in Oregon, I just treated my dogs in the summer, and not even then if I didn't see any mosquitos. Now that I'm down here, I have to treat again. That is actually another thing that bugs me about vets. They won't sell you the heart worm preventative unless you get a heart worm test, which is totally silly because you TREAT heart worms with the exact same medication that is the preventative. So, I use ivermectin to prevent heartworms. I would use ivermectin to treat them if she had them - which is how I cured it the first time. (I think there is, or was, another drug for heart worm prevention that would be deadly if there were actual heart worms, but that isn't what is widely used now.) So, anyway, this rule just discourages people from giving their pet heart worm preventative, b/c you have to pay for a vet visit, a test, and the preventative - three costly expenses that for many puts it out of reach. This was always a big beef with the rescue organization I worked with . . .We always felt like this rule did more harm than good.