Are you Over-Vaccinating your dog?
Lifetime Immunity From One Vaccine
Veterinary immunologist Ronald D Schultz Ph.D. spent his career researching vaccines. He researched and understood the risks of over-vaccination. So his solution was to wait until your puppy is 16 weeks old and give ONE parvovirus, distemper, and adenovirus vaccine.
At 16 weeks, your puppy will no longer have the maternal antibodies. So there’s a very high likelihood the vaccine will effectively create disease immunity. And Dr. Schultz’s research showed that this one vaccine at 16 weeks will usually create immunity for life.
You Can Confirm With A Titer
And if you want to confirm your puppy’s vaccine “took” you can get a titer. Titers are blood tests that show whether your dog has antibodies to disease. Titers can be done at any age, but the best time is 3 weeks after vaccination.
According to Dr. Schultz’s research, if your puppy has ANY positive titer at all, he is protected for life by the vaccine.
We have compiled the following information for the benefit of your animals. Vaccinations are a sign of the times, and even though evidence has been mounting as to the very real adverse reactions to these vaccinations, their use seems to be growing instead of lessening. However, among a more educated or knowledgeable section of our society, the opposite is true, it certainly is with us. To make a decision on what is best for your animals you have to be educated, not with fear, but with facts. There is a very powerful influence in our society that pushes the use of vaccinations, and profits enormously from their use, and in addition, I might add, the resulting reactions. But because it is scary to “buck” the system, we can’t fault people for being afraid. But we can educate you and help you to make the right decision for your beloved pet.
Dr. Dee Blanco, D.V.M – “You take healthy animals and often very quickly after you vaccinate, you can see simple things like itching of the skin or excessive licking of the paws, sometimes even with no eruptions and licking of the air. We see a lot of epilepsy/seizures, often after a rabies vaccination. Or dogs or cats can become aggressive for several days. Frequently, you’ll see urinary tract infections in cats, often within three months after their [annual] vaccination. If you step back, open your mind and heart, you’ll start to see patterns of illness post-vaccination.”
Dr. Christina Chambreau, DVM – “Routine vaccinations are probably the worst thing that we do for our animals. They cause all types of illnesses but not directly to where we would relate them definitely to be caused by the vaccine. Repeating vaccinations on a yearly basis undermines the whole energetic well-being of our animals. Animals do not seem to be decimated by one or two vaccines when they are young and veterinary immunologists tell us that viral vaccines need only be given once or twice in an animal’s life. First, there is no need for annual vaccinations and, second, they definitely cause chronic disease. As a homeopath, it is almost impossible to cure an animal without first addressing the problems that vaccines have caused to the animal, no matter what the species.”
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association – Adverse events diagnosed within three days of vaccine administration in dogs - A study of more than 2,000 cats and dogs in the United Kingdom by Canine Health Concern showed a 1 in 10 risk of adverse reactions from vaccines. This contradicts what the vaccine manufacturers report for rates of adverse reactions, which is “less than 15 adverse reactions in 100,000 animals vaccinated” (0.015 percent). Additionally, adverse reactions of small breeds are 10 times higher than large breeds, suggesting standard vaccine doses are too high for smaller animals.
Every day more information is being published advising against the over-vaccination of our beloved animals. However, conventional vets across the country continue to advise their clients that vaccinations are absolutely necessary and safe; that not giving them is putting their animals in harm's way. Some vets even go so far as to tell their clients their loving companions will die without them. So, what is a loving and responsible guardian supposed to do? Whom do you believe? How much is too much? Which vaccines are really needed? Which ones are actually required by law?
The answers begin with guardians gathering information, learning how to find the truth in all the hype, not being intimidated by those thought to be in authority, and taking responsibility for an informed final decision. The intention of this handout is to give you truthful information and resources to be sure you are making the right decision for you and your animals.
Here are a few things to consider:
1. Most vets agree, even in the holistic community, that initial puppy shots are helpful, and do protect your animals against certain conditions. However, once the animal is a year old additional vaccines should not be necessary. Rabies is the only exception. In most states, this is the only vaccine required by law. More information on this is provided later in this handout.
2. When reviewing suggested vaccines think about your pet’s potential for exposure to this condition. Is it life-threatening? Are there safe and natural treatments should your pet succumb to the condition? Overall, which is the greater risk…the vaccination?… Or the condition? If you decide to vaccinate is the vaccine known to be effective and safe?
3. A strong immune system goes a long way in protecting your pet against many illnesses. Begin early to support your pet’s immune system.
4. “Vaccines should NEVER be given to unhealthy animals. It goes against the recommendations in all vaccine inserts as well as those of virtually all immunologists.” Says Dr. Don Hamilton, DVM.
5.“Side effects from vaccines include everything from irritating skin allergies, epilepsy, upper respiratory infections, irritable bowel syndromes, auto-immune diseases, excessive licking of the paws, urinary infections, thyroid imbalances, and aggression, to life-threatening cancerous conditions. This can be seen as quickly as 24-48 hours following the injection. However, oftentimes the symptoms might take months or years to present themselves making it harder for the guardian to connect the symptoms to an earlier vaccination.”
- Catherine O’Driscoll, the founder of The Canine Health Concern in the UK, offers an educational program based upon ten years of research on canine healthcare, including the side effects of over-vaccination.
6. Single vaccines, given several weeks apart, are far safer than combined serums all given at the same time.
7. Geographic location plays a part in one’s decisions regarding vaccines. Someone living in a tropical climate such as Florida will have different considerations compared to someone living in the Rocky Mountains. For instance, heartworm and sand fleas would be a serious consideration in Florida, while not a problem in the rocky mountains. One protocol is not necessarily correct for everyone.
8. A strong immune system is your best defense. The holistic approach to caring for an animal is to give the body, mind, and spirit everything it needs to work on its own behalf. The purpose of the immune system is to protect the body against unwanted invaders. Vaccines suppress the immune system making it difficult to fight not only the toxicity of the vaccines but other environmental toxins and illness invades the animal may have been exposed to.
Suggested Vaccine Schedule for Dogs
W. Jean Dodds, DVM, is an internationally recognized authority on thyroid issues in dogs and blood diseases in animals. In the mid-1980′s she founded Hemopet, the first nonprofit blood bank for animals. Dr. Dodds is a grantee of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and author of over 150 research publications. Through Hemopet she provides canine blood components and blood-bank supplies throughout North America, consults in clinical pathology, and lectures worldwide. Hemopet provides blood testing to check for vaccine antibodies instead of automatically re-vaccinating companion animals unnecessarily. She has written excellent articles that everyone, especially our veterinarians, should read. The following is her suggested vaccine protocol for dogs:
AGE OF PUP:
9 – 10 weeks
Distemper + Parvovirus, MLV (e.g. Intervet Progard Puppy DPV)
Same as above
20 weeks or older (if allowable by law)
1). Distemper + Parvovirus, MLV (Before going ahead with these vaccinations, titer test to confirm immunity present in the animal. The majority of dogs and cats will NOT need this booster.
2). Rabies, killed 3-year product (give 3-4 weeks apart from distemper/parvovirus booster).
Perform vaccine antibody titers for distemper and parvovirus annually thereafter. Vaccinate for rabies virus according to the law, except where circumstances indicate (ie., any illness or condition that could be worsened by administering a vaccine) that a written waiver may be obtained from the primary care veterinarian. In that case, a rabies antibody titer can also be performed to accompany the waiver request.
Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM has 30 years of experience as a veterinarian. His love of dogs and passion for natural healing and nutrition led him to writing, teaching and helping people create health naturally, without drugs, chemicals and processed food.
YOUR DOG'S IMMUNITY CAN BE ACHIEVED WITHOUT EXCESSIVE VACCINATIONS
Once in a while, my cup of patience overflows and I feel compelled to candidly disclose what is going on within the veterinary industry. Today, I want to write about vaccines but before I start, I want to emphasize that this article is not directed at my colleagues but is a result of clear disconnect between the science of immunology, veterinary education and vaccination guidelines. For years, I have seen vaccination recommendations that do not follow basic principles of immunology. This disconnect leads me back to digging deep into natural immunity and exploring how animals build antibodies in their natural environment, a form of “natural vaccination”.
NATURAL IMMUNITY IN A NUTSHELL
Immunity in nature is a result of a process that starts even before birth. If the pregnant mother has been in contact with a virus, let’s say canine distemper or parvovirus, she passes on the ready-to-act antibodies in the uterus and in colostrum and milk postpartum. This generates an ingenious state of maternal immunity where puppies are protected until their own immune system is capable of producing antibodies at around 12 - 18 weeks of age.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A PUPPY IS VACCINATED DEPENDS UPON WHEN IT IS DONE:
Vaccines at 6 - 8 weeks
Many vaccine protocols still recommend early vaccination at 6 - 8 weeks, when a puppy’s immune system is too young to produce an antibody response. What happens instead is that the vaccine antigen (a modified or dead virus from the vaccine) binds to and “uses up” the maternal antibodies which leaves some puppies with no protection. How do I know that? I have seen this many times in puppies that came to my practice after early vaccination. When I took their titer tests, they had zero antibodies against distemper and parvovirus.
Vaccines at 12 weeks
There is a much better chance of seeing a good immune response when the first vaccines are given at 12 weeks. However, this may or may not be necessary. The approach that makes the most sense is to measure the level of antibodies in your puppy by performing a simple blood test that any veterinary clinic can offer, it's called a parvovirus and distemper titer. You can also add other titers such as leptospirosis if it is prevalent in your region.
If your dog’s titer test comes back positive, meaning antibodies are detected, any positive titer is, in my opinion, good. The reality is that no vaccine or titer test results will give you a 100% guarantee of protection, but I have never seen a dog with a positive titer become ill in my thirty years of practice.
HOW TO REDUCE THE NEED FOR FUTURE BOOSTERS
Generally, I recommend repeating the titer test at five months and then again at one and two years of age. After two years, it is very unlikely your dog will get parvovirus or distemper because the natural immunity usually persists for a lifetime. You can always repeat your dog's test for extra reassurance. I generally do not do so because of the very low risk of infection in adult dogs.
If your dog’s titer test comes back negative, meaning there are no antibodies against distemper and parvovirus, one vaccine at twelve weeks is enough. You can take an antibody titer a month later to confirm a proper immune response.
HOW DO I KNOW ALL THIS?
I am a naturally curious person and when something does not make sense, I do my best to find out why. Thanks to thirty years of veterinary practice, I have had the chance to see that puppies vaccinated early often have zero protection and that dogs maintain good antibody levels for a lifetime, sometimes even without a single distemper or parvovirus vaccine!
I am not suggesting that you should not give a vaccine when antibodies are absent at 12 weeks, the vulnerable time. What I am saying is that vaccines are not necessary for dogs that have antibodies.
HOW HAVE I APPROACHED IMMUNITY IN MY OWN DOGS?
Skai’s immunity history
Skai was never vaccinated against distemper or parvovirus in his lifetime and the only vaccine he received was rabies in order to travel internationally. His first titer test was taken at twelve weeks and his parvovirus titer was positive, however, he was negative for distemper.
Based on my experience with distemper, it was very rare in our region and I decided to wait for a few more weeks to repeat his titer test. To my surprise, both of his titers against parvovirus and distemper were positive despite getting no vaccines! It appeared that he mounted a good immune response when he apparently came in contact with the virus. From that test on, he continued to have positive antibodies until the time I stopped testing when he was around five years of age.
Note: If your dog’s titer is negative, generally, I do recommend giving one vaccine and checking titers one month later. If Skai’s titer had been negative the second time around, I would have done the same.
Before we adopted Pax, our second dog, I convinced the owner of his mother not to vaccinate him (the other siblings were vaccinated at six weeks). I did his titer test at twelve weeks of age and as you can see from the results below, both his distemper and parvovirus titers were positive - showing good antibody response!
The next step was to check his antibody levels two months later.
Like Skai, the only vaccine that Pax needs is rabies for international travel.
WHY DO MOST VETERINARIANS SUGGEST BOOSTERS?
There are many examples in human history and medicine where what was done then makes no sense today: The flat Earth paradigm, blood-letting , mercury purging, the use of arsenic in medicine or DDT use as an insecticide.
This idea of boosters is much more common in veterinary medicine and one can only suspect it has a lot to do with ignoring the basics of immunology for the sake of “increasing vaccine sales and profits”. As a young vet, I was taught that annual boosters are “a good way” to ensure that clients come back with their dogs for an annual examination, which to me is a flawed argument.
Currently, the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) issued a statement that it no longer supports annual boosters and suggested boosters every three years. However, based on the fact that most dogs maintain antibodies against the most common diseases for a lifetime, boosters every three years do not seem to be necessary either.
WHY AM I IN FAVOUR OF REDUCING THE NUMBER OF VACCINES IN DOGS?
The answer is very simple. Whenever I can reduce the number of foreign substances entering the body, I take that route because vaccines are not completely harmless. They contain mercury compounds and formaldehyde which are toxic cancer-causing substances. Also, most vaccines include combinations of pathogens which the immune system rarely needs to deal with in natural circumstances. There is also the risk of acute allergic reactions to vaccines and increased incidence of allergies and autoimmune disease. In short, it is better to minimize vaccines whenever possible.
FEAR PLAYS A BIG FACTOR!
It is not easy for me to write this article because the idea of reducing the frequency of vaccination is usually met with huge resistance from a large majority of my peers. The purpose of this article is not to go against my colleagues but to focus on what should always be our priority: the health and well-being of our patients, your beloved pets.
I still see many people deciding to subject their dogs to excessive vaccination protocols out of fear that their dog could get sick and die. My hope is that after reading this article, you will feel empowered and strong enough to say no to unnecessary vaccines and help to create a much-needed paradigm shift. I also trust you know that I would never risk the life and wellbeing of Skai and Pax. I just did what made sense based on the sound principles of immunology.