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By Dr. Moira Drosdovech
The great news is that annual boosters are no longer considered necessary every year for pets by a growing number of veterinarians, veterinary researchers and over half of the veterinary colleges. The good news is that your pet can be protected for life by a small number of vaccines in its first year of life. The bad news is that many pet owners are not aware of this information.
My object with this article is not to discuss whether vaccinations are effective in preventing disease. I believe they do work to prevent acute diseases most of the time. I also believe they are capable of "grafting" on to the vaccinated individual a debilitating range of chronic problems while causing life-threatening reactions in others. Just as we cannot expect every human being to have the same degree of intelligence, so too can we not expect every individual pet to react smoothly to vaccinations. So, yes indeed, you do put your pet's health at risk each time it is given an unnecessary vaccination.
Although a direct causal relationship is yet to be discovered scientifically, there are now studies by veterinarians, such as Dr. Larry Glickman at the University of Purdue, that indicate an increase in auto-immunity following vaccination.
Dr. Mike Lappin of Colorado State University has shown that the antigens from Crandall Feline Kidney Cell Culture (which are used to produce feline viral vaccines) produce antibodies in cats that attack cat kidney cells. In his study, distemper vaccines given to kittens in a typical pediatric schedule produced these same antibodies and these anti-kidney antibodies persisted for at least six months. Whether these antibodies are involved in the development of chronic progressive renal failure in cats has yet to be determined, but it certainly raises a red flag.
The incidence of fibrosarcomas in cats (a life-threatening cancer definitively linked to vaccinations) is now as high as 1 in 400 cats in some parts of the U.S., possibly higher.
Thus, it is the safety of vaccines that is at issue. No long-term safety studies of more than a couple weeks have ever been done, not just for pet vaccinations, but for human vaccinations as well. Yet, vaccinations have been embraced by the medical community as both safe and effective. Statements implying that vaccines are safe in the long term are without basis.
When puppies and kittens are first born, the milk they consume from mom is loaded with antibodies in most cases that will protect them for the first 6-12 weeks of life. Vaccinations administered during this period will not result in antibody production in the majority of these young animals because the antibodies they received from the milk will "neutralize" the vaccine virus before it can create a response from the youngster's system.
Therefore, it makes little to no sense to be giving vaccines before 8 weeks and my opinion is that they should be delayed to 12 weeks. Prior to 12 weeks, there is minimal benefit, but the immature immune system is placed as risk for bad reactions. I advise my clients with puppies to still socialize them, but to use common sense regarding their out-of-home activities before 12 weeks. This strategy has proven perfectly fine for over 3 years now.
After 12 weeks, giving puppies and kittens vaccinations will result in their own active immunity (antibodies they produce) over 90% of the time. It would be very rare for any animal to require a second booster for any one virus. I also recommend that the vaccines be separated out so they receive only one virus antigen at a time (eg. Parvo first followed by Distemper at 16 weeks), thereby minimizing risk of reactions. In this region, Distemper and Parvo are the only diseases I vaccinate for in dogs, other than Rabies for those requesting it.
In the case of kittens, if they will always be indoor cats, I do not administer any vaccinations. If they will go outside, I wait until 2-4 weeks before their first venture outside (usually after 4 months) and then administer one Distemper vaccine only. Studies from the early 1980's demonstrated that it was virtually impossible to infect cats over one year old, under experimental conditions, with the feline leukemia virus, even by injection.
For all of these animals, the choice is the owner's as to which vaccines they want their pet to have or whether to vaccinate at all. I simply provide the information for them to make an educated decision. I have seen too many vaccine reactions to do anything less.
Blood tests can be done any time from a month following vaccines to measure circulating antibodies and will confirm that your pet's immune system is primed to take on exposure to these viruses. Any level of antibody indicates that memory cells of the immune system are active and boostering is unnecessary. These tests are by no means suggested every year, but can be a helpful tool to guide re-vaccination decisions.
The likely outcome of giving a booster is that, once again, antibodies already "on board" will simply neutralize the vaccine virus and no benefit is gained whilst again risking harmful reactions.
A lot of pet owners are under the misconception that, because their pet goes outside, to the park, etc, where they might be "exposed" to diseases, their immune systems require a regular "reminder" in the form of a vaccine. This defies logic. On the contrary, regular "exposure" helps the immune system stay primed, making the annual vaccine even less needed.
Although I have stated this in previous articles, I cannot emphasize enough that any pet receiving a vaccination should be 100% healthy. This excludes vaccinating pets with any health problems whatsoever, including diseases in "remission" such as skin diseases, cancer, thyroid problems, to name a few, and especially not those with a history of autoimmune disease. Please understand that you are not benefiting your pet at all by vaccinating while unhealthy.
As the American Veterinary Medical Association states, "Veterinarians must promote the value of the exam and move away from their dependence on vaccine income." Unfortunately, veterinarians stand to lose big, according to Dr. Ron Schultz, leading immunologist and outspoken critic of annual vaccine practices, when the numbers of those requesting vaccines drops.
Annual checkups are important to maintain and will help pick up on health concerns before they become a big problem. If vaccines are recommended, don't forget to ask about safety issues and studies to show they are needed. Ask about the blood test mentioned earlier. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions. Remember, medicine is always in a state of change and change we must in regards to pet vaccinations.
Dr. Moira Drosdovech
By: Gloria Dodd, DVM
In a recent survey of all veterinarians in this country, 94% of the doctors stated osteoarthritis as one of the leading causes of chronic pain in their practices. They looked for signs of reduced activity, changes in behavior and appetite and pet's difficulty in defecating and/or urinating.
Both osteoarthritis and Hip Dysplasia engender similar symptoms; early stages show little swelling, no tissue heat and pain upon movement that produces lameness that improves with exercise. Severe states progress to generalized hind limb weakness to paralysis and loss of sensory perception in both hind legs. The final stages express degenerative involvement of lower spinal nerves innervating the sphincter muscles controlling the bowels and urinary bladder with subsequent loss of control of bowel movements and urination. It is at this point that quality of life for the animal and pet owner is so low that the animal is euthanized.
But it need not be. Prevention has always been the best medicine. Before you can prevent the disease you have to understand it.
90% of all osteoarthritis is traumatic, 10% is genetic as in Hip Dysplasia of certain breeds of dogs. Hip Dysplasia (HD) occurs more frequently in the heavier muscled breed dogs such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers, St. Bernards, Great Pyrenees, and notoriously in German Shepherds. Man mucked up the German Shepherds when he selected the look of the "low slung" hindquarters for show competition. Unwittingly he was concentrating the genes that deform the hip joint in the breed. Ultimately osteoarthritic changes in trauma and HD occur from accumulation of calcium to form spurs and bridging of vertebral bodies of the spine and calcium deposits on the surfaces of bones in the joints.
HD develops as a genetic misinformation in fetal formation of the hip joints. The hip joint is a ball-and-socket type joint, In HD, the normally rounded head of the femur (thigh bone) is flattened and fits poorly in the socket, or that produces a shallow acetabular cup (the bone of the pelvis that holds the head of the top of the thigh bone), so that the femoral head rides "sloppily" in this "cup". With time, there is wear and tear on both surfaces that grind down the cartilage and produce calcium deposits and much pain upon movement. It varies in degree with puppies that can't walk to marginal adults that later in life develop the arthritis. It is inherited and the only prevention is not to breed HD positive (on X-Ray) breeding stock. There is an organization that registers HD negative dogs, The OFA. It behooves potential owners to get puppies from OFA certified parents.
The disturbance from the norm exists on two levels: the physical and the energy flow level.
In the physical, there is always an underlying malalignment of the spine. I can't remember any of the hundreds of cases I have experienced where I didn't have to utilize chiropractic adjustment to begin the healing. With malalignment of the spinal vertebrae (be it from a trauma or HD) there is pain. With pain the animal torques his body to get the weight of his body parts off the painful area. In the case of HD he throws his weight off the painful hip joints to the front legs. This puts an abnormal strain on the front legs, shoulder and neck areas. In trauma, the animal shifts off center to the opposite side that is not painful.
This leads to an unnatural load to the leg joints, rotation of spinal vertebrae and muscle spasm with micro capillary bleeding. Overburdened joints in legs and between vertebrae attract calcium ions, which begin to lay down on these surfaces as tiny little rough plaques and spurs. With abnormal weight comes abnormal wear of cartilage surfaces in joints and between vertebral bodies with resultant more muscle spasm, more attraction of calcium to the area. It is a lose/lose situation. Eventually the leg joints break down, the animal is unable to get up, vertebrae become heavily bridged with calcium deposits irritating and interfering with the function of the spinal nerves exiting between vertebrae on their way to innervate specific internal organs.
Disturbance to the energy flows within acupuncture meridians begin locally over the injured or genetically flawed area, but then since it is a closed energy circuit, it begins to affect all organ meridians. The first signal given by this energy disturbance is PAIN. Remember PAIN is the body's SCREAM FOR ENERGY. Curative energy can only be supplied by energetic means.
That is why surgical intervention, pain- killing drugs, and anti-inflammatory medication never cure, only mask the pain signal with time being lost and more damage being done to the physical body. Invariably (man and animal suffer the same fate), chronic degenerative diseases take over in other organs in addition to more joint damage: digestive deficiencies, skin health and coat become lusterless and dry due to the imbalances in the liver and digestion organs, chronic infections of the ear, feet and allergy development with dermatitis due to the immune organs related to these meridians.
The liver meridian being greatly disturbed by the added toxicities of drugs given, has a destructive energy flow to the spleen (major immune system organ) and the Pancreas ( source of sugar metabolism and digestive enzymes.) This can lead to the development of improper digestion and nutrition. Diabetes Mellitus and cataracts can develop due to the disturbed pancreatic function. The disturbed, imbalanced Spleen/Pancreas have a destructive energy flow to the kidney and urinary bladder with resultant chronic kidney and bladder infections, in some cases even crystals and stones form. Ultimately, weaknesses are reflected all through the body.
By Dogs Naturally Magazine in Vaccine Articles and News
The duration of immunity for Rabies vaccine, Canine distemper vaccine, Canine Parvovirus vaccine, Feline Panleukopenia vaccine, Feline Rhinotracheitis, feline Calicivirus, have all been demonstrated to be a minimum of 7 years by serology for rabies and challenge studies for all others.
In the Duration of Immunity to Canine Vaccines: What We Know and What We Don’t Know, Proceedings – Canine Infectious Diseases: From Clinics to Molecular Pathogenesis, Ithaca, NY, 1999, Dr. Ronald Schultz, a veterinary immunologist at the forefront of vaccine research and chair of the University of Wisconsin’s Department of Pathobiological Sciences, outlines the DOI for the following vaccines:
Dr. Schultz concludes: “Vaccines for diseases like distemper and canine parvovirus, once administered to adult animals, provide lifetime immunity.” “Are we vaccinating too much?” JAVMA, No. 4, August 15, 1995, pg. 421.
Yet vets continue to vaccinate annually. Dog owners feel that their vets are doing their dogs a great service by vaccinating every three years instead of annually – why do we allow it when these studies were done over thirty years ago and have been replicated time and again by other researchers?
Ian Tizard states: “With modified live virus vaccines like canine parvovirus, canine distemper and feline panleukopenia, calicivirus, and rhinotracheitis the virus in the vaccine must replicate to stimulate the immune system. In a patient that has been previously immunized, antibodies from the previous vaccine will block the replication of the new vaccinal virus. Antibody titers are not significantly boosted. Memory cell populations are not expanded. The immune status of the patient is not enhanced.
After the second rabies vaccination, re-administration of rabies vaccine does not enhance the immune status of the patient at one or two year intervals. We do not know the interval at which re-administration of vaccines will enhance the immunity of a significant percentage of the pet population, but it is certainly not at one or two year intervals. Tizard Ian, Yawei N, Use of serologic testing to assess immune status of companion animals, JAVMA, vol 213, No 1, July 1, 1998.
“The recommendation for annual re-vaccination is a practice that was officially started in 1978.” says Dr. Schultz. “This recommendation was made without any scientific validation of the need to booster immunity so frequently. In fact the presence of good humoral antibody levels blocks the anamnestic response to vaccine boosters just as maternal antibody blocks the response in some young animals.”
He adds: “The patient receives no benefit and may be placed at serious risk when an unnecessary vaccine is given. Few or no scientific studies have demonstrated a need for cats or dogs to be revaccinated. Annual vaccination for diseases caused by CDV, CPV2, FPLP and FeLV has not been shown to provide a level of immunity any different from the immunity in an animal vaccinated and immunized at an early age and challenged years later. We have found that annual revaccination with the vaccines that provide long-term immunity provides no demonstrable benefit.”
Be your dog’s advocate – protect him with knowledge and by taking a stand against unnecessary vaccination. His life may depend on it!
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