HOLDEN BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA
HOLDEN BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA
HOLISTIC GUIDE FOR A HEALTHY DOG
by Wendy Volhard and Kerry Brown, DVM
VACCINES: POTENTIAL PROBLEMS
Vaccinations are also responsible for many allergic reactions we see in dogs. Because of the severity of some of these
reactions, both short and long term, vaccines have become a hugely controversial subject. The veterinary community is
becoming increasingly aware for the potential dangers of the combination vaccines and the routinely given annual
Our purpose here is not so much to question the underlying validity and benefits of vaccinations as to make th reader
aware that the manner in which they are used may be detrimental to the do's health--specifically, the kind of vaccine
given, the practice of giving several vaccines at the same time, the timing of the inoculations and annual booster shots.
Moreover, some breeds have extreme, sometimes fatal reactions to vaccines readily tolerated by other dogs.
Vaccines have the potential to cause allergic reactions in any dog. No tow dogs are alike, and what may be tolerated by
one may be extremely toxic to another. For some, getting yearly vaccines can produce a myriad of small reactions that
build up and get worse each year they receive their vaccines. Giving several vaccines at once instead of spacing them
out over a period of time can create reactions in many dogs. Symptoms will appear anywhere from 10 to 21 days after
the vaccine has been given. These vary from lethargy, joint swelling, gastrointestinal upset, lameness, seizures, wasting,
thyroid and adrenal gland disease and general lack of vitality and energy.
Immunologists are finding a direct correlation between the increase in autoimmune and chronic disease states and the
overuse of vaccines. Breeders have had entire litters wiped out after using Parvo vaccines. Some breeds, notably
Rottweilers, who were subjected to weekly doses of Parvo vaccine in the late 1980's were riddled with bone cancers and
died around the age of 4 years. The Lyme disease vaccine is thought to have been responsible for the collapse of some
dogs' immune systems, and a recent study at Cornell University suggests that treating the disease is less risky than
getting the vaccine.
Some European veterinarians now believe that the benefit of many vaccines are outweighed by the risk and that the dog
is better off either not being vaccinated or being vaccinated only for distemper and parvo. There is also a growing
concern about the scheduling of shots. It is becoming recognized that bombarding a puppy with multiple vaccines
several times during the course of a few months has an adverse effect on an immature immune system. For example,
the young puppy bought at 7 weeks, having already received vaccines while the breeder, goes to a new home and then
visits a new veterinarian, who immediately vaccinates again.
The reason that puppies are vaccinated so heavily during the first few months of life is that the protection from disease
they receive through their mothers milk wears off anytime from 6 weeks up to 20 weeks. They are then vulnerable to
many diseases. Vaccinating puppies is supposed to protect them. The problem is that maternal antibodies interfere with
the efficacy of the vaccines. Because there is no easy way to find out when these maternal antibodies stop working,
multiple vaccines are given to puppies to protect them when maternal antibodies no longer provide the protection.
Jean Dodds, DVM, a noted veterinary immunologist, also challenges the number of vaccines used. She asks why a Toy
Dog ad a giant breed dog should get the same amount of a vaccine when the blood volume of each dog is so different?
She also talks about the "shedding" of live virus vaccines. This means that if you have on dog in our household
vaccinated with live vaccines, that dog sheds the virus through skin and feces for 10 to 21 days after receiving the shot.
The other dogs in the household are exposed to this and pick up their own immunity from the vaccinated dog. If one of
those other dogs has an autoimmune disease, exposure to the shedding can be extremely dangerous to that dog.
Dodds asks, " Why are we causing disease by weakening the immune system with frequent use of combination vaccine
products? After all vaccines are intended to protect against disease."
MODIFIED LIVE versus KILLED VACCINES
There are two types of vaccines used in veterinary medicine: (1) modified live (MLV) and (2) killed (inactivated). In MLV
the viruses are altered to decrease their virulence or ability to produce disease yet retain their ability to stimulate the
immune system. In order to produce enough antigen to cause immunity the MLV must replicated after your dog is
vaccinated. Because the MLV do not replicate, it is felt they produce a stronger and more durable immunity. Because a
live virus is being used, there is a decrease in environment and return to a more active form and cause a "vaccine
induced" disease. Immunologists agree that modified live vaccines are not always the best nor suitable for all animals.
Killed vaccines cannot replicate and they are not able to cause infectious disease in the vaccinated animals. As a result,
they are much safer. It is not well recognized that a properly prepared killed vaccine is preferable to an MLV die to the
increased safety for both the vaccinated animal and the environment.
There are some drawbacks to the killed vaccines. Although all licensed killed vaccines meet the current USDA efficacy
and safety standards, they produce levels of protection that are lower and of shorter duration. The are more expensive
because they contain adjuvants (a substance added to the vaccine to improve the response) and larger doses are
needed to make them effective. Because of the use of the adjuvants, there is a greater chance for adverse reactions at
the site of the injection (hard masses).
As the effectiveness of the killed vaccine continues to improve, the safety of killed versus MLV fare overshadows its
drawbacks. At this time the only vaccine that is not available in the killed form is distemper.
Vaccinating your dog has to be an individual decision on you part. Some people, prominent breeders among them, have
experienced such dreadful side effects from vaccines that they are raising dogs without vaccines at all. Some have
found that by not vaccinating, their "puppies" mortality rate is lower than when they were vaccinating. They are,
however, compensating by feeding their dogs naturally and boosting their dogs' immune systems with the appropriate
homeopathic remedies. There are breeds of dogs that have a poor tolerance for vaccines--- solid -colored dogs, those
breeds with a lot of whiter coloration in the coat, giant breeds, Rottweilers and imported dogs.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
If you have a dog that has had a bad reaction to a vaccine, or you know four sure that you own one of the breeds that is
susceptible to vaccinoisis, get a veterinary certificate to this effect. In most cases this will be honored.
You don't have to give your dogs any vaccination except rabies. There are drawbacks to this position. If you want to
take your dog to an Obedience class, enter Matches or shows, to seminars or take the Canine Good Citizens test, proof
of vaccinations may be required. Leaving your dog in a kennel when you go on vacation or even having routine surgery
done at your veterinarian may require having your dog vaccinated.
For the dog deficient in Vitamin B is possible that either a vaccine will not work properly, or if the dog is experiencing
severe stress at the time of the vaccine is given, side effects could develop. It is therefore advisable to give the dog
some B complex several days before the vaccines and continue for the several weeks after the vaccine is administered.
Remember that vitamin B works better in conjunction with vitamin C. Both of these are water-soluble vitamins and are
flushed through the system in 4 to 8 hours. You can add a small amount of fresh raw beef or chicken liver, which
contains vitamin B, to your dog's food during this time period. These supplements should be part of your daily routine
with your dog if you are feeding commercial dog food.
You can also talk with your veterinarian and explain that you would like the vaccinations spaced out at least by 3 weeks,
and here possible, for only single vaccines to be used. If your puppy or dog shows the slightest side effect from the
vaccine anytime up to 10 to 21 days after the shots, bring this to the attention of your veterinarian. Do not get the
vaccine until you dog's sensitivity has been checked out. Continuously use the same vaccine that caused the symptoms
can create enormous problems. This is particularly true in the case of Parvo and Lyme disease vaccines. If your dog
has experienced side effects, there are homeopathic remedies that can detoxify these side effects from some vaccines.
If your pet is not left in kennels on a regular basis or is around other dogs much, the use of kennel cough vaccine is
hardly necessary. Many veterinarians have some to the same conclusion about the corona vaccine. Sometimes the dog
finds it easier to deal with the disease itself than the side effects from the vaccine. The continued use of leptospirosis
and hepatitis vaccine is questionable. Both diseases are contracted from a rat and deer urine, and unless you are in a
rat-infested area or one that contains herds of deer, it is unlikely that your dog will come into contact with these
diseases. IF you do need to use then. do so at 9 and 15 weeks. Look at the the suggested vaccination schedule below,
which is provided by Jean Dodds, DVM.
6 weeks DM Distemper, Measles
7 1/2 weeks Parvo killed
10 1/2 weeks Parvo killed
12 weeks DA2 P Distemper, adenovirus parainfluenza: kidneys are now mature enough to cope
14 weeks DA2 P
16 weeks Parvo killed
18 weeks DA2 P
20 weeks Parvo killed
24 weeks Rabies killed
16 months Booster DA2 P you can do a titer test to see if the 16- and 17- month boosters are necessary
17 months Parvo killed
18 months >Rabies 3 years-killed
ALL VACCINES EXCEPT DISTEMPER ARE KILLED
Care must be taken that when the DA2 P is given, the P is for parainfluenza and not Parvo. Leptosporosis should be
given at 12 and 16 weeks, if you live in an area where this disease is endemic. Ask your veterinarian.
If you have a very healthy female who was up to sate on vaccinations before she was bred, you may want to spread out
the above schedule for the puppies over a long period of time.
In order to minimize the side effects of vaccine, homeopathic products can be used to build up the puppy prior to
vaccinating and to detoxify any side effect after the shot. Supportasode should be used daily during the first months of
the puppy's life all through the vaccination period, and Viratox for one week after each vaccine has been received.
TIME TO VACCINATE
The best time to vaccinate adult females is between seasons, when there are no hormonal changes going on in the
body. Make sure you write down the day the bitch's season started, and count 12 weeks forward from that point. Blood
work and hip X-rays, as well as any surgery, should be suggested during this time frame.
According to Robert Kirk, writing in KIRK'S CURRENT VETERINARY THERAPY XI-205, a textbook used in all veterinary
schools, there is no immunologic reason that would necessitate annual revaccinations. He tells us that as a practice it
lacks scientific validity or verification. Immunity to viruses persist for years or for the life of the dog, and revaccination
does not add to that immunity. Given the potential adverse side effects, it is best no to revaccinate. Presumably the
practice developed as a means of bringing the dog owner into the veterinarian's office on an annual basis so the dog
could get a checkup.
WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE AN ANNUAL VETERINARY VISIT.
If you choose not to vaccinate yearly, have you veterinarian check the titer or immune level of your dog with the blood
test. If your dog shows immunity to distemper, parvo, kennel cough and os on, a vaccine isn't needed at that time. If the
titer is low, the vaccine is needed.
When you take your puppy for the rabies vaccine, make sure that it is separated by at least a month from other
vaccines. After the first shot, subsequent rabies vaccine last for 3 years. Numerous side effects from aggression to
chronic long-term disease have arisen when dogs are exposed to yearly rabies vaccinations. Even though some states
have legislated that puppies have to have a rabies vaccination at 3 to 4 months, try to wait until your puppy is 6 months
old. A puppy's immune system is immature during the first six months of life and cannot adequately deal with so many
vaccines all at the same time.
When in doubt, talk to your veterinarian and find out his or her position on vaccines. Look for a veterinarian who is
aware and up to date on current thinking and research being done on vaccines. Avoid the 5, 7,or 9 combination
vaccines. When you get a vaccination for your dog, have your veterinarian write down on you dog's record the batch
number or the individual vaccine so if ther are problems with the vaccine, it can be traced back by lot to the manufacturer.