By Twyla Ramos
Wisdom from Veterinarians – Vaccinations for Pets, Adverse Reactions, and Reformed Vaccine Schedules
Recently I came across several articles and books about adverse reactions to vaccinations among animals such as dogs, cats, horses and cattle. The harm caused by over-vaccination is referred to as "vaccinosis". Interestingly, pet owners and veterinarians report that vaccine-injured animals suffer from many of the same health conditions as people with autism, including inflammatory bowel disorders, seizures, encephalitis, auto-immune issues, hypothyroidism, eczema, susceptibility to infections, chronic ear infections, and behavioral issues.
Some people believe that autism is caused by defective genes which impair the brain. If you ask such a person, "But what about the rest of the body – what about the medical conditions which often affect people with autism, such as disorders of the immune system and digestion and biochemistry?" the response may be that:
• These health conditions are independent of autism, and simply happen to occur in some autistic people, but people without autism also may have these conditions too, or
• Perhaps the genes which affect the brain also affect other organs and systems in the body.
But, this information on vaccine reactions in animals adds to the plausibility of autism being vaccine induced, because there is so much similarity between the adverse vaccine reactions of pets and the conditions which frequently co-occur with autism.
Over the past few decades there has been considerable controversy among veterinarians regarding vaccinations. Back in the 1960's, cats and dogs received very few vaccinations. But (as with humans) more and more vaccines were developed for various diseases. Since nobody was sure how long the immunity from these vaccines lasted, and since vaccines were assumed to be harmless, it became standard protocol to vaccinate dogs and cats annually for all diseases. An increasing number of veterinarians and pet owners began to report adverse reactions from this intensive vaccine schedule, for example:
Dr. Chrissie Mason B.R.C.P., Ph.D. - "I am becoming seriously concerned at the increase in the cases of auto-immune disease, and the Canine/Feline vaccination program which I consider to be inextricably linked. Certainly, I do not stand alone in holding these views, as a number of Orthodox Veterinary Practitioners have expressed their concern over the incidence of certain types of illness suddenly appearing after a vaccination has been administered. Often these are severe skin disorders, gastrointestinal disturbances, sickness and colitis symptoms, all of which have been observed and recorded. (1)
Dr. Pat Bradley, DVM - "In a general and frightening context, I see the overall health and longevity of animals deteriorating. The bodies of most animals have a tremendous capacity to detoxify poisons, but they do have a limit. I think we often exceed that limit and overwhelm the body's immune system function with toxins from vaccines. The most common problems I see that are directly related to vaccines on a day to day basis are ear or skin conditions, such as chronic discharges and itching. I also see behavior problems such as fearfulness or aggression. Often guardians will report that these begin shortly after vaccination and are exacerbated with every vaccine." (1)
Dr. Charles E Loops DVM - "The first thing that must change with routine vaccinations is the myth that vaccines are not harmful. Veterinarians and animal guardians have to come to realize that they are not protecting animals from disease by annual vaccinations, but in fact, are destroying the health and immune systems of these same animals they love and care for... Vaccinations represent a major assault on the body's immune system.... Vaccine induced chronic diseases range from life-threatening conditions such as auto-immune crises to conditions destroying the quality of life of an animal as in chronic skin allergies." (1)
Dr. W. Jean Dodds, DVM - "The challenge to produce effective and safe vaccines for the prevalent infectious diseases of humans and animals has become increasingly difficult. In veterinary medicine, evidence implicating vaccines in triggering immune-mediated and other chronic disorders (vaccinosis) is compelling. While some of these problems have been traced to contaminated or poorly attenuated batches of vaccine that revert to virulence, others apparently reflect the host's genetic predisposition to react adversely upon receiving the single (monovalent) or multiple antigen "combo" (polyvalent) products given routinely to animals. Animals of certain susceptible breeds or families appear to be at increased risk for severe and lingering adverse reactions to vaccines. The onset of adverse reactions to conventional vaccinations… can be an immediate hypersensitivity or anaphylactic reaction, or can occur acutely (24-48 hours afterwards), or later on (10-45 days) in a delayed type immune response often caused by immunecomplex formation." (2)
"Vaccination also can overwhelm the immunocompromised or even healthy host that is repeatedly challenged with other environmental stimuli and is genetically predisposed to react adversely upon viral exposure. The recently weaned young puppy or kitten entering a new environment is at greater risk here, as its relatively immature immune system can be temporarily or more permanently harmed. Consequences in later life may be the increased susceptibility to chronic debilitating diseases." (2)
Dr. Richard Pitcairn, DVM, PhD – "For much of my professional career, I perceived vaccines as both beneficial and harmless. I never considered that they could contribute in any way to more subtle and persistent health problems. Yet, the casual practice of yearly vaccinations is now seen by some veterinarians, myself included, as a significant contributor to the striking increase of chronic diseases observed during recent decades… It is difficult for me to understand how such a cavalier attitude could have existed among both veterinarians and the public. We all know that novel biological techniques can have unforeseen consequences and, indeed, this seems to be a common outcome of new medical procedures… This is not to say that every animal becomes ill after vaccinations. This is clearly not so. However, there are some animals – probably predisposed because of a weak immune system – that cannot handle certain vaccines and become chronically ill as a result of their use… Over the years, vaccines have also become more complex. There are more of them used, many different types, and each may contain numerous viruses and germs – five, six, or more. The immune systems of some animals may become confused by all this information… It is hardly a natural process for five or six disease agents to end up in an animal's bloodstream simultaneously, but this is what happens when a vaccine injection is given. Too much, too fast." (3)
Because of the work of veterinarians such as Dr. Dobbs, a modified, less frequent schedule has now been adopted by the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Colleges of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Veterinary Microbiology and the American Association of Veterinary Immunologists. This new schedule divides vaccines into "core" (for common serious diseases), "non-core" (less common and/or less serious) and "not recommended". Instead of giving annual boosters, titers are tested to see whether an animal is already immune to a disease, before deciding whether a booster is necessary.
The American Animal Hospital Association states: "Recently, studies have shown that vaccines protect dogs for longer than previously believed... In addition, there is increased awareness and concern that vaccination is not as harmless a procedure as once thought. These factors have led to a growing number of veterinarians who recommend reduced frequency of vaccinations while at the same time tailoring vaccine recommendations to specific risk situations... One of AAHA's key recommendations is that all dogs are different — and thus vaccine decisions should be made on an individual basis for each dog. Issues to consider include the age, breed, health status, environment, lifestyle, and travel habits of the dog... You can work with your veterinarian to tailor an immunization program that best protects your dog based on his risk and lifestyle factors." (4)
Dr. W. Jean Dodds, DVM makes the following recommendations: "Practitioners should be encouraged during the initial visit with a new puppy owner or breeder to review current information about the breed's known congenital and heritable traits. For those breeds at increased risk, the potential for adverse reactions to routine vaccinations should be discussed as part of this wellness program… As a minimum, if we are unaware of the particular concern expressed, we can research the matter or ask the client for any relevant scientific or medical documentation. The accumulated evidence indicates that vaccination protocols should no longer be considered as a 'one size fits all' program.
"For these special cases, appropriate alternatives to current vaccine practices include: measuring serum antibody titers; avoidance of unnecessary vaccines or over vaccinating; using caution in vaccinating sick, very old, debilitated, or febrile individuals; and tailoring a specific minimal vaccination protocol for dogs of breeds or families known to be at increased risk for adverse reactions. Considerations include starting the vaccination series later…when the immune system is more able to handle antigenic challenge; alerting the caregiver to pay particular attention to the puppy's behavior and overall health after the second or subsequent boosters; and avoiding revaccination of individuals already experiencing a significant adverse event. Littermates of affected puppies should be closely monitored after receiving additional vaccines in a puppy series, as they, too, are at higher risk. Altering the puppy vaccination protocol… is also advisable.
"Following these recommendations may be a prudent way for our profession to balance the need for individual patient disease prevention with the age-old physician's adage, forwarded by Hippocrates, of 'to help, or at least do no harm.'" (5)
It is wonderful that veterinarians and pet owners have been able to bring about change. Evidently they are not facing such huge forces against change such as the CDC; never-the-less it has not been easy. Dr. Dodds said in an email to me, "Colleagues like Dr. Ron Schultz at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine and I have fought the establishment on the issues of over-vaccinating animals for more than 30 years. Now, at last, people are listening and we no longer need to find space to fit more arrows in our backs! Our latest project is www.rabieschallengefund.org." This project is a study to determine how long rabies immunity lasts after a vaccine. Rabies is the one vaccine mandated in many states, often annually, and it can have severe side effects.
I did not come across any examples of dogs or cats losing speech after receiving vaccines, since they do not speak before vaccines either (at least not in English, except in fictional places such as Narnia). But I did find some accounts such as the following by Catherine J. M. Diodati:
"Waylon, a brindle Great Dane, received his second vaccinations series at 3 ½ months of age, a combined booster plus rabies vaccines. Waylon immediately became excessively sleepy, refused to eat, and developed a high temperature. Other changes, however, did not become evident until the initial reactions subsided. Prior to vaccination, Waylon was 'a loving little pup who would gaze into [your] eyes and just cuddle and snuggle.' After vaccination, his eyes had a glazed look, he no longer made eye contact, and would not tolerate physical contact. Much like the vaccine-induced autism witnessed in children, it was difficult to hold Waylon's attention or to distract him away from repetitive or destructive behaviors. He began destroying his bedding and a stuffed doll that he used to carry everywhere, cuddle with, and treat gently. He also started running nonstop until his owner could bribe him to come into the house; then he would dash about in the house as well. Fortunately, Waylon has improved considerably with the help of a good homeopathic protocol." (3)
I cannot resist quoting Catherine J. M. Diodati some more: "We have been paying well-intentioned people to administer toxic and carcinogenic substances to our pets – sometimes damaging or killing them – hoping to prevent diseases which may never occur. Sadly, more ignorance than knowledge surrounds vaccination… We are needlessly over-vaccinating them, repeatedly exposing our canines and felines to multiple pathogens and dangerous chemicals… Many veterinarians… refuse to use certain vaccines because the disease in question is either so innocuous or rare that the risks associated with vaccination outweigh any promised benefits. They understand that repeatedly injecting unnecessary vaccines is harming their animal clients. Some veterinarians have designed reduced vaccination schedules, using only a few monovalent (single) vaccines and insisting on an interval of weeks between administering others. They have also learned that vaccination must be avoided in sick animals – no matter how mild the illness appears – and in animals who are otherwise stressed, on medication, or have received surgery recently…
"We make the best decisions we can with the information we have. For far too long, accurate vaccine information has not reached our hands, and our pets are paying dearly. Many veterinary vaccines are either safe or effective; more often they are neither. Would you knowingly choose to vaccinate your dog against coronavirus if you knew that the disease is extremely rare, very mild, and that the vaccine elicited questionable immunity yet causes a variety of serious adverse events, including meningitis and death? Would you knowingly vaccinate your indoor cat, who will not be exposed to many diseases with vaccines known to cause cancer? Of course not. Nevertheless, we have been making vaccination decisions with limited access to accurate information." (3)
Would that those involved in vaccinating humans would pay attention to the wisdom developing among these two-legged friends of our four-legged friends.
(2) "Changing Vaccine Protocols" by W. Jean Dodds, DVM – reprinted at www.bassetnet.com/Info/VaccineIssuesUpdate.pdf
(3) Vaccine Guide for Dogs & Cats – Catherine J.M. Kiodati, MA, Forward by Richard Pitcairn, DVM, PhD (pgs 9 – 11, 13 & 18)
(4) www.healthypet.com/library_view.aspx?ID=196&sid=1 Also see www.wpxi.com/family/2045487/detail.html for more on this topic.
(5) "Vaccination Protocols for Dogs Predisposed to Vaccine Reactions" by W. Jean Dodds, DVM, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, May 1, 2001 – reprinted at www.dogsadversereactions.com/vaccinePredisposed.html
Twyla Ramos is the mother of three, wife of one, employee of a corporation, and board member of the Foothill Autism Alliance.
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