To vaccinate or not to vaccinate
One of the most controversial pet health topics today
Original post: January 2, 2011
The controversy over whether we should be vaccinating our children is also lively debate. There’s no doubt about the value of vaccination to humanity and our pet populations. The benefits that vaccines have offered us have outweighed the potential risks for almost a century. However, today’s practice of over-vaccination has created a lot of questions we’re only now beginning answer. When and why.
However, few formal studies are done in the initial stages to directly investigate the adverse effects since all resources and intentions are geared toward approval. Awareness of the risks is often a function of the vaccine’s (or other drugs) use in the general population. From these individual or small group cases larger studies are performed to further investigate the risk to the general population.
We are being told by pharmaceutical manufacturers of the vaccines that annual vaccination of our pets is essential. Is it really? And to who’s benefit?
The practice of assisted immunization goes back as far as a century when people were exposed in a controlled manner to less virulent versions of the smallpox in order to elicit antibody production. This exposure empowered the body to recognize the deadly smallpox variant. That similar, but less harmful ‘pox’ used as to induce immunity was the cowpox virus. It wasn’t until around 1920 when more advanced processing methods allowed for the mass production and distribution of more potent variations of the small pox vaccine. Soon after, this vaccine model was used to immunize for other diseases that plagued humanity, our livestock and pets.
These new generation vaccines were able to completely eradicate the smallpox virus by the late 1970’s. The only smallpox virus on earth is found in laboratory lock-up. Polio is another of those diseases to be virtually eliminated through immunization. In our cats and dogs, parvovirus and distemper are rare and it’s not because these viruses have lost their virulence. The vaccine is the champion in these cases too. However, the frequency in which we’ve administered these vaccines is a serious concern. Is it necessary to vaccinate our pets every year?
A healthy animal should be able to retain its immunity from a vaccine for several years so yearly boosters may not be required for each animal. In fact, a booster to boost an already loaded immune system can just overload the immune machine to cause metabolic misfire. In addition, an animal needing a booster because it is not retaining its immunity from the initial vaccine may simply have deeper health challenges which vaccines could very well strain further. The most common challenge being limited immune system nutrition.
Today’s application of the multiple vaccine as an ‘all-in-one’ shot which can deliver as many as six and seven vaccines in one might be another overkill factor on the immune system . More and more we’re hearing about animals reacting with severe complications. The term ‘vaccinosis’ refers to the side-effects associated with vaccination and we’re beginning to identify many.
Immune experts claim the rising cases of skin allergies, cancers and other autoimmune conditions in our pet population are a result of the overzealous immunization programs. In the human populations we’re making links to over-vaccination and autism, multiple sclerosis and there are even associations with cognitive disorders and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The triggers for these side-effects might be the viral elements in the vaccine, but they can also be caused by the toxic preservatives and modifying agents used in the preparation. These include formaldehyde, sodium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid, aluminum, mercury derivatives, ethylene glycol and phosphates.
The adverse affects may not be caused by these additives at all and the cause might be the over-activated immune system which develops antibodies to body proteins and foods. The result is autoimmunity and allergies respectively. Ethylene glycol is antifreeze. Formaldehyde can have a neurotoxic influence. The heavy metals, aluminum and mercury, have serious implications and although used in small amounts in the preparations, some experts believe these metals to be the cause or contributors of autism, brain dysfunction and autoimmune anomalies in humans.
If you ask most veterinary professionals, they’ll recommend vaccinating your pet every year without taking the time to determine whether your companion has retained immunity from the vaccine the year before. Vaccination is huge business for the clinic and for the pharmaceutical companies manufacturing them. In fact, the pharmaceutical companies are the authors of the ‘user manuals’ for these drugs and the veterinary doctors, for the most part, are simply following recommended or dictated protocols.
However, today’s informed consumer is asking for more evidence that demonstrates these protocols to be safe. It’s not available. As a result caution is an absolute must as are precautionary measures. Ensuring that our pets are getting live and biologically active nutrition each and every day serves them and us at multiple levels. Various nutritional compounds serve as natural chelating agents that help remove the risk from heavy metals and other toxins that our pets can come in contact with from known and unknown sources.
These chelating agents attach to heavy metals to immobilize and remove them immediately from the body: l-cystine, l-cystiene, alpha lipoic acid, humic acids, chlorella, methionine. In addition, to supplementing a diet with these detoxifiers, it’s your responsibility to make certain that the immune system is empowered with all of the nutritional building blocks and fuels it needs to produce and hold onto immunity from the vaccine. If the body is able to efficiently develop appropriate immunity, booster shots are not required.
Even the vaccine depends on nutrients such as key amino acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids like ALA, DHA and EPA, antioxidants, vitamin and mineral cofactors and others to create antibodies, cytokines, prostaglandin hormones and other immune system compounds. The diet must supply these daily and most commercial dried and canned foods cannot deliver these nutrients in live forms due to the intense processing and lengthy shelf life they must endure.
My dogs, Dexter and Diesel, have not been vaccinated since they were vaccinated for the second time with a booster at age four. They are healthy and vigorous at fourteen and eleven years of age. Their immune system is maintained with the dense and live nutrition they consume each day. Glutathione and glutamine, for example are critical immune system fuels which must be supplied daily to support accurate and timely immune system response. These and other immune system supporting nutraceuticals like vitamins C, A and E supplement their feed each day as well. Flaxseed lignans and essential fatty acids are also abundantly supplied as live supplementation to their food to assist immunity.
Processed foods exposed to heat and oxygen are often void of the activity these nutrients provide due to the processing damage. The label may list a formidable array of ingredients but the form these nutrients take after heat, light and oxygen exposure takes its toll on the biological activity of the nutrition. Nutrients that the foods are fortified with must also contend with the test of time and the conditions of shelf storage. Supplementing each meal with key nutrients that we know are biologically active for the immune system and other tissues and systems of the body makes certain that immunity is sufficient whether vaccination is the facilitator of the defensive system or not.
This is a difficult one to answer as each case is different. The best way to convey my science-based philosophies on this subject is to present what we have done at home with our pets, children and adults. Strangely enough, choosing for our pets has been an easier task since there appears to be more science in this area. Knowing what I know about the FDA and CFIA approval process because I’m involved with it daily I have reservations about the approval process. The research done to demonstrate safety for a vaccination is funded by the manufacturer of the vaccine in order to establish viability in the population; in order to gain approval for the sale of the vaccine. My Companion Animals: Most research today shows that the first vaccinations in life can be more than enough for most to provide immunity for a lifetime. Our pets seem to thrive in this manner if the immune system is getting all of the nutrition it needs to execute every element if immunity. We don’t have to vaccinate in the early weeks of life as the immune system of a young puppy or kitten may not be mature enough to ramp up a response to the vaccine. The best defence for young puppies or kittens is in avoiding contact where contamination is likely. The next best thing we can do is to make certain that ‘mom’ gets a healthy supply of all the immune system fuels, building blocks and facilitators so these are passed on to the pups in their milk. These include vitamins, minerals, polyunsaturated fatty acids and key immune system amino acids. Just like in you and me, our cats and dogs are born with maternally transferred immunity that is conveyed through the placenta and then once born, through milk colostrums. This immunity fades by three to four months. However, this immunity is effective enough to interfere with the introduction of vaccines during this active period, hence the need to vaccinate after three months of life. Nosodesare fast becoming popular alternative immunization methods. Nosodes are homeopathic preparations made from tissue, pus, blood or saliva from an infected animal. This remedy is then prepared by dilution using homeopathic standards. Research reveals a significant effectiveness. Ask your veterinary professional about these applications as complementary remedies to vaccinations or as alternatives. Animals with known immune system impediments such as Lupus or other autoimmune conditions should lean towards using nosode immunization exclusively and avoid burdening the misfiring immune system with vaccination. Find a veterinary professional who understands these protocols. Evidence indicates that nosodes can also mitigate the ill-effects of vaccines if the allopathic vaccine must be used. Titer test your animal every year and at least every two years to determine whether the blood carries sufficient antibodies. These antibodies are the elements which attack foreign invaders with extreme specificity. This test can provide a precise measurement which allows you to make an informed decision to take a booster vaccine or not. First and foremost, ensure that your animal gets all the nutrition it needs to deploy effective immunity. The key foundation nutrition will come from a well formulated Vitamin, mineral phytoantioxidant in combination with a species specific polyunsaturated fatty acid formula that includes a scientific blend of fish and seed oils. My Children and Adults There’s no doubt that vaccination has proven its place in the human health program.
However, I’m not in line with the administration of the annual flu vaccines after the initial vaccines in life. My children have received all of their vaccinations up to their 18 month birth date. From this point on we count on good nutrition (specific immune system fats, amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals) and common sense to protect them from disease. immunity can reach a limit that exceeds the immune systems capacity to manage the entire lot much like a hard drive of a computer system has limited capacity for storage. Moderation is the key.
Start the vaccination process with Distemper to be administered between 3-4 months. Next administer the Parvovirus vaccine between four and five months. Kittens would receive the panleukopenia (feline distemper) vaccine to be administered at about the three to four month timeline. Allow the immune system to react to one of the invaders at a time so it can do so thoroughly and accurately. Don’t overburden the immune system with ‘all-in-one’ shots.
Again, in order for the immune system to do its job, the nutritional building blocks, vitamin and mineral cofactors, and phytoantioxidants must be supplied abundantly from day one. Chelating agents must also accompany the vaccine (avoid alpha lipoic acid for cats). Although the Rabies vaccine is mandatory in many American States, whether it is really required at all is highly controversial. Fit this vaccine in to meet legal requirements if your pet is healthy but do not compound its administration with other vaccines.
My concern is not so much the bits of protein utilized from a microbe to form the basis of the vaccine. It’s the preservatives and other facilitative elements often referred to as adjuvants. The body is able to cope with these heavy metals and chemical preservatives in cases of occasional exposure but we don’t know what the long term consequences are with regular exposure. Studies indicate many possible adverse occurrences as previously mentioned.
Our recent outbreak of H1N1 has shed some light on other risks. Statistical data has unveiled that subjects who have taken regular flu shots were more likely to succumb to H1N1 exposure. This indicates that the immune system might be overwhelmed as it attempts to deal with multiple foreign intrusions. This sheds light on the risks associated with activating the immune system too frequently and forcing a multiple antibody response. It might indicate that the collection of
As for our tweens and adults I rely on herbal preparations that facilitate immune system efficiency. This is different from activating a response to an allergen like the immunization process does. The herbal preparations simply improve the immune system activation time to search, kill and destroy microbes in the body before they’ve had time to proliferate and cause major symptoms. During this process the immune system develops its natural antibody-based immunity like it would to a vaccine but the immune system is so efficient that it circumvents microbe penetration throughout the body. Since the immune system is not engaged systemically the symptoms are mild.
During this last H1N1 flu scare in late 2009 I saturated my body with these target specific antioxidants. I had several subjects do the same to follow these case studies. Within the families of these cases, several members fell ill to the flu. This could have been caused by H1N1 or it could have been less virulent flu strains typical of the season. These preliminary results demonstrated heightened protection for the users of the herbal protocol. Clinical studies are currently in the works to validate this natural protocol. I was one of the cases and merely experienced mild sniffles for two days while three of my family members, including my wife were bed ridden for several days.
Our family members do not currently take advantage of regular flu vaccination programs and have chosen not to take part in the H1N1 immunization program.
However, this does not mean that I will not utilize immunization of one type or another in the face of pandemic where the vaccine, as it did in the past with small pox and polio, appears to be the only salvation. It’s a tough call, but you simply have to do the research to determine the severity or risk with each infection and the associated risk when it comes to your individual case.
If a newborn, for example, were introduced into your family and the H1N1 risk was at your door, would you vaccinate the adults that need to venture outdoors? (The newborn would not qualify for the herbal or vaccination program.) Tough question to answer. In this case, I would stick to my herbal preparation to ward off all microbes; thoroughly wash my hands and change my clothes before interacting with the members of my household upon returning to the home. You will have to evaluate your own risk of exposure based on your workplace, traveling requirements and other contacts in order to make the right decision for you and your family.