Originally published June 15 2011
Vaccination: The pet controversy
by Celeste Yarnall
(NaturalNews) In the history of human vaccines, the numbers clearly show that in every case, the disease itself was already on the decline when the vaccine was introduced. Most vaccines were scarcely a blip on the radar, not affecting the natural decline of the disease at all. In a few unfortunate cases such as polio, the disease actually increased after vaccinations began.
For example, when people contract measles, their overall immune system is strengthened in response to the mild challenge of this disease. (Death as a consequence of measles is generally seen only in undernourished populations.) When doctors started routinely vaccinating children against measles, we started to see babies who contracted measles at a dangerously early age because their vaccinated mothers were not able to pass on immunity to them. And what was the medical community's solution to this dilemma? Vaccinate infants for measles even earlier!
Remember that humans are vaccinated only a few times in their lives, (although we can certainly see that Big Pharma is trying their best to see to it that this changes) whereas animals are so treated once or twice a year for their entire life. Most people with chronically ill animals believe the animals were already sick when they got them, but often we can trace their problems to the time of vaccination (or to their parents having been vaccinated). It's true that vaccinosis (a condition which refers to a chronic disease pattern occurring after vaccination) does not afflict all vaccinated animals; some are lucky enough to have very strong immune systems. But if you or your animals have ever been affected by it, you'll never forget it. You take a risk every time you allow your animals, your children, or yourself to be vaccinated unnecessarily. Remember, it's your decision, unless the laws in your state complicate your freedom of choice.
Vaccines do not work all the time. In both human and veterinary medicine, there are many recorded instances of no immunity developing, or of so-called "vaccine breaks" occurring, whereby the stimulation of antibodies isn't sufficient to protect against the natural disease. Conventional medicine claims those are body faults and problems. There does appear to be a genetic component to which animals may have trouble responding to a vaccine, however, giving a nonresponding animal more vaccines is unlikely to force an appropriate immune response, and it certainly can cause more problems.
Vaccination has become a highly charged subject in the news media of late and both doctors and individuals who challenge the concept are most often treated as if they were lepers. Entire reputations of certain individuals have been disgraced for their challenge of the vaccine issue. The facts are clear however in veterinary medicine that the way vaccines are typically used today are extremely dangerous and potentially one of the most harmful things we could do to our animals.
WHY DO WE VACCINATE OUR DOGS AND CATS?
We vaccinate because we're afraid our animals will contract certain diseases. We've accepted annual vaccines without considering where that recommendation came from and what it really means. Most veterinarians recommend that cats, for example, receive a combination vaccine against panleukopenia (feline distemper), calicivirus, and rhinotracheitis (upper respiratory infections). Many also encourage injections for Chlamydia, feline leukemia (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV or feline AIDS), feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), and even ringworm. These vaccines are typically repeated every year for the cat's whole life, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that they are unnecessary.
Since the vast majority of vaccines are unnecessary and even unsafe, more and more people are not getting their animals vaccinated at all. However, recent outbreaks of panleukopenia in cats are of great concern. Therefore some believe that no vaccines can be just as dangerous as too many vaccines; the basic kitten shots (panleukopenia and rabies) are still recommended by most experts, at least once, between 12-16 weeks of age.
Ron Schultz, Ph.D., professor and chair of the department of pathobiological sciences at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, and Tom R. Phillips, D.V.M., Ph.D., wrote in Kirk's Current Veterinary Therapy XI (a book even conventional veterinarians most likely have on the shelf) that:
"A practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual revaccinations. Almost without exception there is no immunologic requirement for annual revaccination. Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal. Successful vaccination to most bacterial pathogens produces an immunologic memory that remains for years allowing an animal to develop a protective anamnestic (secondary) response when exposed to virulent organisms. Only the immune response to toxins requires boosters (e.g., tetanus toxin booster, in humans, is recommended once every seven to ten years), and no toxin vaccines are currently used for dogs or cats. Furthermore, revaccination with most viral vaccines fails to stimulate an anamnestic (secondary) response as a result of interference by existing antibody (similar to maternal antibody interference). The practice of annual vaccination in our opinion should be considered of questionable efficacy unless it is used as a mechanism to provide an annual physical examination or is required by law."
In plain English, this means that the authors believe there is no valid scientific reason to vaccinate pets every year. That practice, instead, emerged as a default judgement between the pharmaceutical companies making the vaccines, and the veterinarians. The vets wanted to get their patients in once a year for a check-up, and the vaccine makers wanted to sell more vaccines. Tying the annual physical to vaccines was a stroke of genius. It simplified life for veterinarians, who now only had to say "We'll see Fluffy next year for his shots" and send a postcard, and it made boatloads of money for the drug companies. When this "suggestion" was added to vaccine labels, it added an air of "requirement" and ensured that the system would continue to make everyone happy. At the time, vaccines were considered benign and harmless -- so this lucrative state of affairs went unquestioned until the late 1980s, when vaccines began to be linked to injection-site cancers in cats.
Today, it is known that vaccines are not so harmless, and they are now considered a medical procedure like any other, with both risks and benefits. In order to realistically assess the situation and make wise decisions for our dogs and cats, we need to examine the big question on animal companions minds today.
ARE VACCINES ACTUALLY SAFE?
Conventional veterinarians consider a symptom or condition to be an adverse reaction only if it occurs within seventy-two hours of vaccination. Acute reactions are uncommon, but they can be extremely serious, and they can have long-lasting effects.
Holistic veterinarians agree that symptoms of vaccine-induced diseases can occur any time during the life of our dogs and cats. In addition, the following known long-term risks are associated with one or more vaccines.
Antibodies, blood proteins that attack and destroy invading organisms, are the goal of vaccination. We want the body to produce antibodies against the disease being vaccinated against. However, the vaccine manufacturing process contains some quirks that cause the body to make antibodies to a wide variety of components in the vaccine.
Most vaccines are produced through a culture medium such as eggs, blood serum, or certain types of cells. The organisms are grown in these nutritious cultures and then filtered for manufacture into vaccines. While the filters are small enough to keep out whole cells, both intended viruses and a variety of unintended loose proteins will end up in the final product. When injected, the animal's body then makes antibodies to many of the proteins as well as the virus itself. Studies at Purdue University showed that canine vaccines grown in calf serum caused antibodies to be made to many calf proteins, including red blood cells, thyroid, DNA, and connective tissue proteins. Unfortunately, calf proteins are so similar to dog proteins that the antibodies react to the puppies' own tissue as well. This is an autoimmune reaction. Every vaccinated puppy developed multiple autoantibodies, and every additional booster produced even more autoantibodies. Because the puppies in the Purdue study were euthanized at twenty-two weeks of age, (welcome to the world of animal cruelty in "Big Pet Pharma") it is unknown if these autoantibodies would lead to disease, but logic suggests it is likely. In other words, because proteins are similar among many animals, antibodies to proteins in the vaccines can cause an autoimmune reaction. The immune system starts attacking the body's own organs and tissues.
FELINE CHRONIC RENAL FAILURE
Cat companions know all too well how heart breaking the condition known as Feline Chronic Renal Failure can be and many cat lovers have wondered why so many cats die from it. Here is strong evidence that one of the most successful of all vaccines for animals is involved. The feline panleukopenia vaccine. The common feline panleukopenia virus is grown in a culture of feline kidney cells. Recent work at Colorado State University showed that most kittens developed autoantibodies to their own kidney tissues after being vaccinated for panleukopenia. When autoantibodies react with body tissue, the result is inflammation. Each booster vaccine creates even more antibodies -- and more inflammation. Chronic low-grade inflammation is the primary cause of feline chronic renal failure (CRF), which is almost guaranteed to develop in older cats. The authors of the study suggest (but did not prove) a causal relationship between the panleukopenia vaccine and the development of CRF.
An auto-immune reaction to kidney proteins injected with the vaccine can cause the cat's immune system to attack its own kidneys. The chronic low-grade inflammation generated by this vaccine reaction -- compounded every time the cat receives a booster -- is a likely contributor to the development of CRF. Annual boosters for feline panleukopenia are totally unnecessary because the immunity produced by the initial kitten vaccine is very long lasting. How long lasting? Perhaps for the life of the cat, however vaccine manufacturers don't test for long term efficacy.
VACCINE-ASSOCIATED SARCOMAS HAVE REACHED EPIDEMIC PROPORTIONS
Malignant, fatal tumors called fibrosarcomas can be caused by some vaccines in cats. This cancer occurs in the connective tissue. The two vaccines currently implicated are rabies and feline leukemia. A third will undoubtedly be joining the list -- the feline AIDS (FIV) vaccine. These three products are all killed vaccines made with adjuvants (substances that increase the immune response). Unfortunately, in cats, this additional response includes inflammation that can lead to the formation of cancer. Even worse, every additional vaccine -- indeed, some researchers suggest that every additional injection of any kind (antibiotics, steroids, insulin, sedatives, fluids, which holds true for dogs as well) -- may significantly increase the risk of developing cancer, particularly if the injections are given in the same place. At least one vaccine maker has recognized this risk and now makes several effective vaccines that do not contain adjuvants, using advanced recombinant technology.
When vaccines were given between the shoulder blades, these cancers were inoperable and fatal because they would grow into the spine, ribcage, and chest. This became such a serious problem that it is now recommended to give cats the rabies vaccine in the right hind leg, and leukemia in the left hind leg -- so that when a tumor does develop, the whole leg can be amputated and thus the cat's life can be saved.
The rabies vaccine is required by law for most animals in most jurisdictions because it is a public health hazard. Therefore, it is important from a legal standpoint to follow your jurisdiction's regulations concerning rabies vaccines for your pets. Killed rabies vaccines are labeled for either one or three years; but the vaccine in the bottle is exactly the same in both cases. The label itself is the only difference. Request that your dog or cat receive the three-year vaccine, only once every three years. Better yet, consider a nonadjuvanted vaccine. If your vet clinic does not carry it, ask if they will order it, if not find one who will.
If you have come to the conclusion that now is the right time to just say no to further vaccinations, do keep in mind that some veterinarians and vet techs are so convinced of the need for vaccines that they may vaccinate your cat or dog without your permission. If circumstances bring you to a vet you don't trust completely, try not to let your dog or cat out of your sight. Both dogs and cats have been force-vaccinated when they were taken into the back of the clinic for a nail-trim, blood draw, or other simple procedure. In many cases, the first time that people notice this is on their invoice for payment, and then it's too late. Be sure your wishes are clearly stated in your file as well as saying it directly to your veterinarian. You are your cat's first and last line of defense, so stay alert!
It is important to remember just who is paying the veterinarians bill. Your veterinarian works for you, it is a personal service they are rendering and you have the right to fire them and hire another!
About the author:
Celeste Yarnall, is an author/blogger and holistic heath care advocate for both people and pets and specializes in anti-aging modalities. She is the author of 4 books on holistic health care for dogs and cats. Her latest book is entitled, The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care, an illustrated guide, co-authored with Jean Hofve, DVM. Holistic Cat Care is the first anti-aging book written for pets and won the 2010 CWA Muse Medallion Award. Celeste and her husband Nazim Artist have created the Art of Wellness Collection, which combines various holistic modalities and life coaching services for people and pets with fine art, which includes an all natural glaze on Nazim?s paintings that cleans the air of mold, fungus, bacteria and odors. They live and work in Los Angeles, CA with their 3 Tonkinese Cats.
Celeste can be reached through her website, www.Celestialpets.com. She can be followed at her Art of Wellness Collection blog at