Tag Archives: vaccinations

It’s Time to Put a Stop to the Mindless Over-Vaccination of Pets

June 25, 2017
by Karen Becker, DVM

V I D E O here

Story at-a-glance

  • Dr. John Robb, a Connecticut veterinarian, has become known worldwide for his fight against profiteering and over-vaccination in veterinary medicine
  • Dr. Robb’s incredible story serves as a wake-up call to pet parents and the veterinary community about the dangers of bucking the system, and why the lives of companion animals hang in the balance
  • Protect the Pets is the movement Dr. Robb founded to raise awareness about the dangers of over-vaccination and the urgent need to change existing rabies vaccination laws in the U.S.
  • Protect the Pets is NOT an anti-vaccination movement; the goal is to protect animal companions from over-vaccination and vaccine toxicosis

Today I’m talking with a very special guest, Dr. John Robb, a veterinarian for over 30 years and world famous almost overnight (more about that shortly).  Dr. Robb attended veterinary school at the University of California, Davis in the early 1980s, followed by a one-year internship at a private practice in Connecticut, the New Haven Central Veterinary Hospital.

“It’s true I’ve come in the public eye more recently,” says Dr. Robb. “But honestly, I’ve been fighting to be a veterinarian my whole career. The drive profits in veterinary medicine has really become a problem, especially with the advent of companies like Veterinary Centers of America (VCA) and the Mars Company coming in and owning veterinary hospitals.

These are businessmen and businesswomen. These are people that want to make profits but don’t necessarily have the best interest of the pets involved. And unfortunately, the veterinary establishment, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and other organizations, seem to be joining forces with them instead of putting their hands up and saying, ‘We have a problem here.'”

Don’t Save the Dog: Profits Over Pets

On Dr. Robb’s very first overnight shift at New Haven Central, a vet tech dropped off a stray dog who had been hit by a car.  The dog was in bad shape, and Dr. Robb was supposed to put him to sleep.  The dog opened his eyes and looked at Dr. Robb, who of course worked the rest of the night to save him.

“I was in big trouble in the morning because I had spent a lot of money and there was no owner,” Dr. Robb says. “I kind of knew at that point it wasn’t really about the pets. Fortunately, the owner was eventually found and reunited with his dog, and he sang the praises of New Haven Central, so I was off the hot seat. But I learned there’s a big thing about money in our profession that supersedes caring for the pets.”

Dr. Robb has been fighting the system ever since, and especially on the topic of vaccines. Many people have understood for decades that we’re over-vaccinating pets, but the problem seems to have bubbled to the surface recently in a big way.

‘I’m Hurting My Patients With These Vaccines’

Like all veterinary students, Dr. Robb was taught in vet school that vaccines are good and prevent disease.  But once he was a practicing DVM, he began to see vaccine side effects such as life-threatening anaphylaxis, as well as longer term vaccine-related disorders.

“I began to read the veterinary literature like JAVMA, the Journal of the Veterinary Medical Association,” says Dr. Robb. “I started to research on my own. I came across veterinarians who had been showing that vaccines caused a lot of serious side effects, including hemolytic anemia and cancer at the injection sites. I had a problem now. I’m a veterinarian, and I’m hurting my patients with these vaccines.”

Dr. Robb began changing the way he did things in his practice.  For example, he lengthened the intervals between vaccines, and lowered the dose because it was very clear to him that small pets couldn’t handle the same amount of vaccine as larger animals.

Increasingly, Corporations Dictate How Veterinary Medicine Is Practiced

When he bought a Banfield Pet Hospital practice, Dr. Robb realized the franchise was very much into over-vaccinating.  So he put his own protocols in place, including “smaller dogs receive a lower volume,” and only one vaccine per visit.  He also didn’t give all the vaccines the franchise recommended.  Then Mars Petcare bought Banfield. Dr. Robb explains what happened next:

“They basically came in and said, ‘Look, we want your franchise back. In fact, we’re buying all the franchises back. We control the doctors. We’re going to give you about a third of what it’s worth and you’re going to leave. Maybe you can go open up another hospital.’

I said, ‘I’m not going anywhere. I have 15 years left on my contract. You can’t tell me how to practice veterinary medicine. That’s my job, so get out.’ But they took my franchise anyway. They said if I didn’t go quietly, they would report me to the state board, because I was lowering my vaccine volume and they said it was against the law. And so they did. They reported me to the Connecticut State Board of Veterinary Medicine.”

Buck the System? You’ll Be Handcuffed to a Stretcher and Taken to a Psych Ward

Mars/Banfield sent a letter to all 5,000 of Dr. Robb’s clients stating that their pets weren’t protected (immunized against disease).  So Dr. Robb contacted his clients as well, and recommended they have their pets titer tested to show they were protected.  That’s when the strong-arming really escalated.

“They put armed guards in front of all the PetSmarts in Connecticut,” Dr. Robb explains. (Banfields are located inside PetSmart stores.) “Two sets of armed guards, one paid for by PetSmart, and one paid for by Mars. They made a big scene and tried to blame it on me.”

The first time he attempted to visit his practice, Dr. Robb was handcuffed to a stretcher and taken to a psychiatric ward.

“The second time, they arrested me,” he says. “I’m just trying to hand out literature to do a titer and not revaccinate the dog without doing that, because I knew my pets were protected. I had done titers and I knew it.

It ended up in federal court. They lied to the judge and said, ‘We were offering titers.’ They did everything they could not to do a titer. They injured so many pets, some died, because they revaccinated all of them. It was part of a cover-up. I was vaccinating correctly and they didn’t want anybody to see that their pets had immunity.

The fight with Mars was in front of the state veterinary board, who had copies of all the scientific articles I had collected on vaccines, because I provided them to them. They told me they didn’t care about science. These are veterinarians and they don’t care about science? They said I broke the law. Even if I have to kill my patients, I have to obey the law. I said, ‘You guys are crazy. I mean, you’re crazy.’

This is the state of veterinary medicine today. We have mandated rabies laws, when instead we could take a simple blood test and find out that these pets don’t need the shot. We veterinarians are in bondage now, forced to injure our patients. Then you’ve got Mars coming in and trying to control veterinarians as their resource.

Karen, I thank God you’re standing up. I thank God other veterinarians are standing up, because most veterinarians want to do the right thing, but they’re scared to death about their license and repercussions.”

A Movement to Return Morality to the Veterinary Profession

I received a rabies vaccine at the age of 13 because I was getting into wildlife rehabilitation.  When I entered veterinary school and told them I’d been vaccinated at 13, they insisted I be titered rather than automatically re-vaccinated.  So why is it perfectly okay to vaccinate pets against rabies over and over and over throughout their lives?  I think we know why.  It’s the almighty dollar. Vaccinations are a major source of income for veterinary practices.

But the good news is the nightmare Dr. Robb has lived through has turned him into an agent for change.  He and his wife used their retirement savings to start the Protect the Pets movement in 2006.  “It was never to make money,” says Dr. Robb, “but to bring morality back into veterinary medicine.”

“I already had a track record of trying to stand up for the rights of pets, the people who own them, and veterinarians. Now suddenly I’m talking to a worldwide audience.

Because I was willing to put my license on the line and all my resources to do what I love best, which is be a veterinarian and protect my patients, this has become a movement of the heart. People are joining me. People like you, Karen, and all the people who have been fighting these issues for years. We’ve reached a tipping point and now we’re working together.

Before, we were isolated. The people whose pets were being injured and dying were isolated. They had no voice. They were told it wasn’t the vaccination. Even though four hours after the shot, their pet was suddenly blind and seizuring, it wasn’t the shot. It just was coincidental blindness, coincidental epilepsy.

Or a pet began bleeding internally and was diagnosed with hemolytic anemia. Or there were suddenly tumors on the right hip at the injection site. ‘It wasn’t the shot,’ they were told. Then one day they realized there was a public figure out there saying, ‘It WAS the shot.'”

Pet Parents Are Coming Forward to Tell Their Stories

Veterinarians have no legal obligation to report adverse reactions to vaccines, so there’s no real database.  The veterinary industry, which includes the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), seems to have no interest in creating one.  It’s deeply disturbing.  These are veterinarians.  How can they not be concerned about the adverse effects of pet vaccines?

But pet parents are coming forward to tell their stories, and they are the ones driving this change, because they’ve had enough.  As veterinarians, Dr. Robb and I and others are working to amend the rabies laws and bring morality back to a profession gone wrong where vaccines are concerned.

“Corporations like Mars, who think it’s okay to victimize pets for profits, are going to be rudely awakened, because we, the people, control them,” says Dr. Robb. “Because we spend money and we decide where we’re going to spend it. We have the power here. We just have to unite. That’s the bottom line here. We are uniting now.”

Why Is This Life-Threatening Vaccine Reaction Kept Hidden?

According to Dr. Robb, one of the best-kept vaccine secrets is the incidence of anaphylaxis.  I personally know people who’ve adopted or purchased a puppy and had the pup die of anaphylactic shock on the exam table at the first vet visit immediately after receiving a vaccination.  Invariably, the veterinarian who gave the shot tells the devastated owner the vaccine had nothing to do with the puppy’s death. It’s asinine.

Dr. Rob references a 2005 Purdue University study that addressed adverse events occurring within the first 72 hours after vaccinating dogs.  One of the study’s chief investigators was a Banfield medical director named Dr. Karen Faunt.  The study showed that the incidence of adverse reactions is higher in smaller pets, and multiple vaccines cause more reactions.  However, the study’s conclusion was that vaccines are safe.

During a legal deposition, Dr. Robb’s attorney asked Faunt: “Why didn’t you include in your study the dogs that died of anaphylaxis?  Certainly those reactions occurred within the first 72 hours?”

“I’m telling you, her jaw dropped,” says Dr. Robb. “Because it turns out there were at least six animals that died of anaphylaxis and they didn’t include them in the study. Instead, they concluded the vaccines were safe.”

Become a Partner in the Protect the Pets Movement

“Even as we’re talking here today,” says Dr. Rob, “there are pets out there being injured, dying, and being given injections they don’t need. It’s happening right this minute, and there’s no time to waste. Lives depend on education, encouraging each other, and taking action steps such as contacting state legislators. You can look me up on Facebook, John Robb, for more information.”

You can also reach Dr. Robb at 203-731-4251, or contact him through his Protect the Pets website.

“People think I’m so popular that I can’t talk to people,” he says. “Baloney. This movement is about you, and I want to talk to you. I want to know what your situation is. We need to work together. I need to hear people’s voices, understand their situations, and see if they want to be part of the movement.”

The first goal is to amend existing rabies laws.  There are 200 million pet parents and advocates, and 40,000 members of the veterinary establishment.  As Dr. Robb points out, WE should be dictating to THEM and not the other way around.  As pet owners, we make the decisions for the animals in our care.

An Important Distinction: We’re NOT Anti-Vaxxers

It’s important to point out that we’re not anti-vaccines.  There’s a huge difference between too many vaccinations and protective vaccinations.  We’re not advocating never vaccinating your pet under any circumstances.  We’re advocating the smart use of minimal vaccines to create immunity against disease in puppies and kittens, with follow-up titers for the lifetime of the pet.

I think it’s really important to make that distinction.  There’s a big difference between creating protective immunity in a pet and creating vaccine toxicosis.  What Dr. Robb and I are talking about is the danger of over-vaccinating dogs and cats.

Some veterinary vaccines are substantially more toxic than others.  It’s your job as your pet’s advocate to know enough about the subject to make the best decisions for your animal companion.  And if your vet doesn’t respect your opinion and point of view, find a new vet.

“The job of veterinarians is to vaccinate to produce immunity with the smallest volume and the smallest number of vaccines to produce that immunity,” says Dr. Robb. “Once the pet is immune, we’re done.”

Titer Tests in Lieu of Re-vaccinations

Once an animal develops immunity to rabies, parvo and distemper, it’s easily measured by a titer.  Any positive titer means the pet is immune.

“I was speaking to Dr. Ronald Schultz yesterday, and he’s helping us,” says Dr. Robb. “He’s in favor of titers, as you know. He’s been trying to put this approach forward for a long time. He pointed out that rabies is the worst of all the vaccines in terms of toxic reactions, so it’s extremely important to deal with the rabies laws first.”

According to Dr. Robb, about 20 to 25 percent of veterinarians are now doing distemper/parvo titers in lieu of vaccinating.  But most vets still won’t do a rabies titer because rabies vaccines are the only vaccines mandated by law in all 50 states.  A positive rabies titer isn’t acceptable in lieu of re-vaccination.

Many vets charge an arm and a leg for titer testing, which is unfortunate.  Dr. Robb currently charges $32 for a rabies titer and $54 for all three (rabies, parvo and distemper for dogs).  Some vets will do a blood draw for under $10, others charge much more.  Dr. Robb suggests finding a vet who will do it for a reasonable price.  The cost of titer tests will decrease once they become the rule rather than the exception.

Putting the Heart Back in the Practice of Veterinary Medicine

In addition to helping pets and pet parents, Dr. Robb is also very passionate about helping veterinarians who are in bondage to the current system.

“We want to free them to practice veterinary medicine from a heart perspective,” he explains. “That’s also what this movement is about. The suicide rate among veterinarians is four times higher than the general population. It’s because they have to go against their heart and injure animals.”

I so appreciate Dr. Robb’s passion.  I’m heartbroken over what has happened to him, but grateful for the beautiful gift that has resulted from his difficulties.  He has blown the topic of over-vaccination wide open in the veterinary community, and I’m forever thankful because I’m not sure it would have happened without him.

“One more comment about the worldwide thing,” says Dr. Robb. “It’s worldwide, because we may set the standards in this country, and then other countries will adopt them. There are pets in Belgium, the Netherlands, Japan and all over the globe. We want to reach all of them. We’ll start Protect the Pets England and Protect the Pets France. We are going to go wherever pets are being victimized. We’re going to set them free. That’s what this is all about.”

Dr. Robb and Rodney Habib of Planet Paws put together a short information video of Dr. Robb testifying about over-vaccination and overdosing issues in pets.  You can view the video here at Planet Paws.  Thank you, Dr. John Robb!

 

Visit Dr. Becker’s Pet Video Library

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These Must-Have Tests Could Save Your Pet’s Life

By Dr. Becker
YouTube video here

Although your veterinarian can learn a great deal by performing a hands-on physical examination of your pet, there are some very important aspects of his or her health that can only be evaluated with diagnostic tests.

Some people think if their pet looks healthy and there’s no change in behavior or appetite, then blood tests and other diagnostics are unnecessary.  But this isn’t true for pets any more than it is for people.

Almost all metabolic and organ issues that plague pets start with biochemical changes that can be picked up in blood tests weeks to years before an animal becomes sick enough to exhibit symptoms.  If you wait until your pet is showing signs of disease, it may be too late to reverse the illness or cure it.

Reactive Versus Proactive Pet Care

Many problems brewing beneath the surface don’t produce symptoms until the disease is full-blown and, heaven forbid, even fatal.  Waiting for symptoms to appear is a reactive approach.

Many of us in the holistic veterinary community have clients who think they’re taking a holistic approach to their pet’s health when they’re actually being reactive.

For example, they wait until their dog is coughing to ask for a heartworm test, or until their cat is drinking tons of water and urinating constantly before they ask for a kidney function test.

Allowing pets to get sick before identifying significant health issues isn’t a holistic approach.  The paradigm shift holistic vets are trying to encourage is a move away from reactive medicine toward proactive medicine.  Proactive veterinarians focus on identifying lifestyle obstacles before disease occurs.

Proactive Pet Care Saves Lives

If we’re capable of identifying disease early and stopping it from occurring, why wouldn’t we?  Taking a proactive approach gives us the opportunity to address minor biochemical changes early on, and prevent them from becoming major health issues.

We can prevent organ failure if we know the body is leaning in that direction.  We can prevent irreversible degeneration that robs pets of good health and long lives.  But we have to know it’s occurring in order to address it, and we won’t know if we don’t check.

I’ve heard countless times from clients that, “My dog was fine until he suddenly got congestive heart failure,” or “My cat was fine until I took her to the vet yesterday and she was diagnosed with kidney failure.”  The truth is those conditions didn’t develop overnight.  They occurred slowly, over time.

The dog with congestive heart failure and the kitty with kidney failure have been brewing those conditions for quite a while.  But because the pet parents and veterinarian weren’t regularly monitoring the health of those pets, serious organ degeneration occurred right under their noses.

Even if your vet isn’t proactive, you can be.  Ask him or her to measure your pet’s vital organ function with the appropriate diagnostic tests.  You’re entitled to a copy of the results, which you can review and keep track of from one year to the next, taking note of any changes that occur.

If you have no choice but to visit a reactive versus a proactive veterinarian, you’ll need to act as your pet’s advocate.  Don’t ever be afraid to speak up on behalf of your animal companion.

Keep in mind that most abnormal test results were once normal.  It’s how quickly we catch the change from normal to abnormal that can mean the difference between fixing a problem early, or potentially losing a pet to a disease we could have identified early on.

“I wish I would have known,” is something no proactive vet ever wants to say or hear.  Put another way, “I wish I would have known,” means, “I wish I would have checked.”

We have the ability to check — to monitor your pet’s health — and that’s what I’m encouraging you to do.  This is especially true for senior pets and pets with chronic health challenges.

Fecal Exam and Urinalysis

If your dog goes on lots of outdoor adventures, I recommend once or twice yearly fecal exams to check for signs of intestinal disease and parasites.  Indoor house cats who have no exposure to potentially infectious poop from other animals are off the hook for fecal exams.

A yearly urinalysis (or more frequently if your pet is older or prone to infections or other problems involving the urinary tract) is used to assess the overall health of your pet’s urinary tract, including the kidneys and bladder, and to check for other health indicators, such as glucose regulation and liver function.

A complete urinalysis measures the function of the nephrons in the kidneys and gives information about your pet’s metabolic and fluid status.  The test is also used to evaluate substances in the urine that might indicate an underlying disease process.

Blood Tests

Blood tests help your veterinarian proactively monitor your pet’s internal organ health, and also help to determine causes of illnesses accurately, safely and quickly.  Blood tests also allow your veterinarian to monitor the progress of medical treatments.

However, while these tests indicate where your pet’s body may be having a problem, they don’t tell us how or why the problem is occurring.  It’s also important to know that currently there are no blood tests that definitively detect cancer, and not every organ has a specific serum marker for cancer.

Complete blood count (CBC).  The CBC is the most common blood test performed on pets and people.  A CBC gives information on hydration status, anemia, infection, the blood’s clotting ability and the ability of your pet’s immune system to respond.

The CBC is essential for pets with fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, pale gums or loss of appetite.  Also, in the event that your pet needs surgery, a CBC can detect bleeding disorders and other unseen abnormalities.  The results of a complete blood count include:

HCT (hematocrit) measures the percentage of red blood cells to detect anemia and dehydration

Hb and MCHC (hemoglobin and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration) measure the oxygen-carrying pigments of red blood cells.

WBC (white blood cell count) measures the body’s immune cells, including lymphocytes, monocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils and basophils. Increases or decreases indicate disease or infection.

Platelets measure cells that form blood clots.

Retics (reticulocytes) are immature red blood cells.  High levels indicate regenerative anemia; low levels indicate non-regenerative anemia.

Blood chemistry profile.  Blood chemistries are common blood serum tests that evaluate your pet’s organ function, electrolyte status, hormone levels and more.

They are very important in evaluating the health of older pets, pets undergoing anesthesia, pets with vomiting and diarrhea, pets that have had toxin exposure, pets on long-term medications and pets with endocrine or internal organ disease.  Blood serum measures include:

ALB (albumin) is a serum protein that helps evaluate hydration, hemorrhage and intestinal, liver and kidney disease.
ALP (alkaline phosphatase) elevations may indicate liver damage, Cushing’s disease, active bone growth in young pets or arthritis or bone degeneration in older pets.
ALT (alanine aminotransferase) is a sensitive indicator of active liver damage but does not indicate the cause.
A bile acids test is a paired serum sample taken before and after meals, which measures how well the liver is able to recycle bile acids.
Amylase is a digestive enzyme for carbohydrates, and lipase (LIP) is a digestive enzyme for fats. Elevations may indicate pancreatitis or other pancreatic dysfunction. The definitive test for pancreatitis is the PLI (pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity) test.
AST (aspartate aminotransferase) increases may indicate liver, heart or skeletal muscle damage.
BUN (blood urea nitrogen) indicates kidney function. An increased blood level is called azotemia and can be caused by kidney, liver or heart disease, urethral obstruction, shock or dehydration.
Ca (calcium) deviations can indicate a variety of diseases. Tumors, hyperparathyroidism, kidney disease and low albumin are just a few of the conditions that alter serum calcium.
CHOL (cholesterol) is used to supplement a diagnosis of hypothyroidism, liver disease, Cushing’s disease and diabetes mellitus. Fortunately, since pets aren’t plagued with arteriosclerosis like humans are, even a significant elevation in cholesterol doesn’t result in blocked arteries, stroke or heart attack.
CL (chloride) is an electrolyte often lost with vomiting and Addison’s disease. Elevations often indicate disease. If your pet has both sodium and chloride abnormalities, you should ask your veterinarian to check for adrenal disease.
CREA (creatinine) is a sensitive marker of kidney function and perfusion. This test helps distinguish between kidney and non-kidney causes of elevated BUN. BUN and creatinine go hand in hand. There’s also a third test called the symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA) test that can also identify early kidney disease.
GLOB (globulin) is a blood protein that often increases with chronic inflammation and decreases with chronic infections and a weakened immune system.
GLU (glucose) is blood sugar. Elevated levels may indicate diabetes mellitus or persistent hyperglycemia as the result of a carbohydrate-based diet. Low levels (below 40) can cause collapse, seizures or coma.
K (potassium) is an electrolyte lost with vomiting, diarrhea or excessive urination. Increased levels may indicate kidney failure, Addison’s disease, dehydration, urethral obstruction or inappropriate doses of certain drugs. High levels can cause heart problems.
Na (sodium) is an electrolyte lost with vomiting, diarrhea, kidney and Addison’s disease. This test helps indicate hydration status.
PHOS (phosphorus) elevations are often associated with kidney disease, hyperthyroidism and bleeding disorders.
TBIL (total bilirubin) elevations may indicate liver or hemolytic disease. This test helps identify bile duct problems, gall bladder stasis and certain types of anemia.
TP (total protein) indicates hydration status and provides additional information about the liver, kidneys and infectious disease.
T4 (thyroxine) is a thyroid hormone. Decreased levels often signal hypothyroidism in dogs, while high levels indicate hyperthyroidism, commonly diagnosed in cats. A complete thyroid panel is necessary to accurately assess thyroid health.

Tests for Tick-Borne Disease

If you live in an area where ticks are abundant, I recommend asking your veterinarian for an annual or even twice-a-year SNAP-4Dx test or an Accuplex test to check for tick-borne diseases, including heartworm, Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis.  Regardless of what you do to manage fleas and ticks on your pets, research shows mosquitoes can transmit tick-borne diseases, and none of us can completely prevent mosquito bites.

Especially in the midwest and the east coast of the U.S., it’s a good idea early in the year and at the end of tick season to check for tick-borne illnesses, which thankfully are fairly easy to treat and cure when they are identified before they create chronic disease.

Titer Testing and Vaccinations

I also recommend titer testing in lieu of automatic re-vaccination for all diseases other than rabies, which of course is required by law.  Titer tests are simple blood tests you can ask your veterinarian to do that provide information about your pet’s current immunity to the diseases he’s been vaccinated against in the past.

Immunologist Dr. Ron Schultz states that any positive titer result — any number above zero — means your pet’s immune system is capable of mounting an effective response and no vaccine is needed.

Some of my clients say, “Hey, I think it’s just cheaper to vaccinate.  My dog has only had one vaccine.  What’s the harm in doing it?”  My response is it’s much safer to titer test, even in pets who’ve only had one vaccination, because chances are they’re protected for life and don’t need additional vaccines.

If the titer is low, I will give the vaccine at no charge.  I give a single parvo or distemper vaccine if a dog’s titer is low.  I don’t give combination vaccines.  In 19 years, I’ve never given a free vaccine because none of my patients have titered low after their puppy shots. So this is something to keep in mind when it comes to re-vaccinating your pet.

Additional Recommendations

Three other tests to consider are a fasting insulin test, a vitamin D test and a dysbiosis test.

Fasting insulin test.  In humans, one of the best predictors of longevity is the fasting insulin level.  Very few veterinarians measure this, but I think it’s an underutilized test that can evaluate a patient’s metabolic health and fat-burning adaptedness.  Michigan State Diagnostic Lab runs this test for $18.  In my opinion, it’s one of the best things you can do to evaluate your pet’s ability to manage metabolic diseases, including cancer.

Vitamin D test.  Vitamin D deficiency is an epidemic, and we’re beginning to learn that deficiency in pets may rival that of humans.  Dogs and cats can’t make vitamin D from sunlight so they must get it from their diet.

Unfortunately, the synthetic vitamin D used in many commercial pet foods can be difficult for dogs and cats to absorb and unless impeccably balanced, many homemade diets are deficient in vitamin D.  Vitamin D testing is an add-on to routine bloodwork, but you can ask your veterinarian to include it.

Dysbiosis test.  We know that 70 percent of the immune system is located in your dog’s or cat’s gut, and many pets suffer from gut-related disorders that create malabsorption, maldigestion and ultimately, a weakened and dysfunctional immune system.

Identifying and addressing a leaky or dysbiotic gut is critically important in re-establishing good health, especially in debilitated, chronically ill and aging pets.  The Texas A&M Gastrointestinal Laboratory has just released a test to measure the level of dysbiosis in the canine gut.

The takeaway today is that monitoring a pet’s internal environment is actually quite empowering, because we’re able to address minor changes before disease occurs, and in many cases we can prevent degeneration, which is always our goal as proactive pet parents and veterinarians.

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Are We Over-Vaccinating Our Pets?

Did you know that, unlike most other veterinary drugs, the dosages for vaccines are not based on the size of the animal?  It’s scary but true.  A 5-pound cat, for instance, may receive the same dosage of a rabies vaccine as a 150-pound Great Dane.  Instead of body weight, these vaccines are based on the minimum immunizing dose.

Over-vaccinating animals can not only make them sick, but can cause potentially fatal autoimmune reactions.

“Over-stimulation of the immune system can be problematic,” veterinarian Deborah Wolf told KOMO. “There are (also) potentials for — especially in cats — injection site cancers. We want to protect them without over-stimulating the immune system, and running them down and creating new problems.”

Rabies vaccination laws for animals vary by state.  Most states do not allow veterinarians to give partial doses of the rabies vaccine based on a pet’s size or health.  Until 2011, rabies booster vaccinations were usually given annually to pets.  But that year the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) updated its guidelines to recommend that core vaccines be given to pets only every three years.

WHY ARE SOME VETERINARIANS OVER-VACCINATING PETS?

Why do some veterinarians continue to put the health of pets at risk by unnecessarily vaccinating them every year?

“A lot of people do what they told,” Dr. Dale Porcher, of Shores Animal Clinic in West Palm Beach, Fla., told CBS12.  “I think a lot of people have not stood back and questioned why are we doing this.”

Rabies and other vaccinations also happen to be a major source of steady profit not only for veterinary practices but for the Big Pharma companies, like Pfizer, that manufacture them.  Last year (2016), pet owners in the U.S. spent $5.81 billion on vaccinations, CBS12 reports.

Yet some veterinarians who don’t want to over-vaccinate their patients are being punished for taking measures not to do so.

Dr. John Robb, who practices in Connecticut, was put on probation Feb. 1 by the State Board of Veterinary Medicine for reducing the dosage in rabies vaccinations for small dogs. From now until 2042, he cannot vaccinate any animals for rabies.

“You’re telling me that if there’s a law that would force me to kill my patient, I would have to do it?” he told News 12 Connecticut.  “You know what the state board said?  ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘You are crazy.’”

Is it safe to give smaller pets lower dosages of vaccines?  Dr. Lisa Boyer, who practices in Loomis, Calif., doesn’t think so.

“Immunologists say vaccines are not dose-dependent, that you need enough antigens to stimulate the immune system,” she said.  “It’s not a weight-versus-dose question.  My 7-year-old [child] and I get the same vaccine.”

VIDEO below: “Vets Are Now Challenging the Government”

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CONNECTICUT MAY BE THE FIRST STATE TO PREVENT VACCINE OVERDOSING

To help prevent pets from getting sick from being over-vaccinated — and to prevent veterinarians like Dr. Robb from getting punished for trying to keep pets healthy — Connecticut state representatives Pam Staneski and Fred Camillo introduced the bill H.B. 5659 in January, 2017.

The new law would allow vets to adjust vaccine dosages and skip rabies booster shots in the best interest and health of an animal.  The bill recommends a titer test — a simple blood test — that can determine if a pet is adequately immunized.

If H.B. 5659 manages to get passed, Connecticut will become the first state to allow animals to be tested for rabies antibodies instead of being automatically vaccinated every few years.

DON’T LET YOUR PET BE OVER-VACCINATED

It’s important to ask your veterinarian about the vaccinations your pet is receiving.

If your vet recommends annual vaccinations even though your pet has no health or other issues that would require them, you might want to let your vet know about the latest AAHA vaccination guidelines – or perhaps find another vet.

As Dr. Porcher told CBS12, your veterinarian’s primary concern should be “your pet’s health and not their profit margin.”

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Good News on the Horizon for Rabies Vaccines?

Pet vaccines

By Dr. Becker

I’m very happy to be able to share a bit more encouraging news regarding rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats.

Very recently I reported the results of a study performed by Kansas State University (KSU) that compared “anamnestic” antibody responses of dogs and cats with current vs. out-of-date rabies vaccinations.  The animals in the study were given rabies boosters (“booster” is simply another name for a re-vaccination), and then given antibody titer tests to see if the group with current vaccinations had higher titers than the group with out-of-date vaccinations.

The study authors’ conclusion:

“Results indicated that dogs with out-of-date vaccination status were not inferior in their antibody response following booster rabies vaccination, compared with dogs with current vaccination status.

Findings supported immediate booster vaccination followed by observation for 45 days of dogs and cats with an out-of-date vaccination status that are exposed to rabies, as is the current practice for dogs and cats with current vaccination status.”1

What this shows is there is no health-related reason to mandate long-term quarantine or euthanasia for dogs and cats with expired rabies vaccinations that are exposed to a rabid animal.

Michael C. Moore, lead study author, hopes the study findings help clarify and shape the current guidelines for pets that are exposed to the rabies virus:

“‘If you relate this to human health, humans are primed with an initial vaccination series and then have neutralizing antibodies checked from time to time,’ he said.

‘If those antibodies fall below a certain level, we’re given a booster.  While the vaccines are licensed for a certain number of years, the immune system doesn’t sync to a date on the calendar and shut down because it reached that particular date.'”

These study results were published in mid-January 2015, and in August, KSU announced that scientists at the university’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (KSVDL) had “modified a test that measures an animal’s immune response to the rabies virus, a change that will cost pet owners less money and may help reduce the number of yearly vaccines for pets.”2

What they’re talking about is a rabies titer test.  It’s important to note that state and local laws mandating one or three-year rabies re-vaccinations for dogs and cats are based on zero scientific evidence the “boosters” are actually necessary.

The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association Supports the Work of the KSU Rabies Lab

A few days after seeing the mid-August KSU news release, I received a note from my good friend and veterinary vaccine authority, Dr. Jean Dodds.  Dr. Dodds and I are fellow members of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), and she is Chairperson of the AHVMA Communications Committee.

Dr. Dodds forwarded an AHVMA press release titled “Changes Sought to Rabies Vaccination Laws Based on Scientific Research.”  As it turns out, the AHVMA has been working in support of Kansas State University on the rabies antibody titer test project.  This makes all kinds of sense, since it is the holistic and integrative veterinary community that has been leading the charge against over-vaccinating pets.

Here is Dr. Dodds’ press release in its entirety:

“The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) became the first national veterinary organization to support efforts by Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (KSVDL) to improve rabies testing with a modified screening test to determine if veterinary patients need to receive rabies booster vaccinations to maintain protective immunity.  The AHVMA and its members have long expressed concern over animal vaccination practices.  While vaccinations provide important protection against a wide number of serious diseases, they can also cause adverse effects ranging from minor discomfort, autoimmune disorders, and even death on rare occasions.

Veterinarians can offer serum antibody titers, a form of blood testing which is helpful in predicting the need for revaccination.  This practice is helpful to reduce the potential dangers to pets from receiving unneeded vaccinations.  Currently, laws regulating rabies vaccination are set locally and statewide and may not allow for the use of blood antibody testing to avoid mandatory rabies revaccination.  To comply with the law, veterinarians and pet owners vaccinate at prescribed intervals regardless of existing immunity.  This practice was developed to protect public health in a time when vaccine titers were not offered by veterinarians, but it increases the risk of vaccine adverse-events for our dog and cat patients.

Recent research at the Rabies Challenge Fund suggests immunity from rabies vaccination lasts much longer than the usual one to three year interval required by current laws.  This study added significant evidence that we may be over vaccinating for rabies in our pet population.  Public health officials have expressed concern that reducing vaccination for rabies could increase the incidence of this deadly disease.  To date, legislatures and public health agencies have resisted changing rabies vaccination laws to reflect current knowledge about rabies vaccine duration of protection.

Rabies vaccinations can be associated with a number of significant, well-documented adverse effects.  These include localized swelling and pain, fever, chronic hair loss, ulcerative dermatitis, encephalitis, vasculitis, seizures, vaccine-related cancer, and anaphylactic shock.  Pet guardians whose animals have suffered such illness are very concerned about revaccination.   If they fail to keep the vaccination current based upon current legal requirements, they may be penalized in several ways depending upon existing legal statutes.

KSVDL recently announced the modification of the established rabies antibody test (Rapid Fluorescent Focus Inhibition Test) to rapidly screen immunity to rabies virus.  Once properly vaccinated, such testing can be used to identify if the individual has an antibody level indicative of protection from rabies.  If an animal undergoes testing and is found to have adequate protection, the AHVMA supports reform of public health laws that require automatic revaccination.  Such booster vaccinations may not be medically necessary.  This new testing procedure allows screening for continued rabies vaccine response.  This allows veterinarians and pet guardians to effectively decide upon a path that reduces risks of an adverse effect for individual animals while protecting any public health concerns.

In 2015, AHVMA participated as the KSVDL Rabies Lab conducted a survey to gather data from members about their policies regarding dog and cat vaccinations, including rabies vaccination.  AHVMA respondents reported:

  • 92 percent gave rabies vaccinations.
  • 76 percent routinely offered titers for core vaccines after completion of the initial vaccine series
  • 34 percent offered titers for rabies after completion of the initial 2-dose series
  • 75 percent would measure rabies titers if the Compendium changes its stance to equate out-of-date rabies vaccine status the same way as they do animals current on rabies vaccines

Until legal changes occur, animal guardians and veterinarians must comply with existing legal statutes.  Rabies serum antibody titering can be performed for information, documentation, and to satisfy export and import requirements, but this does not replace the legal requirement for rabies booster vaccinations.

It is the hope of both organizations that through cooperation and advancements in science we can illustrate our dedication to better health and safety for people and animals.  As science advances we must update public policy to reflect our new understandings.  This new testing is a great example of such cooperative efforts.”

For additional important information on rabies and rabies titers, please read the final few sections of “Changes Sought to Rabies Vaccination Laws Based on Scientific Research” by Dr. Dodds.

Will Affordable Antibody Titer Tests One Day Replace Automatic Re-vaccination?

The KSU news release concedes:

“Yearly vaccines can sometimes create other health concerns.  In cats, for example, yearly vaccinations have been linked to feline injection site sarcomas.  Kansas State University’s titer test for rabies could save a pet from one more injection at the yearly exam.”3

The press release goes on to say that a titer test for rabies at KSU costs $30, and a test for rabies plus three additional core vaccines for either a cat or dog runs just $50.

These very reasonable titer test costs aren’t the norm, as many of my clients are quoted $200 to $350 by their vets for a canine distemper or parvovirus titer test.  It is my fervent hope that not only will antibody titer tests become the first choice in lieu of re-vaccination for core diseases in cats and dogs, but that the cost of those tests will become affordable for the majority of pet owners.

Nov 5 2013
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Mistakes That Compromise Your Pet’s Immune System

By Dr. Becker  [ Source ]

The immune system is sometimes called “the great protector.”  The word immune comes from the Latin word “immunis,” which means “free” or “exempt.”  Your pet is immune if he or she is protected against a specific disease by inoculation or as a result of innate or acquired resistance.

The immune system is comprised of a diffuse, complex network of interacting cells, cell products, and cell-forming tissues that protect the body from pathogens and other foreign substances, destroy infected and malignant cells, and remove cellular debris.

The immune system includes the thymus, spleen, lymph nodes and lymph tissue, stem cells, white blood cells, antibodies, and lymphokines. Lymphokines are a subset of cytokines produced by a type of immune cell called a lymphocyte.

The Importance of a Balanced Immune System

The job of the immune system is to respond appropriately to infectious agents from the outside world.  An appropriate response is when the immune system mounts a defense against an outside challenge without destroying the body.  This requires that the immune system knows the difference between its “self” (your pet’s body) and the foreign invader.

Every cell and organ system in your pet’s body has its own mechanisms of immunity, and each also has some sort of interdependent, inner regulator.  Recent studies show that an animal’s emotions have a tremendous effect on immunity, both positive and negative.  Environmental influences including noises, odors, light patterns, and environmental pollutants can also dramatically affect the immune system.

While Western medicine views the immune system as individual pieces separate from the whole, from a holistic point of view, the most important aspect of the immune system as a whole is that each individual component of immunity is interconnected and that all the parts of the system are in constant communication with all of the other parts.  This is the inner communication that is the focus when we take a holistic approach to a pet’s wellness.

While Western medicine focuses on just one component of a disease, the goal of a holistic approach is to integrate all of the components of the immune system to bring them back into balance.

Actually, balance is the key word.  I always stress the importance of a balanced immune system, because an imbalance in either direction – meaning the immune system is either underactive or overactive – will ultimately lead to disease in the body.

Immune System Disruptors

There are many ways normal immune function can be disturbed or suppressed.  Many diseases, especially those created by viruses, can directly attack the cells of the immune system.  They can also be subtler in their assault, slowly invading one or more components of the immune system, decreasing its overall effectiveness.

Chronic, long-term, and unavoidable stress will, over time, overwhelm the ability of the immune system to respond, which makes the animal more susceptible to disease.  Interestingly, short-term moderate stress has been shown to enhance the immune response.  Short episodes of stress that work the immune “muscles” to make them stronger can actually prepare the animal’s body to respond appropriately to challenges such as infections or injuries.

Antibiotics can, on one hand, assist the immune system by killing off pathogenic bacteria.  But at the same time, they also destroy much of the protective mechanisms by killing off the friendly bacteria that live in an animal’s gut, on his skin, and in other parts of the body.

Corticosteroids such as prednisone are often used to suppress a hyperactive immune system response, but overuse or long-term use of these drugs can actually render the immune system unable to function at all.

Vaccines stimulate the immune system so that it will be ready to mount an attack at some later time against a specific disease.  But vaccines can also over-stimulate the immune system to the point of anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening adverse reaction.

More often, repeated vaccinations exceed the immunological threshold of some animals, resulting in autoimmune disease (also called immune-mediated disease), where the animal’s immune system becomes confused and attacks itself.

Categories of Immune System Disorders

Most holistic veterinarians believe that just about every disease an animal acquires is directly linked to an immune system imbalance of some kind.  Anaphylaxis, which is called a Type I reaction, describes any acute, systemic, and hyperactive immune response to triggers such as an insect bite, a vaccine, drugs, food, or less often, blood products during a transfusion.

Other immune-mediated diseases, called Type II reactions, involve the production of antibodies against the cells of the animal’s own body.  In other words, the immune system doesn’t recognize its “self.”  It can be difficult to know what triggers an autoimmune response, but it is often related to the administration of drugs or vaccines, as well as environmental toxins.

Two of the most common Type II autoimmune diseases are autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) and autoimmune thrombocytopenia.  Myasthenia gravis is another immune-mediated disease in which the body attacks its own muscle cells.

Type III autoimmune reactions occur when an animal’s body produces antibodies that interfere with the normal function of different areas of the body.  Examples include canine rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and a kidney disease call glomerulonephritis.

Type IV reactions involve cell-mediated components of the immune system, and include contact sensitivity, autoimmune thyroid disease, and keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye).  These are all examples of hyperactive immune system responses.

At the other end of the spectrum is the hypoactive (underactive) immune system response, which can be caused by a viral infection, a genetic disorder such as IgA deficiency, poor nutrition, and a stressful or toxic environment.

Suggestions for Maintaining Your Pet’s Immune Health

A healthy immune system is a balanced immune system, and there are a number of things you can do as a pet owner to maintain your dog’s or cat’s immune health.

    • Exercise has direct benefits for your pet’s immune system.  When your dog or cat works her muscles, it helps cleanse the body of toxins and keeps the lymphatic system working well.
    • Massage increases lymphocyte numbers and enhances their function.  Massaging your pet also relaxes her, which is good for her emotional health and therefore, her immune health.
    • Keeping your pet at an ideal body weight is also very important.  A species-appropriate diet will help manage inflammatory responses, which in turn will improve your dog’s or cat’s immune function.  The more antioxidants you can offer your pet through whole food nutrition, the better.  This is impossible to do if you’re feeding an entirely processed diet in the form of dry or canned pet food.

Animals have very high antioxidant requirements, and you really have only two options for meeting those requirements.  You can either provide a synthetic vitamin and mineral supplement (which is how processed pet food manufacturers do it), or you can provide whole food nutrition.

To be vibrantly healthy, animals need lots of unprocessed, living, and fresh foods to meet their antioxidant requirements, which include vitamin A, all the B vitamins, vitamins C and E, zinc, selenium, and vitamin D.  Fresh meats and organs, herbs, and organic, non-genetically modified (GM) vegetables are excellent natural sources of the vitamins and antioxidants your pet needs for a balanced, healthy immune system.

  • Reducing the amount of chemicals that are in, on, and around your pet is also important for maintaining a functional immune system. It’s my belief that the toxins in an animal’s immediate environment play a huge role in creating immune system dysfunction.

Offering fluoride- and chlorine-free water is very important, as is toxin-free air.  Minimizing vaccines and topical pesticides found in flea and tick preventives is also important.

Avoiding all sources of environmental toxins is nearly impossible, so putting together a detox protocol for your dog or cat is a good idea.

Holistic veterinarians have long recognized the importance of a balanced immune system.  They have lots of tools to help re-balance an underactive or overactive immune system.  My recommendation is to try to partner with a vet who prioritizes the health of your dog’s or cat’s immune system.

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Bordetella Vaccination for Dogs: Fraud and Fallacy

golden retrievers

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Bordetella or Kennel Cough is commonly required by boarding kennels and veterinary hospitals.  These vaccinations are delivered to a staggeringly large percentage of dogs and the reason is not to protect your dog: the reason is to protect these facilities against liability.

The proprietors who push for these vaccines may be assuming more liability than they can handle and the stakes are very high.  The truth is, the vaccines are not only ineffective but they are far from safe.  Yet they are routinely given to combat a self limiting disease that amounts to as much danger to your dog as the common cold does to you.

What is interesting is that when you bring your dog to the vet for his Bordetella vaccination, he will have already been exposed to the natural flora: all animals are exposed to both Bordetella and Parainfluenza prior to vaccination.  It makes little sense to vaccinate an animal for something he has already been exposed to.

There are at least forty agents capable of initiating Bordetella so vaccination might appear to be prudent if it weren’t for the fact that only two of these agents are contained in the intranasal vaccine.  This poor percentage truly makes the Bordetella vaccine a shot in the dark.  The lack of efficacy is well summarized by noted immunologist Dr. Ronald Schultz: “Kennel Cough is not a vaccinatable disease”.

Despite the lack of any real effectiveness, the Bordetella vaccine is routinely given and touted as safe, especially in the intranasal form.  Make no mistake however: the dangers and misinformation surrounding this seemingly innocuous spray are just as tangible and frightening as any other vaccination.  A major problem with the Bordetella vaccine is that it is part of a combination vaccine.  Unbeknownst to most pet owners, the Bordetella intranasal spray also contains Parainfluenza (the vaccine for which is not surprisingly, just as ineffective as Bordetella).  The problems with the Parainfluenza portion are threefold.

First, there is a real danger of dangerous immunological overload when vaccinations are offered in combination.  Second, like Bordetella, most dogs have already been exposed to Parainfluenza, making the necessity of vaccination questionable.  Third, the Parainfluenza vaccine is just as ineffective as the Bordetella vaccine because the vaccine does not provide antibody against Parainfluenza where it is most needed: on the mucosal surfaces.

Other dangers associated with the Bordetella vaccine are obviously not far removed from the dangers associated with any other vaccination.  Although Bordetella is a bacterial vaccine, we now know that bacterial vaccines present the same threat as Modified Live Vaccines.  Modified Live Viruses from human vaccines are now known to become incorporated in the genes of the host and can shuffle, reassert, and reactivate thirty or more years after vaccination.

Bacterial genes are capable of the same activity, lurking in the genetic makeup, waiting to replicate and awaken.  The intranasal Bordetella vaccine has been known to activate a previously asymptomatic collapsing trachea and disrupt phagocytic activity which can progress to pneumonia.  The toxins from the vaccine will also kill the ciliated lining of the trachea, creating a denuded area susceptible to anything coming down the windpipe.  Perhaps collapsing trachea, irritable tracheas and pneumonias are all complications of Bordetella and the Bordetella vaccine.

Vaccination of any sort also elevates histamine which can promote cancer, chronic inflammation and loss of tolerance.  In general, all vaccination creates immune dysregulation and is responsible for a vast array of pathology.  The Bordetella vaccine can wreak havoc outside the body as well.  Bordetella will shed from a vaccinated host for seven weeks while Parainfluenza will shed for a week.  This means that every vaccinated dog is a walking dispenser of potentially damaging bacteria.

While the risk to other dogs is obvious, it should be of little concern to healthy dogs because Bordetella is generally a self limiting disease.  What you might find surprising is that the shed bacteria is a risk to other animals… and to people.  The reason we now have a feline Bordetella (and not surprisingly, a feline Bordetella vaccine), is likely thanks to the widespread use and subsequent shedding of Bordetella from vaccinated dogs to cats sharing the household.  If this seems hard to imagine, consider how dogs first fell victim to Canine Influenza.

golden retrievers

Canine Influenza was initially documented in racing greyhounds.  It is worth noting that many of these dogs shared tracks with race horses: race horses who are routinely vaccinated with Equine Influenza.  It is not a stretch to predict Bordetella will infect gerbils, hamsters and rabbits in the near future and it is with certainty that the vaccine manufacturers will be well rewarded with the continued fruits of their canine Bordetella vaccine.

Not surprisingly, humans are not left out of the equation.  Ruth Berkelman MD (Former Assistant Surgeon General, US Public Health Service) writes: “The potential for both exposure and for adverse consequences secondary to exposure to veterinary vaccines in humans is growing.  Enhanced efforts are needed to recognize and to prevent human illness associated with the use of veterinary vaccines”.  Dr. Berkelman noted that pertussis and whooping cough-like complaints in children followed exposure to Bordetella bronchiseptica from the Bordetella vaccine and it is no coincidence that Bordetella bronchiseptica and whooping cough pertussis are very closely related. Interestingly, the rate of whooping cough is highest in highly vaccinated populations.

Immunocompromised humans and animals are at an elevated risk of infection from these canine vaccines.  There is a recently reported case of Bordetella bronchiseptica pneumonia in a kidney and pancreas transplant patient who had to board and subsequently vaccinate her dogs at a veterinary clinic while she was hospitalized. Vaccines contain contaminating agents including mycoplasmas which are also very communicable to humans and other mammals.

In the end, vaccination for Bordetella is at best fruitless and at worst, a pathetic fraudulence at the hands of veterinarians and vaccine manufacturers.  It is up to you whether or not your dog receives this vaccination and that is not overstating the obvious.  Sadly, most pet owners are aware of this but choose vaccination because they feel they are at the mercy of boarding kennels, training schools and veterinarians.

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Patricia Monahan Jordan is a graduate of the North Carolina College of Veterinary Medicine.  She practiced conventional veterinary medicine for twenty years and founded six different veterinary facilities in North Carolina.  Dr. Jordan has traced the paths of immunopathology to vaccine administration and uncovered the cycle of disease and the endless cycle of disease management that results from vaccine administration.

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Bordetella: Does Your Dog Really Need the Kennel Cough Vaccine?

kennel cough vaccine dogs

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Your veterinarian, kennel owner, day care provider or groomer says your dog should/must be vaccinated against kennel cough, but you’re trying not to over-vaccinate.

What should you do?

More and more, pet parents are finding another vet, kennel owner, day care provider or groomer — or keeping their dog at home!  Vaccination is a serious medical procedure with significant potential risks.  If that isn’t enough, the vaccine is unlikely to prevent kennel cough.  It can even produce kennel-cough like symptoms.  The WSAVA Guidelines say, “Transient (3–10 days) coughing, sneezing, or nasal discharge may occur in a small percentage of vaccinates.”
It can also cause a serious anaphylactoid reaction.  Look it up.  You won’t like it.
Read and view HERE how to treat for Anaphylactic Shock.
Educate yourself  IN ADVANCE!!

About kennels, day care providers and groomers:  In general, if they have good ventilation and practice good hygiene, kennel cough shouldn’t be an issue.  Bordetella is not for dogs playing together in well-ventilated areas — like dog parks or backyards or living rooms.

Think of kennel cough as a canine cold, transmitted as human colds are transmitted — from an infected individual in close contact with another individual with compromised immunity.  Like a cold, it is also considered a mild self-limiting disease.  A veterinarian friend uses an OTC remedy called B & T Cough and Bronchial Syrup to treat the cough.    For small dogs she uses the children’s variety.  See your vet for further treatment information.

If your service provider is afraid your dog will contract kennel cough at their establishment, offer to sign a letter of informed consent saying you’ve been informed of the risk and will waive liability.  That should do it.  Should.  It’s really just liability at issue, not your dog’s overall health.

If the person insisting on the Bordetella vaccine is afraid other dogs at their establishment will contract kennel cough from your unvaccinated dog, this person clearly doesn’t trust that the vaccinated dogs actually have immunity.  If they don’t believe the vaccine is protective, why insist that you or anyone else vaccinate?

Note: If you decide to give the vaccine, make sure it is the intranasal form, that is, given as nose drops, not injected.  And give the vaccine at least a week before contact with other dogs, for the sake of both your dog and other dogs.

Don’t take my word for any of this.  Read what two vets and a PhD have to say about the Bordetella vaccine:

World-renowned vaccination scientist, Dr. Ronald Schultz, says [emphasis is mine]: “Many animals receive “kennel cough” vaccines that include Bordetella and CPI and/or CAV-2 every 6 to 9 months without evidence that this frequency of vaccination is necessary or beneficial. In contrast, other dogs are never vaccinated for kennel cough and disease is not seen. CPI immunity lasts at least 3 years when given intranasally, and CAV -2 immunity lasts a minimum of 7 years parenterally for CAV-I. These two viruses in combination with Bordetella bronchiseptica are the agents most often associated with kennel cough, however, other factors play an important role in disease (e.g. stress, dust, humidity, molds, mycoplasma, etc.), thus kennel cough is not a vaccine preventable disease because of the complex factors associated with this disease. Furthermore, this is often a mild to moderate self limiting disease. I refer to it as the ‘Canine Cold.’”

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From Dr. Eric Barchas, Dogster Vet Blog, “I generally do not recommend kennel cough vaccines unless dogs are staying in a boarding facility that requires them (and even then I don’t truly recommend vaccination — instead, I recommend finding a facility that doesn’t require them).

 

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