Forty years ago, there was a widely held misconception amongst the veterinary field that vaccines could be given over and over again without any apparent harm to the animal. Within that time frame, vets have learned that vaccines last a lot longer than a year and most likely for the life of the animal. More recently, the dangers of vaccination have been brought to light. Some vets are paying attention while others still use repeated vaccination either as a way to protect their income or because they don’t believe or haven’t kept current on recent research.
Pet owners have two choices: they can be passive and allow their vet to decide whether and how often their pets are vaccinated, or they can research vaccine safety and efficacy themselves and start taking a more active role. For those pet owners who wish to actively protect their pets from unnecessary vaccination, here are five vaccine ingredients they should be familiar with.
Aluminum is the most common adjuvant in veterinary vaccines. Aluminum is known to cause degeneration of the brain and nervous system and neurological dysfunction. It promotes brain inflammation, oxidative damage, reduces the levels of brain antioxidants (i.e., glutathione) and disturbs calcium homeostasis. In the immature and developing brain, it might lead to a number of neurodevelopmental conditions in humans, such as autism spectrum disorders and seizures. In the mature, and especially the aging brain, these mechanisms can lead to progressive neurodegeneration, such as Alzheimer’s disease and ALS. Alzheimers disease is caused by plaque formation in the brain and chemical analysis shows an aluminum core at the root of each plaque.
Research at UC Davis in California suggests as many as 39% of aging dogs have at least one sign of dementia. The affected dogs were found to have the same plaques seen in Alzheimer’s patients. Leading immunologist Hugh Fudenberg MD, says that humans who received five flu vaccinations between 1970 and 1980 are ten times more likely to get Alzheimer’s Disease than those who had only one or two shots. Fudenberg attributes this to aluminum and mercury, which almost every flu vaccine contains. The gradual accumulation of aluminum and mercury in the brain leads to cognitive dysfunction.
To learn more about how aluminum creates neurological disorders, read Dr Russell Blaylock’s recent contribution to Current Inorganic Chemistry.
This mercury based vaccine additive has been used as a preservative for decades – and apparently the extreme neurotoxicity that mercury in general and Thimerosal in particular have also been known for decades.
In 1935, Eli Lilly (the creator of Thimerosal), was contacted by veterinary vaccine manufacturer Pittman-Moore after they declared Thimerosal as completely safe. Pittman-Moore wrote to them:
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“We have obtained marked local reaction in about 50% of the dogs injected with serum containing dilutions of Merthiolate (Thimerosal). Merthioiate is unsatisfactory as a preservative for serum intended for use on dogs.” (Director of Biological Services, Pittman-Moore Company, letter to Dr. Jamieson of Eli Lilly Company dated 1935. U.S. Congressional Record, May 21, 2003, E1018, page 9).
Since then, studies have been repeated to show the dangers of Thimerosal.
In 1967, a study in Applied Microbiology found Thimerosal killed mice when added to vaccines. In 1972, Eli Lilly found Thimerosal to be “toxic to tissue cells” in concentrations as low as one part per million (PPM), 100 times weaker than the in a typical vaccine. Despite all of this ongoing and emerging data, Eli Lilly “continued to promote Thimerosal as ‘nontoxic,’” even including Thimerosal in topical disinfectants. In 1977, ten babies at a Toronto hospital died when an antiseptic preserved with Thimerosal was dabbed on their umbilical cords. In 1982, the FDA proposed a ban on over-the-counter products containing Thimerosal. In 1991 the FDA considered banning Thimerosal from animal vaccines.
Finally, in 2006, researchers at UC Davis published a study connecting thimerosal with disruptions in antigen presenting cells known as dendritic cells obtained from mice. Researchers and parents had previously proposed links between childhood vaccines and autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects language skills and social interactions. The UC Davis study indicates that in addition to being a direct neurotoxicant, Thimerosal may also be an immunotoxicant, leaving the immune system vulnerable to microbes and other external influences. Samuel R. Goth et al., Uncoupling of ATP-Mediated Calcium Signaling and Dysregulated Interleukin-6 Secretion in Dendritic Cells by Nanomolar Thimerosal.
Today, most veterinary vaccines still contain Thimerosal, despite the dire warning signs that have been present for nearly a century. Why is Thimerosal necessary for vaccines? Well, it turns out it isn’t. Thimerosal has one function – it allows vaccine manufacturers to package vaccines in multi-dose vials which means that each vaccine will cost a few dollars less. Thimerosal would be completely unnecessary if vaccines were manufactured in single dose vials.
Contaminants found in vaccines are also behind many of the adverse reactions we see in dogs. “Contaminant” means anything that shouldn’t be there: something that is impure or unclean, is toxic or poisonous, or has the ability to create disease. Vaccines contain all sorts of contaminants that can cause cancer, leukemia, autoimmune diseases and a myriad of other unwanted conditions.
In April 2010, an important scientific paper was published in the Journal of Virology (Isolation of an Infectious Endogenous Retrovirus [RD-114] in a Proportion of Live Attenuated Vaccines for Pets, Journal of Virology, April 2010, p 3690-3694, Vol 84, No 7). This paper showed how two teams of scientists, in Japan and the UK, isolated a feline retrovirus (called RD-114) in both feline and canine vaccines in the UK and Japan. Had teams from America, or Germany, or Kazakhstan also been looking, they would probably have found the retrovirus, too. This is because the contamination involved seed stock – the witches’ brew of disease shared amongst vaccine manufacturers internationally, from which they make their vaccines.
The following are extracts from a related paper appearing in Biologicals in 2010. “RD-114 was first isolated from a human tumor cell line (RD cells) derived from a human rhabdomyosarcoma after passage through fetal cats, and is thought to be xenotropic.”
Translation: they found this cat retrovirus in a highly malignant human tumor. “Xenotropic” means that it will be harmless in the original host species, but will cause problems (like tumors) in a different species.
In her article on Vaccine Contaminants in the January 2013 issue of Dogs Naturally Magazine, author Catherine O’Driscoll continues, “One of the authors of this paper wrote to me privately: “If the ERV induces diseases in vaccinated animals and humans, it will take more than five years (in animals) to ten years (in humans) when the first patient appears. But it will take additional time to relate some diseases with specific vaccines because expected diseases are very common (such as cancers, lymphoma and autoimmune diseases). If so, when we are aware of the real risk of ERVs, it is too late because millions are infected with the viruses by the contaminated vaccines.””
The only official checks made for contaminants in vaccines are for a few known pathogens, potentially missing a vast host of unknown, unstudied, small particles and chemicals. It’s simply impossible to remove contaminants from vaccines.
Disease micro-organisms are often cultured on animal tissue including embryonic chickens or cow fetuses. When a vaccine is manufactured, it is impossible to divide the wanted virus from the unwanted animal tissue, so it all gets ground up together and injected into your dog’s body.
If a dog eats animal flesh or an egg, it is digested (broken down) into simpler amino acids before entering the bloodstream. The digestive process in most cases changes protein molecules so they don’t trigger an immune reaction. This is not the case for vaccines, since they are injected undigested, directly into the bloodstream, where they the foreign protein matter circulates throughout the body.
When the body detects the presence of the foreign proteins, an immune response is triggered. Killer cells (white blood cells or phagocytes) are then sent out to consume the cells containing the foreign proteins and protein fragments. This process is nature’s way of protecting the body from being overwhelmed by invading organisms and eventually succumbing to them. The foreign protein fragments are not always destroyed by the body as it is busy cleaning up the multiple viruses that have just been injected, along with the serious chemical spill of aluminum, Thimerosal, formaldehyde and more. So the foreign protein matter gets absorbed into body cells. T-Cells, sensing they are there, but unable to reach them directly, attack the body cells that harbor them. This can lead to autoimmune disorders including cancer, allergies, arthritis and more.
“Our ongoing studies of dogs show that following routine vaccination, there is a significant level of antibodies dogs produce against their own tissues…Some of these antibodies have been shown to target the thyroid gland, the connective tissue such as that found in the valves of the heart, red blood cells, DNA etc.” Larry Glickman DVM, referring to the results of the Purdue Vaccine Studies.
The final vaccine ingredient to be discussed isn’t injected into dogs, but rather into the concept of vaccination itself. In 2005, the global vaccine market was $6 billion. In 2012, it is $34 billion. It’s not surprising that more and more vaccines are being manufactured for dogs and pet owners are frightened into using them by media hype. One example of this is the canine influenza vaccine.
In 2011, canine influenza and the need for vaccination were heavily covered in the media. At the center of most of the media articles reporting the need to vaccinate for canine influenza was Dr. Cynda Crawford. Dr. Crawford is a veterinarian at the University of Florida (UF) who led the research team that first identified the canine influenza virus in 2004.
Interestingly, Crawford, along with colleagues at UF, Cornell University and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), share intellectual rights to the canine influenza virus; Merck has licensed the right to use the virus to make a vaccine. However, Crawford maintains that she and the others do not receive compensation from vaccine sales.
The VIN reports:
“Some veterinarians suspect that vigorous marketing of canine influenza vaccine plays a part in confusing perceptions of disease prevalence. Vaccine manufacturer Merck confirmed that it markets the vaccine through “education of boarding facility operators, kennels, pet owners and veterinarians about the disease state and about steps they can take to encourage prevention.” Told that some practitioners are concerned about overzealous marketing, a company media-relations official had no comment.
“Dr. Crawford said that regardless of Merck’s role in calling attention to the disease, documented infections are occurring. She said the company is making worthwhile contributions to scientific understanding of the disease.”
When the dust settled in 2011, it appeared that canine influenza wasn’t that big a deal after all. Dr. David Lewis, director of consultation services at Antech Diagnostics and a consultant on VIN, said his lab saw no unusual flu activity outside of the New York City area in 2011.
Cornell University Animal Health Diagnostic Center, reported seeing an uptick in positive results from greater New York City as well as cases from a single kennel in San Antonio, Texas and Idexx noticed eight cases in California, three in New York City and ten cases in Texas. Clearly, there was very little risk from canine influenza but much profit to be made.
The veterinary associations also have a pro-vaccination agenda. Animal vaccine researcher Dr Ronald Schultz says, “Few or no scientific studies have demonstrated a need for cats or dogs to be revaccinated.” Dr Schultz published An Ideal (But Not Proven) Immunization Schedule for Dogs and Cats in 1978 and followed up with research where dogs where challenged with exposure to Distemper, Adenovirus and Parvovirus, anywhere from one to 11 years after vaccination. Every single dog was protected when exposed to the virus.
“The results from this limited group of dogs clearly demonstrated the Norden modified live vaccines providedimmunity for at least 11 years against CDV and CPV-2″ says Dr. Schultz.
These early recommendations prompted the AAHA to assemble a task force. In 2003, the American Animal Hospital Association Canine Vaccine Task Force evaluated the data from these challenge and serological studies and, while noting that the core vaccines had a minimum duration of immunity of at least seven years, compromised in 2003 with the statement that “revaccination every 3 years is considered protective.”
Task force member Dr. Richard Ford, Professor of Medicine, North Carolina State University, said that the decision to recommend a three year revaccination schedule for core vaccines was a compromise. “It’s completely arbitrary…,” he said. “I will say there is no science behind the three-year recommendation…”
Why did the vets advocate a three year recommendation when the data in front of them indicated that vaccines lasted for at least seven years?
“Profits are what vaccine critics believe is at the root of the profession’s resistance to update its protocols. Without the lure of vaccines, clients might be less inclined to make yearly veterinary visits. Vaccines add up to 14 percent of the average practice’s income, AAHA reports, and veterinarians stand to lose big. I suspect some are ignoring my work,” says Schultz, who claims some distemper vaccines last as long as 15 years. “Tying vaccinations into the annual visit became prominent in the 1980s and a way of practicing in the 1990s. Now veterinarians don’t want to give it up.”
Learn more about the AAHA vaccine guidelines.
Vaccination is fraught with problems that simply weren’t considered even a few short years ago. Any vaccination program should consider both the benefits and the inherent risks of each and every vaccine given to companion animals. Some vets are able to see through the politics and money that drive revaccination while others can’t. If pet owners want to play an active role in protecting their pets from unnecessary vaccination, it’s crucial to discover which camp their vet is in.
“I believe that before we continue to inject foreign substances year after year into our pets which I believe can cause them harm, that we should first make sure they absolutely need it. If they don’t, why do it?” says Michael Goldberg DVM. That’s a very good question indeed and one that both vets and pet owners should be able to answer.