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Four Warnings from Vaccine Manufacturers: Who is Ignoring Them?

rabies vaccineNew clients often enter my exam room for a second opinion on how to manage their pets’ chronic diseases. These diseases most often include hypothyroidism, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease or even cancer. As we review the patient’s case, one of the most important questions I ask is, “Are your pet’s vaccinations up to date?”

“Oh, yes, is the reply, my other vet just took care of that.”

This answer drives me crazy. Those vaccinations can be causing or aggravating their pets’ chronic diseases. And this is clearly written right on the vaccine label! Here are four very clear warnings from the vaccine manufacturers that are often ignored:

1. Vaccinate only healthy animals

Surely everyone would agree patients suffering from chronic diseases like hypothyroidism or allergies are not healthy! Yet, despite these manufacturer warnings, the previous veterinarian administered the vaccine anyway. What is the justification for this? The client is often told that annual revaccination is a requirement. Yet, vaccine inserts say…

2. Revaccination decisions should be made based on veterinarian/client/patient relationship

What does this mean? The client gets to participate in the decision? Yes! In fact, in Wisconsin and many states, there is an informed consent law which requires the veterinarian to explain benefits and risks of every recommended procedure before implementation.

What are the benefits and risks? Is there a benefit to giving a vaccination to a pet who is immune-suppressed during allergy treatment with prednisone? No – the body cannot respond to a vaccination when it’s immune-suppressed. In fact, vaccine reactions are often suppressed intentionally, with prednisone treatment! Does the risk of a reaction outweigh the need for the vaccine based on the pet’s lifestyle? Commonly, the answer to this is, yes! Contrary to this, my client was told annual revaccination is standard care and problems with vaccines are uncommon. Yet the insert clearly says…

3. Vaccines may produce anaphylaxis and/or inflammatory, immune-mediated hypersensitivity reactions.

Tissue–origin vaccines contain extraneous protein that can lead to autoimmune disease. Vaccine may induce the development of injection-site fibrosarcomas (in cats).

What is this all about? Manufacturers know that vaccines might not be safe? Vaccines might actually cause more harm than good? The manufacturer says the vaccine could cause autoimmune disease?
What is an example of an autoimmune disease? In humans, many are familiar with lupus. In pets, many are familiar with autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) or immune –mediated thrombocytopenia (IMTP). These are life-threatening blood disorders. Often the cause is unidentified. Yet these disorders commonly occur within two weeks to three months after a vaccination.

There seems to be an epidemic of autoimmune thyroiditis in dogs. Researchers are now proposing an autoimmune mechanism as a cause for arthritis. Concerned pet guardians can’t help but wonder about the vaccine connection to all this!

My practice is inundated with the most chronically and severely ill patients because we offer alternatives for pets when conventional approaches fail. My staff is always so excited when a fresh new puppy or kitten arrives because we love nothing more than to get them off to a great start! We strive to provide a safe balance using Western diagnostics and skills and Eastern thought and natural medicines.

Periodically, a savvy new pet guardian will say, “My regular vet told me those titers are a waste of money. The vaccine is cheaper and then you know your pet is protected. But, my new smart client adds, “I had a friend whose puppy was vaccinated and died from parvo anyway. I’m so confused, I just want to do what’s best.” What the previous veterinarian didn’t explain is that it clearly states in the vaccine manufacturer insert….

4. Maternal antibodies interfere with the development of immunity in a puppy (or kitten)

If maternal antibodies block the effectiveness of the vaccine and you don’t know this, than an exposed pup will get very ill, despite being vaccinated. How can you know whether that vaccine has protected your puppy? Draw some blood and check the titer! That’s what titers measure best: the development of immunity.

Why do vaccine manufacturers make these statements and place them inside every vaccine package?

They don’t want to be held liable for harm that can happen if their products aren’t used properly. For this same reason, veterinary advisors who work for these companies will recommend that vaccines not be repeated after a reaction. Yet my clients tell me their reactive pets are still vaccinated every year but the vet gives an antihistamine injection prior to giving the offending vaccine. The veterinarian who does this is clearly ignoring the vaccine manufacturer’s warning.

Be your pet’s advocate. Now you know that it’s okay to question the routine administration of vaccinations. All you need to do is ask your vet to let you read the vaccine insert and you can ask him for his reasons for vaccinating your dog against the recommendation of the vaccine manufacturer.

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13 Responses to Four Warnings from Vaccine Manufacturers: Who is Ignoring Them?

  1. ex vet tech March 5, 2014 at 2:21 PM #

    about 3 years ago I ended up with a stray catahoula pup about 7 to 8 weeks old- since it “took up” here while another stray dog was here with an active case of distemper I was panicing- have no idea if this pup had had prior vaccines but was under the 16 week radar so I gave her a DHPP vaccine every week for six weeks and ended up with a healthy pup. Its not something I recommend but I figured it the vaccine killed her she was going to die anyway from the disease (the other dog did despite long and heavy treatment- went into hard seizures and had to be put down) so I did not worry as much about vaccinating the pup as I did about her coming down with distemper- something we do not see so much of anymore but deadly just the same.

  2. Dr. Jodie Gruenstern October 12, 2013 at 8:46 AM #

    I suspect the diarrhea 10 weeks after your pup’s vaccination was due to a different cause, such as teething or a mild corona virus, something she ate or even parasites. But this is difficult to say. It is poosible for maternal antibody to affect the titre test, but in my experience I have never seen a pup with a protective level at 16 or 18 weeks go on to develop parvo. Also, we do an in clinic test which only reports a positive for protection if there is a high sterilizing level for immunity. This would equate to a “number’ of greater than “80″ on your send out test. We do the in house for rapid results and so that we start all pups with this high level. At their annual wellness, we do the send out test. Then we can get numbers” back in order to make lifetime decisions. If you really want to be on the safe side, you can do another titre. Also, remember due to a “dilutional impact” in test methodology a titre can fluctuate in half or double and this does NOT mean it is “changing” or dropping. If a pup is less than 80, you can consider boosting. If a titre is rechecked in 4 to 6 weeks and there is no significant rise, than the pup is a low responder. This means additional vaccination will not provide any additional immunity. Some vets will charge less for all this follow-up as this is a good learning experience!

    • Destiny October 12, 2013 at 10:17 PM #

      She didnt have diarrhea 10 weeks AFTER the vaccine. She had it the night OF her 10 week vaccine. Unfortunately, the vets around here send it out, so I am still waiting. And for any follow ups, they said its the same price. A regular send out test is 1.5 and that means high immunity levels right?

      At the moment I dont have the $200 the vets charge for another titer. When I originally got my puppy, i had all the money for vaccines, spay, etc all her things, but I planned on regularly vaccinating and just recently got into titers. I have called around, and the $200 is the cheapest they charge. :(

      • DogMom December 22, 2013 at 11:01 PM #

        Anyone can have a titer test done at http://www.hemopet.org run by the wonderful Dr. Jean Dodds. You can mail it in packed in ice or a frozen gel pack. The cost is the best ever – $85 for rabies and $45 for distemper/parvo (together). You get results on the D/P in 24 hrs; 3 week for the rabies. I do titers on all rescue dogs who come with no vaccine history to prevent vaccine damage. It’s sooooo worth it. Contact the Hemopet staff either by email or phone and they’ll explain how to do the titers by mail. I’ve learned the hard way never to use conventional vets for anything other than spay/neuter, ear infection, dental….never for any health issue and vaccines. They are almost always vaccine junkies and don’t know the facts on vaccination. Find a holistic or naturopathic vet; they are worth driving farther to see. Plus, often the animal doesn’t have to see the vet for a health problem…just provide blood work and any diagnostic results and they can help you with a phone or email consultation. It worked great for us with a dog who had IBD (resolved completely with organic raw food diet). I wish you all the best for your precious dog and am so sorry this happened to you both.

        • Dr. Jodie Gruenstern December 26, 2013 at 9:11 AM #

          This is a nice service, but realize you will still need to get the blood drawn somewhere presumably by a vet. You will need to pay for that service as well. Michigan State titres are just as good and less expensive. They have been providing this service for years as well. In our practice we charge $50.00 for the distemper/parvo and that includes the testing, the draw and the reporting.
          Remember the rabies titre is not recognized in lieu of a vaccination and the “result” does not correlate with any documented level of protection. So, although it is interesting to do, it is also expensive, and may not help avoid vaccination if you want to be “legal”.
          As an integrative/holistic minded veterinarian myself, I am of course biased toward pet guardians seeing holistic vets. However, don’t underestimate the importance of an annual exam for dogs and cats. I can’t believe the number of conditions and issues which I can identify and help pet parents with, many of which they were totally unaware, by providing a good, complete physical exam. I am a blood work nut as well, but that doesn’t replace an oral/aural exam, abdominal palpation and chest auscultation. Just ask anyone who has learned on a routine physical that their pet’s spleen was about to burst or that there was liver enlargement which should be pursued, etc. etc. If a holistic vet is not readily available, all pets should still have good check ups! You need to be your pet’s advocate. Decline those excessive, unnecessary vaccines. And yes, if the vet pushes them, find a new vet! This is how you will create more holistic vets!

        • Sheila February 18, 2014 at 3:40 PM #

          Thank you so much for this information. I wish I had it a few years ago when I vaccinated a small dog (5 lbs.) that I found in the bush that had been dumped. (I got sucked in by the Vet to vaccinate him.) I later found out that the dog had already had it’s puppy shots so he got vaccinated twice and had a great deal of adverse reactions. What this did for me is to put me on the path of Naturopathic Medicine for animals and critical analysis of all Veterinarian practices. Even though it is difficult to find out information in this area I research all problems that my rescue animals have and rarely go to a Vet. I am my own best amateur Vet. I also read Dr. Karen Becker’s site from the Mercola group. A wealth of free information there. I think you are my kind of Dog Mom. Here’s to us! Sheila

      • Pat A February 27, 2014 at 1:02 PM #

        Did the vaccine include one for Lepto. This is not supposed to be given to pups but many vets do. If given to them too young it makes them ill and can even kill them. Diarrhea is one of the symptoms for that. I foster pups and after finding out about this the hard way with two of the fosters becoming very ill, I am absolutely vigilant about this. In fact I do not give it at all even when past 12 weeks and let the adopters decide if they are going to take their pups/dogs where it would be needed and then they can get it for them. UC Davis protocol says not to give it to young pups but many vets still do.

  3. Destiny White October 10, 2013 at 11:39 PM #

    I got my puppy titered at 18 weeks after 3 core vaccines. (7wks, 10wks, 14wks)

    The vet tried to tell me that the titer test might not matter, because it could still be picking up maternal antibodies and in a few weeks the pup could be totally unprotected.

    BUT at 10 weeks after her shot, she had diarhhea for 4-5 days. The vet said that she got had actually had a small bout of Parvo from the vaccine and her body was building immunity.

    If that’s the case, wouldn’t that mean that her maternal antibodies were almost gone by 10weeks, so that the next shot at 14 weeks protected her? I’m still waiting on her titer test results.

    Also, her parents were fed Kirkland dog food, and that’s what the pups were weaned on. I heard that the type of food mom is eating and pups that are “bossy” and eat more get more antibodies. She wasn’t pushy but she wasn’t the runt.

    Thanks! I really hope her titer test comes back good, but now I am worried, what if when I tested her, she still had maternal antibodies. What do you think??

    • Jerry Putnam October 15, 2013 at 11:29 AM #

      I have been using natural methods for many years…..I am a BREEDER/TRAINER/HANDLER{prof.}
      For years I have had MANY discussions with VETS on vac.! Not much success.! I usually give one
      5way shot –2 wks. .after pups have been off and away from MOM… I never had problem until last year { I travel all over USA showing dogs & racing….}

      There was a break in a shot —-PARVO—It was the longest ,trying year of my life.{ saved a litter of 6…lost 4 in a litter of 6 ..1mo. older…I NOW have all animals on the property on COLOSTRUM……
      I have had 3 litters..2different breeds since. !! The .Vet is shaking their heads….Back to 1 shot no
      .more..no other shots of any thing…

      • Sheryl January 6, 2014 at 5:23 PM #


        Is there any particular colostrum you’re using? I’m interested.

        We had a huge problem last spring. We had fully vaccinated puppies coming down with terrible parvo. Every dog we had that was under a year old got sick, and passed huge amounts of blood in their stool. The $400 necropsy on our first loss said the intestinal damage was consistent with parvo. At least, this is what the 1-page report our vet gave us said. $400 and we got a 1-page report?!

        • Dr. Jodie Gruenstern January 9, 2014 at 10:57 AM #

          At the Animal Doctor, we use K9 Transfer Factor as our colostrum from Aloha Medicinals. (More at http://www.dogcancer.net)
          The colostrum recommended by Dr. Stephen Blake is a good option as well. I believe it is from New Zealand and he has been utilizing it for years….


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