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Read This Before You Vaccinate For Lepto

Leptospirosis is a contagious disease that can affect both humans and animals. It is spread by infection with Leptospira, bacterial pathogens that can cause liver and kidney disease in dogs. Many dogs have been routinely vaccinated for Lepto in the last 30 years and there has been controversy surrounding the the vaccine. Below is a brief summary of what you need to know about the Lepto vaccine.

  • You must vaccinate for Lepto every year or less.  Unlike viral vaccines which likely last for the life of the animal, bacterial vaccines, such as Lepto and Bordetella, only last for a year at most. This means if you want to protect your dog from Lepto, the trade off is a dozen or more vaccines in his lifetime, all of which are filled with aluminum and dangerous toxins that have the potential to create autoimmune disease including allergies, cancer, arthritis, digestive issues and more. Every vaccine creates more cumulative damage in your dog and be the one that causes devastating and permanent damage.
  • Most Lepto infections in dogs are subclinical. Moreover, of those dogs diagnosed with obvious symptoms, fatalities don’t exceed 10%.  Perhaps the fatality rate would be lower if routine vaccination didn’t already stress the liver and kidneys and predispose dogs to becoming symptomatic when exposed to Lepto.
  • Lepto vaccines for dogs are now available in two forms. The original vaccines contained only the L. canicola and L. icterohaemorrhagiae serovars; however newer vaccines now contain L. grippotyphosa and L. pomona. This is because there is a resurgence in Lepto and the latter two strains are now much more common. While some scientists are questioning whether the two new strains of Lepto are due to increased migration of wildlife, others speculate that it is caused by the vaccine itself.  Vaccines have the ability to cause mutations in viruses and this changes their form and forces us in turn to change our vaccines.  As an example, there are five strains of Parvovirus.  Interestingly the first strain, CPV-1 that wreaked havoc with dogs in the 1980′s no longer infects dogs. They have become immune to this strain through naturally acquired or herd immunity. This strain is still in the environment and there is no vaccine for it – Parvo vaccines cover the more recent CPV-2 strains only.  Where did the CDV-2 strains come from?  Mutation, likely from parvo vaccination.  While scientists were busy creating Parvo vaccines, dogs acquired herd immunity to the original dangerous strain all on their own. Now dogs are only susceptible to the strain of Parvo for which we have a vaccine – is this coincidence?  The same may be happening now with Lepto:  as we vaccinate for it, the vaccines cause a shift or mutation in the pathogen and, as it adapts, and a new strain develops.  Which leads to the last point.
  • Vaccinated dogs persistently shed Lepto in their urine and serve as a source of infection for other dogs, wildlife and even humans. The same applies to vaccinated livestock.  What this means is that routine Lepto vaccination actually increases the threat of Lepto on the whole.  The greater the number of vaccinated animals, the greater the spread of Lepto.
  • There is a safe and effective nosode for Lepto.  The Cuban government has successfully used homeopathic nosodes to prevent Lepto in its citizens for years.  Not only is the Lepto nosode much less expensive than the vaccine, it is also completely safe and doesn’t cause shedding like vaccines do.  Since moving from vaccination to nosodes, the Cuban government has seen a decline in the cases of Lepto.

Perhaps it’s short sighted to use vaccination to protect our dogs against Lepto. Whether or not the vaccine protects the individual dog and whether the risks of the Lepto vaccine outweigh the benefits may not be the main points to look at.  As scientists start to turn their attention away from sterile labs and toward how vaccines interact in the environment, they are finding that mutations and retroviruses are a very real and dangerous result from vaccination.  When you are making vaccine decisions for your dog, please consider the  impact on the planet and the other animals that could be affected by your decision. In light of this, it would be nice if dog owners stopped blaming our unvaccinated dogs for the spread of disease.  Clearly, they need to reexamine how their vaccinated dog is making the world a more dangerous place.

Ford, RB and Schultz, RD. Vaccines and Vaccinations: Issues for the 21st Century. In: JD Bonagura, ed., Kirk’s Current Veterinary Therapy XIII, W.B. Saunders, Philadelphia, 1999. pp. 250-253.
Rentko, VT and Ross, LA. Canine Leptospirosis. In: JD Bonagura, ed., Kirk’s Current Veterinary Therapy XI, W.B. Saunders, Philadelphia, 1992. pp. 260-263.
Ribotta MJ, et al. Development of an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the detection of leptospiral antibodies in dogs. Can J Vet Res. 2000 Jan;64(1):32-7.
Mitchell MA, et al. Serologic survey for selected infectious disease agents in raccoons from Illinois. J Wildl Dis. 1999 Apr;35(2):347-55.
Carmichael LE. Canine viral vaccines at a turning point–a personal perspective. Adv Vet Med. 1999;41:289-307.
Gese EM, et al. Serological survey for diseases in free-ranging coyotes (Canis latrans) in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. J Wildl Dis. 1997 Jan;33(1):47-56.
Harkin KR, et al. Canine leptospirosis in New Jersey and Michigan: 17 cases (1990-1995). J Am Anim Hosp Assoc. 1996 Nov-Dec;32(6):495-501.
Rentko VT, et al. Canine leptospirosis. A retrospective study of 17 cases. J Vet Intern Med. 1992 Jul-Aug;6(4):235-44.
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  • 14 Responses to Read This Before You Vaccinate For Lepto

    1. I believe that vacinosis is rife. I shall take the titer testing method . But here in the UK your pet insurance company won’t pay a dime unless your pets vacs are up to date. Although ‘Defra’. Claim most vacs last three years . Why then ,are vets still insisting upon annual boosters????. I think this is all bull. Money making scam . At the cost of our pets lives. Bullied by the insurers , as threats of none payment for health care. When will we all stand up to them ?

      • Alison

        Hi Jan
        I’m also in the UK but yet to find a vet using vacci- check locally. I’ve not vaccinated for 4 years now so might be a waste of money as I’m not sure what I would do if they had no titre levels. Probably nothing.
        I live in a rural situation and the dogs are out beating all winter so are exposed to whatever is out there.
        Can’t afford insurance for 3 dogs but they do have their own savings account for emergencies. I think that vaccines are probably responsible for behaviour issues as much as anything

    2. Denis

      When was this article published? The newer vaccine is less reactive and protects from up to four strains of Lepto. I think responsible pet owners should do some cost-benefit analysis. LIKELIHOOD of unprotected animal contracting Lepto multiplied times the SEVERITY of the consequences. Compare that likewise with likelihood of adverse reaction to the vaccine multiplied by the severity of that. I’m also getting a little epidemiological tingle up my leg right now that says that we all have a common responsibility to reduce infectious disease, because of its very nature.

      My Sheba for instance, is a wonderful 4 year old Labrador Retriever who is like my child. Like us, she’s a city girl and mostly hangs around the house and her yard. Also like us, she’s a hard-core adventurer and often goes for a swim in the lake or exploring the trail/marsh/beach/forest etc. There is no stopping her from drinking in puddles that racoons have probably peed in. Even in the city, there is an opossum that lives in the back yard right next door that she loves to bark at in the evening. She runs around with farm animals sometimes. Myself and others swim with her in water she has probably peed in. A very sociable girl, she comes into close contact with all kinds of other people’s pets and people and children daily. She would probably lick your baby in the face.

      So, how comfortable are you that the ER doctor can correctly diagnose your flu-like symptoms as Leptospirosis on the spot. Or will it be when renal failure sets in.

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        It’s ironic that you mention that we all have a common responsibility to reduce infectious disease. Animals that are vaccinated for lepto shed it in their urine and spread it to other dogs, wildlife and humans. Vets had better be good at diagnosing lepto either way – because there are many instances where the lepto vaccine causes lepto in vaccinated dogs. If this vaccine was safe and effective, it would be a core vaccine.

    3. Kirsten Plomin

      Before you consider this article I propose you consider the sources and get facts stated correctly. In one or two cases, yes, vaccines can have negative effects. You as a consumer and a pet owner need to think about if those are statistically relevant information. They are not.

      In recent articles (I can provide references if anyone would like them) describing studies which indicated that vaccination against leptospirosis PREVENTS viral shedding – especially in renal carrier individuals who don’t have major disease symptoms but are chronically infected. This is the population that would be a major threat to other dogs and to humans. In addition, leptospirosis is not an innocuous disease in dogs – many dogs die from it.

      On a more general level, yes, there CAN be problems with vaccines BUT the alternatives – at least at the population level – are worse. Do not put your pets at risk.

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        Please let us know which facts aren’t correct. We also have references. Cancer, hypothyroidism and other autoimmune diseases aren’t innocuous either – and all are caused by vaccinations, amongst which, the lepto vaccine is one of the more likely vaccines to cause adverse reactions.

      • Alison

        Sorry Kirsten but studies in the UK have shown that dogs with lepto have generally been vaccinated against it. If it was such a big problem there would be a vaccine for susceptible humans, very few mammals (including us) are likely to suffer but if necessary we have antibiotics that work for this

    4. The other thing to mention here as well is that with every injection of vaccine, you will get “vaccinosis” or disease from the vaccine itself. This is a very high price to pay for the vaccine essentially just making the dog make antibody….which IS NOT immunity nor immunization equivalent. So what if you have antibody, especially in the case of the bacterin vaccines like Lyme, Lepto and Bordatella, it is the ANTIGEN and ANTIBODY or immune cells engagement that generates much most of the PATHOLOGY seen. Dr. Ron Schultz has told me several times, he has seen the Lepto shot kill a dog via renal failure within 48 hours of the dog receiving the Lepto vaccine. In other cases, the engagement of the immune system is actually what causes the dis ease. Antigen/Antibody complexes are just one way, cytotoxic T cells are another and revving up cytokine cascades even another and that is not all. So let’s be clear, vaccines are all risk, NO INSURANCE. The aluminum in this highly provocative vaccine is known to up regulate the IG E in the dogs and make them itchy for FOUR YEARS when they won’t even be producing antibody (junk antibody or not) for 3 months. Dr. Ron Schultz supports one vaccine for the dogs at 15 weeks of age against the LETHAL VIRUSES and none of the vaccines for bacteria or even worse parasites……they are not going to work and will produce pathology on their own. There are some lethal forms of Lepto out there, not nearly as common as those that profit from selling you the vaccine or then treating all the vaccinosis from the vaccines would admit to. However, if you had a dog that encountered a lethal Lepto strain, unless he already had been vaccinated fairly recently with that particular strain of Lepto which is highly unlikely, the little bit of advantage of having antibody already there would be very farfetched for you to have taken the risk to vaccinate. There is also a case, the last one from Dublin Irelands where the hospitalized dog had been vaccinated against Lepto and was on antibiotics but was STILL SHEDING LEPTO in the hospital and actually endangering the hospital staff working on the dog. So let’s be clear, the vaccine is not a panacea and could very well be the PANDORA’S BOX to all sorts of inflammation and disease without being much protection at all. Cases of lymphoma following the vaccine, generalized mast cell disease and even flesh eating bacteria that all lead to deaths in the dogs that were taken to the vet for this vaccine. BE READY as you have been FOREWARNED. Even just one dose of doxycyline antibiotic to a dog even in renal failure is enough to divert infection if the owner sees and recognizes that the dog is ill. You won’t know the dog is subclinical, ill and shedding lethal Leptospirosis if he is vaccinated.

    5. Pat Anderson

      One thing I did not see here but is in the UC Davis web site about Lepto Vaccine is that if given before a pup is at least 12 weeks old, it can be fatal. It causes symptoms the same as Parvo and since it is given with the parvo shot, everyone calls it Parvo. It is expensive to save pups and then a high majority of them still die. I have seen this if foster pups and make sure my foster pups do not receive this vaccine.

    6. Tiffany

      You stated: “Interestingly the first strain, CPV-1 that wreaked havoc with dogs in the 1980′s no longer infects dogs. They have become immune to this strain through naturally acquired or herd immunity”

      This is not true. I know from firsthand experience that while this is not a common form of parvo, it DOES still exist and infect dogs. I nearly lost an entire litter from it three years ago. Diagnosis was confirmed upon necropsy of the two pups that did die. Additionally, since this form does not present as “typical” parvo and affects very young pups, there is a feeling among vets/researchers that this may be underdiagnosed and that affected pups may be written off as fading puppies.

    7. Doreen

      What perfect timing! I had titers done on my dog and decided against the lepto vaccine but was doubting my decision. Thank you for another great article.

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