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Natural Canine Health Symposium

Science And Vaccines

Vet and dog vaccineMost of our vaccine posts are met with skepticism.  Vets and pet owners alike want to know what evidence is behind our articles.  Most of our articles are based on information that we can fully reference and, time and time again, we provide evidence to support our claims of vaccine dangers.  It is good that people are skeptical of what they read, that they don’t blindly follow what they read or hear.  We love when people ask for proof because we ask the same questions.  What nobody seems to ask for is proof that vaccines work.  This comment may seem tongue in cheek, but the reality is, nobody has done this research.  Here are a few things you might not know about vaccines, in the words of vets, doctors, immunologists and pet owners.

Vaccines are effective

In the research lab, vaccines appear to be very effective.  Unvaccinated puppies die of parvo in research labs while vaccinated puppies live.  This seems like pretty indisputable evidence.

Vaccinated populations do not live in a sterile lab however.  In the field, vaccines are much less predictable.  Dr. Michael Fox offers the following observations on vaccine efficacy in the field.

“Wildlife biologist Dr Roger Burrows noted that ‘Lions in Serengeti National Park (SNP), followed by those in the Masai Mara of Kenya, died like flies in 1994 from a new strain
of canine distemper (CD). This followed a period 1992-94 when domestic dogs of agropastoralist/farmers to the west, and Maasai pastoralists dogs to the east of the SNP boundaries were being experimentally vaccinated against rabies during a vaccination trial .The same new strain of CD in the rabies vaccinated domestic dogs was subsequently found in the lions and was then found to have caused the death from CD of most of a captive colony of wild dogs in Mkomzai Game Reserve in Tanzania in 2000-2001 – these wild dogs had been vaccinated against CD (using an inactivated strain developed for North Sea Seals!).”

“Following this, in 2007 the same new CD strain was for the first time identified in free living African wild dogs in Maasai areas to the east of SNP where mass vaccinations of
local domestic dogs were being carried out against CD, CPV (parvovirus) and rabies. The outbreak confirmed in one large wild dog pack was associated with high mortality of this highly endangered canid species’.”

“When local breeds of domestic dogs around Serengeti National Park (SNP) and the Masai Mara of Kenya were vaccinated against rabies, and then soon after succumb to a virulent outbreak of CD, it would seem to indicate that the rabies vaccinations caused some immunosuppression and thus increased susceptibility to CD.”

“Similar observations were made about the hyena dog, which was in 1989 threatened with extinction. Scientists vaccinated individual animals to protect them against rabies but more than a dozen packs then died within a year – of rabies.”  says Dr. Vernon Coleman MB.  “This happened even in areas where rabies had never been seen before. When researchers tried using a non-infectious form of the pathogen (to prevent the deaths of the remaining animals) all members of seven packs of dogs disappeared. And yet the rabies vaccine is now compulsory in many parts of the world. Is it not possible that it is the vaccine which is keeping this disease alive?”

“Canine parvovirus is closely related to feline viral enteritis virus.”  says Catherine O’Driscoll.   “The sudden widespread appearance of the disease in 1979 has led to the suggestion that it originated from an attenuated feline enteritis vaccine strain.. ..Read that sentence again:  it is thought that a vaccine caused parvovirus.”  (What Vets Don’t Tell you about Vaccination, p 129)

If we didn’t vaccinate, diseases like parvo and distemper would be rampant

“Information given to doctors about the 200-year history of vaccination is limited to carefully selected sound-bites that pre-empt any concerns.” says Suzanne Humphries MD.  “We were led to believe that vaccines are solely responsible for the eradication of infectious diseases such as smallpox. Most accepted, without question or personal study, that vaccines greatly reduced illnesses and are a benefit to overall human health. Few know that the mortality for “vaccine preventable diseases” had massively declined before the vaccine campaigns began. But it is painfully obvious (see chart below) that the mortality for the major infectious diseases, including those for which no vaccines were ever created, had regressed to nearly undetectable levels in the population – long before vaccines were introduced.”

Click on the chart to enlarge.


According to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, childhood diseases decreased 90% between 1850 and 1940, paralleling improved sanitation and hygienic practices, well before mandatory vaccination programs. Infectious disease deaths in the U.S. and England declined steadily by an average of about 80% during this century (measles mortality declined over 97%) prior to vaccinations.

Vaccination is based on sound science

“There have never been any safety studies done for any vaccine in use today that would meet the criteria of scientific proof” says Harold Buttram MD.  “All we have are epidemiologic studies, which are indicators but not proof in and of themselves.”

Epidemiological studies may not be legitimate sources from which to draw conclusions about vaccine effectiveness. For example, if 100 people are vaccinated and 5 contract the disease, the vaccine is declared to be 95% effective. But if only 10 of the 100 were actually exposed to the disease, then the vaccine was really only 50% effective. Since no one is willing to directly expose an entire population to disease–even a fully vaccinatable one–vaccine effectiveness rates may not indicate a vaccine’s true effectiveness.

Another component of immunization theory is “herd immunity,” which states that when enough people or dogs in a community are immunized, all are protected. There are many documented instances showing just the opposite–fully vaccinated dogs and people do contract diseases.  In the case of parvovirus, 28% of affected puppies are vaccinated and 11% of adult dogs with parvovirus are vaccinated.  In people,the incidence of measles actually seems to be the direct result of high vaccination rates. A Minnesota state epidemiologist concluded that the Hib vaccine increases the risk of illness when a study revealed that vaccinated children were five times more likely to contract meningitis than unvaccinated children.

“if the vaccines are as effective as being touted by the public-health officials, then why should one fear the unvaccinated?”  says Russel Blaylock MD.  “Obviously the vaccinated would have at least 95% protection. This question puts them in a very difficult position. Their usual response is that a “small” percentage of the vaccinated will not have sufficient protection and would still be at risk. Now, if they admit what the literature shows, that vaccine failure rates are much higher than the 5% they claim, they must face the next obvious question – then why should anyone take the vaccine if there is a significant chance it will not protect?”

Vaccines are completely safe

If you refer to “Vaccines are effective” above, you will see that the dangers of vaccination are difficult to measure.  Dogs who are vaccinated and subsequently get parvovirus do not get reported as a vaccine adverse event.  Dogs that are vaccinated and develop diseases or illnesses that do not pop up within a day or two of vaccination do not get reported as a vaccine adverse event.  Dogs that do develop disease within a day or two of vaccination do not get reported as a vaccine adverse event.

It is impossible to determine the safety of vaccines because vets are not required to report adverse events.  Many vets might also fail to connect the dots between vaccination and disease because veterinary schools do not adequately supply them with this information.

There are numerous article in our magazine pages and our website detailing the potential dangers of vaccination.  Clearly, more research needs to be done in this area, but who is going to do it?  Even if it is done, who is going to listen?  Dr. Ronald Schultz effectively proved that vaccines last for at least seven years and likely for the life of the dog over thirty years ago but the veterinary associations still recommend revaccinating every three years.  Clearly, there is a strong bias toward vaccination and it will take a great deal to convince the associations otherwise.

For now, dog owners have to rely on common sense and not let fear guide their decision making.  If you are looking for evidence that vaccines cause harm, don’t neglect the fact that we need evidence that vaccines are, in fact, safe and effective.

“”The links are invisible and so far, unproven. Even to suggest they exist is to be heaped with scorn from the U.S. medical establishment”  says Dr. Martin Goldstein.  “Yet a growing number of holistic and now even conventional veterinarians are convinced, from sad experience, that vaccines as they are administered in this country to pets are doing more harm than good. I myself think that’s a conservative view. I think that vaccines, justly credited as the tamers of disease epidemics, are nevertheless the leading killers of dogs and cats in America today.”


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4 Responses to Science And Vaccines

  1. Jenn

    There is a lot of documented work out there, that you as a member of the public won’t see, about why vets continue to vaccinate annually. It has nothing to do with making sure your dog has an immune response to the vaccine, but everything to do with getting clients to come in for their annual wellness exam. During a wellness exam the vet feels and looks for a variety of things that need to be checked (and really should be done every six months) as preventative health measures. The untrained client doesn’t see it, they just see the vet touching their dog while asking them questions. Vets have a hard time getting clients to bring in their pets annually for this important exam when there is no ‘needle’ involved. It’s a mindset of clients that you show up annually to get their needles. Vets need to get on board with spacing out individual vaccines (if they opt to vaccinate at all) and educating clients on what is really important – the physical exam! That’s what you pay for when you go, your vaccines cost about $5 to 10 of that entire bill.

    Personally, I’ve done my homework and follow Dr. Dodds’ vaccine schedule and do titre testings (and believe that everyone should), but from a business standpoint, vets are weighing what they believe to be the lesser of two evils because no one taught them how to be a good business person and teach the clients the importance of coming annually. Schering-Plough did a big work up on all this and make a huge effort to educate vets about single dose vaccines spaced three years apart (with guarantees for the vaccinated pets even!), and even made it so the client still has the perception of having annual ‘needles’ as a reason to come, but they made it safer for the pets. No reason that vets should not get on board with that, other than habit and the lack of continuing education.

  2. kathi richards

    My conundrum with all of this is how do you keep your dogs from being vaccinated? Though mine have not shown any outward visible signs of vaccinoses, and have never come down with the disease that they were vaccinated for, I would like to prevent them from getting sick from the vacs. I am starting a homeopathic regime for one dog who has mental/emotional issues that I believe are related to the rabies vaccine. It will take a long time to get her back into her own skin and I will not mess that up by having her vaccinated again. I wish California would allow a titers test.

  3. Alex Labonte-Dessailly

    This kind of article makes me fairly have much less confidence in natural pet food and other kind of granola movements. I completely agree with them on many levels but stuff like this should be left to expert on expert discussion. There is no telling how badly we can screw up an animal or human by sitting around and basing decisions that should be made by doctors/vets on the advice of some hippie with a computer.

    But while I’m here, there are some particularly inflammatory statements made here that I want to address. Firstly, ” the mortality for the major infectious diseases [...] had regressed to nearly undetectable levels in the population – long before vaccines were introduced.” The chart given demonstrates this to have some truth, but we have to acknowledge the other pertinent facts in the century it shows. The twentieth century showed the highest adherence of doctors to the principles of disinfection (other than burning noxious chemicals such as phenol). It also is the century in which immunology came truly to a head as a studied field. Furthermore, I have personally seen cases of parvovirus ruining an SPCA and killing tons of puppies because of late/no vaccinations and the lack of real sterilization and isolation.

    Furthermore, while I know that some vets are truly not worth their salt and can be as oblivious as any one of us, the truth is that most of them are genuinely there to help and care about animals (while they may not care as much about what comes out of your wallet). They are also very well educated, it is not a simple task to enter vet school nor is it a simple task to go through the full program. So when someone who does not have a veterinary degree or at least some sort of bachelor of science in the realm of biology, it is hard to see them write something like “Many vets might also fail to connect the dots between vaccination and disease because veterinary schools do not adequately supply them with this information.” What do you think they do in vet school, play with dogs and learn how to hug them? If many vets fail to inform you of the dangers of vaccination it is more than likely due to the low occurrence of these things. It is actually fairly common knowledge that vaccines can have ill effects and can even give an infection of the disease it is meant to vaccinate against (depending on the kind of vaccine).

    While I agree with this website on the principle of staying healthy and natural, vaccines are something that should be discussed between pet owner and doctor, if you don’t trust your vet, get another one.
    Alex (inb4 tl;dr)

    • Dogs Naturally
      Dogs Naturally

      Alex, when you say this information should be left on an expert to expert discussion, I’m afraid that not much is happening on that front. The leading veterinary immunologists are telling the veterinary associations that revaccination is unnecessary and that have been doing it for over 30 years. The experts, the veterinary immunologists, including Drs Jean Dodds, Ronald Schultz, Richard Ford, etc., are all in agreement that revaccination is not likely needed. The problem is, the ‘experts’ in the veterinary associations are not listening and continue to recommend revaccination schedules that are scientifically unsound and based on an arbitrary interval. At this point, it might be prudent to note that these associations and the task forces that determine vaccine schedules are sponsored by major pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the vaccines.

      So, Alex, the experts are telling us to stop unnecessary revaccination. The problem is, that the veterinary associations are not listening. Pet owners need to be aware of this and Dogs Naturally is more than happy to create more awareness.

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