As a society, we’ve become addicted to vaccinations. Adults, kids, dogs, fish. No one is exempt.
Why this profound attachment to them exists and why we think they’re such a necessary part of preventive health is mostly based on fiction rather than fact. Everywhere you turn you’re bombarded with information about how your dog needs annual or tri-annual vaccinations to protect her from disease. And almost all of what you hear in the mainstream media is myth.
Uncovering what is fact and what is fiction isn’t always easy for anyone, including veterinarians.
Sometimes I wonder if we need a self-help program, maybe a 5-step program to recover from this addiction.
But first, let’s break down and bust those myths.
Myth #1: Vaccines saved the world.
Fact: Vaccines actually help spread disease.
Pro-vaccinators are often quick to use this as the first argument to claim why vaccines are so great. Polio and smallpox are the first examples quickly cited as being exterminated from the planet only because vaccines were used.
That’s just not the truth.
For example, the polio vaccine campaign began in 1955, at least three years after the polio disease peaked. I repeat: after the peak of natural polio. Every disease has a life cycle – a rhythm that coincides with other natural cycles such as the time of the year (the flu is a good example of a winter disease), or life cycles (puppyhood vs adulthood).
For polio, there had already been a natural, cyclical decline in active cases when the vaccine was distributed to the masses. The medical profession used fear and social pressure through mass marketing to push vaccinations even though the vaccines were shedding the virus, increasing the number of actual cases of polio. The same practices continue today with many vaccines. And it’s no different for parvo, distemper, feline leukemia or other pet vaccines.
Myth #2: Vaccines are safe, harmless and effective.
Fact: Vaccines are not safe. Never have been and probably never will be.
This myth really gets people marching their animals, kids and themselves to the doctors, vets, pharmacies, pet stores – and now even the airport for their vaccinations! The airport? Yes, before you hop on that flight get your flu shot! The message conveyed is that the immune protection is immediate and you’ll be protected from germ carrying passengers on the plane.
That’s also pure fiction.
The immune reaction to most vaccines requires at least a week.
The other implied message is the vaccines are so safe you don’t have to think about it or discuss it with a trained medical provider. You just pop into a kiosk and you’re good to go.
The other wing of the fictitious premise of the safe, harmless and effective myth is dispelled when we look for long-term studies. There have been no long-term clinical trials to support the above claims. And those clinical trials (double blind, etc), also called evidence based science, just don’t exist for vaccinations!
As far as adverse reactions are concerned, many are reported, but many others are overlooked. Immediate reactions within 48 hours are the only ones considered actually causal from the vaccination. Long-term chronic reactions are rarely considered a result of or even associated with the vaccinations. But you pet owners know exactly what I’m referring to. You know your dog was healthy before them and not after.
Even the US Supreme Court has called vaccines “unavoidably unsafe.” They set up and funded The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to help folks with medical bills. Even though this is a drop in the bucket it says a lot about how the government actually views vaccines. And honestly, even all those negative reactions aside, how can dog shots be safe when they contain these really harmful ingredients?
- Aluminum – Aluminum is a Class 3 (out of 4) carcinogen (meaning cancer-causing). It crosses the blood-brain barrier like mercury, leaving the brain susceptible to inflammation and even cancer. Aluminum and mercury combined in the body (and in vaccines) are much more toxic together than separately. It also makes your dog more susceptible to all kinds of allergies – skin issues, inhalant allergies, anaphylaxis and even death.
- Mercury – Thimerosal is a mercury-based vaccine additive that’s known to be a direct neurotoxicant and studies have shown that it can increase the risk of serious neurological disorders. It may also be an immuno-toxicant, leaving the immune system vulnerable to pathogenic microbes.
- Formaldehyde – Formaldehyde is added to vaccines to inactivate any bacterial products and to kill unwanted viruses and bacteria that might contaminate the vaccine during production. It’s a known carcinogen.
- Foreign proteins – Vaccines are all grown on different animal tissues, including chicken eggs, dog lung, human placenta and monkey kidney. These foreign tissues must be processed by the body’s immune system and are the fastest route to autoimmune disease.
[Related: Vaccine manufacturers aren’t being honest with you about ingredients. Find out more here]
And just because you don’t see these specific ingredients listed on the packaging or on the manufacturer’s website, that doesn’t mean these ingredients aren’t in there. They could just be part of the “trade secret.”
Myth #3: The science on vaccines is settled.
Fact: Not even close! The studies are biased, don’t test for long enough and are heavily weighted in favor of vaccine manufacturers.
If science is supposed to be objective, how can you consider this science? You can’t.
Look, for example, at the distemper vaccine. When this vaccine was first introduced in the 1950s, vets weren’t really sure if the vaccine would work, but were giving it to dogs anyway. Then, when there were some instances of dogs coming down with the disease about a year after vaccination, they didn’t go back and do more tests to “make the vaccine better,” they just decided to revaccinate. They thought the average pet owner wouldn’t want to go back and forth to the vet’s, spending money on antibody titers, so they decided to start the practice of vaccinating yearly.
No science here, just arbitrary decisions that are still affecting your animals and family to this day.
It’s All About The Money
Chew on this for a minute: according to market research firm MarketsandMarkets, the global veterinary vaccines market is set to be worth $8.66 billion by 2022. That’s up from $5.5 billion in 2015.
There are so many big organizations involved: Centers for Disease Control, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, Big Pharma (and little pharma), governments, media, and even billionaires (Bill Gates) who help spread the myths about vaccines.
You need to break this vaccine addiction and stop letting your dog be put at risk.
The 5 Steps To Stop Vaccine Addiction
Step #1: Arm Yourself With Knowledge
Knowledge is power. Make the time and effort to educate yourself about vaccinations and the risks involved. Make your choice carefully. The average American spends more time thinking about what new cell phone to buy than what to inject into their dog. There are many studies available that show the harmful effects of dog shots. Whatever your decision is, if you’ve educated yourself, your eyes will be wide open.
This is actually called informed consent and is what you should get in the vet’s office before anything is injected into your dog. Sadly, this is almost never done.
It can be really difficult to let go of the stuff you’ve learned over the years from your conventional veterinarian, but this is super-important if you want your dog to be healthy.[Related: Who’s conducting the research and reporting the reactions? Find out here]
Step #2: Find The Right Vet
The right vet makes all the difference. When you’re looking for a vet who’ll respect you and your dog, ask as many questions as you feel are necessary to get a total feel for the person. What’s their approach to vaccines? (You can often tell by reading the recommendations on their website). If your veterinarian is comfortable with a discussion about vaccines, and knows the risks they pose to your dog, you’ll be more comfortable.
Ask for a partnership, one that is respectful and protects your dog. If you don’t feel you have that partnership, leave. You should feel confident and that your dog is safe with that vet and the clinic.
If you’re looking for a holistic veterinarian, you can search for one in your area at the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association website. Even if there isn’t one close to where you live, many holistic vets offer phone consults.
Step #3: Consider The Alternatives
If you’re concerned about immunity, whether you’ve already given your dog vaccines or you have a young puppy and don’t want to start vaccinations, there are options.
1. Titer tests. For animals who’ve already been vaccinated, a titer test is a blood test that can give information about whether or not the immune system is “turned on” to that particular virus. The truth is that titer tests do not tell us there is immunity. The titer tests are very helpful, but we must be honest and understand they give us partial information … helpful, but partial.
Having said that, I do recommend doing titers to give you some working knowledge about what is currently circulating in your dog’s blood that can provide protection. How much is uncertain, but it’s a step in the right direction and can often help ease the fear for some folks.
There are 2 in-clinic tests that can be done (if offered by your vet) that are economical and fast:
- TiterCHEK tests for canine distemper and canine parvovirus with results shown as positive or negative.
- VacciCheck tests for canine adenovirus, canine distemper, canine parvovirus, with results shown as negative, low positive, significant positive or high positive.
If your vet doesn’t offer titers you can still get them done through an outside lab like Hemopet. All you have to do is have your vet draw blood and send the sample to the lab. Hemopet will test the sample and send you (and your vet if you choose) the results and let you know if your dog has circulating antibodies.[Related: Can titer testing save your dog’s life? Read more on this here]
2. Nosodes are specialized homeopathic remedies that use actual diseased matter from a sick animal such as diseased tissue or nasal discharge. The process to make nosodes renders these substances safe by inactivating the original disease in the tissue, converting the material into a remedy. You can usually obtain nosodes from a homeopathic veterinarian, who will also explain how to use them to protect your dog most effectively. Find a homeopathic vet at theavh.org. Again, many homeopathic vets will offer phone consults.[Related: How effective are nosodes at prevention? Check out more info here]
Step #4: Don’t Cave To Convention
The right vet will affirm your beliefs and give you the courage to stand your ground. The wrong vet will try to make you feel guilty. Don’t cave to peer pressure or fall prey to fears. Once you’ve made the decision to protect your dog from the harm of vaccines, stick to your guns. You made that decision for a very good reason. Think about your end goal and how much healthier your dog will be without the vaccines.
And remember there are many, many ways to help your dog with preventative medicine to ensure health and robust immune protection.
Step #5: Create A Solid Foundation
When your dog is healthy, he has a much better ability to protect himself. Doing everything you can to make sure your dog is healthy is better than pumping him full of vaccines he doesn’t need.
- Good nutrition – a fresh, whole-food diet is the key to a healthy immune system, one that lets your dog fight viruses, bacteria & parasites. A balanced diet without the harmful toxins and cancer-causing agents in kibble will support your dog’s body and give it the strength it needs to be resistant and resilient.
- Clean water – many municipal water systems are treated with chemicals that may be harmful to your dog so opt for filtered water as a much healthier alternative. Also remember to clean your dog’s water bowl on a regular basis to avoid the buildup of bacteria.
- A clean environment – toxic chemicals in cleaning products, air fresheners, pesticides, perfumes and even your laundry detergent can limit your dog’s ability to fight those viruses or bacteria trying to invade his system, so eliminate those chemicals and replace them with natural products.
[Related: Is your dog’s environment harmful or toxic? Find more ways to clean it here]
So In The End Remember …
- DON’T make our dogs healthier
- DON’T make our dogs resilient or more resistant
- DON’T make our dogs live longer
Whole foods, clean water, a clean environment and a happy stress-free life will do that.
Your dog’s body is miraculous. When your dog’s healthy, his body has the ability to heal and protect itself all on its own.