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written by Marina Zacharias

As I start to write this I must admit that it is probably one of the most controversial subjects I will ever have to tackle. By now most of you know my own decision was made many years ago to go with a natural form of immunization rather than with the more generally accepted vaccination. But that is only part of a total program that I follow to give me the confidence that the immune system of my dogs is working at it’s optimum.

This website is dedicated to providing factual information and background for breeders to become sufficiently informed to make their own decisions. Therefore I will do my best not to allow my personal bias to enter this series of articles and try to bring you facts from both sides of the issue.

You may be asking yourself what all the fuss is about. Plainly stated, there is no such thing as a 100% effective form of protection against disease!!

Putting it simply, all animals have a unique means of survival with the ability of the body to recognize foreign substances (proteins) and eliminate them. This is maintained by the production of antibodies by certain of their blood cells, often in response to infections. The body thus gains "immunity" to the infection--if it survives.

Today, immunologists recognize that the ‘immune response’ is a very complicated process involving many systems in the body. These systems work in specific ways and are inter-dependent. The ‘immune response’ has been loosely classified into two types--"specific" and "non-specific".

The ‘non-specific’ response appears to be the first line of defense and is usually invoked when catching diseases naturally. This primary response involves natural substances and natural micro-organisms available throughout the entire body. They are able to destroy unwanted micro-organisms and toxins.

The ‘specific’ response involves blood antibodies that are produced in response to certain infections. They are effective only against a particular infective agent.

A vaccine is aimed at stimulating this ‘specific’ antibody response. The injection of a very large dose of the disease agent is used (compared to that obtained through natural infection) without regard to the varying reaction of different individuals. It is hoped that antibodies to these agents are produced, that will protect against future infection, leaving the individual with as few symptoms as possible. It is hoped that the benefits to be gained will outweigh the risks.

It would seem then, that the allopathic approach to immunization concentrates only on the "specific."

Recent research however, suggests that this secondary response occurs only when the primary response has been inadequate (i.e. only when sufficient micro-organisms have entered the body and got past the body’s initial line of defense).

The holistic view regards disease as a function of the total state of health in the body, and concentrates its efforts on the first line of defense--the "non-specific" response.

The naturopathic view is that the micro-organism is never wholly responsible for disease. Many individuals with micro-organisms present all the time only succumb to disease when their state deteriorates through: overwork, toxins, poor nutrition, chemical changes from mental and emotional stress, etc.

Similarly, if the state of the body changes for the better (even if the micro-organisms are still present), the disease state can be cured.

This basic division in the theory of immunization is widely misunderstood by the vast majority of people.

There is no doubt that countless millions of lives have been saved (both human and animal) by mankind’s attempt to stave off and somehow prevent the onset of a variety of debilitating or deadly diseases. To gain some understanding of how our present protocols arose, we need to know a little about how they got started.

Prior to Samuel Hahnemanns’ time (1755 to 1843) there existed many "generally accepted" medical practices (such as bloodletting) that we ridicule to-day. But remember at that time there were no microscopes as we know them, nor any of the modern day instruments that we now take for granted. Hahnemann (the Father of Homeopathy) postulated a theory of chronic diseases that was unheard of in his time. "Like cures like". He went on to experimentally "prove" that his minute doses of various substances could cure and prevent certain sicknesses in people by initiating the very symptoms (in mild form) they sought to cure. More on this later.

It was however, Edward Jenner of England that is credited with the process of ‘vaccination’. At the beginning of the 19th Century he noticed that milkmaids who had cowpox often developed an immunity to smallpox, a notorious killer in Europe at that time.

By taking pus from blisters on their hands, placing it on the patients skin and scratching it in, the body produced a similar blister to the milkmaid’s cowpox, but the patient would not come down with the dreaded smallpox. Jenner became world famous with his process of vaccination.

Of course this was before the days of FDA, double blind studies, etc. Imagine--both Hahnemann and Jenner found effective ways to help people and just went out and did it!! What a Concept!!

The transmission of infectious diseases was still a great mystery, until the work of Louis Pasteur in France during the second half of the 19th century. At the time, his theories were also ridiculed by the ‘accepted’ medical community. He postulated that ‘disease’ was caused by micro-organisms too small to see! Everybody "knew" that "modern" science thought this just plain foolishness. "If you can’t see, feel it, measure it, it just don’t exist."

Bacteria could sometimes be seen under a crude microscope with special staining, but a virus (which is far smaller) could only be seen with an electron microscope--which came around 1950. A virus is so tiny that it cannot have an independent life outside its host, but is obliged to invade the host’s cells and use the host’s proteins to replicate itself.

Turning our spotlight to our own country, we find that as we moved into the beginning of the 20th Century, both "homeopathic" and "allopathic" medicine were practiced side by side.

Gradually the tide swung towards the allopathic conventions and these were finally cemented into our society with the formation of the American Medical Association.

To defend the right to practice homeopathy in this country, a homeopath named Dr. Clayton founded the FDA. That’s right folks!! The FDA was originally developed in America (1938) as an institution to protect homeopathy!! It was written into the law of America, and written on the first page of the FDA Act about the existence of the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States, and how a homeopathic pharmaceutical can be used with a patient in America.

My, how times do change!! It seems that the new golden rule is "Thems’ that have the Gold make the rules."

Today in North America, conventional medicine recognizes and accepts, only allopathic "vaccination" as the "legal" method of immunization.

The homeopathic form of immunization--called a "Nosode", has not as yet, received acceptance under the law, as a "safe" alternative to the allopathic injection method. Despite 200 years of worldwide usage, and recent scientific proof that homeopathy is a viable alternative, the powers that be refuse to acknowledge its’ efficacy. After all, everybody "knows" that "If you can’t see, feel it, measure it, it just don’t exist."

As the power of the large pharmaceutical companies grew (along with their wealth), there has been an ongoing battle to discredit and if possible, totally deny an individuals right to choose any other form of health care.

Herbal, homeopathic, nutritional, etc. all have come under attack for their removal from the American marketplace.

For example, on September 1, 1994, a petition signed by 42 self styled "quackbusters", was filed with the FDA which basically demanded the removal of all homeopathic remedies. It failed!

It is one thing to be a skeptic. It is another thing to attempt to impose your narrow vision of the world on everyone else. It’s a war out there, and many Americans don’t even know it’s going on.

Since early childhood, we have all been brought up with firm beliefs in the practice of vaccination. Parents, teachers, doctors, leaders in the community--all have assured us that:

  1. Vaccinations are relatively harmless
  2. Vaccinations are effective
  3. Vaccinations were primarily responsible for the decline in infectious diseases
  4. Vaccinations are the only practical and dependable way to prevent both epidemics and potentially dangerous diseases.

To even suggest that any of these accepted "facts" should be questioned is to invite ridicule and scorn from the vast majority who "know" better. Even our law makers hold these to be self evident "truths". So who are we, to cast doubt on established dogma ?

For those who are willing to make the effort to ask the right questions AND not be afraid to look at the answers, there is a vast body of work (many pounds of paper) that provides valid reasons to be concerned with this ‘man made’ attempt at immunization. Although there is more knowledge concerning humans and vaccination problems, there is a growing amount of evidence that present veterinarian protocols are also questionable.

But wait a minute. Is it really serious enough to spend the time looking into it?? I mean if a few million animals are vaccinated every year and one or two show some kind of adverse reaction, is that all we’re talking about? Is that what all the fuss is about??

Oh, if that were only true!! I don’t believe there are any accurate statistics available on the annual number of DEATHS directly attributable to vaccination or the number of diseases contracted from vaccination or the number of "side effect" problems caused by vaccination!!

As some vets vehemently deny any association with vaccine related problems, it is most unlikely that we will ever have a true picture of the extent of the damage caused. There is no obligation for anyone to ‘report’ cases and no ‘body’ to report them too, other than the vaccine companies.

Others recognize that within the journals of veterinarian medicine, many cautionary articles and studies have been published--not for general public distribution.

It takes very little effort to learn that the first two concepts we have been taught are not only open to question, but ‘just ain’t true’. Vaccinations are not relatively harmless and under a variety of conditions are not always effective !! Your first clue to this can be found by simply reading the inserts found with the vaccine. Warnings and cautions are there for a good reason. This is why most "pet" owners never see them. Their vet doesn’t want them ‘unduly’ alarmed.

The immune system of a healthy animal is capable of handling the invasion of a single infectious disease. It was never intended to cope with the onslaught of multiple disease exposure. In nature it just doesn’t happen that way. Common sense should tell you that when you hit an animal with a combination of several "modified live" infections at one time, while bypassing the non-specific immune system, chances are pretty good that something in the body is going to say "Whoa--what’s going on here?" Combine this with the latest adjuvant (Adjuvant--a substance that, when used in combination with an antigen, enhances levels of immunity beyond those developed with the virus or bacteria alone), a variety of preservatives and carrying agents, and you end up with a witches brew that makes you shudder just to think about it. Yet that’s what I want you to do. Think about it!! Is it really a surprise that the body can be overwhelmed when subjected to this kind of "health care??"

To make matters worse, conventional wisdom tells us that the best thing we can do for our animals is to REPEAT THE PROCEDURE on a regular basis. All of us at one time or another have received that nice little letter from a veterinarian reminding us that "Fluffy" is due for her annual booster.


Yes, I’m shouting at you. I only hope you will start shouting this fact at others you know. For our animals sake, spread the word as far and as fast as you can!!

There are several good references to this fact. The clearest one I have been able to find comes from an article titled "Canine and Feline Vaccines" by Tom R. Phillips, DVM and Ronald D. Schultz, DVM appearing in "Current Veterinary Therapy", Volume XI, pp202-206. Allow me to take an excerpt of their comments concerning "Annual Vaccinations:"

  • "A practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual revaccinations. Almost without exception there is no immunologic requirement for annual revaccinations. Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal."
  • "Furthermore, revaccination with most viral vaccines fails to stimulate an anamnestic (secondary) response as a result of interference by existing antibodies"
  • "The practice of annual vaccination in our opinion should be considered of questionable efficacy unless it is used as a mechanism to provide annual physical examination or is required by law."

I guess what bothers me most is the number and frequency of breeders that have told me about the death of their animals caused by vaccination. Some of these have been verified through laboratory testing, but in the majority of cases they are anecdotal evidence only. Too often the reason given for the death was "unknown" and vaccination was dismissed as simple coincidence. Recent vaccinosis cases I have been told about range from full blown Distemper to an agonizingly painful death from a Rabies shot.

When a pharmaceutical drug causes death, it is pulled from the market. This is not the case with vaccines. A certain number of deaths are not only accepted, they are expected!!

The cliché on this one is that the "benefits outweigh the risks". No one seems to know what this ‘certain number’ is, and with no one keeping track or reporting on the incidence of harm from vaccination in animals, who really knows the extent of the problem. All we do know is that it does happen !! Proving the frequency is, of course, another matter.

One thing we do know for sure, is that there are a large number of other problems directly and indirectly associated with vaccinations. Every veterinarian who has been in practice long enough has seen adverse reactions to vaccines. Unfortunately too many vets tend to believe that ‘harmful effects’ only occur within the first hour--the first 24 hours--the first seven days--the first 10 days -etc.(the answers seem to vary as much as the individual beliefs). Too often we hear "it couldn’t possibly be related to the vaccination". This outright denial of even the possibility, springs from a life long belief in the present system and an unwillingness to ‘rock the boat’.

A closed mind however, never helped anyone.

Fortunately, there are a growing number of veterinarians that do recognize that all is not well with our present protocols. There are even a few recent dog publications that have carried articles concerning the subject (including the March/95 issue of the ‘Gazette’ article on the death of a Norwich Terrier from a vaccination). We are seeing a gradual awareness that the beliefs in the safety and effectiveness of ‘routine’ vaccinations are not only unfounded but downright misleading.

When ‘coincidence’ occurs often enough, even the allopathic community must eventually pay attention. This too is gradually starting to happen. For example, with cats it has now been officially recognized that vaccinating with too many vaccines in the same place all the time, can cause "fibrosarcoma"--a nasty cancer!

Moving on to the third belief-- Vaccinations were primarily responsible for the decline in infectious diseases--we need only look at some cold, hard, statistical data to see that this belief is grossly out of whack with the facts. As the belief arises from ‘human’ medicine we need to look at a few of the common diseases both before and after vaccination for them was introduced. Invariably we find that things like polio, measles, pertussis, etc. were steadily declining from the turn of the century (1900) onwards. Better hygiene and diet was the probable true reason.

For example the measles death rate decreased by more than 95% from 1915 to 1958 (the year the measles vaccine was introduced). Polio death rate shows a similar decline. As a matter of fact, statistics for five New England states reflect that the number of cases of polio increased after mass inoculations during 1954 and 1955.

In 1976, Dr. Salk, creator of the killed-virus vaccine for polio, testified that the live-virus vaccine had been ‘the principal if not the sole cause’ of all reported polio cases in the US since 1961!!

More recently, the Center for Disease Control admitted that the live-virus vaccine is the dominant cause of polio in the US today. According to CDC figures, from 1980-89 every case of polio contracted within the US was caused by the vaccine.

Turning back to veterinary medicine, there is a considerable amount of evidence that points to the introduction of Modified Live Vaccine (MLV) some 20 years ago, as coinciding with the increase in allergic, immunologic and chronic debilitating diseases. There is no question that there are more skin problems, digestive problems, chronic ear infections, seizures, etc. in the past two decades, than ever before. Can this increase really only be a coincidence with the increased widespread use of MLV vaccines?? This may not be the only culprit but common sense says they are probably a primary offender.

In the last few years there has been some serious research done that strongly indicates that some MLV vaccines induce immunosuppression. The purpose of vaccines is supposed to be to stimulate the immune system, not suppress it! Worse yet, it is a well established fact that Modified Live Vaccines ‘shed’ thus creating the potential to infect other animals and cause the very disease that the vaccine was designed to protect against.

Not enough bad news yet?? Still insist on vaccination?? Try this on for size. You better be concerned with the BRAND of vaccine used.

A tightly controlled study was done (1993/94) by the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to evaluate six commercially available ‘multicomponent’ vaccines for their ability to provide protective immunity against Parvovirus. The study involved 63 beagle puppies, six to seven weeks old.

The results showed that three of the vaccines failed to provide protective immunity, a fourth vaccine provided protection against death, but infection and clinical disease occurred. Only two of the six vaccines provided protection from both infection and disease.

These results say that the odds are 2 to 1 against you choosing an ‘effective’ vaccine in the first place!! For breeders that do their own vaccinations you may want to ask if these ‘odds’ are ‘acceptable’ to your immunization program.

Invariably the information sheets included with vaccines warn that the product is only to be used on "healthy" animals. This is really ironic. A truly healthy animal doesn’t need vaccination. A truly healthy animal already has a strong natural immune system that can cope with disease in the real world. How else could the species have survived for all the centuries before man created vaccines?? But what is your definition of "healthy??"

When you have had a history of chronic problems or bring your dog or cat in for treatment of ear, skin, kidney, thyroid or whatever problems, you obviously do not have a healthy animal. Less obvious but just as important, when your animal is to be spayed or castrated (which means anesthesia) your animal should not be vaccinated at the same time. During any pregnancy--do not vaccinate!!

Remember that antibiotics and cortisone suppress the immune system. If your animal is being given these--do not vaccinate at these times!!

Remember that stress is a major immune suppressant. Show dogs in particular are subjected to many stressful conditions. Shipping off to handlers, kenneling, etc. --do not vaccinate during a high stress period!!

Newspaper Headline: July 1995 - Radcliff, Kentucky

"Parvo Epidemic"

Conversation with Dr. Jean Dodds--July/95-- "I recently returned from the East Coast of Canada where there is a serious outbreak of distemper"

I could go on to list a large number of incidents both recent and historical, which should cause you to seriously question the belief that "Vaccinations are the only practical and dependable way to prevent both epidemics and potentially dangerous diseases."

However these two examples alone will serve to make the point that the dogs involved were fully vaccinated yet obviously succumbed to dangerous diseases of epidemic proportions. We are not talking about isolated breakdowns here, but of total failure to immunize with conventional vaccination, a large population of animals.

Yet this "belief" is so totally accepted that there is virtually no funding available for research into any other form of immunization. That there are "other" methods that have been used for centuries in many cultures, is ignored by the allopathic community, due directly to the strength of the "unquestionable" belief in man made vaccination.

To question this is to question the whole "germ theory" of disease and would certainly upset the applecart of present day medicine. Unthinkable!!

Unthinkable?? Maybe yes, maybe no. This website is dedicated to breeders that choose to think for themselves. Again, we have to go back a ways and re-examine the foundation of "accepted" theory and see if it is valid or if any other "theory" may prove just as "valid."

As mentioned previously, it was the pioneering work of Louis Pasteur that formulated our present day theory. He held that each infectious disease was caused by a specific micro-organism invading the body.

Around the same time that ideas on germ theory were being developed, certain basic concepts of the mechanisms of immunity were also being put forth. It was established that foreign particles such as bacteria and viruses are recognized by specialized cells that function by producing antibodies that are able to attach to foreign particles present, and render them harmless.

In their time, these were revolutionary concepts that appeared to remove the ‘mystery’ of how disease was transmitted and how the body created a defense mechanism against attack from microbes.

These ideas seem to fit human nature and were in agreement with the mechanistic theories popular in the 19th century.

It is important to stress that, at this stage, vaccination and the ideas on biological immunity, were theoretical concepts. Their relevance to real life situations were not yet known.

The logical next step was to develop a way to make sure that the body developed the "right" antibodies in sufficient strength, to ensure that a specific ‘germ’ would be totally wiped out if it dared to attack a "protected" body.

From a commercial and practical point of view, it appeared far easier to concentrate on attacking microbes than to be responsible for our total state of health in terms of diet, hygiene, etc. The immunization procedure was, and still is based on a very simplistic model of immunity.

Modern science and in particular, research in the last few years, has revealed that a whole host of mechanisms in the body are used to deal with foreign agents and the body’s own toxic by-products. Under close investigation, the simplistic model of immunity does not stand up. The antibody response is only a small part of an extremely complex arrangement of immune responses.

The presence of antibodies has historically been the easiest way of detecting some sort of immune activity, but it is not necessarily indicative of a healthy immune response.

Pasteur’s germ theory can be seen as a step towards understanding the nature of disease, but it is, in essence, a half-truth. If this theory is faulty, what other theory can shed some light of understanding and be confirmed by modern science?

It is well documented that the original scientific research was carried out by a contemporary of Pasteur, Antoine Bechamp. It was from Bechamps’ work that Pasteur formulated his theory. However, Bechamp continued his work in this field and went on to show how the agents of disease are present in every single cell and that disease is NOT caused primarily from INVADING micro organisms, but by changes in the constituents of the cells first. He termed this "the soil of disease."

Thus, the theories explaining the cause of infectious disease split into the so-called orthodox and alternative views.

The orthodox view maintains that disease starts with the introduction of micro-organisms into the body. I don’t have to belabor this view as this is what we have all been taught.

The alternative theory is that the body degenerates into a diseased state first, and subsequently allows the proliferation of bacteria and viruses. All the latest research supports this theory!!

When the body degenerates to a certain point, external micro-organisms are attracted and able to infect and multiply, thus causing secondary complications. These infecting micro-organisms are not the cause of the original condition.

In other words, there may be a few flies around a clean area, but if the area is like an open garbage can, it certainly provides the "soil" for a proliferation of flies.

Even Pasteur in his later years had to admit the truth in this and eventually conceded that ‘the germ is nothing, the soil is everything.’

In order to contract a particular disease, it is necessary for the individual to be susceptible to that disease, by having the correct internal condition that allows the micro-organism to thrive and multiply.

The real causes of disease are a combination of factors such as inherited tendencies, pollution, sanitation, diet, drugs and mental or emotional stress--all of which affect the body according to each individuals’ susceptibility.

The presence or absence of antibodies is not the indicator of resistance to disease. Recent studies have shown individuals resistant to disease with very few or no antibodies, and those who have developed the disease, with high antibody counts.

Recent research into AIDS also shows that those individuals in contact with HIV, (the virus thought to be responsible for AIDS), that have remained healthy for many years, have developed a primary immune response to HIV--without antibodies!! Conversely those that deteriorate to a condition that often leads to death, have a high antibody count.

The agents for disease are present in all individuals in the form of genes, bacteria and viruses. Normally they function in maintaining the health of the body, but under certain conditions they can be activated to bring on the symptoms of disease.

They can become pathogenic (disease-producing) when their environment changes due to toxins, poor nutrition or chemical changes from mental and emotional stress, etc. Pathogenic genes can be switched on that were previously dormant. Bacteria and viruses can also change, from those that maintain health, to those that have pathological effects.

For example, the same intestinal bacteria necessary for digestion in humans (bacillus coli) can, under certain conditions of poor nutrition, be changed into the destructive bacteria of typhoid (bacillus typhus).

More and more studies and reports are being printed in prestigious medical journals regarding the ability of viruses to change or ‘mutate’ under certain conditions. A May 1995 report described the specific genetic changes of a virus from a benign form to a deadly form due directly to a deficiency of Selenium and Vitamin E.

Is it possible that these ‘mutated’ forms of Parvo the vets keep telling us about, are caused by a nutritional deficiency?? Science has proven it happens in people--would it not also be true with our animals?

If Bechamps’ theory is correct (which only in the last few years has science begun to support), it becomes obvious that we must pay more attention to the mechanisms of the primary immune system--our natural first line of defense--and stop relying on present vaccination protocols to do a job that is virtually impossible because it is based on a faulty theory of disease!!

By neglecting the ‘soil’ of disease, vaccination may not only be ineffective in disease prevention but may also be responsible for the widespread and subtle long-term effects of an overloaded and damaged immune system.

By bypassing the primary immune system and injecting a substantial amount of toxic materials directly into the blood, are we not creating the conditions that support disease?

Our primary immune system utilizes the skin and mucous membranes, their fine hairs and mucus; Microbe-killing substances (e.g. gastric hydrochloric acid, lysozyme in saliva, phagocytes and blood lysins from damaged tissue); Normal bacteria that have antibacterial activity; Special white blood cells that ingest bacteria; Interferon secreted by cells that act against viruses; Small lymphocytes that act on virus and virus infected cells.

Are we really so arrogant to believe that we know better than nature and can abandon the primary immune system in favor of a man made vaccine??

If there is one lesson we can draw from studying vaccination literature, it certainly is that nothing can beat natural immunity. Man cannot and will not be smarter than nature. Everything modern medicine so desperately tries to provide basically is already there. We do have immune systems that are infallible if only we allow them to function the way they were designed to function!!

It is an illusion that an immune system has to be artificially stimulated or prepared for any kind of infection. It is already prepared, not in a specific and therefore extremely limited way (as vaccines are supposed to work), but in a general way. A healthy immune system is able to cope with any infection, at any time!!

A healthy body is free of pathogenic microbes because the body’s constituents do not support them. Increasing one’s level of health should be our foremost concern!!

Holistic Vet Conference - 1996

We were privileged to have two distinguished speakers on this subject: Dr. Jean Dodds and Dr. Ronald D. Schultz. To show that the debate on ‘Modified Live Vaccines’ and ‘Killed Vaccines’ is still a long way from being settled, both speakers gave us a better insight into the risks/benefits of present vaccine usage.

Dr. Jean Dodds

Dr. Dodds started the day off humming with her lecture on vaccinations and adverse reactions with the use of Modified Live vaccines.

In giving a little background she reported the differences in vaccine related reactions. There can be:

  • the acute hypersensitivity and anaphylactic reaction that occurs immediately;
  • a reaction occurring between 24 - 48 hours after;
  • a delayed immunoligical reaction at approx. 10 - 28 days;
  • or even later as seen in canine distemper antibodies in joint disease in dogs and feline injection site fibrosarcomas.

(Ed note: many veterinarians only seem to recognize a reaction within a 24 hour period. After that they think it is impossible!)

Dr. Dodds listed a great number of symptoms that are related to adverse vaccine reactions. These include fever, stiffness and sore joints; neurological disorders and encephalitis; susceptibility to infections; high liver enzyme function with possible associated liver and / or kidney failure associated with bone marrow suppression and more.

Further, in her clinical experience she has seen modified live vaccine reactions associated with the development of transient seizures in puppies and adult dogs of breeds ( and cross breeds) susceptible to immune mediated diseases. She also has seen a high increase of reaction in cats. In one study on a family of Goldens she reported that when pups were vaccinated with MLV almost entire litters tested positive for thyroid disorders before two years of age. Subsequently when pups were given killed and separated vaccines thyroid incidence dropped dramatically and occurred much later in life. Dr. Dodds is also researching the link between vaccine reactions and amelyoidosis.

She warned us against the use of combination vaccines and said we should avoid the ‘common practice’ of multiple, simultaneous vaccination. Her research indicates that this practice is not only minimally efficacious but produces side effects which are unacceptable.

For all of you breeders out there, please make a special note. Dr. Dodds states that it is best to avoid vaccination 30 days prior to the onset of estrus, during the estrus cycle, during pregnancy and during lactation!! (Ed. Note remember that if you are still using a Modified Live vaccine—it can shed. So the above advice applies to your entire household, not just your bitch!!)

She also reminded us to avoid vaccination entirely in geriatric animals, sick or debilitated patients, and immuno-compromised animals.

She emphasized that there is no data to substantiate the need for annual boosters.

Her studies indicate that certain breeds of dogs are known to experience autoimmune disease triggered by vaccination! In particular she noted the Akita, Weimaraner, Standard Poodle, and Harlequin Great Dane, as being susceptible to this problem.

It was interesting to note the she recommends that the dosage for killed vaccine, can and should be adjusted for body mass. (Ed note: see Dr. Schultz for a difference in opinion.)

In her opinion, totally unnecessary vaccinations include those for Lyme disease, corona virus, canine hepatitis, leptospirosis, bordatella, parainfluenza, FeLV, FIP, ringworm, and rota virus Infection.

I was really happy when she suggested to the conference attendees, two alternatives to conventional vaccination.

  1. Monitoring Serum Antibody Titers:

    It is possible to determine the virus-specific antibody titers for any viral disease of dogs and cats. Titer testing measures humoral immunity and many labs now offer this service. It is very important to ask for vaccine related immunity and to start at low dilutions when ordering the tests. Otherwise the labs will actually test for the active virus and the results would be distorted. ( Ed. Note: generally I would test for only the serious viral diseases) If protective titers are found, the animal should not need revaccination until some future date.

  2. Homeopathic Nosodes:

    Dr. Dodds noted that Nosodes have been used successfully in Europe since the 19th century, and more recently have been introduced to North America. They are homeopathic remedies that offer a reasonable alternative to conventional vaccines—other than those that are required by law (e.g. rabies).

She pointed out that recent publications have documented the safety and efficacy of a homeopathic approach to protection against infectious disease of animals.

The work of: Dr. Christopher Day of England (studies include use of nosodes in dogs and cattle for protection against kennel cough and bovine mastitis); Dr. John Saxton of England (studies include the use of the canine distemper nosode for disease control); and the work of Dr. Singh of India (showing potent antiviral effect of homeopathic drugs when tested in vitro against two animal viruses and a variable degree of viral inhibition in vivo) were drawn to the attention of the conference.

The extent of the vaccinosis problem is largely unknown due to the failure of many vets and clients to report the incident. She urged all of us (that means you too, gang) to report vaccination reactions not only to the vaccine manufacturers but also the USDA.

She did mention that the American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines on the ‘Use of Alternative Therapies’ was last issued in 1988. She is hopeful that as more veterinary teaching institutes include courses in alternative therapies in their curriculum, increased awareness and an open mind for the practice of medicine will be forthcoming.

Dr. Ronald D. Schultz, Ph.D., D.V.M.

For those of you not familiar with Dr. Schultz I should mention that he is recognized as a pioneer in clinical immunology and vaccinology. As Professor and Chair of Department of Pathobiological Sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison his work is well known in both the allopathic and holistic veterinarian communities.

Wow! If you’re looking for someone with ‘authority’ to refer to the nonsense of annual boosters, get your ‘doubting Thomas’ to call on Dr. Schultz. Not only does he confirm that their is no science for this practice, he also warned of the possibility for law suits, if a Vet continues to recommend them. He pointed out that immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal.

He eloquently covered the many factors that can effect the immune response to a vaccine. The blocking effect of colostral antibody from the mother, the nature of the vaccine, the route of vaccination, the age of the animal, its general nutritional condition, concurrent infections, drug treatments—all may have an influence on the success of an immunization program.

Maternal antibody interference is the most common cause of vaccine failure. The fetus develops a functional immune system at 45 to 50 days into gestation. The level of maternal immunity at the time of birth will vary considerably, even among litter mates, but in general will stay high for 10 days to 2 weeks. A major cause for reduced immune response during the first week, is ‘hypothermia’. It is important that a temperature of 99° F be maintained during this critical time frame!

Between 2 week and 4 weeks, while still nursing, the immune system of the neonate grows and begins to take on its own duties. At the time of weaning, the immune system suffers from a decrease in nutrients and can be significantly lowered from a lack of Vitamin E and selenium. This is particularly true with ‘canned’ foods so it is better to start with ‘dry’ food. At 8 to 10 weeks, the neonate is closer to having an adult immune system. (Ed. Note: raw fresh food is of course best for weaning).

Because maternal antibodies can persist far longer then previously thought possible, Dr. Shultz strongly recommends that the last vaccination take place at 22 weeks for a puppy and 16 weeks for a kitten. There is new information that indicates that as many as 20% of dogs at 18 weeks have enough maternal antibodies to prevent successful parvo immunization. (Note: previously it was recommended that the last immunization in the series occur at 12 to 16 weeks of age).

Make sure your vet is aware of these new findings!!

Here’s a real kicker. A major problem, especially for parvo, is that the virus is able to infect an animal with levels of maternal antibody even though the antibodies prevent active immunization!! There is generally a 2 to 5 week "window of vulnerability" and in heavy parvo environments, as much as a 10 week "window", when an animal can be infected with the virus but cannot be successfully immunized!!

On the question of modified live versus ‘killed’ vaccines, Dr. Schultz is of the opinion that both have a place in the immunization schedule. Currently, there are no absolute answers.

He felt that because MLV vaccines replicate in the host, they more closely resemble virulent viral infections and generally produce a stronger and more durable protective immune response than killed vaccines. This "better" immune response has a cost: a decrease in vaccine safety. Certain modified live vaccines can induce immunosuppression, may shed into the environment, and may revert to virulence or cause vaccine-induced disease.

Killed vaccines on the other hand, are safer but require a large antigenic dose, multiple immunizations and often the use of adjuvants that can cause an increase in systemic vaccine reactions. Also, killed vaccines generally produce weaker immune responses with a shorter duration than the modified live vaccines. Sometimes the immune responses they produce lead to immunopathological disease at time of infection rather than providing protection. With respect to dosages, he pointed out that at the cellular level, the same number of receptor cell sites exist regardless of the size of the body, thus there is no justification for adjusting dosage quantities for different breeds of animals. (see Jean Dodds segment for a different opinion).

He does favor MLV for Parvo in high risk areas. He feels that ‘killed’ vaccine is too slow in providing immunization due to the need for multiple shots. He pointed out that the Parvo vaccine is expensive to produce, so the companies use as little as possible in each dose.

As modified live vaccines replicate in the body a "mini" dose is still effective. With killed vaccine, how much is enough? His research into the effectiveness of vaccines, has led to the manufacturers revising several of their formulas. He cautioned the audience not to dilute or split the dosage when administering any ‘killed’ vaccine.

With respect to nutritional deficiencies, someone in the audience asked about "Blue-Green Algae". Dr. Schultz commented that in his experience, their can be a danger of nutrient toxicosis. He knows of ponds in his area, with blue-green algae, where dogs that have jumped into a pond have suffered paralyses and in some cases have died.

In general, he felt that modified live vaccines when given to animals in good general health have no clinical indication of immunosuppression.

(Ed note: Dr. Dodds points out that the MLV trials by Dr. Schultz have only been tested on purposely bred Beagles and not breeds that are genetic and familial susceptible to suppression. She advocates "killed" vaccines.)