Summer’s Here. Itchy Skin Ramps Up.
[Note: Readers, this may look a bit familiar to you long timers. I freshened up a 2013 post with a decade’s worth of fresh data. Every bit as relevant today, if not more so.]
Itchy skin prompted the most visits of dogs to veterinarians in 2012. And, indeed, for the past decade.
Dr. WhiteCoat was surprised. This was “a bit unexpected” according to an article in DVM Magazine.
Dumbfounding News Flash!
It seems the surprise came because, for the first time in five years, atopic or allergic, itchy skin disease beat out the usual winner of insurance claims for dogs: itchy, inflamed ears, aka “otitis.” The source was VPI, a big pet insurance company.
Ear disease dropped into second place in 2012, though I’m sure it still created plenty of distress for you and your dogs alike.
This apparently awe inspiring research was published in DVM Magazine, keeping up with the times in an online edition. You can really discover a lot about how modern “prevention” from Dr. WhiteCoat is ensuring a busy practice when you look with a knowing eye at the top dollar earners in insurance data.
VPI’s policyholders spent over $58 million in 2012 treating the top ten conditions listed below, and the winner, itchy skin, received more than 68,000 claims. The average claim fee for those itchy dogs? $96 per visit.
That math adds up to around $7 million spent in 2012 alone!
Can you say, “cash cow?”
But, let’s go deeper. How about a decade’s worth of data? More useful to you than just 2012. Thanks to those pet insurers, that’s available to us.
What follows comes with a tip of the inflamed ear (ouch!) to Pet’s Best, another pet insurer.
Canines – Top 10 Most Common Claims
(data from 2005-2015: 630,000 claims, 90,000 dogs)
- Atopy/allergies (30% of claims)
- Otitis (17%)
- Osteoarthritis (10%)
- Undiagnosed mass (8%)
- Cruciate ligament injury (7%)
- Hypothyroidism (7%)
- Pyoderma (6%)
- Undiagnosed gastrointestinal condition (5%)
- Undiagnosed lameness (5%)
- Urinary tract infection (5%)
From the article:
Pets Best has received more than 40,000 atopy/allergy claims…
The top two and #7 are all related to itchy skin, which has been observed for years, in those who care to look for it, as being associated closely with vaccinations.
#4, the growth of tumors, has been bedfellows with vaccinations for as long as vaccines have been out.
Similarly, hypothyroidism and cruciate “injury” (read this to see why that word is in quotes) have roots in immune based inflammatory disease, commonly a byproduct of vaccination.
It’s really quite sad to see the callous disregard by most veterinary clinics of the fact that annual or even semi-annual vaccinations are neither necessary nor recommended by the experts. This dis-recommendation has been in the press for at least 20 years now, yet it’s extremely common to see, in the records of my sick patients, that they were repeatedly vaccinated, often annually, and even when they were ill! (Oh oh: if your animal is ill or on meds, you have a waiver on further vaccines)
It doesn’t take a genius to see that vaccinations cause allergies, either. Here’s British vet Chris Day’s observation from decades in the practice trenches:
When clients were asked, “when did your dog start all this itchy skin disease?” the response, in roughly 75% of the respondents was, “Within a month or two of the puppy shots.”
This corroborates what we see here in the U.S. and I’m sure anywhere else in the world where thoughtful people care to look.
Immune Dysfunction from Immune Overload
Allergic, itchy skin, whether it’s called atopy or dermatitis or otitis externa (skin of the ear), is an immune break down disease. The immune system is wildly over reacting to something it should ignore. Like a flea bite. Or a bite of chicken. Or a romp in the Spring grass.
None of these things pose any risk, right?
Have you seen a healthy dog’s reaction to fleas? I have: it’s mostly ignoring them, or occasionally turning to nibble or scratch. Contrast that to a flea allergic dog, and you see what wild over reaction looks like:
- Desperate chewing, licking, biting and scratching that occupies large amounts of the day and night
- Denuding the fur
- Moist, oozing red patches (aka “hot spots”)
- Chewing to the point of bloody sores
- A foul odor, an oily coat, shedding all over the house
And all of this can come about from a single flea. Just one.
This is the disease that has won the prize for the past decade. Itchy skin, allergies.
Allergic to what is wholly insignificant, by the way. Gets you no closer to cure knowing this.
Did that disease come from the flea? Or from China or Mars? No dearest, it came from the visit with Dr. WhiteCoat, when it was determined that another round of vaccinations was “due.”
When that load of viruses, killed or live, was squirted under Spot’s perfect skin, and picked up within seconds and circulated throughout the inner reaches of her body, contrary to all the expectations her immune system evolved over millennia, all hell broke loose.
Spot’s “genetic expectation” was to meet a single virus through a natural barrier, like her nose or mouth, and have time to alert her immune system in an orderly manner:
Danger! Invader within! All Alert!! Stop this foreigner!!!
Through a complex series of signals and alerts, Spot’s immune system has evolved to sequentially alert her defenses and block that single virus at every inner gate from gaining the most serious level: systemic, in the blood stream and traveling throughout the body.
- First gate, the mucus membranes in the nose or mouth
- Second the lymph nodes and tonsils around the throat
- Next the lymph nodes along the bronchi or intestines
and all along the way, signals going up, calling for reinforcements:
“Antibodies! Get in here! Wrap this thing up!”
“Complement! Send up the flares! Call for more help!”
“White blood cells! Reproduce rapidly and come and eat this foreigner, ASAP!”
Dr. WhiteCoat: “Never Mind, We Got This”
In the act of vaccination, all of this elegantly designed, intelligently orchestrated response to a foreign invader is bypassed. The skin is picked up, the needle put through it, and a load of not one, but multiple viruses is injected. Right into the inner sanctum.
That load is picked up by the capillaries in seconds, and is then circulating throughout Spot’s body.
Is there really any wonder why allergies continually “win” the top “prize” that dogs are being brought to the vet for?
So, itchy skin topped ear allergies in 2012. Big deal. They are both allergies, both immune dysfunction, both costing you sleepless nights and countless dollars and both wreaking havoc on Spot’s attempt to be a Vital Animal.
And allergies, for at least a decade now, continue to be your #1 plague. Very likely all caused in the name of “prevention!”
Time for a Change!
The bottom line is this: you can’t afford to wait for Dr. WhiteCoat to stop this crazy practice of repeatedly vaccinating your animals. He’s been turning a deaf ear to the recommendations of the experts who understand immunology for over 20 years.
No, if you want to keep your animals vital, well into old age, you’ve got to make this decision yourself:
If I have an animal who’s already been vaccinated, I will say “No!” to more vaccinations.
And here’s a plus: you’ll have some of the brightest minds in medicine and immunology behind you.
I’ll have more for you on this soon, trust me. If I don’t get out in front of what passes for prevention these days, I’m not doing my best work. That’s a disservice to you and your animals.
Tell us in the comments if you are still getting pushed to vaccinate yearly or even every three years. Did you know neither protocol has any good science behind it?
You can also tell us in the comments if you feel a bit lonely with all this. We in this pack want you to know you are not alone! Join us as we raise remarkable Vital Animals!