Part One: Rabies Vaccine on Trial
“Oh, we’ve learned how vaccinations can make our animals sick. We only give rabies vaccine now. It’s the law.”
Are you endangering your pet, following a law that has no basis in immunology? Are you absolutely sure it’s safe for your pet to get this vaccination every few years, or worse, yearly?
Herein lies a dark and scary birthday tale, a tragedy we’d not wish on our worst enemy, let alone our beloved animals or children.
The “birthday present?” A near death experience followed by a year of languishing health for a young cat named Tigger.
And then, a second near death experience at the beginning of his second year.
Happy Birthday! Or Not.
When he had just crossed his first birthday, life fell apart for our innocent little gray and brown tabby. It all began with a visit to Dr. WhiteCoat’s clinic, where it was decided that Tigger was “due for rabies vaccination.”
Little did anyone know what would unfold when this vital little guy received “just a rabies vaccine.”
His is a cautionary tale for those of you who feel you must follow a law that fails to reflect immunological understanding about the duration of immunity.
Duration of immunity: that “how long does immunity last?” in a vaccinated animal question. It’d be wise of you to know this and side with the experts. Odds are, your vet doesn’t understand this point or chooses to ignore it.
The Victim: Tigger, A Barely Two-Year-Old Cat
We have a very ill two year old kitty who is severely anemic and may not make it through the end of the week. His PCV was five yesterday.”
With that introduction, Tigger became a new patient of mine recently. I was the third veterinarian to try to save his life. He had spent the prior year (!) in an anemic, underweight, weakened state before nearly dying when Laurie left me that scary email message.
It was only after taking his full case that I learned it was his second brush with death. From the same rabies vaccine.
On Trial for Animalslaughter
Let’s go now to the courtroom, where a heated trial is taking place over Tigger’s fate and the sentencing of his perpetrator.
“All Rise. The Honorable Judge Justice Forall Presiding.”
Just the Facts, Ma’am
The court calls to the stand Laurie L, owner of the victim, on behalf of the prosecuting attorney.
Prosecuting Attorney: “What exactly happened to your cat Tigger on or about his first birthday, Ms. L?”
LL: “Well, we took Tigger to be boarded at the vet clinic while we were away for a few days.
Attorney: “So, you brought him to Dr. WhiteCoat’s office then?”
LL: “Yes, and while he was there, they gave him a rabies vaccine. It was likely not his first, as he’d been adopted from a shelter, and we all know how many vaccinations shelters give.”
Prosecuting Attorney: “Ouch! So true. Ahem, I mean, I see. And would you describe what happened next, please?”
LL: “Well, within hours of this one rabies shot, Tigger was found to be severely anemic on his blood test. His PCV came in at 8%! He was sent to the Emergency Clinic for a transfusion and I was afraid we were losing him.”
Prosecuting Attorney: “How very odd. Had he been sick before going in to boarding?”
LL: “No. He’d been perfectly healthy up to that point, and was a joy to behold, racing around our house, playing with toys and befriending anyone who came to see my husband and I. Now he was limp and lifeless and fighting for his life in the ER.”
Expert Witness and The Smoking Gun
Prosecuting Attorney: “Thank you for your testimony, Ms. L.
If it pleases the court, I’d now like to interview the current veterinarian on Tigger’s case, Dr. Will Falconer. Dr. Falconer, in reviewing the facts of this case of your newly acquired patient, please tell the court your findings.”
WFDVM: “I was called to this case as the third veterinarian in the past two years of Tigger’s life, your honor. What follows are the facts I could piece together from various sources, including extensive records from his previous vet, Dr. WhiteCoat.
It seems the victim, one Tigger by name, led a perfectly normal, playful first year of life, as one would expect from a well fed youngster of the feline persuasion. Ms. LL told me, as she stated to the court, that this all changed after he received his rabies vaccine at approximately his first birthday.
I’ve been provided with some documents pertaining to his case, and will present these findings now.”
Prosecuting Attorney: “Please continue, Dr. Falconer, and tell the court what transpired after this fateful day around Tigger’s first birthday.”
WFDVM: “Here are the facts of the case, your honor:
1. Almost immediately after his rabies vaccination, Tigger’s PCV fell so dangerously low that he was rushed to the ER for a blood transfusion.
PCV stands for packed cell volume, meaning the percent of red blood cells in a volume of blood, after it’s spun down (packed) in a centrifuge tube.
The normal PCV for a cat is between 30 and 45%, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual. Tigger’s values were dangerously low on admission to the hospital, at 8.1, about 20% of his expected normal.
Something was clearly wrong, and Tigger was referred to the Central Texas Veterinary Specialty Hospital for further assessment.
2. Here, in Exhibit A, are the results of a bone marrow biopsy taken at the speciality hospital to try to determine why Tigger no longer had sufficient red blood cells to sustain his life.
Here’s the pathologist and his findings:
Dr. James Walberg, DVM, DACVP (Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists) of Stone Ridge, New York, reported the following:
On “good to excellent quality” bone marrow smears, a finding of “erythophagocytosis by neutrophils” was determined.
Prosecuting Attorney: “The gall of the man, using such big words! Please explain that to the court in plain English, Dr. Falconer.”
WFDVM: “I’d be happy to. Red blood cells are also known as erythrocytes, and phagocytosis simply means the condition (-osis) of eating (phag-) cells (cyto-). Neutrophils are a kind of white blood cell, normally designed to eat foreigners, like invading bacteria or viruses.
So, in essence, Tigger’s white blood cells were in a very confused state, feeding on his own red blood cells, which are necessary to life. One cannot live without red blood cells to carry oxygen to all the organs and tissues of the body.”
Prosecuting Attorney: “Thank you, Dr. Falconer. Do you have enough evidence here to point to the cause of this poor cat’s downfall?”
The Perpetrator: One Rabies Vaccine
WFDVM: “I do, yes. Your honor, if it pleases the court, I think there’s one very clear perpetrator in this case. This cuddly, fun loving youngster named Tigger was most certainly the victim of immune system confusion brought about by a single intervention that was both unnecessary and dangerous:
Dr. WhiteCoat’s rabies vaccination at one year of age.”
The judge, rapping his gavel, calls for order, as the courtroom noisily explodes amid loud cat calls from conventional vets in attendance, women fainting in the aisles, and anguished weeping from the family of the victim, now realizing their worst nightmare: they had, unknowingly by “following the law” nearly killed their beloved Tigger.
Judge: “Please go on, Dr. Falconer, and explain the nature of the crime committed.
And be warned: any further outbursts on the part of dissenting veterinarians will result in their expulsion from this court!”
The Crime: Causing A Year of Anemia and Nearly Death. Twice on the Death Part.
WFDVM: “Thank you, your honor. The crime, as I see it, is one of iatrogenic immune dysregulation.
Prosecuting Attorney: “Damn, man, now you’re using those big words! I-at-trow what?”
WFDVM: “I’m sorry. That’s just another fancy word to confuse the public, sir. Iatrogenic means simply, ‘the doctor’s procedure caused the illness.’ The evidence for this is as follows.
- Almost immediately after a single rabies vaccination, our normal vigorous and healthy young cat became dangerously anemic. Lab tests indicate Tigger was losing his red blood cells to autoimmune attack.
- Tigger lived his second year of life with chronic anemia, never fully regaining his heath as his white blood cells continued to attack his own red blood cells.
- At the time I took his case, he had relapsed into severe anemia, this time with the aforementioned PCV value of 5. He was also underweight by 15%. Tigger presented on two powerful drugs, prescribed to suppress his immune system: prednisone and Atopica.
Prosecuting Attorney: “Wait. Suppress his immune system?? You mean that system that lives in every being that protects them from foreign intruders like viruses, bacteria and parasites? Our best friend’s best friend?”
WFDVM: “Yes. That very perfectly designed immune system Tigger and all of us are born with.”
Prosecuting Attorney: “But why suppress it? That sounds downright dangerous!”
WFDVM: There is only one reason, sir: His immune system was trying to kill the victim!
Prosecuting Attorney: “Why, that’s outlandish! Where in the name of normalcy is an immune system going to attack its own body?
Pardon me, your honor, I also own pets, and I’m just surprised that such a serious illness could occur after a single rabies vaccine. And that the cure was thought to be shutting down his immune system! I’ll refrain from such outbursts in the future.
The prosecution rests.”
Judge: “The defense may now cross examine the expert witness.”
The Defense’s Argument: It’s The Law
Defense Attorney: “Thank you, your honor. Dr. Falconer, you do understand that this cat was vaccinated against rabies according to the law, do you not?
WFDVM: I do.
Defense Attorney: “Why then do you call call this rabies vaccine ‘unnecessary and dangerous?’ Laws must be followed, certainly, do you agree?”
WFDVM: “I do not categorically agree, no sir. When laws have the potential to harm innocent animals (and people) and have no basis in scientific understanding, I think it’s our duty as citizens to question them and avoid them as much as possible.
You see, veterinary immunologists, like their human counterparts, have known for decades that immunity to virus vaccines lasts a very long time; in most cases, for a lifetime. This is called duration of immunity.
This is the very reason that you and I don’t receive postcards telling us to come in for a “booster” to our smallpox vaccination, which we received at a young age. Human physicians know that immunity was firmly established then and likely stays with us to the grave.
Rabies, like smallpox, is caused by a virus, so Tigger’s early vaccination against rabies, given at or around four months of age, would have been sufficient to establish immunity of a very long duration.
Defense Attorney: “That certainly makes sense to me, er I MEAN, I think this is dangerous thinking, Dr. Falconer. Next you’d have us all driving through red lights!
Prosecuting Attorney: “Objection, your honor. Supposition.”
Judge: “Sustained. Let’s not be silly, sir. This argument is quite well thought out and one that bears further consideration. Dr. Falconer is not wildly suggesting ignoring all laws.”
Defense Attorney: “So, Dr. Falconer, is there any other evidence you wish to provide to support your argument of this vaccination being ‘unnecessary’ then?”
WFDVM: “Yes, in fact, the other indisputable understanding that the science of immunology has established is that there is no benefit from further vaccinating an already vaccinated animal (or human, for that matter). It’s well know that the efficacy of such a revaccination is lacking.
The reason is simple. The established immunity from the early vaccinations will actually prevent that later vaccine from stimulating the adult’s immune system.
The idea of a “booster” effect is largely rejected by immunologists, once an animal reaches adulthood.
Tigger very likely had had a rabies vaccine, as have most all dogs and cats over the age of four months, and, as such, his immunity, in the form of antibodies to rabies virus, would simply inactivate any further rabies virus that’s injected into him.
And remember immunology’s findings: that immunity is highly likely life long.”
Defense Attorney: “That’s amazing. And yet we have laws that make such an unnecessary procedure mandatory.
But what about your allegation that this law is also dangerous? Surely, a single rabies shot can’t be all that dangerous, can it?
Danger: When A Grey/Brown Tabby Turns Yellow
WFDVM: “Tigger’s condition after his one rabies vaccine is proof positive it was a highly risky undertaking, sir. He not only became dangerously anemic and could have died from this, but when he presented to me, he was also yellow with jaundice.”
Defense Attorney: “Now wait. Didn’t you tell the court earlier he was a grey and brown tabby, Dr. Falconer? How could he turn yellow??”
WFDVM: When the breakdown of red blood cells is severe enough, as it was in Tigger’s autoimmune disease, the release of hemoglobin from the dying cells results in high levels of bilirubin.
This turns the skin and whites of the eyes yellow. It’s called jaundice.
Tigger’s illness was in this severe category, and at PCV 5, his ears and gums and whites of his eyes were all yellow.
His urine was golden yellow, too, as a result of all the excess bilirubin being eliminated.
Defense Attorney: God, that sounds really dangerous. I mean, <cough>, no further questions, your honor.”
Treatment Response Aids Diagnosis
Prosecuting Attorney: “Dr. Falconer, I believe something about your treatment of this case supports the argument of the rabies vaccination causing this illness whereby Tigger attacked his own red blood cells. Is that correct?”
WFDVM: “It is. As a veterinary homeopath, my job is to find the remedy most similar to the suffering of my patient. In other words, a substance that can create symptoms when taken in excess by a healthy individual can cure a sick patient with similar symptoms when taken in safe dilutions called remedies.
Walk with me as I unfold my thought process and reveal what happened after Tigger’s treatment.
Tigger’s History and Symptoms Unlock the Needed Remedy
Tigger’s is a very interesting case of vaccinosis, and while I had a hunch that this was true, his response to a well known vaccinosis remedy further verified that thought.
I was working on the assumption that, because of the timing (within hours of vaccination, Tigger fell dangerously ill as a result of immune system disease), his illness had to be caused by his rabies vaccine.
What system is the vaccine aimed at stimulating?
The immune system, of course. Everyone would agree here.
But, might the stimulation run amok?
We homeopaths see it happen regularly, and know that injecting viruses with a needle defies all the innate intelligence the animal possesses to develop an orderly, measured immune response.
It’s a wonder we don’t see immune disease every single time an animal or person is vaccinated. But perhaps we’re not looking hard enough.
Skin Symptoms: A Major Clue
Tigger had an odd symptom that caught my eye. In addition to being horribly anemic, the top of his head had a bared area that was oozing and red.
Here’s a picture:
He was also a very thirsty cat, even before the dreaded prednisolone was begun, and he had an odd craving:
Tigger wanted to lick his litter and concrete and was crazy about mouthing plastic.
So, here’s my patient’s case:
- Illness with skin eruption.
- Pica (craving for indigestibles).
Response to a Vaccinosis Remedy: Brilliant.
All of this lead me to a well known vaccinosis remedy, sulphur. Tigger received a single dose of sulphur 30C on June 25, 2014.
Though he was also sent home with a second remedy called phosphorus, he did so brilliantly after this one dose of sulphur that it was never needed.
I think we should let Ms. L tell the court what she saw at home, your honor.”
Judge: So be it, call your witness, Mr. Attorney.
Prosecuting Attorney: “Ms. L, would you return to the stand please and tell the court what transpired after this teeny tiny dose of the homeopathic remedy called sulphur was given to Tigger?”
LL: “Well, it was actually quite amazing, truth be known. The evening of the dose, Tigger had lots of stool come out, fully 12 inches worth! And did it stink! The next day, more followed.
Then, his yellow skin fading to normal, he began his old habits of jumping to countertops, purring more, and wagging his tail again. He went from a dull affect, staring straight ahead to engaging with my husband and I! The light came back to his eyes! He was alert once more!
Over the next week, he gained some of his lost weight back, his head eruption quieted down, and lymph nodes that were swollen under his jaw and in front of his shoulders started to shrink back towards normal. We were both amazed and thrilled.
Tigger was coming back to being a vital animal, like we hadn’t seen him for a year!”
WFDVM: “Your honor, and members of the court, this remarkable response, to a single dose of a well known vaccinosis remedy, clearly points to causation in Tigger’s illness: it was the vaccination, his “one rabies shot” that initiated his downhill slide into life threatening illness. This is the only logical explanation.”
Tying it All Up
Prosecuting Attorney: “Your honor, if it pleases the court, I’d like to summarize what our key witness has brought before us, as to the cause of this animal’s suffering.
Judge, hiding his hankerchief quickly after mopping his eyes: “Carry on, man.”
Prosecuting Attorney: “These are the salient points brought up by this trial today, your honor:
- Tigger, a young male tabby cat, was healthy, vital and playful up until the day he received his rabies vaccination, in March 2013.
- Almost immediately after said vaccination, Tigger plunged into a dangerous autoimmune disease, Immune-mediated Hemolytic Anemia or IMHA.
- Vaccinations have been implicated as one cause of IMHA.
- The patient had so few red blood cells on the night of his vaccination that he was transported to the ER and given a blood transfusion to save his life.
- He recovered, but not fully, and spent the next 11 months in subpar health that included continued anemia, weight loss, and lethargy.
- This year, in February, he had a relapse of anemia, and by May 2014, at the time Ms. L contacted Dr. Falconer, his PCV was 5% (normal being 30-45%).
- Dr. Falconer, suspecting vaccinosis as the cause, gave a well known vaccinosis remedy in a single dose (sulphur 30C) on June 25, 2014, and Tigger’s recovery proceeded apace. No transfusion was necessary.
- As of this trial’s write up, July 20, 2014, Tigger continues to thrive. In Ms. L’s own words on July 18th:
I have not given him any other remedies and he is doing great. He is running around the house like a wild man and has been chasing our other cat around. This it characteristic of him feeling well.”
Given the preceding facts of this case, presented here by the veterinarian of record who has most recently treated Tigger, we can draw no other conclusion, your honor, but this:
We, The (Thinking) People
“With the facts of immunology as a basis, especially the long lasting immunity that results from viral vaccination, and the potential for serious illness this case illustrates, I think any rational person can make a clear conclusion:
We, as a people fond of animals, and seeking to protect them from harm, need to pursue legislation on a national level that overturns the requirement for repeated rabies vaccinations throughout an animal’s life.
This law, on the books in every state and province in No. America, and in many countries throughout the world, has no basis in scientific understanding.
Until we replace this law with something more sensible, it is up to each animal loving citizen to question, for themselves and their animals’ wellbeing, the necessity of following this law if they have a previously rabies vaccinated animal.”
Judge: “Thank you for that summary and closing argument, sir. This court will adjourn and the jury will deliberate before a verdict is reached in this case. The public is invited to continue this discussion where ever this appears in print.
This is clearly a much needed discussion in the public realm. We cannot afford to blindly go forth, following a law that is both out of touch with scientific facts and risky to the health of so many innocent animals.”
And with that, the gavel fell and the trial was recessed.
Have you had experiences with illness coming after “just one rabies vaccine?” Have you found ways to avoid this unnecessary and dangerous law? Let us know in the comments below. Part Two is here.