This post is prompted by a desperate reader of my website, specifically coming after reading this blog post: Vaccines and Vets: Is Your Holistic Vet Really Holistic?
Prairie Girl wrote to ask,
Can anyone recommend a holistic vet in N. Western Iowa who would work with owners regarding vaccinating 2 senior dogs who have epilepsy? State won’t waive rabies medical exemption in order to get them relicensed. We’re willing to get them vaccinated but looking for a vet who could administer smaller dosage or holistic treatment after vaccine. We’re desperate.
My head reeled when I read the source of her desperation.
Instead of desperately wanting to keep her aging seniors (both of which are epileptic) healthy and seizure free, she desperately wanted to “safely” vaccinate them to meet her state’s licensing requirement.
Apparently, she missed some key understandings around this hot topic:
- Duration of immunity to viruses
- Vaccines are labeled “Only for use in healthy dogs (cats, ferrets)”
- Vaccinating sick animals is therefore malpractice
- Seniors have been damaged to the point of dying prematurely by getting a seemingly “needed” booster vaccine.
Duration of Immunity
This understanding rests with scientists called immunologists.
Two prominent veterinary immunologists pointed this out in a mainstream veterinary textbook decades ago.
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… [Schultz, RD and Phillips, TR, Current Veterinary Therapy XI, 1992]
Do state lawmakers (or rubber stampers in any level of government) understand immunology enough to set forth rules of how often your animals should be vaccinated?
Clearly they do not.
Nor is it a good idea to beg them for a waiver.
(The same argument can be made for groomers, kennel owners, and, my all-time favorite: apartment managers!)
Are any of these folks ready to take responsibility for your animal’s vaccine injury once you comply with their ignorant rules?
It should be obvious: they are not, and you’ll be left holding two bags:
- The expense of treating chronic disease, from the merely bothersome (itchy skin or funky ears) to the deadly (autoimmune disease).
- The heartache of knowing that you’ve unwittingly brought about serious illness in your pet by not being desperate enough to avoid unnecessary vaccines)
On Vaccine Labels
The American Veterinary Medical Association follows the USDA’s guidance on vaccine use:
Vaccine programs should follow all governmental regulations.…
Label indications and recommendations should be followed.1
AAHA (The American Animal Hospital Assoc) spells out the USDA’s “new” label system:
The new label system states: “This product has been shown to be effective for the vaccination of healthy (name of species, weeks of age or older against name of disease).2
(“New” is in quotes because the “healthy” part is long standing, the only newness was removing some older confusing language).
Now, think with me here: is epilepsy a sign of being “healthy?”
No way, right? Both seniors in question are epileptic, and likely on meds to try to control their seizures.
“On meds” by the way, is a great measure of “NOT healthy,” wouldn’t you agree?
Veterinarians are allowed to go “off label” in using drugs if they feel the health needs of the animal justifies a special case.
I just can’t imagine there’d be a single justifiable reason to vaccinate an epileptic animal.
Hence, I’m calling that off label use of a vaccine malpractice.
In the risk vs benefits assessment, we’ll see it stack up as 99:1.
According to the immunologists, immunity is likely already established from earlier vaccines, remember.
If you’ve got an unwell, medicated animal, you’ve got a vaccination waiver.
Vaccines and seizures: a long history
It’s just not sensible to risk more seizures with a procedure that’s been known to trigger seizures in the first place.
Homeopathic literature has evidence of vaccines resulting in seizures since the very first vaccines.
Modern medicine is no stranger to the phenomenon either:
Epilepsy can be caused by vaccination as a leading symptom of vaccine-induced encephalopathy and febrile seizures can also occur as a result of vaccine-induced fever.…
Case reports exist of epilepsy, autism, and cerebral palsy developing after measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and measles vaccines.3
Here’s a citing from the Journal of Equine Vet Science: Reactive seizures after vaccination in a Thoroughbred broodmare:
A 550 kg Thoroughbred broodmare born in 2007 was evaluated repeatedly over five breeding seasons because of episodic seizures, which occurred only after vaccination. The mare had no health problems other than repetitive reactive, focal seizures that occurred over a 5-year period, in each case after vaccination 5
Seniors and vaccines: a Bad Mix
I’ve received far too many emails and comments about seniors damaged by vaccination to be able to count them all.
The common thread among them?
Old Blue was getting up there in years, but was rocking along just fine. Going for long walks, chasing rabbits, usual dog stuff.
That all changed after either a “required” rabies shot or a vet recommended combo wombo distemper/parvo vaccine.
I wrote about one such disaster here.
Judging by the comments on this post, it resonated with readers, including Audrey:
Please help me with ANY suggestions you may have to help me reverse the damage my vet has done to my poor sweet angel, who is an 8 year old yellow lab. Not even a month ago, he was lively and vibrant running up and down the beach chasing the ball and now after he went in for his last round of shots he’s barely able to walk/run. Just sleeps all day like a 14 year old, but he’s only about to turn 9.
I’m just devastated that my energetic young boy is basically hitting a brick wall — Audrey, commenting in Stop Vaccinating Your Seniors4
Would a smaller dose help?
This is a common thought, and it does seem that small dogs, receiving the exact same dose as a Great Dane, are far more prone to vaccine injury.
What that doesn’t take into account though, is the phenomenon homeopaths call vaccinosis.
Would there be less chance of chronic disease by lessening the dose?
I’m not sure we can say with surety that will be the case.
We’re still injecting foreigners into the body, bypassing all manner of natural defenses that Mom Nature has set up for our animals (and us, of course), over millennia.
The name of the commonest diseases we see after that foreigner injection fest fall under the category I’ve created (I think…) called Immune Confusion.
The most common of the confused immunity diseases is allergies.
In our pets, that’s usually a wild over reaction to normal, everyday things, like:
- the bite a flea
- a bite of chicken
- a perfectly normal grass or pollen grain
Allergies (you’ve likely seen them) are usually manifest as horribly itchy skin (feet, rumps, bellies, or all over) and funky smelly discharging ears, that can also be painfully tender and itchy at the same time.
Dogs suffering the latter version desperately want to scratch their ears, but it hurts so badly when they do that they may be left taking their ears for a long carpet rubbing ride or merely flailing a hind leg in the ear’s general direction.
Does a smaller dose create less allergic reactivity?
I really have serious doubts that’d be the case.
Vaccinosis is deeper than the dose.
How about a “holistic treatment?” after the shot?
I’ve done it in my practice, with a rabies tautode (a homeopathic remedy made from the rabies vaccine itself) given both before and after the vaccine.
Has it prevented all manner of vaccine injury?
I clearly remember a case where it didn’t.
Janet’s dog had been under homeopathic care with me for years.
She somehow felt compelled to give a rabies shot and there was no convincing her to simply say no.
We dutifully gave the rabies tautode to hopefully “buffer” the ill effects.
And Max went clearly into worsening of his ear issues we’d been modestly successful in resolving with years of working together.
I clucked to myself, inwardly, resisting the urge to pull, “I told you so.”
But, in fairness, I’ve also seen many others use the tautode, get the shot, and report no illness afterwards.
But that’s not an apt comparison, as these latter animals were not my closely followed patients, where I was keeping abreast of every symptom they made over a prolonged time.
Would I give a rabies tautode to two epileptic seniors and assure Prairie Girl all would be well?
Never in a million millennia.
Desperation Has Its Place
So, I hear from many who are desperately trying to keep their animals well, and I applaud their efforts.
Usually, that means they have put their foot down and told their vet, “No More Shots.”
That’s the kind of desperation that wins for your animals’ long term health and a long joyful life together.
And I wish it didn’t take desperation to achieve this lovely ending, but unfortunately, that’s the world we live in now.
The world of blindly putting your trust in the medicos to have your pet’s health uppermost in their minds is long gone.
This is the world where YOU, and no one else, takes the lead, calls the shots, and mercilessly evaluates all that’s being offered to you by Dr. WhiteCoat.
My goal is to help you make those wise evaluations at every turn.
Let us know in the comments if you’ve taken desperate measures to keep your animals well, or if you’ve experienced disasters from misplaced trust in the past.
- Vaccination Principles, American Veterinary Medical Association, https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/avma-policies/vaccination-principles
- Interpreting vaccine labels, AAHA, https://www.aaha.org/aaha-guidelines/2022-aaha-canine-vaccination-guidelines/interpreting-vaccine-labels/
- The Causes of Epilepsy, Chapter 56 – Vaccination and immunization, https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/abs/causes-of-epilepsy/vaccination-and-immunization/8C8E9F05D86E3CBCE739A1C1F8AC8CD2, Simon D. Shorvon, Cambridge University Press 05 March 2012
- Stop Vaccinating Your Seniors Already!, VitalAnimal.com, https://vitalanimal.com/stop-vaccinating-seniors/, Will Falconer, DVM, September 1, 20019
- J Equine Vet Sci. February 2019;73(0):106-109