Itchy Skin Update: Still #1 Dog Disease

Summer's Here. Itchy Skin Ramps Up (Again).

Itchy skin prompted the most visits of dogs to veterinarians in 2012 and again in 2017.

The 2012 count was true for the prior decade so, by the time you read this, you can say this man-made disease has been your most common plague for decades!

The more recent data from Pets Best Insurance add to the "surprising" news from DVM magazine five years earlier.

Dumbfounding News Flash!

Back in 2012, the surprise came because, for the first time in five years, allergic, itchy skin disease beat out the usual winner of insurance claims for dogs:
itchy, inflamed ears, aka “otitis.”

The source was VPI, another big pet insurance company.

In my experience, both skin and ear inflammation cause lots of distress for you and your dogs alike.

It appears a lot of money is still trading hands over itchy dogs. Here's Pets Best's words:

Of these environmental allergy claims Pets Best has received, one of the largest claims paid was for $4,936.

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?”

No accounting of all the wasted, hard earned money in 2017, except you can bet your Elizabethan collars it's grown.

What follows comes with a tip of the inflamed ear (ouch!) to Pet's Best.

Canines – Top 10 Most Common Pet Insurance Claims

Data from 2017 looks sadly similar to what we saw in 2015.

The notable exception is cancer:

  1. Environmental Allergies (Atopy) – 9.7 percent of all claims
  2. Ear Infections (Otitis) – 5 percent
  3. Cancer (all types) – 4.2 percent
  4. Osteoarthritis – 3.3 percent
  5. Mass – 2.7 percent
  6. Cruciate Ligament Injury – 2.5 percent
  7. Gastrointestinal Condition – 2.3 percent
  8. Hypothyroidism – 2.2%
  9. Pyoderma – 1.9%
  10. Lameness – 1.7%

This data is from 2005-2015: 630,000 claims, 90,000 dogs:

  1. Atopy/allergies (30% of claims)
  2. Otitis (17%)
  3. Osteoarthritis (10%)
  4. Undiagnosed mass (8%)
  5. Cruciate ligament injury (7%)
  6. Hypothyroidism (7%)
  7. Pyoderma (6%)
  8. Undiagnosed gastrointestinal condition (5%)
  9. Undiagnosed lameness (5%)
  10. Urinary tract infection (5%)

From the 2012 DVM article:

Pets Best has received more than 40,000 atopy/allergy claims…

The top two and pyoderma 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.

Cancer and "masses" aka the growth of tumors, have 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.

Anybody Home?

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 25 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 should pose any signficant 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

If your dog has allergies, all of this can come about from a single flea. Just one.

This is the disease that has won the prize for the past 15 years. Itchy skin, allergies.

Allergic to what is wholly insignificant, by the way.

Spending money to know that gets you no closer to curing your dog.

Did that disease come from the flea? Or from China? Or did it fall out o' the sky?

No dearest, it came from the visit with Dr. WhiteCoat, when it was determined that another round of vaccinations was “due.”

Mayday! Mayday!!

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.

    1. First gate, the mucus membranes in the nose or mouth
    2. Second the lymph nodes and tonsils around the throat
    3. 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 Dis.”

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 Sadie's body.

Is there really any wonder why allergies continually "win" First Place for why dogs are brought to vets?

So, itchy skin topped ear allergies in 2012 and still holds that lead in 2018.

Big deal.

They are both allergies, both immune dysfunction, both cost you sleepless nights and countless dollars and both wreak havoc on Sadie's attempt to be a normal Vital Animal.

And allergies, for at least a 15 years now, continue to be your #1 challenge.

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 “Just Say No!” to more vaccinations.

Simple.

And here’s a plus: you’ll have some of the brightest minds in medicine and immunology behind you.

If you're unfortunate enough to have an animal afflicted with The Itch, please head over to this page about Apoquel. There you'll find my free report, Apoquel Alternatives. Tools and suggestions to move The Itch to cure.

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!

Photo Attribution

78 Comments

  1. NovaBelle Cream on May 30, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    I am glad to be one of several visitants on this great site (:,
    thank you for posting.

  2. Lori on April 10, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    Not into over-vaccinating, but I believe otherwise healthy dogs should have: the Bordetella vaccine and DHLPP. If you don’t vaccinate your dog, don’t take them to the pet store or the park to possibly get infected; and you can’t take them to the groomer, or boarding facility. I personally don’t want to get a zoonotic disease because someone simply preferred not to vaccinate their dog. Viral infections such as rabies and norovirus and bacterial infections including Pasteurella, Salmonella, Brucella, Yersinia enterocolitica, Campylobacter, Capnocytophaga, Bordetella bronchiseptica, Coxiella burnetii, Leptospira, Staphylococcus intermedius and Methicillin resistance staphylococcus aureus are the most common viral and bacterial zoonotic infections transmitted to humans by dogs. Obviously: you don’t vaccinate the extremely young, old, or immune issue pets. But, that’s the point of vaccines, to keep those compromised dogs and humans safe from otherwise crappy illnesses that can be easily prevented.

    • Genevieve on November 5, 2022 at 5:27 pm

      The Bordetella vax covers two strains out of approx 40.
      “According to some aware, honest veterinary experts, the so called “kennel cough” is not so dangerous and contagious as it’s made out to be. It’s like a cold among humans. The vaccine is also likely to be ineffective. There are 40 or more pathogens or viral strains that can create kennel cough, but the vaccine contains only two strains.

      Highly respected Professor and researcher at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Dr. Robert Schultz has openly stated, “Kennel Cough is not a vaccinatable disease.”

      The “kennel cough” or Bordetella vaccine contains an attenuated or modified live virus and, as mentioned, is likely to be combined with the parainfluenza vaccine. Thus, the kennel cough multivalent vaccine is capable of infecting other animals via a process called viral shedding for up to seven weeks. Viral shedding can also create more virulent viruses than common natural wild viruses.”
      Source: thetruthaboutvaccines dot com/pet-vaccinations/

  3. Lee Smith on January 20, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    I had a chihuahua who was over vaccinated to death. We got him when he was 8 weeks old. He was 15 and had lived a healthy life until we had to take him to the vet for an eye infection. We never took him in for shots so while he was there the vet wanted to catch him up on all the other shots he’d missed. We weren’t even sure what they had given him until we picked him up to take him home.

    Shortly after he came home he started having seizures. We took him right back to the vet. They gave him a tranquilizer and said if he wasn’t better in the morning we would have to make a tough decision. They never explained why he would be doing this even though this wasn’t the reason we brought him in.

    The next morning we arrived and he was still seizing. Never stopped. Had been in this horrible misery the entire night. He was soaked in sweat. I asked to hold him before he was euthanized. I told him how much we loved him and what a great dog he had been. He stopped breathing in my arms. He just waited to pass in the arms of those who loved him before he gave up. The vet didn’t have anything to say.

    I believe he would have lived much longer had we not allowed him to be vaccinated. It makes me sick that we didn’t have this information back then.

    Fast forward to 2016. We decided to buy two small breed puppies in 2016. I got to see them when they were six weeks old. I first met (bought) them on a Saturday. The breeder said they had received their 5-1 (?) shots the day before. If I had known this I would have asked her to not give mine any shots and that I would have a vet do this after I took ownership (lie). I asked if the pups were acting normal. She said two (6 pups) were drooling and the others were off their appetite. I asked her if she would mind sprinkling Vit C on their food until I could take them home two weeks later. (I wanted them to stay with their parents/siblings until 8 weeks so they would be properly socialized) She was willing to do this after I explained that Vit C reduces inflammation and helps the vaccines ‘take’ better.

    Since I brought them home, my dog have not had another shot. After reading what Dr. Becker had to say about spaying/neutering, neither of them (brother/sister) are fixed. (https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2016/07/27/neutering-spaying-effects.aspx)

    Since they are still young, they get Iam’s dry puppy food (free fed), baked (antibiotic free) chicken and other natural cooked meats with veg/sea veg/coconut oil for worms added. I sprinkle Atlantic dulse on their baked chicken for minerals. They get Dingo bones and I will start giving them chicken necks. They have glossy coats and are the picture of health. Thankfully, I live in a state where the rabies vaccine isn’t mandatory unless they bite someone. Which is highly unlikely given that they are under 10lbs each and never are with strangers. They will never receive another vaccine for the rest of their lives. I don’t give them flea treatments. I bathe them in Dr. Bronner’s Lavender soap and spray them with natural bug repellent for dogs in the summer.

    I recently helped a woman adopt an elderly chihuahua from a shelter. He was pretty up in years and had kennel cough. He also wasn’t fixed. The shelter wanted to have him neutered and vaccinated before she took him home. I told her to tell the staff that since he was sick, he needed to recover before he had anything else done to him. I told her to tell them she would do all this AFTER she got him home. It was a lie but it worked. They let her take him. They called her at a later time and she said she would be using her own vet to have whatever services she had agreed to.

    At the time she adopted him she wasn’t able to take him home right away and asked if he could stay with me. Yes! He got along well with my dogs. But whatever had made him sick was passed on to my two (Parvo?). All three had a cough and bloody diarrhea. I got liquid Vit C and sprayed it in their mouths twice a day for one week. They recovered within a week. No vet.

    I have found a vet that will let me bring them in to get their nails clipped and test stool samples for worms. Otherwise, they don’t go in for any other reason. I do not offer any explanations except to say that I live in another county but have business to take care of in the area. I like to utilize more than one source for my animal care. I have not discussed my views on vaccines. If they ask I will lie and tell them I go to a vet in my county or another vet/pet store that charges less or whatever other excuse comes in handy. I find that works best since some people are rabid about dogs not getting shots. I don’t argue with people about vaccines. If they seem open minded I will share what I know. Mainly information from news letter like Dr. Falconer, Dr. Becker and other natural vets.

    I greatly appreciate all the helpful information from articles like the one above. Thank you very much Dr. Falconer. My dogs also thank you!

  4. becky on October 25, 2018 at 9:55 am

    I hate watching my pup itch like crazy.

  5. Guinnie on October 6, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    I’ve spent all day reading all of your articles.
    I’m hoping you can shed light on 2 things my dog is going through at her senior years. 1. Reoccurring UTI and 2. Yeast Infection. (3. possible tooth root abscess and contemplating if extraction is really necessary… but that’s another issue)
    Vets usually prescribe clavomox antibiotics for 2 weeks to treat UTI and although it works, it does a number to her immune system and clearly does come back eventually. I’ve tried naturally to treat but nothing is zapping it. Apple cider vinegar, vitamin C, tinkle tonic, cranberry supplements, colostrum, you name it. Maybe dose I’m giving her isn’t strong enough? I need help. She urinates fine but towards the end of the walk dribbles of blood. Prefer not to give her antibiotics but maybe I don’t have a choice?
    2. Yeast infection. She gets these periodically too in the last 2 years. I try to give her immune booster supplements, garlic, apple cider shampoo rinse, etc. I did order the transfer factor so I’ll give that a try. I do give her loads of probiotics but not noticing any noticeable immune strength. I feed her half raw/half cooked organic ground turkey, chicken liver, cabbage, green beans, kale, goats yogurt.
    I’m considering taking her to a holistic vet and hope the Dr cares more for pets rather than her profits. I’ve lost hope in the veterinary world.
    Would love your advice? thanks.

  6. Karen W. on September 4, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    Thank you so much for your mission! You have empowered me to steer clear of Dr. Whitecoat. As a result my 3 Great Pyrs that are 3 years old have no health issues at all. Unfortunately, my sweet lab died 4 years ago due to my ignorance of how the system was against her wellbeing.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 4, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      Karen, I’m so happy for your leap forward on this next gen of dogs! And, I suspect you had a huge gift from your sweet Lab that got you here. We really need to both forgive ourselves for our past mistakes and honor those who helped us learn a better way. Hope that resonates with you.

  7. Colleen on September 3, 2018 at 1:30 am

    I have a 2 1/2 year old bulldog that HAS NEVER BEEN VACCINATED—no puppy shots, no rabies, nothing and she has itchy skin—seems to be from pollens and flea bites. What on earth would cause that given ZERO vaccines? She has been fed raw/organic since she was a puppy and ZERO preventative meds for heartworm, fleas, etc. We are 100% holistic/natural so I’m baffled….

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 3, 2018 at 2:40 am

      Hey Colleen, you’ve heard of “the sins of the father,” right (I could be misquoting that). You’re seeing inherited chronic disease. If you examine what your parents were challenged with, odds are you’ll see your own challenges there.

      • Colleen on September 6, 2018 at 4:08 am

        Thanks Dr. Falconer….I really appreciate your input. So if I understand you correctly, inherited vaccinosis from her parents? I have given her a homeopathic formula from PCHF in the past called Canine Immunization. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to help. Perhaps I should give it another try.

  8. Judy on March 19, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    Hi all,
    After an incident with Apoquel and my itchy dog last Christmas, I threw myself even more into my research to battle this insidious and frustrating problem. I’d read about Apoquel (on this site) but it had reached a point where I was desperate. After less than 2 days of the drug, I took my guy off it. He wasn’t himself and I had a bad feeling about it.
    Anyway… a few weeks ago I heard a radio vet extolling Apoquel’s virtues and I got so mad I sat down and wrote this blog article.
    http://reinvention2go.blogspot.ca/2017_02_01_archive.html
    I wanted to share my findings and this website was a key contributor. It’s listed along with a number of other very helpful and eye-opening resources/sites. I can tell you I read every single comment in the “Apoquel” posting on this and a number of other sites on Dec 26th and 27th 2016, after my 12 yr old mini Aussie-ShepX boy started having seizures about 24 hrs after taking him off the drug! Needless to say, he’s never had seizures before nor since about 13 hours after they started on Dec 26th!
    Of course, seizures are a fairly common side-effect for dogs when you read all the Apoquel-related forum comments!
    One thing I don’t think I’ve seen much on here (but I confess I haven’t read every post) is about Leaky Gut Syndrome diagnosis and how we humans are now starting to think that allergies and obesity may be linked to the fact that our gut biome’s are lacking many important bacteria.
    http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/so-long-yeast-hello-kefir/
    Suffice it to say, I’ve now had my dog on daily Kefir and 3X week organic plain yogurt since late December and his fur is coming back in nicely, he’s stopped scratching almost entirely and his smell is getting back to his pre-yeasty odoured self. I’ve returned him to his old/normal (expensive but very high quality–human grade-ish) pet food, with no change. I never really believed it was his food but I was trying everything, like so many others I’ve read on here and other sites.
    The big test will be when the grass season begins in earnest and the fleas return. I’m lucky in that we don’t usually have a big flea issue on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada — and the last two summers have been uncharacteristically bad — but I know that bringing in a stray cat that showed up a couple of years ago, and having my two incumbent animals (the dog and a cat) that react badly to flea meds, that’s been a definite area of interest, as well.
    I personally hate flea meds and avoid vaccines like the plague. However, because I do take my dog to Washington State a couple of times a year to visit family, I have given him the required rabies shot every 3 years. And he had one about a year ago now, that could have been a partial culprit in making this whole itching thing worse, as well.
    It’s a complicated subject. And I don’t know if anything in my article will help. But I hope you may find some relief for your beloved pet(s). And the most important thing is that we all keep sharing on blogs like this (thank you, Dr. Falconer!) so we don’t have to rely on the “Whitecoats” for their typically less than healthy and sometimes downright dangerous “pharmaceutical cures”!
    Oh, another very funny thing I found that was when my dog got itchy ears recently, and for the first time in his 12 year long life, I was using cooled calendula tea on a cotton pad to wipe them down each night. Well, turns out, he loves the calendula tea! And so now I let him drink a portion of a small bowl most nights and/or add it directly to his food. I could find nothing negative about letting him drink some, so I’m just going with it as I love calendula myself and add it to my brewed tea every day (in dried form) as well!
    There’s always more to say on this subject. And I’m also giving him a variety of homeopathic concoctions from https://www.petwellbeing.ca/ and http://www.nativeremedies.com/petalive/ but I’m quite certain it’s the kefir and yogurt (but mostly the kefir) that’s made a huge difference! And I wanted to add my voice to the mix as we all search for relief!
    Wishing you all a less itchy coming spring and summer season!
    Judy
    P.S. I highly recommend YOU eat the kefir, too. Unless you hate a yogurty taste. But apparently you can get it/make it yourself from other bases, such as coconut water, for those with lactose intolerance. Although, apparently those with lactose intolerance can often eat kefir with no issues. Go figure! It’s kind of magical, huh?

  9. Sherry olson on March 9, 2017 at 1:06 am

    I had my teacup longhaired Chihuahua vaccinated prior to his one year of life. Last summer ( age 3) he began itching and biting himself CONSTANTLY; leaving him with red irritated and raw skin. He itched so much he had bald patches in his coat. I made up some hot spot eliminator and used it often. I was constantly checking him and combing his fur looking for signs of fleas/eggs. I treated him once acter seeing ONE FLEA on him and the itching continued. I thought it was allergies or a reaction to the carpet fresh i have since stopped using. The constant itching drove both my dog and i CRAZY. He was losing his fur and he looked so pitiful i wouldnt take him out without having his clothes on him. Then one day I looked at the ingredients which were in his brand of commercial dog food
    ~DOG CHOW~.
    FULL OF Grains and byproducts. Well, that’s not the type of “food” I want him to eat; so, I went to a pet store. After reading many labels regarding the ingredients, i decided to purchase the brand ~BLUE~
    for both his
    food and his treats.
    WHOOLAW!!
    The itching subsided; his fur grew back. We are both happier now. He looks healthy and his coat is amazingly soft and shiny. After reading your post i am scared to death about having him immunized; (he is due for “boosters”) especially now that i have read about the complications which supersede the “need”. He has had one rabbi and one parvo injection. Does he require more vaccines? Boosters? He just turned 4 yrs old in January. He is a very healthy, playful and loyal lil canine. I’d like his life to continue (for a long while) without any health complications.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on March 10, 2017 at 6:13 pm

      Hey Sherry,
      If this guy was over 4 mo. old when he got his last vaccinations, odds are very high he’s immune for life. If you want to check, you can ask your vet to titer test for parvo, distemper, and rabies. But, here’s a page to check to be sure you don’t make the all too common interpretation mistake around titers.

  10. Cait on November 28, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    If vaccines were the cause of allergic skin disease why wouldn’t ALL pets have allergic skin disease? Most places vaccines are a requirement to have a pet so therefore all pets should have atopy. Look at humans… not all humans are allergic but we all for the most part get vaccinated unless you’re home schooled. I know there is always someone or something to blame but risking your pet’s health because you’re worried about atopy or cancer down the road… is it really worth it to risk your pet’s life when you introduce it to the parvo or distemper virus? Is it worth it to risk your pet being bit or eating a rabed animal? I understand not wanting to feed or inject your pet or child artificial products but there comes a point where you have to weigh the pros and cons.
    It’s quite amusing to me because my rescue mutt has been vaccinated multiple times and he has no atopy and is 6 years old. Very healthy dog. My purebred Cane Corso who is 3 yrs old has food and environmental allergies and she has been vaccinated only the minimum amount.
    Where is your research regarding genetic passing of disease?
    The only thing correct in your blog is the fact that atopy is the number one pet insurance claim. I work in veterinary dermatology and I can tell you 95% of our atopic patients start showing symptoms between age 1-3… we don’t ever see puppies who started to itch directly after vaccines. In fact all of our puppies we see are food allergic and not environmentally allergic. Food allergies start much earlier than environmental. We have also seen a large portion of our clients are German shepherds, golden retrievers, English bulldogs, and pitbull (of various types) etc… all canines who are WAY over bred.
    I’d love to see more research instead of opinion based articles. The only links I see for resources are referring to another one of your blogs…

  11. Julie Ritchie on November 22, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Hi Will,
    Thanks for this article. I don’t know very much about it, however I have read some and I refused to get my dog re-vaccinated when they vet told me they became ‘due’.
    My dog is called Rosie and she is a rescue dog, so she has been vaccinated repeatedly in the past before she came to me.
    She is about 3 years old and she suffers with bad skin, rashes and flea allergies.
    I have changed her diet and now feed raw and I don’t use drugs for flea prevention, using natural alternatives instead, although to be honest it has been a bit of a struggle, especially when her skin reacts to a flea bite and then everyone says to just use drugs to get rid of the fleas.
    Also recently she tore a claw off and it had to be completely removed under sedation at the vets. She was fine however they prescribed her a course of antibiotics which I gave her out of fear in case the wound got infected (although I have my doubts about the over use of antibiotics too).
    Also, I live in the UK and travel to Europe a lot, and Rosie will be coming with me. When I applied for her passport my vet gave her a rabies vaccine which apparently dogs have to have BY LAW otherwise we couldn’t get back in to the UK.
    I think I am right in saying that they expect it to be ‘renewed’ (the rabies vaccine) regularly too so I am not sure what I can do about that.
    Also I’d like to holistically and naturally support her to heal her skin issues.
    Thanks for all that you share.
    Julie & Rosie.

  12. Adrian Rez on September 13, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    My 16 year old puppy mill rescue Cairn Terrier had allergies when I adopted her 10 years ago. Tried homeopathic vet with no results. Finally surrendered to vet allergist who put her on generic form of Atopica. He kept saying there were no side effects but she developed growths which had to be removed. After the last one was benign melanoma, I said “ENOUGH”! She did fine off the drug for about 6 months. Then itchiness/scratching kicked in. New vet suggested Apoquel. He told me the side effects and I ran. I have somewhat controlled the issue EXCEPT it appears to flare up whenever I leave the home. Separation seems to aggravate the condition. Trying Canine Rescue Remedy with some success but not fully able to prevent anxiety induced scratching. Any suggestions? HELP!

  13. Wendy on September 11, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    My dog has allergies and his holistic vet prescribed homeopathic drops rather than allergy shots saying they worked better. The drops are made by Professional Formulas. Got them at pureforumalas.com. My dog get household dust & mold mix, Grass & Weed mix, and Northeast Allersode.

  14. Rachel Spurlock on August 28, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    This is the first time I have ever read anything like this! My dog, Max has been dealing with miserably itchy, flaky, dry skin and losing fur for the past year and a half. It drives him crazy and US crazy. Poor guy. We take him to the vet and each time it’s the same thing – antibiotics and steroids. Once he’s off of the meds, it comes right back and each time it has worsened. We have felt awful for Max. But just cannot afford to pay for something that isn’t working. He is to the point now where he has lost all fur on his chest, paws, elbows and around his anus. I have looked through a few other pages on your site, and I am wondering where we should start with Max if we were to go this route of helping find him real help. He needs a cure, not a bandaid. I came across this site after reading that someone else had given their dog Apoquel, and even looked into the cost of it to buy it for him – desperate! But geez, that stuff is expensive PER PILL! And does it even really fix the issue? It didn’t seem like it. I will be looking at your site more. I would love to hear back from you on how to help our Max.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 28, 2016 at 9:27 pm

      Oh, Rachel, I’m so sorry you’re stuck in such a common but difficult loop with Max. It’s probably becoming obvious now that your vet has nothing to truly cure what he created here. And please check back in his history and let us know the timing between the beginning of his itch and the set of shots he got before this. That’s usually the handwriting on the wall.
      You’ll want to view this first post on Apoquel, the one that Big Pharma was unhappy enough about getting so much traffic that they tried to make my site go dark this past Spring. In it, you’ll see a free report available to you called Apoquel Alternatives Report. That explains what you can do to get Max out of his misery. It won’t be overnight, but stay that course, stop vaccinating him, and he’ll come back to normal when you get the help you need.
      So glad you found this site before going on Apoquel. Welcome to renewed sanity.

  15. Sharon on August 15, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Can I give my 12 year old Border Collie Colostrum capsules? She had exceptional health until last year when the vet gave her intranasal bordetella vaccine…..It almost killed her! She is still recovering but I would like to boost her immune system with the Bovine (from milk) colostrum. Each cap has 480 mg. She is also on a grain free, chemical free fresh food diet.

  16. Vikki on August 12, 2016 at 5:07 am

    Hi it’s been 12 months since I’ve had my 5 yr old kelpie vaccinated I’m more concern seeing as we live in a high parvo area that she will contract the disease .. I know they can still contract the disease when vaccinated how do I do a teater test at home ??

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 12, 2016 at 5:54 am

      Hi Vikki,
      I hear your fear. And would encourage more learning to put it in its proper place (under the bus).
      1. Parvo is rarely an adult dog disease.
      2. Viral vaccines confer long lived immunity. Likely life long, say vet immunologists.
      3. Innate, natural resistance is built upon regular exposure. Like getting out and rough housing with other dogs. Odds are, your 5 year old has lots of this already working for her, unless she’s been cloistered.
      4. Titers don’t tell you much. Early after vaccination, they can tell you if immunization took place. But they fall over time, which is normal and doesn’t indicate a lack of immunity. Just a lack of circulating antibodies.
      Rather than chasing down numbers, I’d be focusing on building your dog’s inherent resistance. Your choices in food, pest control, and especially vaccinations play a huge role in this.
      For a good frame of reference, look to the wild cousins. How do wolves or coyotes not die off as a species when no one is vaccinating them for parvo?
      All the best in finding the peace that comes of trusting a perfect system, and supporting Mother Nature’s well designed works, day by day, choice by choice.

  17. Miles on August 10, 2016 at 4:17 am

    Hey doc! I asked you about the immunotherapy allercept that Miles is on. Maybe you overlooked the question above? Its above Terry Journey’s comments. PLEEASE respond 🙁 just want to know if im wasting my money. We can barely afford it .thanks

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 10, 2016 at 7:39 am

      No time for this right now, Miles, but you can learn with a google search, I suspect. But, it looks like your previous comment said it was no longer working. Why continue it?

      • Miles on August 11, 2016 at 10:44 am

        Sorry, didn’t mean to trouble you. I thought we were free to ask you questions 🙁
        I just wanted to know what your opinion on immunotherapy drops was. When you have a free moment, let us know.

  18. DEBORAH BELLES on August 9, 2016 at 8:19 am

    I have a 6.5 yr old Dogue De Bordeaux who was diagnosed as hypothyroid at 1 yr old after his one and only rabies shot was at 7 months .His early symptoms before he was put on soloxine were skin issues , red leathery, itchy, sudden unpredictable aggression, greasy smelly coat . he was a mess. He has not received a shot since. It has not been a problem since I had a pet sitter come into the house when I went away. My problem is that I now find that I am going to have to board him because I can’t find a pet sitter who will handle a 147lb dog. I have found a kennel that does not care about the regular vaccines but insists on a rabies shot or positive titer. Since Fla is an exemption state, they will accept that but haven’t found a vet who will write me one. He was titered in 2012 and it came back as inadequate <0.1IU/mL. It took about 2 years of working with a homeopath, no flea & tick or heartworm for his skin to clear up completely. Now his temperament is wonderful his skin and coat are great. He still has a few issues but am working on them with a homeopath. He has always been feed raw. I don’t want to have to vaccinate him because I fear he will not survive It. He has been having short play dates with a pup, who just received his first rabies vaccine, in the hopes that it will help increases his titers.
    I was just told by a very well known vet that "There is no way to improve his circulating rabies titer. So, you need to find a veterinarian that would agree to write an exemption. However, there is no legitimate reason for any veterinarian doing that because being hypothyroid and taking thyroid therapy is not sufficient reason to exempt him". what are your thoughts?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 9, 2016 at 10:23 am

      Wow, Deborah, I’m disappointed in the advice you’ve gotten from my colleagues. They won’t write you a waiver?? And they’re treating this dog with chronic disease (hypothyroidism is chronic disease, let’s be very clear about that)???
      I’ve written about your own personal waiver here, and if they won’t write you a waiver, please write me via my Contact page and I will. I’m crazy busy right now, but I’ll fit it in. There’s no excuse for behavior like this, from supposedly holistically minded vets.
      p.s. odds are good, from other commenters’ experiences on this blog that his rabies titer will increase. But that’s missing an important point about titers: They don’t tell the Whole Story.

      • DEBORAH BELLES on August 11, 2016 at 1:14 pm

        DR FALCONER. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR OFFER TO WRITE A WAIVER FOR ME. I DID FINALLY FIND A HOLISTIC VET WHO WOULD HELP ME WITH THE RABIES AND HYPOTHYROID PROBLEM. IT IS NICE TO KNOW THAT SOME PEOPLE STAND BY THIER CONVICTIONS. LOVE YOUR WEB SITE!

  19. Terry Journey on August 9, 2016 at 2:08 am

    Dr. Will:
    Thank you for the Apoquel Alternatives download! I have some questions:
    1. Is Nygard truly safe and ok to put on your carpets? Hot do you apply to carpet?
    2. You don’t mention diatomaceous earth. Are you against it and in favor or borates?
    3. What do you recommend for flea bite dermatitis rash that already exists? I am not having any luck with the typical products I use: Vets Best Waterless Dog Bath (which has neem, aloe, vit. e), witch hazel, collidal silver
    4. My vet has discouraged me from using medicated shampoos or salves saying it is best not to use antibacterials as it drives the infection inward. Thoughts?
    5. Regarding Transfer Factor: My dog had immune-mediated thrombocytopenia in 2009. Can Transfer Factor over-stimulate the immune system causing it to turn on itself and perhaps cause IMT again?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 10, 2016 at 5:40 am

      Nyguard is relatively very safe, yes. I’m not sure how effective it would be on carpets. You’ll see on this page that I’m recommending it for bare floors.
      DE is great in the garden. It’s a mess in the house, it dries out the dog’s coat if it’s used topically, and I mean, would you like tiny little sharp crustacean skeletons on your skin? I much prefer borates, specifically for carpets, inside couch crevices, etc.
      I recommend professional help from a vet homeopath if skin disease is already present. Nothing topical comes close to the healing homeopathy can effect. Told how to find one in the free Apoquel Alternatives Report.
      Smart vet, but “infection” is the wrong word. In general, “anti-” anything is a bad idea.
      “A stimulated immune system is a balanced immune system.” Got that gem from a scientist years ago when I had the same concerns. I’d give any auto immune patient, especially in a crisis, high levels of transfer factor to try to re-establish normal balanced function.

  20. Miles on August 8, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    What do you think about
    Allercept immunotherapy drops? My miniature schnauzer has been on it for over a year. It helped at first, now nothing. I’m beginning to think it was just a coincidence.
    Thanks doc!

  21. cf on August 8, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    They are like Nazis where I live, going after people who DONT get vaccinations each year.. It is as bad or worse as they treat people . Luckily I live rural from the city, and they might not come there. If so my pets were moved out of state, or something.
    unbelievable… I KNOW that in the 1960’s-70’s and prior, vet medicine was waaaay different than today.
    They KNEW that ONE set of vaccinations would last a life time. BUT in the 1970’s they became concerned that no one would become a vet if the incomes of vets did not improve…
    I BELIEVE that is the bottom line of this type of constant ‘treatment’ , vaccinations, et al..
    Think for yourselves with researched info, and experience , watching how things change over the years in most areas, its all about money.. use discernment, or talk to someone older.
    best wishes with your choices.
    Thanks for your info and support DR!

  22. Liz Gibbs on August 8, 2016 at 8:26 am

    I am due to have my new puppy a English Cocker Spanuel on Friday,
    I live in the UK and have been looking at the vaccine dilemma for my pup. What would you do if this was your dog I have read to vaccinate at
    16 weeks once as this gives better protection than a younger dog and not to have annual shots.
    Also is there a risk of acquiring disease from her sister my brother is having and is going to start vaccinating at 8 weeks. I have read newly vaccinated children can pass on measles to unvaccinated children.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 8, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      Hi Liz,
      You may want to look up a homeopathic vet in the UK. Sue Armstrong, Chris Day, several others. Ask about getting nosodes for parvo and distemper (I think both diseases are there, yes?). You luckily live free of rabies, so you *could* simply protect with nosodes till 9 months old and let the mature immune system carry on from there for life.
      Some risk of getting viruses from recently vac’d sibs, yes, but the route of exposure (oral, nasal) pretty safe compared to getting injected. No mercury, no aluminum, just some attenuated viruses that could end up building some immunity with little to no risk of illness to your pup.

  23. AMY BIRD on August 8, 2016 at 4:56 am

    Hi Dr. Will. I have a gorgeous Jack Russell who has never had a vaccine but she has this dermatitis of the ears. Ive spent a fortune trying to get to the bottom of this problem – homeopathy, dietary changes, herbs, antibiotics, steroids – you name it, I’ve tried it. Poor thing. IF its one thing that I put it down to, it was reluctantly using oral flea control on her recommended by a vet to control ‘flea mites’ – the first ever visit to the vets.. ever since i used that product her ‘allergy’ has gotten worse and worse.. (I kick myself for taking this advice!!) Im at my wits end because now all we can use to control her breakouts is a pharmaceutical spray in her ears and topical flea control… neither is ideal. She’s still so young and I don’t want to continue using these products on her for the rest of her life. Can you make any recommendations?

    • Terry on August 8, 2016 at 11:13 am

      Amy, check out PetProtectorTags.info. My dogs wear them and I wear them and millions of dogs worldwide. They work! No more fleas, ticks, mosquitoes!
      This is not a scam. Dr. Falconer if I’m out of place in commenting on Amy’s post, please don’t post my comment.
      Terry

      • Sue Granger on August 26, 2016 at 2:28 pm

        I have 2 cocker spaniels. Began using Pet Protector Discs on them 5/7/16. Last tick I found was 6/14/16. We live on the SouthCoast of MA and walk in the woods almost every day. The Disc lasts for 4 years. I will probably order new ones at 3.5 years to be safe. I feed raw, don’t vaccinate any more (older dog is 9 yo, younger one 3.5 yo.), will titer and have heartworm blood tests done in Aug. and Nov.

    • Rachel on August 8, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      Hello Amy! Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. It’s the one thing that really helped with our flea infestations. And make sure to get the sofas and dog beds too. I vacuumed almost daily. It’s a real pain to have to do it that often but it was best natural remedy and it really helped us. Please see my comment above and try using peppermint oil diluted with filtered water as a topical flea preventative.
      Good luck!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 8, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      Absolutely, Amy. It sounds like you’re dealing more with inherited chronic disease, something I’ll have more on in the near future. The best is to hire a qualified vet homeopath to guide her to cure. You’ve mentioned using “homeopathy,” but I’m not convinced you had good prescribing done by a professional, or you wouldn’t still be in such a muck hole.
      I describe how to find a likely vet to help you in the report Apoquel Alternatives. Scroll back up to the shaded box just at the end of this article and it’ll tell you how to get that accomplished. Bottom line: this is curable. And, it’ll take a trained professional to guide the course to cure.

  24. Jennifer Figueroa on August 8, 2016 at 4:20 am

    My poor little Maltipoo, was over vaccinated, as one who has always had large dogs, did not know anything about the vaccine scam. My dog now has 2 forms of anemia, and a heart condition, and the horrible scratching itching, allergies, etc. I have seen him almost die at least 7 times , but by God’s grace he is still with us, although the conventional vets sent us home many times with a death sentence. I researched, got him on Algae, and Hawthorne Tincture, and heart supplements, and now at 10, he is still giving me heck, (happily) every day! The one thing it has not helped much is with the itching. I also use natural Diatomaceous Earth for flea protection, which I know dries out his skin. Thanks for being such a kind ,tireless ,loving animal advocate. God Bless you Dr. Falconer !!

    • Rachel on August 8, 2016 at 2:20 pm

      Try using Borax for fleas. Sprinkle some on all the carpeted surfaces in your home (including rugs) and on all upholstered sofas/chairs that your dog sleeps on. And be sure to use it in all his beds. I will usually sprinkle a bit inside his dog bed and vacuum out most but not all of it. Vacuum up all the Borax after about 30 minutes/hour and dispose of the contents immediately. (Seal up those vacuum contents securely in a bag and take it out to your dumpster or outside trash.) I do this Borax treatment typically only twice during an infestation.
      I also use a diluted mix of essential oil as a mosquito/flea repellent for my pup (peppermint oil diluted with purified water). I just fill a spray bottle with this concoction and spray him with it every few days. (Do not spray this near his face.) If you need to get the areas near his face, spray the mix into your hand and rub onto the areas of the neck and head.
      Good luck!

  25. Regina Leeds on August 8, 2016 at 1:33 am

    My little guy is 3 1/2 and 16 pounds. The first 6 months of his life he was in rescue and fighting for his life. He is a distemper survivor. He had initial vaccines, antibiotics and a drug in trials from the FDA.
    Once he became mine at 8 months, he was done with vaccines; he eats a raw diet (Small Batch Dog Food/beef) and is under the care of my holistic vet.
    He struggled to get healthy. I spent thousands at the ER. Each visit he got more antibiotics. (Digestive issues were the culprit. Once he almost died from hemorraghic gastroenteritis (so?)
    I am trying to get his itching under control. He lives most of the year wearing the ‘cone of shame.’ Blood tests revealed he is allergic to most of the grass and trees in LA. He gets an allergy shot every 3 weeks.
    If you have any advice, I’m open to it.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 8, 2016 at 6:10 am

      Wow, Regina, this guy’s a survivor! Scroll up a bit and see where I added a box referring you to another article with a free report, Apoquel Alternatives. In it, I explain how to get your little guy cured.
      p.s. What a merry go round he was on! Each ER visit, more antibiotics, and his gut flora were further being wiped out each time. No wonder digestion was a major issue. I hope that’s behind you now and you are regularly seeding probiotics and fresh green tripe to try to reestablish that all important population.

      • Regina Leeds on August 8, 2016 at 3:36 pm

        Thank you so much! I have never heard of fresh green tripe so I will surely add it to the mix!
        Yes, ER visits seem to be behind us. his first year with me he vomited every morning!
        I will do anything to relieve him of this horrific itching. Bless you for the kind hesrt you show to all of us.

    • Wendy Rogers on September 11, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      I treated my dog’s allergies with homeopathic drops. His holistic vet said they work better than allergy shots. Got the drops from pureformulas.com. The drops are made by Professional Formulas and he gets household dust & mold mix, Grass & Weed mix, and Northeast Allersode (tree pollen). There are other locations for the Allersode for tree pollen. You would choose Southwest Allersode for LA.

  26. Roxie on August 8, 2016 at 12:51 am

    I have a kitten about 3 weeks old that got lost from it’s mother when just a few days old. He was well cared for when he was found. He has been on kitten formula with colostrum now he is on KMR. What I would like to know is what to feed him when he is weaned and what the timing of weaning him should be. Also, I do not plan to get him vaccinated. (We had a dog we lost early this year who had horrible skin issues that worsened with age and vaccinations.) Thank you for your help.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 8, 2016 at 6:16 am

      Hi Roxie,
      You’ll want to offer balanced raw food, just as soon as he’s interested in nibbling it. Easily bought frozen or you can find recipes and make your own. Dr. Pierson’s site has a wealth of helpful info for you.

  27. Terry Journey on August 7, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    Dear Dr.
    My pomeranian, Dusty has not been vaccinated since he was 4 years old, and he is 12 1/2 now. However, he experiences terrible allergies to flea bites. I am beside myself trying to control fleas with natural means, and trying to keep him from getting bit even once. One bite is all it takes to set off a 4-6 week skin rash that spreads all over. We live in a very very heavy flea area in Oregon. Is there anything at all that can help subdue his reaction to flea bites? (I ask that because no matter what I do, he still gets bitten occasionally.) He is taking Standard Process Antronex to help with histamine response, but it really does not help. Thank you so much.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 8, 2016 at 6:19 am

      Terry, yes, this can be cured, and you’ve inspired me to add a box to point you in the direction to get this accomplished. Scroll up a bit and you’ll see it. Key words: Apoquel Alternatives.
      Best to you in getting Dusty back to normal.

  28. Darci Michaels on August 7, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Took my drooling, non eating 12 year cat into the vet recently to rule out an acute need to act immediately diagnosis. Doc had no clue why this was happening but he wanted to inject her with an antibiotic, send us on our way and “oh, I see she has not been vaccinated.” Me, “Yes she has been vaccinated as a kitten. ( before I knew better) I am not vaccinating her while she is sick or on any other day.” See you later Dr. White Coat. Went home, called Homeopath and within the week she was better. Sorry for the sarcasm but I paid $65.00 to Dr. White Coat for nothing. He got scratched trying to look into her mouth. We need a serious overhaul of the current practices and services.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 8, 2016 at 7:55 am

      When the client knows more about the appropriateness of giving a vaccine than the vet, you know we need change. Vaccination of sick animals is malpractice.
      Thanks for sharing your experience, Darci.

  29. Jane Thompson on August 7, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Beware: know that the fresh meat you feed your dog may have antibiotics and growth hormones feed to the cattle to make them worth more. Look for meat from an independent cattleman who can vouch for the natural level or Whole Foods meat market who have 4 levels of beef. I bought into the vaccines this past winter from a new vet before learning about Dr. Will. Now we are paying the price with daily cool baths, careful food, and nightly massages by me. Windy, our Yorkie 7.4Lbs., is improving but why or why did I feel so weak and give into these “protective” shots. Likewise, we don’t put chemicals into our bodies unless no alternative. Stand up for our pets like “Legally Blond 2” and Broozer.

  30. Susan Israel on August 7, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    Only vaccine my dog gets is the rabies one (reluctantly, since I know immunity lasts much longer than 3 years, but it’s the dumb misinformed law) He was vaccinated up the kazoo in shelter before he was rescued and will not get any more of those. I went to a conventional vet once, just once- even seeing he had had these, they were pushing for “boosters” in a year. I informed them that I was not going to be a client, that I was only using a holistic-oriented vet from then on, bye!
    Where I live they passed an ordinance requiring proof of parvo vaccine- well, since he had the vaccine before I got him, I have that paper stating so and I know my vet (and any true holistic vet) will back that up. Even so, I was asked “Well, when does it expire?” It doesn’t, fools! State law supersedes municipal law and they might be violating state law by pushing something stupid like this.
    My dog ONLY began being bothered by fleas after his last rabies shot in 2015. Coincidence? I think not. No, I don’t use toxic pesticides on him. This year I haven’t noticed many or been bitten. Raw diet, no pesticides, we’re as good as we can get.

  31. Claudia C Chapman on August 7, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    I’ve been an advocate of stopping the vaccination insanity in our state. We lost, but we aren’t giving up. Humans develop autoimmune diseases at increasing rates and thyroid disorders are skyrocketing as well as the grains have increased in the standard American diet. Gluten is mistaken for thyroid antibodies by the body, and the immune system sets out to destroy the thyroid. I assume canines have Hashimoto’s auto immunity or something similar, considering the huge amount of grain being used in today’s average dog food? CC in CA

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 7, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      Good for you, CC. Dogs most definitely show autoimmune thyroid attack, and vaccinations are presumed to be the culprit. Nothing quite confuses a finely tuned immune system like the injection of multiple viruses (basically) into the blood stream.

  32. Stormy Wynter on August 7, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Sorry for the typos (damn auto correct) but it’s frustrating. I could just tell them to quit emailing me I suppose, I don’t intend to use the vet in the future, even tho he’s right around the corner. I am on a waiting list for a combo vet (half holistic supposedly) that is miles away from me. Will try her if I can ever get to see her.

  33. Stormy Wynter on August 7, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Yes. Just recently I received another email reminder that my dog is overdue now for her annual vaccinations! And set an appointment ASAP. Thanks they try to get me to set up a password and go to where they will explainwhat it’s so important for my dogs health to get these vaccines. I just ignore the damn email. They better not call me!

  34. Darci on August 3, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    Great article…again!! The reply are also very helpful and validating when we consider the walls we run into trying to stay on the natural path. Staying under the radar is mostly easy but once in a while you hit that brick. Anyway, I wanted to say too that my 12 year old lab who had her first set of puppy shots then one ONE rabbies vaccine at age 5 (previous owner had to cross the boarder) Since then she has suffered with itchy skin, recently hot spots, and new multiple mammary tumours. The rest of her life has been lived clean: no pesticides, no Dr. Whitecoat drugs, eats raw. Those vaccines are so harmful.
    We are working to get the correct remedy and undo at least some if not all of this damage, reinstate balance and vital health so she can be comfortable in her remaining years.

  35. Tamara on August 27, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    I will be the first to say that the rabies vaccine is the “sleaziest” of them all! Mind you, I don’t vaccinate at all. No drugs, heart worm antibiotics of any kind. Even the one surgery we had to have, I worked side by side with my holistic vet and she got no antibiotics during or after surgery. I supported her immune system with many things and she came out a champ.
    My dog is now 9 years old and has had skin problems ever since she was 2 years old. We wised up at about age 2 and ever since she has improved leaps and bounds. The rabies shot almost killed my dog, huge toxic overload.
    I have declared her dead with the state (on paper) because in order for her to be registered she has to have a rabies vaccine. I won’t do it, I would rather have a healthy living dog rather than a piece of paper and tag of licensing. It has been a battle but one worth taking for the beautiful dog I now have. Most vets to this day do not understand the importance of “whole body” and how toxic the things they recommend are…right down to the food!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      Bravo, Tamara! Registration is certainly not worth the risk, as you rightly point out. When there’s an unjust law that can harm our loved ones, we’ve just go to do what we must to work around that. You’ve done admirably, in my book!

  36. Sinnet Abdoo on August 19, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    I having been experiencing troubles with my 4 1/2 year old girl in respect to her skin. She got a hot spot a few years ago and this year, same thing. She is always scratching too. I can’t touch her back without inducing a scratching fit. I am manipulating her diet but I have always bought good grade foot, even grain free. She had had the raw diet too. I haven’t given them the flea/ tick treatment this year because thru haven’t been in contact with other dogs and no hiking. I am perplexed and want to get an allergy test but just a visit to the visit costs nearly $200. We and twice this year for hot spots already. Luckily my fiancé and I have noticed early signs and he is really good with hair clippers. What should I do? I want to get her back to normal. She’s did get a round of vaccines and I told my vet I didn’t want to overvaccinate and she assured me that I wasn’t.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      Hi Sinnet,
      For the greatest likelihood of cure, I’d suggest seeking out a veterinary homeopath through the AVH. See my Resources page for the link.
      Best of luck. This is curable!

  37. Esther Stalker on July 23, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    I own three dogs, two are on a commercial raw diet and my youngest is on homemade raw diet because of allergies when he was young. Still after several years of being fine, two weeks ago he had some kind of allergic reaction to the soil outside from being too wet. Took care of that with vinegar and water, calendula cream. Now, he is not chewing at his feet everything is gone, but when I tried to use an e-collar so he would not chew at his feet his lips swollen. This is not a consultation since the subject above was about vaccinations I just want it to ask are you suggesting not to vaccinate anything including rabies? Because my dogs have not have a vaccine since puppyhood except for rabies every 3 years because it is the law in Maryland where we live. We do agility and rabies certificates are required in a lot of places were you go. For other diseases we titer every year.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on July 25, 2013 at 5:28 am

      Hi Esther,
      What I’m suggesting on this page, is that rabies laws have no basis in immunological fact, and following them past the initial couple of rabies vaccinations can have a significant negative impact on your animals’ health.
      You have to weigh risks vs benefits for following laws that don’t have your animals’ wellbeing in mind.

      • Bonnie Karwat on September 18, 2013 at 9:42 am

        After reading many of your articles and others, I am more than convinced that I lost my beautiful four year old mixed breed dog because of a Rabies Vac. She was in perfect health, running agility with me and had no medical issues at all.
        I brought her to my vet’s office one Saturday morning for a nail clipping and he informed me that she was due for her Rabies three year vac. I was very hesitant, but he convinced me that she would be fine, has had it before with no issues and it was the law. Within 48 hours of receiving the injection, she was not breathing right.
        To make a very long, heart-breaking story short, over the period of the next eight days, her breathing became so rapid and labored, and her lungs were filled with fluid. I had her in a specialized emergency hospital, where she spent the next six days in their intensive Care Unit, receiving oxygen, medications and intravenous fluids. They performed countless tests, but no one could tell me what was wrong with my baby. We rushed her up to University of Penn, and again, no one could tell me why she was so gravely ill. We finally decided to let her pass to the Rainbow Bridge. This was the most painful decision I have had to make, and though it has been almost 4 years, I still get tears when I talk about her.
        I now have two more beautiful rescue dogs who do agility with me, and I am terrified to ever give them a Rabies Vaccine again. I am so torn, as it is the law in PA. BUT I cannot live through this pain again with another precious friend.
        I wish someone could have told me what happened to my girl. No one will admit that the vaccine could have caused this illness, but no one will also tell me that it did NOT!!

        • Will Falconer, DVM on September 18, 2013 at 4:38 pm

          Oh, Bonnie, what a heart breaking story. I’m so sorry you had to go through this.
          The positive side of it is this: you’ve become sensitized to the potential for damage possible with even *one* rabies vaccination, which is often white washed as being somehow “safe.”
          I hope you can find your way past the laws that you have already fulfilled the intent of: your animals are immune to rabies for the rest of their lives, in all likelihood. They (and you) are good citizens!

          • Suzanne Morrison on August 8, 2016 at 2:13 am

            Can rabies immunity be tested for? Because I vaguely remember that in the uk for the pet passport they do a blood test a couple of weeks after vaccination to check the vaccine has taken. If so why can’t that be done every 3 years or whatever the requirement is? I’m always fearful that here in the uk we will be required by law to do rabies because of the pet passport scheme and how it is so easily bypassed!



          • Will Falconer, DVM on August 8, 2016 at 6:03 am

            Hi Suzanne,
            There’s a very official titer test (measure of antibodies against a disease) for rabies. I advise that if you see a positive test at any point, you can know your animal made an immune response. And that immunity is likely life long, even if the titer falls later in life.
            Now, will the regulatory officialdom wake up and accept that evidence in lieu of further vaccinations? Not anywhere that I’m aware of to date. Hence, my recommendation to clients to “follow the intent” of the rabies law (i.e. get immunity), but “not the letter” of the law, which results in unnecessary damage to health without benefit to the immunity.



    • Shirl Cornelius on September 3, 2018 at 3:28 pm

      I also live in Maryland and with the help of my vet, we were successful in receiving a Rabies Exemption for our rescued dog. We did a titer test (which was high) and our vet sent the results along with the Exemption Form to the state. It took a few months to hear the outcome, but it was worth it to have the peace of mind, that’s he is now legal. No more vaccines for him!

      • Will Falconer, DVM on September 3, 2018 at 6:38 pm

        Nice, Shirl. Even with the bureaucratic wait, sounds like it was worth it. Yearly renewal, though, or how often?

  38. Doria on May 14, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Hi, Dr Will!
    Reading Lynn’s post brought another Allergy Culprit to mind–most “grocery store grade” commercial Pet Foods! They are chock full of dyes, preservatives, toxic chemicals and excitotoxins like MSG (by whatever name they call it!), that they can cause allergies by themselves, or exacerbate vaccine-induced allergies. Even if it weren’t for all the toxins in them, most contain grain products, that dogs and especially cats, are just not designed to digest. They would need either multiple-compartment stomachs, like ruminants, or impossibly long, convoluted intestines, like horses, and a whole different set of digestive enzymes to boot, in order to digest those grains. So the incompletely digested grain proteins can penetrate the villi of their carnivores’ intestines, get into the bloodstream, and cause all kinds of allergic havoc! I favor grain-free foods myself…wish I could afford raw!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 16, 2013 at 5:44 am

      Ah, junk foods. Yes, good point, Doria. A lot of potential to make allergies worse. It reminds me that a good place to start for those itchy allergic animals is cleaning up their diets. I’d often see a significant improvement from just starting there.
      And, hope for you: I’ve had at least two clients tell me, when they costed it out, they were able to feed raw cheaper than kibble! One was the owner of two Great Danes, so take heart. I suspect it’s largely sourcing out ingredients well.

  39. Lynn on May 14, 2013 at 9:46 am

    I love reading articles that affirm what I believe. I have 2 rescue goldens, one was from a puppy mill, sold in a pet store, came into rescue at 1 yr old. Returned to rescue 2x as aggressive, separation anxiety as in chewing doors, so I adopted her and promised her that she would always be with me. I sent blood and saliva to Dr Dodds, found out what foods she is sensitive to and she has a borderline thyroid. I cycle her foods between Honest Kitchen, Sojos, NRG, and raw beef, rabbit, pork, raw beef bones, sardines, salmon, eggs. I have learned so much from her, with training she is not “reactive” anymore, we do agility together. I take her to a Holistic vet who adjusts her and does accupuncture and chinese herbs. She is the picture of glowing health and energy, still has some fear issues but we avoid the triggers as best I can. Her titers are very high so NO vacinations! I’ve changed cleaning products to organic too. This has been a 5 year process and I don’t give up, I will always read and educate myself and anyone else who will listen!!!!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 14, 2013 at 10:03 am

      Nice, Lynn. It’s really rewarding to see the potential still in these guys who’ve had a rough start in life, isn’t it?
      One caution: if/when those titers get low, don’t think that means her immunity has run out. Read my Fallacy of Titer Tests page https://vitalanimal.com/fallacy-of-titer-tests/ to be clear on the limits of titering.
      Thanks for sharing about your healthy gal.

  40. Marie on May 14, 2013 at 6:30 am

    I have not vaccinated my 13 year old mixed breed/mutt since her puppy shots. I do tigers every year during her annual exam. I recently brought her for a check up to a new vet because we moved. He told me if he didnt know she was 13 he would have guessed 6 or 7 – she has beautiful teeth, great muscle mass, etc. he then proceeded to give me his report which recommended the following: stop feeding real food, start vaccinating, use Frontline & Heartworm Preventstive. Really? Isn’t THAT why she looks & acts 6, and has never been sick a day in her life? I am ALWAYS made to feel like a bad pet-parent.
    Now, my other dog also a mixed mutt, an adult rescue around 12 years, gets Rabies every 3 years because he has had a bite and I fear he could be taken away if ever he was to have another. I rescued him 6 years ago so i do t mnow his food, vaccine, and medication history, but he is prone to tumors and skin tags. Interesting huh?
    Thank you for your great articles and for validating what I know to be true. I wish I had a vet who agreed with me on this stuff. It’s very frustrating.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 14, 2013 at 8:27 am

      Hi Marie,
      That’s really amazing, isn’t it? He couldn’t see that the glowing health was a direct result of you avoiding the “prevention” practices that he’d have you do!
      This is the clearest indication to me just how important it is for animal owners to break away from Dr. WhiteCoat and do what they’ve learned from educating themselves and seeing the fruits of their healthy choices in their own animals.
      It’s also quite striking how you can see the difference between your two differently raised dogs. Nothing like that in all the statistics that “evidence based medicine” would have us gather before they believe anything to be true.
      Thanks so much for sharing this. I hope many can learn from it and make good choices from the Vital paradigm for their own animals.

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