The Dangers of Vaccination
The purpose of vaccination is to protect
your pet from potentially fatal infections
by pathogenic (disease-causing) viruses
such as distemper, rabies, and others. The
way this is done is to inject either a killed
virus or a 'modified' (non-pathogenic) live
virus, which sensitizes the immune system
to that particular virus. Thereafter, if
your dog is exposed to, let's say, parvovirus,
s/he will be able to respond quickly and
vigorously, producing antibodies to overcome
like a pretty good plan, on the surface.
However, as with any medical procedure,
we must ask the simple and direct questions,
Is it safe? Is it effective? Do the benefits
outweigh the risks?
The Problems with Vaccination
'Routine' vaccination, as it is practiced
today, is not always effective (especially
in the case of the feline leukemia vaccine),
and frequently has adverse side effects,
either short term or long term. With the
use of multivalent (combination: 3-in-1,
6-in-1, etc.) vaccines that are repeated
year after year, the frequency and severity
of these side effects in our pets has increased
most of the problems involve the immune
system. After all, the immune system is
what vaccines are designed to stimulate.
But they do so in a very unnatural way that
can overwhelm and confuse the immune system.
The body may overreact to normally harmless
substances (allergies, especially flea allergies
and other skin problems), or even produce
antibodies to itself (auto-immune diseases).
At the same
time, the body may be sluggish in responding
to those things that it should reject, such
as common viruses, bacteria, fungi, and
parasites. This can result in increased
susceptibility to acute infections (such
as parvovirus), chronic or recurring infections
(such as ear infections in dogs, bladder
infections or feline leukemia in cats),
or other chronic problems such as arthritis,
kidney disease, or even cancer.
there is a great deal of evidence implicating
vaccination as the cause of many serious
chronic health problems. For this reason,
I do not recommend vaccination for dogs
I strongly recommend against vaccination
for Feline Leukemia in cats, because (a)
it is not very effective, and (b) I have
found that vaccinated cats that subsequently
contract the virus are much more likely
to die from it. I also recommend against
vaccination for Lyme disease and kennel
cough in dogs, again due to lack of effectiveness,
and the fact that these conditions are generally
not very serious. As such, the potential
harm of the vaccine is not justified.
In all fairness,
the choice to forgo vaccination for your
pets does carry some risk. Your puppy could
contract parvovirus, for instance, which
that particular vaccine is effective in
preventing. Fortunately, parvo is generally
quite easy to treat homeopathically. Distemper
and infectious hepatitis are rarely seen
the law now requires rabies vaccination
for dogs and cats. This is for reasons of
potential human exposure, not for the health
of your pet.
know, however, that all vaccines, including
rabies, are medically approved for use in
healthy animals only. This is explicitly
stated in the package insert for every vaccine.
So if your dog or cat is showing any signs
of acute or chronic disease, the manufacturers
do not recommend administration of the vaccine.
for some good news, rabies titers are being
increasingly used to demonstrate effective
immunity and avoid unnecessary revaccination.
should be followed immediately by a single
dose of the Lyssin 30C, which is the rabies
nosode. This should help to minimize the
harmful effects of the vaccine. However,
if you see any symptoms or reaction to the
rabies vaccination, you should consult a
veterinary homeopath for treatment instructions.
As an alternative to vaccination, I sometimes
recommend the use of homeopathic nosodes.
A nosode is simply a homeopathic remedy
that is made from a disease product. Nosodes
are not in any way infectious, and can be
used to prevent viral infection. Under most
circumstances, there is no need for nosodes
in adult animals, so their use is generally
limited to puppies and kittens. There is,
however, a nosode for heartworms, which
could be used in adult dogs on an ongoing
basis. I will discuss this further in the
section on heartworms.
Limitations of Nosodes
There are some limitations to the use
of nosodes. The law requires rabies vaccination
for dogs and cats. The rabies nosode, Lyssin,
will not satisfy that requirement.
offices and kennels insist on current vaccinations,
and will not accept nosodes as an alternative.
I suggest that you find a local veterinarian
that is more open-minded on the topic.
though, is that although nosodes are a safe
and effective alternative to vaccination,
their use does not improve your pet's health.
They merely cover up a possible susceptibility
to a particular pathogen. Constitutional
homeopathic treatment is far preferable,
when possible, in that it will reduce those
susceptibilities at the source by improving
the overall health and immune function of
your pet. As such, constitutional treatment
generally supersedes the administration
If You Choose to Vaccinate...
As I have said, being a veterinary homeopath,
I do not recommend routine vaccination for
dogs or cats, except for rabies where required
by law. If, for whatever reason, you decide
that you must vaccinate your pet, I would
make the following recommendations to minimize
the damage to your pet's health:
- Do not vaccinate an animal with symptoms
of acute or chronic health problems,
or at the time of surgery or other physical
or emotional stress.
- As much as possible, vaccinate for
one disease at a time, and avoid multivalent
(combination) vaccines. For cats, vaccinate
for feline panleukopenia alone. The
vaccines for the two upper respiratory
viruses, calicivirus and rhinotracheitis,
can be given together. I strongly recommend
against vaccination for feline leukemia
virus. For dogs, give parvo separately
from distemper and hepatitis. Do not
vaccinate for leptospirosis or parainfluenza.
Never give the rabies vaccine at the
same time as any other vaccine.
- For adult dogs and cats, vaccinate
every 2-3 years, instead of yearly.
Better yet, just vaccinate puppies and
kittens, and don't vaccinate adults
at all (except for rabies, since that
is required by law).
- After vaccination, give a single
dose of the appropriate nosode in the
Acute Homeopathic Treatment
such as feline infectious peritonitis, canine
distemper and canine parvovirus are usually
not responsive to conventional medical treatment
such as antibiotics and steroids. (Supportive
care, such as intravenous fluids, can be
critically important.) Fortunately, they
usually respond very quickly and favorably
to homeopathic treatment, so the risk of
not vaccinating is greatly lessened.