Are Annual Booster Vaccines Necessary?
At first, when we relied on vaccines to tame epidemics, we didn’t know how long they might raise immunity and protect against disease. We had to trust that revaccinating every so often would do the job. Consequently, revaccination also became the expectation for our dogs.
Dr. Jean Hofve says another reason for annual vaccines developed among veterinarians.
“Of course, the completely unscientific opinion that vaccines should be given every year is nothing more than a convention adopted decades ago by agreement between veterinarians and vaccine manufacturers, primarily as an excuse to get pets in for annual exams.”
Do you know how much your vet relies on annual vaccination?
Dr. Christopher Day said that when he chose to forego vaccinations in his practice, it seriously affected his income.
Annual vaccination (along with the yearly exams) make up a large chunk of a veterinarian’s income each year. Something they will not all be willing to give up for the sake of the safety and health of your pet.
Due to these reasons, annual revaccination has become the standard of health for people and pets.
Annual Vaccination Concerns
It seems that recently concerns about the long-term health effects of repeated vaccination are rising. And today’s veterinarians are confirming these fears.
“When I received my training, little was known about duration of immunity and vaccines. I was not informed about possible short term or long term adverse effects of vaccination.” – Dr. Arthur Freedman
Studies on the duration of immunity vaccines induce, make annual revaccination questionable. That is how long a vaccine will adequately protect against disease.
Veterinary immunologist Ronald D. Schultz Ph.D. has been studying the duration of vaccines in dogs for forty years. In this research, we didn’t see short periods of immune-protection. Rather, vaccines are much more effective than we would have guessed.
The results were such that in 2003 the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) re-evaluated their vaccine schedules. AAHA’s Canine Vaccine Taskforce warned vets that:
‘Immunological memory provides durations of immunity for core infectious diseases that far exceed the traditional recommendations for annual vaccination.’
‘This is supported by a growing body of veterinary information as well-developed epidemiological vigilance in human medicine that indicates immunity induced by vaccination is extremely long lasting and, in most cases, lifelong.’
Lifelong? How awesome is that!
Most noteworthy, Dr. Schultz’ work showed that most vaccines provided active immunity for as little as three years and as long as 15!
Why is this so awesome?
Because although vaccines have been lifesavers during epidemics like polio, today we see consistently more disease linked to vaccines in our dogs (and ourselves).
Annual Revaccination Does Not Equal Better Protection
“Pet owners need to be educated that giving the core vaccines annually is harmful to their animals and will not add to their protective status.” – Dr. Ronna S. Kabler
Instead of providing your dog a boost of immunity each year, annual vaccination is robbing him of his immunity. Vaccines do not enter the immune system by a natural method which the body can respond to correctly. As a result, vaccines injected into the bloodstream are a shock to the body, starting a long chain of inflammation.
Your dog has two ways of protecting himself by what we call “immunity.” Your dog’s dominant immune protection (and correctly so) is cellular.Cellular immunity includes the mucosal membranes and lymph nodes in the respiratory and digestive tracts.
The second is humoral immunity, which involves antibody production in the bone marrow by plasma cells.
Vaccines stimulate the humoral immune response upon injection into the bloodstream, bypassing the cellular defenses. A humoral immune response triggers the thymus gland to make lymphocytes which in turn create cytokines that communicate with the humoral defenses. These humoral cytokines become dominant, efficiently suppressing the cellular cytokines and defenses. It reverses the dominance of cellular immunity and humoral immunity.
Reversing these immune roles leaves your dog’s over-all immunity weakened. Over-vaccination opens the door to autoimmune diseases.
A Small science lesson for you… First Vaccinosis is a term that includes any and all symptoms of disease seen following and linked to vaccination.
DVM Michael Dym and Dr. Martin Goldstein both say these symptoms may appear quickly in acute allergic reactions to the vaccine, but also weeks, months and even years afterward.
Since this isn’t what our vets are learning, it isn’t what they are teaching pet owners.
“I don’t believe that my training in veterinary college was adequate with regard to animal vaccination.”
“There was no real detail about the manufacture of vaccines and what constituents were involved in the different brands. There was no information to help a graduate to choose among the brands. Choice was governed by what discounts manufacturers could give on their other products and how much of the practice’s stationery they would print for you. Decisions were also influenced by how much the individual companies had ‘wooed’ students during their training period.” – Christopher Day MA VetMB CertIAVH VetFFHom MRCVS
Vaccinosis symptoms are split into two categories depending on the time of visible reaction.
Acute Vaccinosis symptoms include:
- Facial swelling
- Injection site swelling, pain, and hair loss
- Ataxia (loss of coordination and balance)
- Behavior changes (fear, aggression, anxiety)
- Seizures (Most often seen immediately following the vaccine or between 7 and nine days after when antibodies develop)
- Anaphylaxis (fatal allergic shock)
Chronic Vaccinosis symptoms include:
- Cancer – fibrocarcinomas, spindle cell cancers, mast cell cancers, hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma, and lymphoma.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and other chronic digestive issues like colitis and chronic diarrhea.
- Seizures and epilepsy
- Granulomatuous meningioencephalititsinflammatory disease of the central nervous system – brain and spinal cord – the most common nervous system disease seen after canine distemper.
- Chronic Allergies
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Autoimmune thyroiditisAn illness that occurs when abnormal blood antibodies (immune cells) attack the thyroid cells and cause chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland.
- A metabolic disease like Cushing’s, Addison’s and pancreatitis.
(You can find a complete list, and a list of rabies vaccine-related diseases here: http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/65-ways-rabies-vaccination-can-harm-your-dog/ )
Further, the reactions in the list above are more likely to occur in dogs who receive vaccines multiple times during their life.
“Breach of the Oath”
While most veterinarians and pet owners are still giving pets yearly vaccines, Holistic Vet Patricia Jordan says that annual vaccination is neither required by law nor even suggested by the AAHA.
In her article “65 Ways Rabies Vaccination Can Harm Your Dog” Dr. Jordan said:
When I became a veterinarian I took an Veterinarian’s Oath to “use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering […] and the advancement of medical knowledge.”
I find the outdated rabies laws to be a breach of the Oath I took and not in keeping with protection of animal health or promotion of public health.
And her opinion does not stand alone. Many vets are becoming aware of the connection between vaccines and disease.
“I feel pet owners are undereducated on the issue of vaccination and the scientific evidence that reveals the harmful nature of this practice. They are most likely operating on fear of disease and old advice from vets that did not know the science in years past.” – Dr. Erin Zamzow
To read more about vaccinations from veterinarians go here: http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/vets-on-vaccines/.
Annual revaccination equals over-vaccination. And over-vaccination causes disease.
As pet owners, we need to keep ourselves educated, always stay open-minded, and be ready to make decisions that keep our dogs safe.
Because this kind of knowledge isn’t taught in veterinary schools, Veterinarians do not learn about the link between over-vaccination and disease. They believe that annual vaccination is the best thing they can do for your pet.
Please be willing to work with your vet on choosing what vaccines to give and how often to give them to your dog. Be ready to choose your vaccination plan for your dog and stick to it.
In future articles, we’ll cover some options for vaccination schedules, discuss the right time to vaccine your dog, which vaccines are necessary, and how you can promote immunity naturally using your dog’s diet, lifestyle, and homeopathy. Our goal is to find the options that best set our dogs up for long, satisfied lives.
– Cassy Kay
Goldstein, Martin D.V.M. The Nature of Animal Healing. Toronto, Canada: Random House, Inc. 1999. Print. Chapter 4 pg. 71.
Henriques, Julia. “Annual Dog Vaccines: Are They Necessary?” dogsnaturallymagazine.com. Web. Accessed Feb. 28, 2018. http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/annual-dog-vaccines-are-they-necessary/
Jordan, Patricia DVM. “65 Ways Rabies Vaccination Can Harm Your Dog” dogsnaturallymagazine.com. Web. Accessed Feb. 6, 2018. http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/65-ways-rabies-vaccination-can-harm-your-dog/
O’Driscoll, Catherine. “Vets on Vaccines” dogsnaturallymagazine.com. Web. Accessed Feb. 17, 2018. http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/vets-on-vaccines/
Rodier, Lisa. “Over-Vaccinating Your Dog” whole-dog-journal.com. Oct. 6, 2016. Web. Accessed Feb. 17, 2018. https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/13_8/features/Over-Vaccinating-Your-Dog_20036-1.html
Scott, Dana. “Food Allergies in Dogs – A Man-Made Problem.” Dogsnaturallymagazine.com. Web. Oct. 7, 2017. http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/dog-allergies-a-man-made-problem/
Scott, Dana. “Science and Vaccines” dogsnaturallymagazine.com. Web. Accessed Feb. 6, 2018. http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/science-vaccines/