The Dangers of Vaccination

  The Dangers of Vaccination
By Dr. Jeffrey Levy DVM PCH

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 the infection. This sounds 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 dramatically.
Not surprisingly, 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.

In summary, 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 or cats. In particular, 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 anymore.
Unfortunately, the law now requires rabies vaccination for dogs and cats. 
This is for reasons of potential human exposure, not for the health of your 
You should 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.

Finally, for some good news, rabies titers are being increasingly used to 
demonstrate effective immunity and avoid unnecessary revaccination.
Rabies vaccination 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.

Homeopathic Nosodes

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. (See Dr. Levy's Article „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. Many veterinary 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.

Most important, 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 of nosodes.

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 30C 

Acute Homeopathic Treatment

Viral diseases 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.

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