Vaccine information by Dr. Jeannie Thomason, DVM

Food, Fitness and how to keep them healthy.

Postby LMM » March 9th, 2010, 2:08 pm

I am posting this because I would love to read some feedback. It's pretty clear that many of us do not want to over-vaccinate. We have some people with pretty good experience in this arena on this board and I'd really be interested in your thoughts.

I'm still not comfortable with not vaccinating puppies but from what I can read, she isn't advocating that. She is just saying to not do anything before 8 weeks. I am fully on board with doing titers for adults.

So much information out there on both sides.

By: Dr Jeannie Thomason

The purpose of this article is to explain why some Natural Rearing/holistic dog breeders don't give any vaccines, including puppy shots, to their dogs. If you are unfamiliar with holistic or naturopathic medicine, most of this article may not be very meaningful to you. In fact, you might even decide that anyone who doesn't give vaccines to their puppies is insane. That's fine. Don't do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable! They are your puppies and their care is in your hands.

My intention here is to give you food for thought and hopefully inspire you to research this out for yourself.

In general, Breeders give vaccinations to their puppies in order to protect them from diseases. They do this out of love and concern. They do it because they believe that the dangers of these diseases outweigh the risks of the vaccinations or more usually because they have never really questioned the practice in the first place.

More breeders and pet owners are questioning vaccinations and vaccination protocols these days with all the information available about the dangers of over vaccinating our pets. They really just want to make sure their puppies won't get parvo or distemper or anything else they can prevent, and also want to avoid harming them by giving vaccines too soon or too often or in any way that will damage their puppy. They want to be sure that the puppy will be safe from disease, and they want to immunize their puppy. They just want to find a safe way to do it.

There is a growing number of pet owners and professional caregivers who are experiencing some negative and even, often dangerous, life-threatening repercussions, from the vaccination-immunization serum that they are having veterinarians inject into their pets.

A little background on me:
I am a Veterinary Naturopath and have worked in the animal care industry and specifically the veterinary field for many years (Tech, Assistant & Front Office). I have spent a good amount of time in the last 18 years, studying the issue of vaccinations.

I have personally seen many situations where the perfectly healthy puppy is brought in at 6 weeks of age for his first vaccines. The vet always warns that the pup may run a slight fever and/or lose his appetite and not have much energy for a day or so. Then the puppy is scheduled to return in 2 to 3 weeks for more vaccines. At that time he may spike another fever or maybe a day of diarrhea. Then he is returned again in another 2 or 3 weeks for more vaccines. By now he may start to itch a bit or have digestive problems. Often by the time the puppy is 6 months old he has several problems going on. He often has chronic loose stools, itches, (but there are no fleas), licks its feet excessively, fails to thrive, has changes in behavior, etc. Thus begins the first stages of chronic illness brought on by the vaccines.

When a perfectly healthy puppy is given viruses that cause illness, the animal is going to manifest illness-related symptoms. This healthy individual will be required to maintain a low-level stimulation of a state of distemper, a low level state of parvo, rabies, and so on. As long as the animal is in a low level state of illness, it is not in a high level state of health. In other words, vaccines are supposed to provide protection by keeping the body in a diseased state of health. Often the animal will not manifest the illness it is vaccinated for, at least not in its acute form, but it will manifest in other conditions. Usually these are chronic conditions and inherited weaknesses such as: any auto-immune disease such as lupus, auto-immune hemolytic anemia cardiomyopathies; fibrosarcomas, mast cell tumors, thyroid tumors, etc.; inflammatory bowel disease, dermatological conditions, warts, lipomas, poor hair coats, IBS, periodontal disease, thyroid disease, and the list goes on and on.

A team at Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine conducted several studies to determine if vaccines can cause changes in the immune system of dogs that might lead to life-threatening immune-mediated diseases. They obviously conducted this research because concern already existed. It was sponsored by the Haywood Foundation which itself was looking for evidence that such changes in the human immune system might also be vaccine induced. It found the evidence.

"Effects of Vaccination on the Endocrine and Immune Systems of Dogs, Phase II", Purdue University, November 1,1999, at: ... cines.html
Also see

Change in Protocols

Finally and thankfully, Veterinary Schools are changing their vaccination protocols - Recent editions of the Senior Dogs Project's newsletter have reported on the ever-broadening trend of eliminating vaccinations for adult dogs all together (except for rabies, where required by state law). We have now had a report that all 27 veterinary schools in North America are in the process of changing their protocols for vaccinating dogs and cats.

Here, in a nutshell, are the new guidelines under consideration: "Dogs and cats immune systems mature fully at 6 months. If a modified live virus (MLV) vaccine is given after 6 months of age, it produces immunity, which is good for the life of the pet (i.e., canine distemper, parvo, feline distemper). If another MLV vaccine is given a year later, the antibodies from the first vaccine neutralize the antigens of the second vaccine and there is little or no effect. The titer is not 'boosted' nor are more memory cells induced.

"Not only are annual boosters for parvo and distemper unnecessary, they actually subject the pet to highly potential risks of allergic reactions and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. There is no scientific documentation to back up label claims for annual administration of Modified Live Virus vaccines. Puppies receive antibodies through their mother’s milk. This natural protection can last 8-14 weeks. Puppies and kittens should NOT be vaccinated at LESS than 8 weeks. Maternal immunity will neutralize the vaccine and little protection (0-38%) will be produced. Vaccination at 6 weeks will, however, delay the timing of the first highly effective vaccine. Vaccinations given 2 weeks apart suppress rather than stimulate the immune system. A series of vaccinations is given starting at 8 weeks and given 3-4 weeks apart up to 16 weeks of age. Another vaccination given sometime after 6 months of age (usually at 1 year 4 months) will provide lifetime" immunity." (

“Homeopathic veterinarians and other holistic practitioners have maintained for some time that vaccinations do more harm than they provide benefits. Vaccinations represent a major assault on the body's immune system. Attentuated organisms or chemically killed viruses or bacteria are injected directly into the blood stream, an unnatural route of infection. This profound insult, avoiding the body's first line of defenses, and flooding the system with millions of organisms or viral particles, stresses the immune system in a way not of natures design. This insult causes irregularities and abnormalities in the immune system which then manifests as chronic diseases in animals.” Dr Charles E Loops DVM

“We see a lot of epilepsy/seizures, often after a rabies vaccination. Or dogs or cats can become aggressive for several days. Frequently, you'll see urinary tract infections in cats, often within three months after their [annual] vaccination. If you step back, open your mind and heart, you'll start to see patterns of illness post-vaccination." Dee Blanco, D.V.M (

"Routine vaccination has adverse side-effects, either short or long term. With vaccines that are repeated year after year, the frequency and severity of these side-effects in our pets has increased dramatically. 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." Donna Starita Mehan DVM

Many of us question the very act of immunization its self. We question the effect of injecting a disease into our dogs, thus putting a virus directly into the bloodstream that normally enters only through the mouth, respiratory system, etc., thus bypassing the entire primary immune response that occurs in the mucous membranes.

We worry about the research that shows that vaccinated dogs have antibodies against THEIR OWN CELLS, while a control group of un-vaccinated dogs does not. (Larry T. Glickman, DVM, "Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Vaccination," Advances in Veterinary Medicine, Vol. 41, 2001)

We worry about the effect on the immune system of an animal, to inject them with a disease that has been changed and modified so it cannot cause symptoms; symptoms are, after all, the way a body "discharges" the disruptive forces of a disease in the first place. Vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, running noses, increased urination, rashes and the sweat of a fever, all of these discharges are the body's way of moving the disease out of the body.
What If They Get Sick?
I think the "missing piece" of a lot of people's comfort with not vaccinating is that they are not prepared for their dog or cat to actually get a disease for which a vaccine exists. This is a big step!

Many will dismiss that fear and say if you only feed this way or use this herb or this supplement or use homeopathy or get a puppy from a Natural Rearing Breeder or light candles in the field at the full moon, your pet won't ever get sick. Well,
DON'T BELIEVE IT! This is not always the case.

You need to be aware and I want to be perfectly clear here, DISEASE CAN AND OFTEN DOES HAPPEN! Healthy, multi-generation un-vaccinated, naturally raised dogs can and sometimes do get infectious diseases however, with a natural diet, lessened exposure to toxic chemicals and keeping the immune system in peak, healthy condition will greatly increase the chances of your pet not getting a disease and if it should, will most likely have an immune system that can fight off the disease in a short period of time with holistic support.

I have seen while working at veterinary clinics that the majority of cases of Parvo are actually in puppies that HAVE been vaccinated. The majority of them died even with support/treatment.

In the few cases seen of puppies that were not vaccinated and contracted Parvo, they all lived with support and treatment; their immune systems were better equipped to fight and win.

Okay, that said, what do you think the immune system does with a virus that sets up in its cells but causes no acute symptoms? Those suppressed acute symptoms become chronic disease. And chronic disease is deeper and more serious than an acute disease.

If ones comfort zone is dependent on some kind of guarantee, or use of a substitute product like nosodes or colloidal silver, which will guarantee that their puppies won't get parvo or distemper, then I sincerely believe they are not ready to not vaccinate.

If, however, you are truly committed to principles of natural rearing, have easy access to a truly excellent holistic vet, (preferably with classical homeopath knowledge), have the financial and emotional resources to deal with a sick puppy (and with the inevitable guilt you will feel if a puppy comes down with something for which you could have vaccinated them), if you understand the nature of acute disease and the risks of suppression, then you are ready to consider this step.

Be Prepared
I have studied and continue to study natural healing and keep up to date on animal physiology. I do not give my dogs anything containing chemicals such as flea prevention, heart worm pills, commercial dog food or do I use any household chemicals in my home.

I feed them a diet as close to what they would eat in the wild as possible. I supplement them with probiotics and enzymes as well as occasional vitamins, trace minerals and immune boosting products such as Colostrum.

I keep a medicine chest full of supplies like: herbs, colloidal silver, Parvaid, activated Charcoal, Colostrum, homeopathic remedies, lactated ringers, Fastrack gel, IV sets, Nosodes, books,etc.

From working with Veterinarians for many years I have seen and assisted in the treatment and care of puppies and dogs with Parvo, Distemper, etc. I have seen far more healed and cured then I have seen die. If treated right away and properly it usually does not end in death.

It has been my personal observation that healthy animals who recover from an acute disease with holistic and/or homeopathic treatment bounce back very fast and very clean, while animals who have had their symptoms suppressed with drugs usually have very lingering convalescences and most of the time, suffer from chronic problems later on. I have also seen and experienced first hand that healthy un-vaccinated animals have a vigor and disease resistance that is quite awesome, and which until you've really seen multiple generations of un-vaccinated, un-suppressed animals, you might not believe yourself.

There is an argument to be made, although not everyone will be willing or even ready to hear it, and many will even disagree violently with it, that immunizing your puppy against parvo or distemper or other diseases, no matter how wisely and moderately and scientifically you do it, isn't such a good thing after all. There is so much information available now about the immune system, disease, the real dangers of vaccinating and especially "over vaccinating" our pets out there to study.

So in the end, we each need to make up our own decisions on this issue. I try to share information to those who are questioning vaccination and recommend they do their own research so that they might be better able to come up with a more rational and safer vaccine program (instead of what most vets and vaccine manufactures recommend). This does not mean I am recommending vaccinations or telling you what I think you should do. Everyone has to decide for himself or herself, just as I have.

Is this path right for you? I don't know. But don't make this decision lightly, or without a full understanding of the historical and theoretical basis for the decision. Read. Question. Educate yourself. Then decide.
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Postby Suzi » March 9th, 2010, 2:44 pm

I am on the fence with vacs. Since I was pointed a in the direction of a holistic healer after Bells was diagnosed with MCT (all her tumors were located where she was given her shots), I more than likely will not get her anymore vaccines.
Don't quote me here,,,,but one article I read I beleive it was Merrick that had the documentation regarding certain cat vaccines and where they should be administered ie leg or tail because of the likelyhood of cancer arising (you can cut a tail or leg off :( )

I will see if I can find the article and post it. ( mods can I? post it?)
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Postby HappyChick » March 9th, 2010, 3:33 pm

I haven't had a lot of experience, but I am in the process of changing my ideas on vaccines too. I am driven by not knowing what caused Vinny's cancer, and wanting to limit the other dogs exposure to carcinogens and things that may lower their immune systems. Vinny had all his vaccines on schedule, his rabies as soon as he was old enough, topical flea preventative, and heartworm preventative.

Now I do things differently. When I got Leni, I allowed her to have one set of vaccines. Then we discovered the mange and secondary skin infection a little while later. I decided that her immune system was going through enough stress so I've held off on the other vaccinations. I've also held off on the rabies shot. We live in town and the dogs don't leave home very often, so I don't think their exposure is great. She got a Bordetella shot when she went in for spay surgery, but only because she had to stay over night with several other dogs and the vet required it. My plan for Leni is one more set of vaccines sometime between 6 months and 1 year old and the rabies after her first birthday. Then for all the dogs, vaccines only on an as needed basis.

If our circumstances were different, such as living where their exposure to wild animals would be greater or living near water, I would definitely rethink my whole plan.

I totally agree with Dr. Thomason that everyone has to decide for him or herself.
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Postby BullyLady » March 10th, 2010, 1:08 pm

Suzi wrote:Don't quote me here,,,,but one article I read I beleive it was Merrick that had the documentation regarding certain cat vaccines and where they should be administered ie leg or tail because of the likelyhood of cancer arising (you can cut a tail or leg off :( )

I will see if I can find the article and post it. ( mods can I? post it?)

That article was also published in a veterinary journal, for that my veterinarian also gives all vaccines in extremities. She says that dogs need at least their puppy vax, but absolutely none before eight weeks, and after that she is most comfortable with titering, though she won't not vaccinate a dog annually if the owner wants that or can't afford titering. And again, all vaccines in extremities so that if a related cancer pops up then the limb can be amputated. My vet seems to be very progressive, she's happy to change her ways when new information comes out, she's totally on board with our raw feeding and preferring to treat conservatively where medications are concerned. I trust her judgment on this issue.
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