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December 9, 2005


More and more pet owners understand now that vaccines do not provide immunity. A healthy immune system does. Veterinarians in general don't know much about vaccines, they know little about immunology and even less on canine nutrition. Many are still giving yearly shots, even though research has shown that is an arbitrary timetable. Vaccine companies have also really taken advantage of this schedule that was devised in the 1970’s. Vaccine companies and Vets thrive on vaccinating your pet. They will vaccinate now and attempt to repair damage created later in your pets life, usually providing no long term benefit or being able to view and your dogs health from a position of surviving to “thriving” to your animal. Increasingly Holistic Vets and in particular those who study immunology tell us over and over again that if you feed a species appropriate raw diet (prey model), eliminate toxins in the form of vaccines, heartworm, flea/tick medications and allopathic meds. Strive to provide clean water, fresh air, exercise combined with reasonable amount of exposure to diseases (distemper/parvo via dog-dog socialization then you “should” have a healthy dog and she/he "should" resist disease, including fleas and ticks!

Unless a veterinarian has a special interest in immunology, he or she probably will not have all the information needed to give you an informed response on vaccinations. I also wish I could tell you that there is a definite answer to these questions, based on science and research; there isn't. I have read so much information on this subject (some of which is conflicting -so keep an open mind about this subject), I have also queried Vets and homeopaths about it. Ultimately, no matter what your Vet suggests, or what I believe, or what you read as you research this issue, this is your decision to make.

What About Vaccines?

by Betty Lewis, RVT, Dr. A.N.

When I started to write this article, I decided to see if there were any trends I could discover by looking back in my own history as a Registered Veterinary Technician. I quickly found that I could characterize the various veterinary hospitals where I worked by half decade, as well as by the reasons that it seemed to me most people took their animals to the veterinarian. These are my recollections: nothing “scientific” or etched in stone, but I found the trends to be interesting.

I first started working in the veterinary profession in 1973. The word “trauma” sums up my memory of those early years. Outside of routine spays and neuters, the main reason that animals showed up at this vet’s included what we called “HBCs” or “hit by cars”, also, cats who got caught in car fan belts, dog fights, cuts and scratches and broken limbs. In other words, there were a lot of otherwise healthy animals who ended up needing veterinary attention because of accidents. We did not see an overwhelming amount of chronically ill animals.

I left that practice in 1976, so my memory of the next veterinary hospital pertains to the late 1970s. In that hospital, the character had changed a little and now we saw more allergies, bloats and growth issues, like panosteitis.

The next hospital was in the early 1980s and by that time we were seeing parvovirus cases, and more metabolic diseases like diabetes in dogs, cancer and heart failure.

By the late 1980s, animals were showing severe signs of illnesses. Even more diseases began to be commonplace such as dental diseases, kidney failure, hypothyroid (dogs), hyperthyroid (cats), diabetes continued in dogs, but now emerged in cats as well, cardiomyopathy, cancers, and serious autoimmunities such as lupus, myasthenia gravis and others.

From the late 1990s to the present, all of the above diseases continue across breed lines, sometimes across species lines and there are new problems being added all the time. IBD/IBS (inflammatory bowel disease/syndrome) was unheard of when I left veterinary practice in 1987 to open my holistic consulting business, but is now nearly at epidemic proportions. Seizures and temperament problems are common now and there are more cancers and autoimmune diseases.

I find this trend to be incredibly alarming. When charted in this cut and dried fashion, it is obvious to me that animals are *much* sicker now than they were a mere 30 years ago and the diseases are very serious.

I have mulled this situation over, trying to decide why animals (and probably humans) appear to be sicker than they used to be, and have come to the conclusion that I can sum up the fundamental reason for this trend in two words: “toxic exposure”. Our focus has changed from acute disease, leading to quick death, to chronic disease and long, drawn-out, painful death. We really have gone from having animals who weren’t really sick much at all to animals who are always sick.

Toxic exposure takes many forms, from industrial waste in our water, such as chlorine and fluoride, to toxic cleaning supplies, to so-called preventive products for parasites such as the topical “spot-on” products or heartworm “prevention” products. There are many other environmental toxins that our animals are exposed to, but, in my opinion, the two biggest husbandry or management mistakes that we make in caretaking our animals represent two sides of the same coin. One is species inappropriate diet and the other is the use of vaccines.

The diet issue is a huge one, but not the focus of this article. The rest of this article will focus on vaccines and vaccinosis.

In the 1800’s, a homeopathic physician named F. Compton Burnett, coined the word to mean chronic disease induced by vaccination.

In 1993, a well-known American homeopathic veterinarian and immunologist, Richard Pitcairn, DVM, PhD, presented a paper to a veterinary conference. The paper can be found by going to the link below.


In the paper, he showed the correlation between acute diseases, such as canine and feline distemper, rabies and feline panleukopenia and chronic symptoms we are commonly seeing in dogs and cats today. The chart below is re-printed from his paper. You can see the frightening implications when reading the chart and you can understand his premise that it’s very likely that the vaccinations we’ve been giving our animals for several generations to combat acute infections from the diseases, are now conferring lifelong chronic afflictions on those same animals.

On the left side of the chart, you see the acute symptoms of canine distemper and on the right side are the common chronic symptoms. To see charts for the other diseases Pitcairn studied, please go to his website and read the whole article.

Now, let’s examine some myths concerning vaccines which have somehow been elevated to the level of gospel truths in conventional medical circles.

Myth #1: that the administration of vaccines is safe.

A British group, called Canine Health Concern (CHC) analyzed the post vaccinal histories of 3800 dogs. The whole report can be viewed at http://www.bogartsdaddy.com/bouvier/health/vaccination-concerns-uk.htm

The quotes below point out some of the pertinent points which I would like to emphasize, however.

“We have been able to show a definite statistical correlation between a vaccine event and the onset of a number of specific illnesses. Our published conclusions have satisfied mathematical or inferential statistical tests at a level of confidence of 99% or better.

"Overall, we found that 66% per cent of all sick dogs start being sick within three months of vaccination, which is considerably more than double the expected rate of illness. Worse, 49% of all illnesses reported in the survey occurred within 30 days of vaccination. This is over five times the expected percentage if vaccination had no bearing on subsequent illness. More damning still, 29% of sick dogs first became sick within seven days of their vaccine jab. This means that a dog is 13 times more likely to become ill within seven days of vaccination than at any other time.
In the study, 69.2% of allergic dogs first became allergic within three months of being vaccinated - more than double the expected number. 55.8% of dogs with autoimmune disease developed the condition within three months of being vaccinated - again, more than twice the expected figure. Of dogs with colitis, 65.9% developed the complaint within three months of being vaccinated and, of dogs with dry eye/conjunctivitis, 70.2% developed their conditions within three months - both nearly three times higher than expected. 73.1% of dogs with epilepsy first became epileptic within three months of vaccination. As 2% of all dogs in the UK are epileptic, vaccines are clearly causing horrendous damage. For statisticians, our Chi score for epilepsy is 96: any Chi test statistic higher than twelve gives a 95% confidence about the conclusions. Without doubt, then, the majority of epileptic dogs in our survey are vaccine damaged.

"But perhaps most astonishing is the fact that a majority of dogs (64.9%) with behavioral problems appear to have developed their difficulties within three months of vaccination. Similarly, 72.5% per cent of dogs with nervous or worrying dispositions became nervous within three months of their jabs (with a Chi score of 112), and 73.1% per cent of dogs with short attention spans lost their attentiveness within three months of vaccination.

"Other diseases that were highly represented within three months post vaccination included cancer (35.1%), chorea (81%), encephalitis (78.6%), heart conditions (39.2%), kidney damage (53.7%), liver damage/failure (61.5%), paralysis of the rear end (69.2%), and pancreas problems (54.2%)."

Research conducted at Purdue University shows routinely vaccinated dogs developing auto antibodies to a vast range of normal canine biochemicals - which corroborates our findings. “

Myth #2: that dogs, once vaccinated, need to be “boosted”

This myth has been perpetuated by veterinarians for at least 50 years, but I am astonished when I think about this fact, because it doesn’t even make logical sense to me. I am extremely annoyed at myself for ever allowing myself to have believed something so absurd. Now, from two top immunologists, Ron Schultz, DVM and Tom Phillips, DVM, here is a quote confirming that it just isn’t so. The quote is from Kirk’ Current Veterinary Therapy 1992:

"A practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual revaccination. Almost without exception there is no immunologic requirement for annual revaccination. Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal...... Furthermore, revaccination with most viral vaccines fails to stimulate an anamnestic (secondary) response.... The practice of annual vaccination in our opinion should be considered of questionable efficacy..."

Myth #3: that vaccines protect against the diseases as advertised

First, of all, the insert that accompanies all vaccines says that only healthy animals should be vaccinated. Next, vaccines do not confer immunity on individuals; instead, they sensitize the body to produce antibodies. During the period after vaccination, the body is particularly susceptible to adverse reactions. Again, quoting from the CHC survey, they discovered the following information.

“Many contend that vaccines are a necessary evil; that we need them to protect our dogs against certain deadly canine diseases. However, our survey found that high percentages of dogs are developing the diseases we vaccinate against, soon after vaccination.

"Of dogs with hepatitis, 64% contracted it within three months of being vaccinated and, of those with parainfluenza, 50% developed it within three months of their shots. Also, 69% of dogs with parvovirus, 56% of dogs with distemper, and every single dog with leptospirosis in the survey contracted the diseases within three months of vaccination.

"Our figures support the view that vaccines don't confer guaranteed immunity and may actually cause the diseases they're designed to prevent. Our figures appear to demonstrate that vaccines cause illness in one in every hundred dogs - and this is a conservative estimate.

In conclusion, then, I want to make some suggestions. Also, be aware, that in the USA, almost every state requires the rabies vaccine. Therefore, my recommendations cannot include that vaccination. However, there are some pertinent articles about rabies vaccines in the resources below.

Ronald Schultz, DVM, is a vaccine researcher and he does believe in giving “core” vaccinations. I attended a day long seminar he gave on this topic and he made this important point. He says that you must vaccinate within the “window of opportunity.” He calls this “immunologic imprinting.” If you vaccinate an immature immune system, or one not capable of responding fully, he says you get only a partial response and will never again have the opportunity to get a complete response. That window, he points out, occurs after 12 weeks of age in the dog. Therefore, it is his opinion, that routine vaccinations given before 12 weeks are not indicated except under very special circumstances.

One of the tremendous advantages of the Internet, is the ability for “regular” people to communicate and for thousands of people to compare notes. Through this route, I have discovered that when unvaccinated puppies are exposed to recently vaccinated dogs (who are therefore shedding the viral particles), the unvaccinated puppies demonstrate a titer to the diseases. (A titer is a measure of circulating antibodies.) In fact, I had a conversation with Harm Hogenesch, another veterinary vaccine researcher on the Purdue Study. He said, “The very best way to protect your dog is to make sure your neighbor vaccinates *her* dog!”

So, if the veterinarians who are experts in vaccines say we should wait until after 12 weeks to vaccinate, and the best way to accomplish that is by allowing our puppies exposure to dogs shedding vaccine particles into the environment, then it makes sense to me to forgo the actual injection and simply take the puppy to puppy kindergarten or the park. Is there a risk that our puppies could get sick following this approach? Of course! Life isn’t safe, but there is also a risk that the puppies could get the diseases after being vaccinated. It also appears to be true, from reading many case histories on the Internet, that dogs who get parvovirus after being vaccinated, are sicker and more likely to die than their unvaccinated counterparts who also contract the disease.

Most of us, who are led to a study of vaccinosis, do so because one or more of our dogs (or children) have been irreversibly damaged or compromised by vaccines.

Anyone considering vaccinating needs to know that there are some consequences of any given vaccine.

Is it worth the risk?

http://cyberpet.com/cyberdog/articles/health/vaccin.htm Richard Pitcairn,DVM, PhD

http://www.drpitcairn.com/Talks/New%20look%20vaccines/New%20Look%20Vaccines.html- Richard Pitcairn,DVM, PhD A New Look at the Vaccine Question


December 30, 2005

Heartworm- A Realistic Look

Heartworm: A Realistic Look

Heartworm is of concern to all dog owners, and is a potentially serious, sometimes even fatal, disease. It is not, however, the unavoidable scourge that many vets and pharmaceutical companies would have us believe. If your dog is reasonably healthy, eating a SARF diet, is vaccine free, is not currently on any HW preventives or chemical flea and tick preventives, his immune system should be strong enough to fight off a heartworm infestation with none of the larvae reaching adulthood. In the event that some of the larvae should manage to get past your dog's immune system defenses and survive to adulthood, it is still far from a death sentence. They will be much weakened, and the truly healthy dog will make a less hospitable host. Even at the adult stage, a healthy dog, possibly with some veterinary assistance, should be able to fight them off with no lasting ill effects to his health. Nor are the currently available cures more dangerous than the preventive, as the veterinary and pharmaceutical industries would have us believe.

The mid and southern Atlantic states and the north-central states (where we live) have the most reported cases of heartworm. See the maps at http://cal.vet.upenn.edu/parasit/heartworm/hw_3.html. Note the tremendous increase in heartworm since the introduction of mass vaccinations (figure three). Mosquitoes are the only known vector of the infective stage of the heartworm larvae. In some parts of the country mosquitoes are a problem all year round, while in others this problem is limited to the warm months.

There are many sites out there on the internet with lots of "information" on heartworm. The problem with much of it is that it is either wrong or incomplete. Much of it is intended to mislead and frighten you. One site says simply that a mosquito bites an infected dog then bites another dog and infects it. While that, to some extent, in the most general of ways, is true, it is very misleading because the entire process is much more complicated and time consuming than that that explanation would lead one to believe. Another says that the mosquito injects the heartworm into your dog. This is simply false.

This is a compilation of information I've been collecting for a couple of years, including some tips on what you can do to protect your dog from heartworm. The heartworm has 5 separate larval stages referred to simply as L1, L2, L3, L4, and L5. The L5 is actually the young adult stage. The fully mature adult is often referred to as L6. In addition, heartworm also has two separate cycles, which, combined, make up the total lifecycle of the heartworm. One cycle takes place in a mosquito, and the other inside a dog or cat.

When a mosquito bites a dog harboring microfilariae, the mosquito ingests the L1 larvae, or microfilariae. This can only happen if the dog is also harboring the L6, or mature adult heartworm, because the microfilariae are the offspring of the adult heartworm. These microfilariae can live for up two years in the dog’s blood without causing any harm. They must, however, be taken up by a mosquito in order to develop any further. If they are not, they will simply die of old age and be passed out of the system. Once the mosquito ingests the microfilariae from the infected dog, the larvae must go through two stages of development, or molts, changing from L1 to L2 and from L2 to L3, while in the mosquitoes system before the mosquito can infect another dog. Once the L3 stage has been reached the larvae migrate to the mosquitoes mouth. It is only the L3 larvae, which are capable of infecting another dog. This mosquito cycle takes anywhere from two weeks to about a month depending on the weather. The warmer the weather, the faster the development. If the larvae haven’t made the final development by then, they never will because the mosquito dies of old age at about 35 days, and along with the mosquito, die the larvae.

The importance of temperature: While the larvae are developing in the mosquito, development continues only when the temperature is above 64 degrees F. Further, the temperature MUST remain above 57 degrees Fahrenheit at all times, day and night during the entire mosquito cycle. If at any time during the development into the L3 stage, the temperature drops below 57 F, the development is aborted and must start over. Remember, it is only the L3 larvae, which are capable of infesting your dog.

Now lets say that a mosquito has bitten an infested dog; and that the temperature has remained above 57 degrees F for a minimum of 14 days since that bite; and that the mosquito bites your dog. Still, your dog is not infested because the L3 larvae are deposited in a tiny droplet of mosquito saliva adjacent to the bite, not injected into your dog by the mosquito--as many would have us believe. Providing the humidity and temperature are such that the droplet does not evaporate before the they get the chance, the L3 larvae must swim through the saliva and into the hole left by the mosquito bite, thereby entering your dogs system.

Once inside your dog, the L3 larvae must spend the next two weeks or so developing into the L4 larvae. During this period of time the larvae are living in the subcutaneous tissue just under the skin, not in the blood of the newly infected dog. The L4 will continue to live and develop in the subcutaneous tissue for the next two to three months, where they develop into the L5 stage. Once they make this development or molt into the L5 or young adult stage, they then leave the subcutaneous tissue and enter the blood stream. The L5 or young adults then migrate to the heart and pulmonary arteries where they make their final development into the L6 or mature, breeding, adult stage and attach to the tissue of the heart and pulmonary arteries. Once there, approximately 5 to 7 months after entering the dog's body, they will mate. This mating produces the microfilariae.

If the dog is not re-infested with L3 larvae from another bite from another infected mosquito, the adult heartworm will die of old age in about 2 years. The microfilaria will also die a natural death unless taken up by a mosquito.

The adult female mosquito, the only one which bites, usually lives little more than thirty days. Some species live only a couple of weeks. See, http://www.sci-ctr.edu.sg/ScienceNet/cat_life/cat_zoo03865.html For a great deal more information on the mosquito visit, http://www.mosquito.org/mosquito.html

When Is A Preventive Not A Preventive

The most popular heartworm "preventives," Heartgard and Interceptor, are not really preventives at all; rather they act by killing the microfilariae, L3, and/or L4 larvae in an infested dog. Interceptor kills the L3s, and L4s, while Heartgard will kill the L4s and some of the youngest L5s. In other words they're poisons, as are all of the other popular HW preventives. None of them kills the fully adult or L6 heartworms in the dosages prescribed for prevention. At higher doses, however, some of them will.

There are basically two standard tests for heartworm. One is called the antigen or occult test, which tests for the antigens produced, by the adult female heartworm. This test does not show the presence of microfilariae. The other is the microfilaria test. This test, of course, tests for microfilariae. Both Heartgard and Interceptor kill microfilariae. Therefore, if one’s dogs have been on either of these products, they will test negative for heartworm when given the microfilaria test, even though they may be infested with adult heartworms. It is not common, but it does happen. There have been many reports of dogs having very bad reactions to both Heartgard and Interceptor. Giving one's dog doses of poison month after month to kill something, which probably isn’t there anyway, doesn't make an awful lot of sense to me.

In his book "Homeopathic Care For Cats and Dogs", under the heading Heartworm, p332, Dr. Don Hamilton says: "This is a serious disease that primarily affects dogs... It can be treated homeopathically but this should be under the care of an experienced veterinarian. Heartworm preventives are generally very effective at protecting dogs against the disease....In dogs the "monthly" preventives are effective if given at six week intervals, and possibly even at seven- or eight week intervals.... The daily preventives are almost a thing of the past, but these are usually effective if given every other day. Although the preventive drugs are generally safe, they can initiate an autoimmune disease in susceptible animals...The homeopathic nosode that is made from heartworm larva is employed commonly as a preventive to avoid the drug side effects. Many question its effectiveness, though I have several clients who use the nosode (apparently successfully) with animals in heartworm endemic areas. Most animals have no trouble with heartworms. I do know of some cases where the nosode did not protect, however. I believe it does offer some protection, though it may be incomplete... If you decide to try the nosode, you must understand that its effectiveness is currently unknown."

To me this quote says pretty clearly that Dr. Hamilton has more faith in the drugs like Heartgard than he does in any homeopathic approach to prevention.

In the Nature of Animal Healing by Martin Goldstein, DVM, he explains about heartworm.
pp. 220 - 223

"To judge by your local veterinarian's stern insistence on regular heartworm pills for your dog, you'd think we're in the midst of a brutal epidemic, leaving piles of the dead in its wake. I think there's an epidemic, too, but of a different sort: of disease-causing toxicity instilled in our pets by heartworm preventable pills.

Granted, heartworm is a serious condition. An infected mosquito bites your dog (cats are rarely affected), injecting microscopic worms that first hibernate, then gain access to his bloodstream. ... they spawn hundreds of thousands of baby larvae called "microfilaria" which circulate through the blood stream . . .

A few caveats are in order, however. Only a small percentage of dogs who get heartworm die of it, especially if they're routinely tested twice a year for early detection. Even in untreated dogs, after a period of uncomfortable symptoms, the adult worms die. The microfilaria do NOT grow into adult worms on their own To reach the next stage in their life cycle, they have to be sucked back out of the body by another mosquito and go through the other stages of their maturation process within the mosquito. Only when that mosquito alights again on a dog and bites it can the microfilaria reenter the bloodstream with the ability to grow into adults. The chances of a microfilaria-infected mosquito biting your dog the first time are slim. Of it happening to the same dog twice? VERY slim. And after two decades of pervasive administration of heartworm pills in the U.S., the chances of your dog contracting heartworm in most parts of this country even a first time are slimmer still. Early in my career, I saw and treated cases of heartworm disease, most with routine medication, yet witnessed only three deaths (the last was in 1979). By comparison, we're seeing cancer kill dogs on a daily basis. To my mind, the likelihood that toxicity from heartworm pills is contributing to the tremendous amount of immune suppression now occurring, especially in cases of liver disease and cancer, is far greater and more immediate than the threat of the disease they're meant to prevent.

The most common form of heartworm prevention is a monthly pill taken just before and during mosquito season. (Many veterinarians recommend giving it year-round, even in areas of the country that experience winter.) Its toxins -- ivermectin, for example - sweep through the body killing any microfilaria that have been introduced by mosquito bites in the previous month, and thus preventing the growth of adult worms. Some brands also contain other toxins to kill intestinal parasites. The other approach to treatment is with a daily dose of the drug diethylcarbamazine, starting several weeks before mosquito season The drugs called for in either course of treatment are, simply put, poisons. Unfortunately, while they kill off microfilaria, they have the toxic effects of poisons, and can be especially damaging to the liver. I have seen one obvious immediate effect of these once-a-month preventatives in case after case: when you give a dog that pill, over the next few days, wherever he urinates outside, his urine burns the grass. Permanently! In some cases, you can't grow grass there until you change the soil. What, I wonder; can it be doing internally to your dog in that time?

When the daily preventatives came out, I witnessed evidence of hemorrhaging in the urine of several dogs put on them. We stopped the medication; the bleeding stopped. We started it up again; the bleeding resumed.

(He goes on about places like Florida and the Bahamas where incidents of heartworm is higher, to use preventives like Black Walnut and homeopathy. Further, treatment for heartworm includes a heart glandular, vitamin E, CoQ10 and regular doses (small) of black walnut. ) ".

Here are a few of the more glaring data points collected from information submitted between 1987-2000. Note this is only the information submitted -- imagine the hundreds/thousands that don't get submitted because they vets can't/won't make the connection:

Heartgard Chewables (Ivermectin) 134 dogs died; 1033 had some type of reaction
Filaribits Plus 128 dogs died; 187 reacted
Interceptor (Milbemycin) 67 dogs died; 460 reacted

Continue reading "Heartworm- A Realistic Look" »

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