When I got my first dogs, everyone thought that annual vaccines were totally beneficial for dogs, and that there were no dangers associated with them. Well, we were wrong – even the vets were wrong.
In fact, vaccine datasheets – which no-one ever gives to the people paying for the shots – carry quite a few warnings and contraindications.
The first of these is that vaccines are licensed for use in healthy animals only. This means that if your dog is unwell, he shouldn’t be vaccinated. Vaccines need a healthy immune system to work with. When you vaccinate a dog, you’re pumping modified live viruses into him, which he needs to mount an immune response against. If he’s unwell, he may not be able to do this, and the upshot is that he can either get the disease you’re vaccinating against and spread it on to others, or he can develop an autoimmune disease like cancer, leukaemia, autoimmune haemolytic anaemia, arthritis, diabetes, or even brain damage and death.
Your dog’s diet will also determine whether the shots you give him are safe. For example, one group of scientists deliberately starved puppies of vitamin B5 and vaccinated them, and they all died. This is because vitamin B5 is a vital nutrient that feeds stress hormones, enabling us to respond to stress – and a vaccine is a deliberate stress. Without B5 in their diet, the puppies couldn’t fight the vaccine challenge.
Vitamin C also feeds anti-stress hormones, as does zinc. If a puppy (or you) are under stress, you’ll be drawing upon these nutrients, even if they’re in your diet. So if you take your puppy for his shots straight after he’s left his mother and littermates and been introduced into a new home, the chances are he’s going to be under stress, and he might not respond well to his shots. If you take an adult dog for his shots just after an agility class or after you’ve had a row with your husband or wife, he’s also going to be stressed, and the vaccine becomes a risk. Further, studies have shown that stressed people don’t respond to vaccination – they fail to develop immunity.
Genetic factors might also render vaccines harmful. In humans, doctors are advised not to vaccinate anyone with B or T cell immunodeficiencies, features of which include skin problems, allergies and neurological problems. Different breeds of dogs have differing genetic predispositions which can be triggered by vaccines, such as cancer, bleeding disorders, or thyroid disease.
Another contraindication (which means don’t do it) is when your dog is being given steroids. Steroids are designed to turn the immune system off. If he’s on steroids, the vaccine will go into his system and he’ll have no way of fighting the vaccine challenge. Again, he could get the disease you’re vaccinating him against.
Similarly, if the immune system is already dealing with an infection, it won’t have much resource left to fight the vaccine challenge.
Diseases that can occur as a direct result of vaccination include, but are not limited to:
Cancer Brain damage
Leukaemia Behavioural problems
Epilepsy Skin disease
Arthritis Thyroid disease
Aggression Fearful behaviour
Bone marrow failure Addison’s disease
Diabetes Organ failure (liver, kidney, heart)
Thrombocytopenia Allergies (food, inhalant, contact)
Infections Autoimmunity (attacking self tissue)
Reproductive difficulty Lupus
In the UK, the British government, via the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, monitors vaccine adverse reactions in dogs. However, vets are not compelled to report adverse reactions, and quite often they don’t. Therefore adverse reactions are vastly under-reported. You – the pet owner – can ensure that your dog’s reaction is reported. You should ask your vet to supply you with a Yellow Form if your dog becomes ill within three months of a shot. Only this way can we come closer to understanding the full extent of vaccine dangers.
Once your dog is immune – usually after his puppy shots and first year’s booster – there is no need to revaccinate him against distemper, parvovirus or adenovirus (hepatitis).
Please also be aware that the kennel cough vaccine can shed and make vulnerable humans, as well as other dogs, ill.
To report a suspected adverse reaction use these links:
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