Vaccines and your Yorkie

The following is taken word for word from Kirk's Current Veterinary Therapy XI
(Small Animal Practice), page 205, 1992.

Authors: Tom R Phillips, DVM, Ph.D.
Associate Member The Scripps Research Institute
La Jolla California Ronald D Schultz, Ph.D. Professor and Chairman
Department of Pathobiological Sciences
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of Wisconsin

Annual Vaccination practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual revaccination's. Almost without exception there is no immunologic requirement for annual revaccination. Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal. Successful vaccination to most bacterial pathogens produces an immunologic memory that remains for years, allowing an animal to develop a protective anamnestic (secondary) response when exposed to virulent organisms. Only the immune response to toxins requires boosters (eg: tetanus in humans), and no toxin vaccines are currently used for dogs or cats. Furthermore, revaccination with most viral vaccines fails to stimulate an anamnestic (secondary) response as a result of interferance by existing antibody (similar to maternal antibody interferance). The practice of annual vaccination in our opinion should be considered of questionable efficacy unless it is used as a mechanism to provide an annual physical examination or is required by law (ie: rabies vaccinations in some states).
Dr. Ronald D. Schultz, Ph.D., D.V.M.

For those of you not familiar with Dr. Schultz I should mention that he is recognized as a pioneer in clinical immunology and vaccinology. As Professor and Chair of Department of Pathobiological Sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison his work is well known in both the allopathic and holistic veterinarian communities.

Wow! If you’re looking for someone with ‘authority’ to refer to the nonsense of annual boosters, get your ‘doubting Thomas’ to call on Dr. Schultz. Not only does he confirm that their is no science for this practice, he also warned of the possibility for law suits, if a Vet continues to recommend them. He pointed out that immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal.

He eloquently covered the many factors that can effect the immune response to a vaccine. The blocking effect of colostral antibody from the mother, the nature of the vaccine, the route of vaccination, the age of the animal, its general nutritional condition, concurrent infections, drug treatments—all may have an influence on the success of an immunization program.

Maternal antibody interference is the most common cause of vaccine failure. The fetus develops a functional immune system at 45 to 50 days into gestation. The level of maternal immunity at the time of birth will vary considerably, even among litter mates, but in general will stay high for 10 days to 2 weeks. A major cause for reduced immune response during the first week, is ‘hypothermia’. It is important that a temperature of 99° F be maintained during this critical time frame!

Between 2 week and 4 weeks, while still nursing, the immune system of the neonate grows and begins to take on its own duties. At the time of weaning, the immune system suffers from a decrease in nutrients and can be significantly lowered from a lack of Vitamin E and selenium. This is particularly true with ‘canned’ foods so it is better to start with ‘dry’ food. At 8 to 10 weeks, the neonate is closer to having an adult immune system. (Ed. Note: raw fresh food is of course best for weaning)

Because maternal antibodies can persist far longer then previously thought possible, Dr. Shultz strongly recommends that the last vaccination take place at 22 weeks for a puppy and 16 weeks for a kitten. There is new information that indicates that as many as 20% of dogs at 18 weeks have enough maternal antibodies to prevent successful parvo immunization. (Note: previously it was recommended that the last immunization in the series occur at 12 to 16 weeks of age).

Make sure your vet is aware of these new findings!!

Here’s a real kicker. A major problem, especially for parvo, is that the virus is able to infect an animal with levels of maternal antibody even though the antibodies prevent active immunization!! There is generally a 2 to 5 week "window of vulnerability" and in heavy parvo environments, as much as a 10 week "window", when an animal can be infected with the virus but cannot be successfully immunized!!

On the question of modified live versus ‘killed’ vaccines, Dr. Schultz is of the opinion that both have a place in the immunization schedule. Currently, there are no absolute answers.

He felt that because MLV vaccines replicate in the host, they more closely resemble virulent viral infections and generally produce a stronger and more durable protective immune response than killed vaccines. This "better" immune response has a cost: a decrease in vaccine safety. Certain modified live vaccines can induce immunosuppression, may shed into the environment, and may revert to virulence or cause vaccine-induced disease.

Killed vaccines on the other hand, are safer but require a large antigenic dose, multiple immunizations and often the use of adjuvants that can cause an increase in systemic vaccine reactions. Also, killed vaccines generally produce weaker immune responses with a shorter duration than the modified live vaccines. Sometimes the immune responses they produce lead to immunopathological disease at time of infection rather than providing protection. With respect to dosages, he pointed out that at the cellular level, the same number of receptor cell sites exist regardless of the size of the body, thus there is no justification for adjusting dosage quantities for different breeds of animals. (see Jean Dodds segment for a different opinion).

He does favor MLV for Parvo in high risk areas. He feels that ‘killed’ vaccine is too slow in providing immunization due to the need for multiple shots. He pointed out that the Parvo vaccine is expensive to produce, so the companies use as little as possible in each dose.

As modified live vaccines replicate in the body a "mini" dose is still effective. With killed vaccine, how much is enough? His research into the effectiveness of vaccines, has led to the manufacturers revising several of their formulas. He cautioned the audience not to dilute or split the dosage when administering any ‘killed’ vaccine.

With respect to nutritional deficiencies, someone in the audience asked about "Blue-Green Algae". Dr. Schultz commented that in his experience, their can be a danger of nutrient toxicosis. He knows of ponds in his area, with blue-green algae, where dogs that have jumped into a pond have suffered paralyses and in some cases have died.

In general, he felt that modified live vaccines when given to animals in good general health have no clinical indication of immunosuppression.

(Ed note: Dr. Dodds points out that the MLV trials by Dr. Schultz have only been tested on purposely bred Beagles and not breeds that are genetic and familial susceptible to suppression. She advocates "killed" vaccines.)

Current Veterinary Therapy by Kirk, the textbook bible for veterinarians in general, has an article on canine and feline vaccines by two researchers. Near the end of the article is a paragraph called Annual Vaccinations. It states "The practice of annual vaccinations lacks scientific validity or verification. There is no immunological requirement for annual vaccinations. The practice of annual vaccinations should be considered of questionable efficacy unless it is used as a mechanism to provide an annual physical examination or is required by law." Sure, if we can't manipulate you with annual vaccinations let's pass a law to get you into the office. Nice trick!
What Vets Don't Tell About Vaccines

previously entitled

Who Killed the Darling Buds of May?
What Vets don't tell you about vaccines.
by Catherine O'Driscoll

: The second edition is now entitled 'What vets don't tell you about vaccines': ISBN 0 9523048 3 X'. This is available in North America from Our Pets, PO Box 2094, Fort Macleod, Alberta, T0L 0Z0, Canada - email: Order from Our Pets Inc. Prices delivered - US$22.95 & C$30.98 inclusive of GST.

We don't vaccinate humans every year, so why is it that we are advised to vaccinate our dogs and cats annually? It is well known that a certain number of humans will be damaged by vaccines, but vets claim that only a tiny minority of dogs and cats suffer adverse vaccine reactions. Is this true?

After the death of two young dogs, Catherine O'Driscoll discovered that the risks of vaccination are much higher than anyone cares to admit - the 'tiny minority' is a significant significant number! Today, many vets around the world are questioning the vaccine regime. Some assert that vaccines do more harm than good, and the risks far outweigh the benefits.

Turning the world on its head, Catherine O'Driscoll gives you - ordinary dog owners and lovers - the information that vets won't or can't tell you. Her aim is to share the truth so that dog lovers everywhere can make informed choices about the well-being of the pets they treasure. In fact the risks are much higher than are admitted. When is it right to vaccinate, when not to vaccinate? This book reveals the answers. There is solid scientific research to demonstrate that vaccines can be harmful. This book gives the researched facts about:

* vaccines that can cause encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain - encephalitis has many diverse symptoms, usually involving a highly sensitised state such as allergies, skin problems, behavioural problems, convulsions, eating disorders, and more.
* vaccines that are mixed with deadly poisons.
* vaccines that can cause the diseases they are designed to prevent.
* vaccines that shed into the environment, spreading disease.
* vaccines that disarm and unbalance the immune system.
* vaccines which need and do not need annual usage .

FROM THE VETMED LIST (a list on the internet dedicated to vet students) Comments in ( ) are those of the person who received this email from the list.

"Dear Boarding Kennel Owner: "I would like to make you aware that all 27 veterinary schools in North America are in the process of changing their protocols for vaccinating dogs and cats.

"Some of this information will present an ethical & economic challenge to vets, and there will be skeptics. Some organizations have come up with a political compromise suggesting vaccinations every 3 years to appease those who fear loss of income vs those concerned about potential side effects. Politics, traditions, or the doctor's economic well being should not be a factor in medical decisions.


"Dogs and cats immune systems mature fully at 6 months. If a modified live virus vaccine is given after 6 months of age (this is different from what I was told on the phone), it produces an immunity which is good for the life of the pet (ie: 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 subject the pet to potential risks of allergic reactions and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia.

"There is no scientific documentation to back up label claims for annual administration of MLV vaccines. "Puppies receive antibodies through their mothers milk. This natural protection can last 8-14 weeks. Puppies & 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 mo) will provide lifetime immunity (another difference from the phone call).


"Distemper & Parvo. According to Dr. Schultz, AVMA, 8-15-95, when a vaccinations series given at 2, 3 & 4 months and again at 1 year with a MLV, puppies and kitten program memory cells that survive for life, providing lifelong immunity. "Dr. Carmichael at Cornell and Dr. Schultz have studies showing immunity against challenge at 2-10 years for canine distemper & 4 years for parvovirus. Studies for longer duration are pending. "There are no new strains of parvovirus as one mfg. would like to suggest. Parvovirus vaccination provides cross immunity for all types. "Hepatitis (Adenovirus) is one of the agents known to be a cause of kennel cough. Only vaccines with CAV-2 should be used as CAV-1 vaccines carry the risk of "hepatitis blue-eye" reactions & kidney damage. "Bordetella Parainfluenza: Commonly called "Kennel cough", recommended only for those dogs boarded, groomed, taken to dog shows, or for any reason housed where exposed to a lot of dogs. The intranasal vaccine provides more complete and more rapid onset of immunity with less chance of reaction. Immunity requires 72 hours and does not protect from every cause of kennel cough. Immunity is of short duration (4 to 6 months). RABIES : "There have been no reported cases of rabid dogs or cats in Harris, Montogomery or Ft. Bend Counties [Texas], there have been rabid skunks and bats so the potential exists. It is a killed vaccine and must be given every year. [the vets here give the 3 year vaccine which is the same one labeled at as one year vaccine, guess he doesn't realize a lot of us know this, I'm not sure about now, but at one time the vets had to use the vaccine labeled 3 years yearly] "Lymes disease is a tick borne disease which can cause lameness, kidney failure and heart disease in dogs. [This is the least of the tick diseases; we get at least 3 of the others in the Houston area; humans can also get one or more of these diseases at the same time, just like the dogs {last year I personally knew of 5 dogs who had one of the tick diseases and one person who had 2 of them}]. Ticks can also transmit the disease to humans. "The original Ft. Dodge killed bacteria has proven to be the most effective vaccine. "Lyme disease prevention should emphasize early removal of ticks. Amitraz collars are more effective than Top Spot, as amitraz paralyzes the tick's mouth parts preventing transmission of disease.


Multiple components in vaccines compete with each other for the immune system and result in lesser immunity for each individual disease as well as increasing the risk of a reaction. "Canine Corona Virus is only a disease of puppies. It is rare, self limiting (dogs get well in 3 days without treatment). Cornell & TexaA&M have only diagnosed one case each in the last 7 years. Corona virus does not cause disease in adult dogs. "Leptospirosis vaccine is a common cause of adverse reactions in dogs. Most of the clinical cases of lepto reported in dogs in the US are caused by serovaars (or types) grippotyphosa and bratsilvia. The vaccines contain different serovaars eanicola and ictohemorrhagica. Cross protection is not provided and protection is short lived. Lepto vaccine is immuno-supressive to puppies less than 16 weeks.

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