Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM has 30 years of experience as a veterinarian. His love of dogs and passion for natural healing and nutrition led him to writing, teaching and helping people create health naturally, without drugs, chemicals and processed food.
Do vaccines prevent illness or cause them?
Questions about vaccines are as common as water in the ocean.
Some people worry that if their unvaccinated dog or cat steps out of the door, it is going to get sick and possibly die.
Let me reassure you that the likelihood of this is very, very low. In fact, it is much lower than your dog becoming ill from the vaccine itself.
In this brief article, you will learn about the pros and cons of vaccines and become more comfortable making the right decision for your animal friends.
Over the years, I have heard more confusing opinions about vaccination than about any other medical topic.
Ultimately, I resorted to nature’s design for immunity by observing and studying the lives of wild canines and other species. Also, I have 20 years of practical experience in veterinary practice and knowledge of immunology. After careful consideration of pros and cons, I have made a decision not to recommend routine vaccination in my practice.
There are many reasons for this decision, but one will become more apparent after watching the video below.
Vaccines contain mercury, formaldehyde and other substances that are proven to be carcinogenic and generally harmful. According to some alternative medicine and homeopathy sources, they also have the ability to induce symptoms that are similar to the disease itself.
The repetition of vaccines is often the source of over reactive or inefficient immune systems, which is at the core of many ailments. There is no doubt that frequently vaccinated patients are ill more often.
Read the following statement from the website of the American Veterinary Medical Association:
“Adverse events may be associated with the antigen, adjuvant, carrier, preservative, or a combination thereof. Possible adverse events include, but are not necessarily limited to, failure to immunize, anaphylaxis, immuno-suppression, autoimmune disorders, transient infections, long-term infected carrier states, and local development of tumors. The role of genetic predisposition to adverse events needs further exploration and definition.”
In my experience, puppies and kittens younger than twelve weeks suffer from the adverse effects of vaccinations more frequently. They have an immature immune system that is incapable of responding to the vaccinations. Their fast growing body is also more sensitive to external factors like vaccines.
The paradox is that puppies and kitten vaccinated early – at six to 10 weeks often have no antibodies at 12 weeks. Why? The answer is relatively simple. Vaccine contains antigen. The puppies blood stream contains maternal antibodies. When these two meet, the antibody gets bound to the antigen.
Yes, early vaccination makes your dog less protected! I could show you numerous test results that confirm this claim.
Natures Vaccination – Socialize your puppy early
Are you surprised by my suggestion? Have you been told not to socialize your puppy until the age of three to four months? This recommendation is given by some well-meaning colleagues. Why? Because that is what we have been taught at schools and told by vaccine manufacturers.
However, it is common knowledge that puppies and kittens are usually protected by maternal antibodies from milk until the age of twelve to sixteen weeks. In the wild, they are naturally exposed to viruses and bacteria by socializing with other individuals and gradually form their own antibodies.
In captivity, I recommend measuring the level of your puppy’s or kitten’s antibodies at the age of 12 weeks. If there are any antibodies present, it is highly likely that your pet is protected and you can socialize it with others on a moderate basis. If it gets in contact with a pathogen, more antibodies – protection – are formed.
School of life
Giving your puppy an opportunity to make friends is very important. There are some dogs who have not been allowed to make friends until the age of four months. Imagine! This situation can be compared to a child, who was not allowed to see any other children until the age of six.
Puppies need to learn their doggie etiquette early. Older dogs are generally very tolerant of puppies and they gently guide them or tell them off if their behavior is not “according to the canine standards”.
However most dogs have little patience with rowdy “adolescents” that have no manners, jump in their face and do not respect personal boundaries. They often get beaten up and become scared or aggressive in an anticipation of attack.
Your alternative to vaccination
There is a simple alternative to vaccination called titer test. A titer test determines the level and concentration of antibodies in blood.
I usually recommend performing a titer test at the age of 12 and 20 weeks and subsequently on a yearly basis. By the time your dog is four to five-years-old, the chance of contracting distemper or parvo are close to zero and antibody titer may not be needed.
How accurate is antibody testing?
Some people claim that the antibody levels may not be accurate in determining the level of protection. On the contrary, countries and states like Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and the United Kingdom use rabies titer testing for animal imports. Let me reassure you that these countries’ rules are so strict, they would not use titer testing if it was not highly reliable.
Rabies vaccination and titer
Even rabies vaccination doesn’t need to be repeated as often as originally thought. Rabies vaccine is manufactured as a 3 year vaccine. After 3 years are up, you can submit a rabies titer test to one of the certified labs and received a confirmation of protection which often persists for liftime.
Some countries and states, for example the UK, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand are rabies free and have very strict animal import rules. If you are planning to travel to these countries, familiarize yourself with the current guidelines.
Rabies vaccine, titer and microchip for identification is usually required.
What if your pet has no antibodies?
On one occasion my dog, Skai, had absent distemper antibodies. I repeated the test a month later and his antibodies were present again. This happened without showing any signs of the disease itself. His immune system simply responded in an efficient way.
In reality, the risk of your pet contracting infectious disease is very low. However, no-one can guarantee 100 percent safety. Ultimately you have to make your own decision.
What to do if you decide to vaccinate?
1. Stay away from so called “combination” vaccines
2. Give each antigen/ vaccine at least four weeks apart.
3. Vaccinate pets that are twelve weeks and older.
4. Earlier vaccination often neutralizes the maternal antibodies and may leave your pet unprotected.
5. Watch for any side effects that may appear even months later.
What are common vaccine side effects?
It is often very difficult to determine what is a vaccine side-effect and what is an unrelated incident. One of the ways to confirm is the use of homeopathy. There are several treatments and remedies that have known abilities to neutralize vaccine side effects. If I use one of these treatments and the disease symptoms disappear, it is safe to conclude that vaccines played a role.
Vaccine side effects often appear similar to the symptoms of disease they were supposed to prevent.
Distemper vaccine may cause skin and ear problems, eye discharges and infections, allergies, or neurological disorders.
Parvovirus vaccine may be the cause of recurrent vomiting and diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease or diet related allergies, heart problems.
Some other commonly seen side effects are:
autoimmune disorders (like lupus)
growth and development abnormalities
epilepsy, anxiety, hyperactivity and aggression
thyroid disorders and diabetes
certain forms of cancer
Which vaccines to give if you decide to vaccinate?
1. Parvovirus vaccine at twelve weeks
2. Distemper four weeks later.
3. Rabies – if you live in an area where rabies is common, or if you travel.
Ideally delay rabies vaccination until six months of age.
Beware of the following vaccines:
Dog owners should be aware of vaccines against Bordetella (kennel cough) and Lyme disease. They often cause severe side effects similar to the symptoms of the actual disease.
If a boarding facility, daycare or a puppy class requests Bordetella vaccine, ask to sign a waiver or if the facility operators are resistant, find another facility.
What to do if you observe a reaction?
Try to stay away from potent steroid drugs like dexamethasone and other corticosteroids. These compounds have very severe and long-lasting negative effects on the body and the immune system.
Talk to an open-minded practitioner who will help you find safe and effective treatment. A dose of Thuja 200 C is a good start, however other treatments may be necessary depending on the nature of the reaction.
A detailed evaluation of each patient may be necessary in order to select the correct treatment.
I once read an article that stated, “if clean water and nutritious food was provided in Africa, it would be a more effective prevention than any vaccine”. I can’t agree more.
If you want to have a healthy dog, a healthy diet, the right amount of exercise and social interaction, low stress and a loving and caring environment are the best prevention.
Interested in learning more about a holistic approach to vaccination? Check out our Facebook Live below.
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM
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Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM has 30 years of experience as a veterinarian. He graduated as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1988 in the Czech Republic and obtained the Canadian Certificate of Qualification in 1995. He is currently licensed in the European Union, and his unique approach to healing and nutrition helps holistically minded dog lovers worldwide.
Dr. Dobias strongly believes that disease prevention, natural nutrition and supplements, the right exercise and a drug free approach to medicine can add years to your dog's life.
As a formulator of his all-natural vitamin and supplement line and co-inventor of natural, chemical free flea and tick control, FleaHex® and TickHex®, his unique healing system and products currently hold the highest independent five star customer rating. For more information click here.
Any general recommendations that Dr. Dobias makes are not a substitute for the appropriate veterinary care and are for informational and educational purposes only.