To Vaccinate Or Not Vaccinate
That is the question!
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Vaccinations, To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate.
by Dr Jeannie Thomason



The purpose of this article is to explain why I personally and many Natural Rearing/holistic dog breeders don't give any vaccine, 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 think that anyone who doesn't give vaccines to their puppies is insane. You are indeed welcome to your own opinions but I do invite you to study these things out for yourself and to know the facts.

I just want to share some of the facts and my own personal experiences with you and encourage you to start researching this topic out for yourselves. Don't take my word for the dangers of just one vaccine but by the same token, please don't take your veterinarian's word for it that they are "safe and effective" either! Study this out for yourself and be convinced in your own heart and mind as to what the truth is.


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 because they have been told that they must vaccinate them in order to protect them from getting deadly viruses such as Parvo, Distemper, etc. The ones still vaccinating do so out of love concern and fear. They do so 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 beginning to question vaccinations and vaccination protocols these days with all the information available about the dangers of over vaccinating our pets. Breeders (and dog owners) want to be sure that the puppy will be safe from disease, and they believe that vaccines immunize their puppy. More and more, breeders, pet owners and professional caregivers are experiencing negative and even, often dangerous, life-threatening repercussions, from the vaccinations they are giving their dogs.

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 as a licensed Veterinary Tech, Assistant & Front Office Manager). I have spent a good amount of time in the last 20 years, studying the issue of vaccinations - their efficacy and the damage done by them.

As a technician, we were taught to warn the puppy owners that after the pup being vaccinated that it may run a fever, develop a painful lump at the injection site and/or lose his appetite have diarrhea and not have much energy for a day or so - this is all "NORMAL", in fact we were taught that any reaction at all was a good sign that the vaccines were doing their job.

I personally witnessed many situations when the perfectly healthy puppy was brought in at 6-8 weeks of age for his first vaccines. Then the puppy is scheduled for an appointment to return in 2 to 3 weeks for more vaccines-"boosters". And of course again in another 2 or 3 weeks for the final round of vaccines that should "protect" him until he is a year old when they of course explain he will NEED another booster!

More frequently then I wanted to see, these same puppies, now coming back for their third series of vaccinations now had owners complaining of the puppy scratching a lot or having digestive problems - vomiting, diarrhea. Of course we taught that we should vaccinate anyway (even though the label on the vaccine clearly states that only healthy dogs should be vaccinated) and recommend a change in diet to one of the clinic's prescription formulas to help eliminate the itchy skin and/or digestive upsets.

It got so that I could almost predict that these same puppies would yet be back again in just a month or two with chronic loose stools, harsh, dry coats and skin "allergies", changes in behavior, etc. Thus would begin the first stages of chronic illness brought on by ....... the vaccines and often exacerbated by poor nutrition (the kibble and/or canned diet we were taught to recommend). These puppies became known by name and constantly at the clinic for one health problem or another which warranted prescriptions of one kind or another. Some of these puppies even developed idiopathic epilepsy and were on phenobarbital to keep their seizures under control. I even held these same puppy - now dog owners hands and cried with them as they had decided to have the young dog put to sleep. I kept track of at least 7 puppies from the time they came in for their first vaccinations until they were put to sleep 4 - 7 years later due to chronic disease of one sort or another that began to manifest within 6 months of their first vaccinations.

When a perfectly healthy puppy is given viruses in the form of a vaccine in a totally un-natural way (via an injection into the blood stream instead of naturally via the mucus membranes while sniffing and licking) the immune system goes into "hyper-alert" and is unable to turn off. The once healthy individual is now required to maintain a low-level stimulation of a state of distemper, parvo, lepto, 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 that are touted as being able to provide protection by keeping the body in a diseased state of health. Does this make sense to you?

Often the animal will not manifest the actual virus it is vaccinated for, at least not in its acute form, but it will manifest in other chronic conditions such as: any auto-immune disease, auto-immune hemolytic anemia cardiomyopathies; fibrosarcomas, inflammatory bowel disease, dermatological conditions, warts, lipomas, poor hair coats, IBS, periodontal disease, thyroid disease, mast cell tumors, thyroid tumors, etc. 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. The evidence was found. "Effects of Vaccination on the Endocrine and Immune Systems of Dogs, Phase II", Purdue University, November 1,1999, at: http://www.homestead.com/vonhapsburg/haywardstudyonvaccines.html

Also see www.vet.purdue.edu/epi/gdhstudy.htm and read the article "Science of Vaccine Damage" by Catherine O'Driscoll HERE

Vaccines do NOT immunize! Here are couple of blog posts with more information and links to audios that you will find most enlightening on this fact: http://thewholedog.org/wholedognews/vaccines-cant-immunize and http://thewholedog.org/wholedognews/why-vaccines-cant-immunize-part-ii/

"Homeopathic veterinarians, animal naturopaths 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 (http://www.thewholedog.org/id62.html)

"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

"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)

"The only safe vaccine is the one not given” Patrica Jordan, DVM, CVND

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 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.

I know what you are thinking - What If Don't Vaccinate But They Still Get Sick?

I think the "missing piece" for a lot of people's fear with not vaccinating is that they are not prepared for their dog to actually get a disease for which a vaccine exists. They do not believe or have faith in nature or the animal's own immune system to ward off the virus. I know, this is a big step/ a true leap of faith for many.

While many may dismiss that fear and tell you there is a "magic bullet" to keep your un-vaccinated dogs safe such as:

Just feed species appropriate diet or just use this particular herbal supplement or just give homeopath nosodes, etc. to prevent your puppy from getting a virus. DON'T BELIEVE IT! This is not always the case.

We are finding that often first and second and sometimes even third generation non vaccinated puppies/dogs have inherited weaknesses from their ancestors being over vaccinated and/or fed a cooked and/or processed diet for many generations. (See Pottenger's Cat Study)

We have not been allowing for natural selection or letting nature cull the weakest. Our dog’s immune systems are not what they could be or should be. Even relatively healthy dogs or puppies may contract a virus and yes, breeders may even lose a puppy or an entire litter but the facts are that if you lost puppies to the virus they would succumbed to it even if, especially if they were vaccinated.

You need to be aware of the fact and I want to be perfectly clear here, DISEASE CAN AND OFTEN DOES HAPPEN! It truly is or least should be all about survival of the fittest/healthiest. While it is almost rare in comparison with vaccinated and kibble fed dogs, healthy, multi-generation, un-vaccinated, naturally raised dogs can and sometimes get infectious viruses and diseases. However, I also want to make it very clear that in my 27 years of feeding a raw, natural diet, not vaccinating, lessening of exposure to toxic chemicals and keeping the immune system in peak, healthy condition, has and will greatly increase the chances of our dogs not getting a virus or dis-ease and if it should, he/she will most likely have an immune system that can fight off the disease on its own in a short period of time with just a little naturopathic/holistic support.

While working at veterinary clinics in years past, I noted that the majority of cases of Parvo were actually in puppies that HAD been vaccinated. The majority of the vaccinated puppies that had the virus - died even with support/treatment. In the more rare cases of non-vaccinated puppies contracting Parvo, I witnessed firsthand ALL of them heal quickly and none died with minimal support and treatment). The un-vaccinated puppies had immune systems that were strong and far better equipped to fight a deadly virus and win.

Okay, that said, what do you think the immune system does with a virus that sets up house 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. So if ones comfort zone in not vaccinating is going to be dependent on some kind of guarantee, or use of a substitute product like supplements or even nosodes or colloidal silver, to hopefully prevent their puppies from contracting Parvo , Distemper, etc. then I sincerely believe they are not ready to stop vaccinating. However, if one is truly committed to and understands the principles of natural rearing, understands the nature of acute disease and the risks of suppression and believes the facts that there is no guarantee of protection via vaccination then they are ready to consider and stop vaccinating.

Natural Immunity
"Who is irresponsible, the one that studies and makes the decision not to vaccinate or the one who vaccinates without asking questions?

I did not find it difficult to conclude that there is no evidence whatsoever that vaccines of any kind-but especially those against childhood diseases-are effective in preventing the infectious diseases they are supposed to prevent. Further, adverse effects are amply documented and are far more significant to public health than any adverse effects of infectious diseases. Immunizations, including those practiced on babies, not only did not prevent any infectious diseases, they caused more suffering and more deaths than has any other human activity in the entire history of medical intervention. It will be decades before the mopping -up after the disasters caused by childhood vaccination will b~ completed. All vaccination should cease forthwith and all victims of their side effects should be appropriately compensated." Viera Scheibner, PhD

And I will go on record and add here that there is no evidence whatsoever that vaccines of any kind but especially those against viruses and dis-eases that affect our pets are effective in preventing the viruses and diseases they are supposed to prevent either!

Be Prepared
I have studied and continue to study natural healing and am well educated in species specific nutrition and animal physiology. I do not use in, on or around my own dogs anything containing chemicals such as flea prevention, heart worm pills, commercial, synthetic supplements, etc. Nor do I use any household chemicals in my home or garden. I feed a species appropriate diet as close to what they would eat in the wild as possible. I occasionally supplement them with naturally sourced (no synthetics) probiotics, enzymes omega 3 fatty acids and trace minerals. When needed I also use natural immune boosting products such as medical grade essential oils, medicinal mushrooms and colostrum. I keep a medicine chest full of supplies such as: lactated ringers, IV sets, essential oils, colloidal silver, Parvaid, activated charcoal, etc.

From working as a licensed vet tech with veterinarians for many years and in more recent years as a veterinary naturopath, 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 should they survive the virus/dis-ease. 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.

In my 18 years of not vaccinating my litters or adults, I have only had Parvo once early on. I had a new litter of puppies about a week old and three puppies that were 8 weeks old at the time. I only lost one of the week old pups, the other week old pups never even vomited or had diarrhea. The eight week old pups did have vomiting and diarrhea but only about 3 days, none of my adults were affected in the slightest.

So there you have it, there is an argument to be made for not vaccinating, although not everyone will be willing or even ready to hear it, and many will even disagree violently with it - that vaccinating your puppy against parvo or distemper or other viruses and diseases, no matter how wisely and moderately and scientifically you do it, does NOT produce immunity against viruses and diseases but instead sets up the body for disease.

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. In the end, we each need to make our own decisions on this issue. I share information with those who are questioning vaccination and recommend they do their own research and even better to take the learning module called: Better Understanding of Vaccines at the American Council of Animal Naturopathy.

Everyone has the right to decide for himself or herself, just as I have. Is this path of true natural rearing and not vaccinating right for you? I don't know. But please don't make this decision lightly, or without a full understanding of the historical and theoretical basis for the decision. Read! Question! Educate yourself! And then decide. Good luck and blessings to you and your puppies on your natural rearing journey.


Resources and More Information

Vaccinations vs. Natural Immunity
Vaccines Can't Immunize part I
Why Vaccines Can't Immunize part II
Immune Doggie Book by Aleksandra Mikic
NATURAL IMMUNITY Why You Should NOT Vaccinate! E-book by Pat McKay





Vaccinations, To Vaccinate or Not Copyright 2003 -2013 This article is the sole property of Dr.Jeanette (Jeannie) Thomason,The Whole Dog and Natural Rearing Breeders Association. It cannot be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the expressed written consent of the author.

About the author:
Dr. Jeannie is a certified veterinary naturopath/small animal health coach certified in small animal nutrition, and aromatherapy with 30 years of practical experience in animal health. She has worked with animals holistically since 1984. Having been a licensed veterinary technician she continued her education and earned her doctorate in animal naturopathy. She is Co-Founder and Vice President of the American Council of Animal Naturopathy.

Dr. Jeannie has written numerous peer reviewed articles which appear in Animal Wellness magazine, Pet Connection, Raw Instincts, Dogs Naturally, and in National Breed Magazines. She is co-host (along with her friend and colleague, Dr. Kim Bloomer) for the popular internet radio show, Animal Talk Naturally.

A natural rearing breeder of Champion Boston Terriers and Standard Poodles, founder of the Natural Rearing Breeders Association, she is known to colleagues and friends as one who “walks her talk“.

Dr. Jeannie is a strong supporter of personal liberty, as delineated in the Constitution - Liberty as provided by God, not by human. Ultimately, she believes all healing comes from God and that the healer is only the conduit.
The Whole Dog
American Council of Animal Naturopathy
Natural Rearing Breeders Association
Animal Talk Naturally Online Radio Show

Copyright 2003 -2013 This article is the sole property of Dr.Jeanette (Jeannie) Thomason and The Whole Dog. It cannot be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the expressed written consent of the author.