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The Pets Most Likely to Suffer from Vaccine Adverse Reactions

Story at-a-glance

  • In the second half of a two-part interview, Dr. Becker talks with Dr. Ronald Schultz of the Rabies Challenge Fund about a variety of vaccine-related topics, including the mysterious rattlesnake vaccine, how it actually works, and for what snake in particular.
  • Dr. Becker and Dr. Schultz also discuss the Lyme disease vaccine, and under what circumstances it can prove beneficial, as well as the challenges of diagnosing leptospirosis and improvements in that vaccine in recent years.
  • Dr. Schultz also offers an excellent explanation of the various bordetella vaccines, what dogs really need them and how often, as well as what form of the vaccine he prefers. He and Dr. Becker also discuss the pros and cons of the canine influenza vaccine.
  • Dr. Becker and Dr. Schultz agree that veterinarians should discuss vaccines with pet owners before they vaccinate. And Dr. Schultz offers his view on which pets are most likely to develop an adverse reaction to vaccines.
  • Lastly, Dr. Becker and Dr. Schultz discuss the important work the Rabies Challenge Fund is doing to determine the duration of immunity conveyed by rabies vaccines. The goal is to extend the length of time between rabies vaccines to five years, then, if possible to seven years. The project is in year six of a seven-year study and depends on grassroots funding to conduct the necessary clinical trials. This week only, Mercola Healthy Pets will match every $1 donated by readers with a $2 donation, up to $30,000, to help the Rabies Challenge Fund complete its invaluable work toward reducing the number of vaccines our pets must receive during their lifetime.

Video: Dr. Becker Interviews Dr. Schultz About Vaccines (Part 2) 

Dog and Cat Vaccines are Not Harmless Preventive Medicine

By Dr. Becker

I’m back with Dr. Ron Schultz for the second half of our vaccine discussion.  Dr. Schultz heads up the Department of Pathobiological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. He’s joining me today on behalf of an important project he’s been working on for several years – the Rabies Challenge Fund. The purpose of the fund is to determine the duration of immunity conveyed by rabies vaccines, with the goal of extending the required interval for rabies boosters to five and then to seven years.

If you missed the first part of our discussion on Wednesday, I encourage you to watch that video as well. Dr. Schultz talks about core and non-core vaccines, and the benefits of the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) vaccine and why he believes every kitten should receive it (I must politely disagree on this topic). We also discuss vaccines Dr. Schultz does not recommend, why the whole topic of titering is so confusing, and whether or not he believes cats should be titer tested.

Continuing our discussion of vaccines today, the first thing I asked Dr. Schultz to talk about – because I don’t know much about it myself and get many questions about it – is the rattlesnake vaccine.

How Does the Rattlesnake Vaccine Work, and Is It Effective?

Dr. Schultz explained that the rattlesnake vaccine is actually an aid to prevent death in the event an animal is bitten by a specific type of rattlesnake. He says it does have value in that it can keep an animal bitten by a Western diamondback rattlesnake alive. But he cautions that when the vaccine is used, it’s important for pet owners to know their dog must still be treated for snake bite for two reasons. One, the snake may not have been a Western diamondback rattlesnake, in which case the vaccine offers no protection. Two, the vaccine in most cases will not prevent the venom from causing disease. What the vaccine does is buy time to get the animal treated, and it seems to work well in that regard.

I asked Dr. Schultz if he has concerns about the adjuvant used in the rattlesnake vaccine causing a reaction. He replied that unfortunately, nobody knows very much about the vaccine and in his opinion, it hasn’t been adequately tested. Most of the tests were done with rabbits, mice and other species, but not dogs. It should be tested in dogs. There’s just not a lot of research on this particular vaccine.

Dr. Schultz’s View on Lyme Disease Vaccines

Next I asked Dr. Schultz to discuss his thoughts on Lyme disease vaccines. He explained that there are several of them. There are whole killed organism vaccines of Borrelia burgdorferi, which is the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. And there’s a recombinant vaccine that contains just the important outer surface protein A component.

Dr. Schultz’s recommendation regarding Lyme vaccines depends on where the animal lives. For example, in the Madison area of Wisconsin, there’s currently about a four percent infection rate. But if you travel just 70 miles to La Crosse, there’s about a 70 percent infection rate. And in parts of Long Island, New York, there is a 90 percent infection rate.

So depending on where you live or plan to visit, your dog may have a very high risk of being infected with Borrelia burgdorferi. In high risk cases, Dr. Schultz recommends not only a tick preventive, but also the vaccine. Most of the Lyme disease vaccines are around 60 to 75 percent effective at preventing the organism from causing disease.

I asked Dr. Schultz if he has concerns about reactions from Lyme disease vaccines, and he replied that yes, there are some potential concerns. The Lyme vaccines are bacterial vaccines, and bacterial vaccines always carry a greater risk of adverse reactions, especially reactions of an immediate nature. With both leptospirosis bacterin vaccines and Lyme bacterin vaccines, the nature of the bacteria can cause adverse reactions in some animals. According to Dr. Schultz, these vaccines have the ability to stimulate the IgE antibody in animals, which is responsible for immediate or type 1 hypersensitivity reactions. So bacterins are always more likely to cause an adverse reaction than a live viral vaccine, for example.

If he were to recommend a Lyme vaccine, Dr. Schultz likes the outer surface protein A product better than the whole killed product because the former takes some of the potentially reactogenic antigens out of the formula. But even with that, the vaccine can still cause adverse reactions in some animals.

What About Leptospirosis? Is It a Bigger Threat Today Than in Years Past?

Leptospirosis (and its vaccines) is another confusing subject. There are veterinarians in the Chicago area who are promoting lepto as some kind of new, trendy infectious disease. But lepto has been around forever. Dr. Schultz agrees – there’s nothing new about leptospirosis. And he believes it’s probably no more common today than it was 40 or 50 years ago, despite the hype, which is driven in part by the really poor diagnostics used to detect the disease.

Fortunately, according to Dr. Schultz, there are better detection techniques on the horizon. The current gold standard, he says, “… is about as poor a test as you’ll ever find.” It gives false readings – false positives. Dr. Schultz says he’s seen a high number of supposed lepto cases that are NOT lepto cases thanks to poor diagnostics. Poor diagnostics have added to the general confusion surrounding lepto, and are partly why veterinarians are recommending mass vaccination against the disease.

Dr. Schultz restated that in his view, lepto is no more prevalent today than it was 40 years ago. However, the vaccine has improved tremendously in recent years, because it now contains the 4 serovars that cause lepto in the U.S. In the past, all lepto vaccines contained only 2 serovars. With the old 2-serovar vaccines, Dr. Schultz says there were as many vaccinated dogs with lepto as there were non-vaccinated dogs.

He believes today, the lepto vaccine is probably 60 to 80 percent effective in preventing disease. I asked him if the animal can still transmit or shed the bacteria. He replied there is that potential, but even the shedding is reduced with the 4-serovar vaccine.

Of course, despite the improved effectiveness of the lepto vaccine, there are still concerns about adverse reactions with the first dose, or subsequent revaccinations. Dr. Schultz explains this is another of the bacterins that is more likely to cause an adverse reaction simply as a result of the nature of the organism.

Adverse Reactions to Vaccines Can be Immediate, or They Can Develop Weeks, Months or Even Years Post-Vaccination

So we’ve established that the majority of adverse events occur with bacterin-type vaccines. These vaccines can cause all types of hypersensitivity reactions in some animals. Type 1 adverse reactions typically occur immediately after vaccination and are obviously directly linked to the vaccine.

But as Dr. Schultz goes on to explain, when we have a reaction like the development of autoimmune hemolytic anemia or another autoimmune disease in a genetically predisposed animal, it usually occurs weeks, months or even years after vaccination. Often the offending vaccine in those cases is a live viral vaccine, and it isn’t blamed for causing the disease because there’s a span of time between vaccination and development of the autoimmune disorder.

Many veterinarians will say, in response to the suggestion that a vaccine caused an autoimmune disorder, something like, “What do you mean? There’s no correlation. It was last year when the dog received that vaccine.” And even worse, both Dr. Schultz and I have seen veterinarians tell pet owners their animal’s illness couldn’t be a vaccine reaction even when the two events happen within days of each other.

Dr. Schultz’s Bordetella Vaccine Recommendation

Next I asked Dr. Schultz to talk to us about bordetella vaccines. He explained that the vaccine is available now in a variety of forms. There’s an oral vaccine, which is a live, attenuated bordetella organism. There’s the intranasal form, which is also the live organism. And there’s the injectable form, which is a killed product. Dr. Schultz says he has been able to clearly demonstrate that the live product is the most effective, whether oral or intranasal.

But one of the problems with bordetella is that it is always accompanied by other agents in causing canine infectious respiratory disease complex, otherwise known as kennel cough. There are many infectious agents involved, but the most important one from a bacterial standpoint is bordetella. From a viral standpoint, an impressive number of infectious agents can play a role.

I personally can’t see a reason to use injectable bordetella when there are other safer, non-adjuvanted and attenuated vaccines available. Dr. Schultz points out that one of the reasons the injectable is popular is that it can be used with dogs that won’t cooperate with intranasal or oral administration of the vaccine. He does a lot of work with shelters, and there are many difficult dogs in that population that must receive the vaccine by injection. Some dogs can be muzzled and given the oral vaccine, but often it’s too dangerous for shelter staff to even try to muzzle certain dogs.

In my opinion, the bordetella vaccine should only be given when a dog must be boarded. If you don’t board your dog, or if you don’t plan to have your dog in contact with other dogs (such as at shows and training classes), then my recommendation is to opt out.

However, some kennels require dogs to receive a twice-yearly schedule of bordetella revaccinations. Dr. Schultz believes if you’re taking your pet to a boarding facility that requires bordetella vaccines every six months, you should change to another facility, because the one you’re using has a ventilation or hygiene problem and not an infectious disease problem. “Don’t allow anyone to tell you that you need to get bordetella vaccine every six months. If they do, don’t go there anymore,” says Dr. Schultz.

The Canine Influenza Vaccine – Is It Really Necessary?

I also asked Dr. Schultz about the canine influenza vaccine, which is another vaccine commonly required at boarding facilities and similar businesses. He answered that he’s not sure the vaccine should be required, because canine influenza isn’t a casually transmitted virus. It’s not something the average well cared-for dog will pick up at the local dog park.

Dr. Schultz does caution, however, that if the canine influenza vaccine is to be given, it can’t be administered at the last minute. Dogs that have never received the vaccine need at least three weeks to develop immunity after being vaccinated. And two doses must be given, with a minimum of two weeks separating them. If a dog is receiving annual boosters of the vaccine, it won’t take three weeks for immunity to develop after revaccination.
Dr. Schultz explains that bordetella (as well as other bacterial diseases such as streptococcal infections) and canine influenza together can create severe disease.

Dr. Schultz mentioned that many kennels do require the canine influenza vaccine, so I asked him if that is out of concern about spreading disease, or concern about covering their bases from a liability standpoint. Dr. Schultz thinks much of it comes from a concern that if there were to be an outbreak of canine influenza, the facilities would be found at fault because they didn’t require the vaccine. Fortunately, to date there have only been a few outbreaks of canine influenza in shelters and kennels.

I agree. I feel a lot of those requirements are simply a way to bounce liability away from the business owner. And it’s up to pet owners to determine the true motivation behind the requirement if they choose to board or have their dog groomed at a facility that demands certain vaccines. And as Dr. Schultz points out, if any of the vaccines required by these businesses cause an adverse reaction in a pet, the costs (both financial and emotional) associated with the adverse event are the owner’s responsibility even though the vaccines were required by a third party.

Are Pet Owners Informed About the Potential for Adverse Vaccine Reactions?

As it stands right now, veterinarians must obtain informed consent from a pet owner when we elect not to vaccinate an animal. I asked Dr. Schultz if he believes we should also obtain informed consent TO vaccinate an animal. He replied that he definitely agrees we should. In my opinion, many in the traditional veterinary community are casual vaccinators. They aren’t informing their clients of all the potential ramifications of administering vaccines.

Dr. Schultz agrees that pet owners need to be aware, even though the number of adverse reactions is relatively small. And something he wants to re-emphasize – something that people don’t realize or think about – is that adverse reactions are genetically controlled. When Dr. Schultz talks to breeders, he tells them that if they see adverse vaccine reactions in puppies from a specific combination of mother and father dogs, they should not mate those two dogs again, because the incidence of adverse reactions will increase with each litter and potentially with litters of those litters, and so on. By continuing to mate those two dogs to each other, they will perpetuate the genetic predisposition to adverse vaccine reactions.

Dr. Schultz says, as an example, we might see allergic neuritis or paralysis develop in about 1 in 10,000 vaccinates, yet in a litter of five puppies, three of the five may develop the condition. One of them dies, and two are paralyzed. So the incidence of adverse reactions is not rare in that litter of five, because genetics plays a key role in causing the vaccine adverse reaction.

What Pets Are Most Likely to Have an Adverse Reaction to Vaccines?

There are genetic predispositions among breeds of dogs. As a Boston Terrier owner, I have concerns not just about immediate adverse reactions, but about mast cell tumors, for example. No one is studying the correlation, but I personally believe there’s a strong correlation between vaccinations and mast cell tumors.

Dr. Schultz agrees and thinks that in dogs, we should look at mast cell tumors, histiocytomas and other similar responses at vaccine injection sites. We are aware of feline injection-site sarcomas, but really, any vaccine in a dog or cat that stimulates a proliferative response in cells should be looked at. Particular individuals with a genetic predisposition turn those cells neoplastic, and the animal doesn’t have the suppressor factors necessary to control the disease (tumor) at the cellular level. It’s going to turn into a tumor.

Recognition among veterinarians has been slow in coming, but it’s coming. As Dr. Schultz points out, until fairly recently the veterinary community never considered that a vaccine could cause a lethal tumor in a young, healthy animal. He says it was a great awakening in the mid-1980s for the veterinary profession to realize the potential for adverse events following vaccination, specifically at the time, injection-site sarcomas in cats. But Dr. Schultz believes it’s important to keep in mind that these events are rare, and many veterinarians have never seen one. Other practices see six or eight a year. The frequency isn’t based on the number of cats coming into a particular practice. Which brings us back to the matter of genetic predisposition to adverse events from vaccines.

Other factors that can play a role include an animal’s nutritional status, environmental status, the type of vaccine, the stress the animal feels – all those things and more play into an animal’s immunologic response.

In terms of genetics, one example Dr. Schultz points out is the small breed dog. He says it’s not every small breed, but there are small breeds out there that are genetically predisposed to react to many vaccines. Dr. Schultz says this is a critically important point when it comes to making decisions about giving vaccinations.

If you have a small breed dog that has proven to be hypersensitive to vaccines – or is related to other hypersensitive dogs — and that dog spends most of his time in the house on someone’s lap, what are the chances he’ll be exposed to leptospirosis? The chances are slim to none, so why would you even think about injecting that dog with a lepto vaccine? Dr. Schultz says vaccine manufacturers don’t want those animals vaccinated due to the risk of adverse reactions.

In terms of recognizing the potential dangers of certain vaccines for certain pets, breed-specific organizations seem to, and of course individual pet owners who’ve lived through horrific experiences do as well. But there are still a large number of veterinarians who seem unwilling to put the puzzle pieces together to protect potentially vulnerable patients.

Dr. Schultz replied that he’s still shocked by the number of practices that are still giving core vaccines annually. As he puts it, “If ever we could get away from this addiction to vaccination just for the sake of vaccination …”.

Dr. Schultz and the Rabies Challenge Fund

The last topic I want to discuss with Dr. Schultz today is one that is close to my heart, the Rabies Challenge Fund. I asked Dr. Schultz to describe the project and its purpose for people who aren’t familiar with it.

He responded that what he and his colleagues Dr. Jean Dodds and Kris Christine have been doing for over five years now is trying to answer the question, can be we get protection from rabies vaccines, and how long can that protection last? Right now there are rabies vaccines that carry either a 1-year or 3-year license. Many of those vaccines are actually the same product – they were just licensed differently. Dr. Schultz is looking beyond the 3-year license by conducting very difficult, very expensive studies to determine how long immunity from a rabies vaccine truly lasts.

This is the way a rabies vaccine is licensed: The USDA requires that a vaccinated group of animals be challenged with the rabies virus at three or five or seven years after the vaccine is given. There must also be a control group of dogs that are unvaccinated. When challenged, a certain percentage of that group must develop rabies to insure the challenge is viable. Of the vaccinated group, 88 percent or more must be protected in order for the USDA to license the vaccine for the number of years protection is provided.

At this time, the Rabies Challenge Fund is at five years with one of the vaccines they are testing, and at three years with the other. They are currently trying to determine whether or not the vaccines will be effective at five years. If those tests show that there should still be protection at five years post-vaccination, the next step will be to do the challenge itself.

Dr. Schultz has two years left on one of the vaccine products and four years left on the other product to determine length of immunity. The work he and his colleagues are doing with the rabies challenge is funded by dog owners. Dr. Schultz says no one is really interested in the work other than caring dog owners, which also includes a number of breed-specific clubs and organizations – basically people who want to give their dogs as few vaccines as necessary – law-abiding citizens who want their pets protected from disease, but don’t want to risk their pet’s health with unnecessary vaccinations.

How You Can Help

The Rabies Challenge Fund study is the first of its kind, and it takes a lot of money to do the work. It’s seven years of research, data collection, and publishing the results. That’s why Mercola Healthy Pets is partnering with the Rabies Challenge Fund to help raise the remainder of the money needed to not only complete the study, but to insure the research is published in a manner that will benefit the most pets.

And of course research is still ongoing. They are in year six, and have year seven still to go. The project depends on grassroots gifts for funding the costs of conducting the requisite vaccine trials. Contributions to date have come mostly from kennel clubs and private individuals. None of the money collected by the Rabies Challenge Fund goes to Dr. Schultz, Dr. Dodds, Kris Christine, or others working on their behalf. Salaries and other overhead costs are not involved, with the exception of expenses for care and testing of the study animals.

I want to extend my thanks to Dr. Schultz for talking with us today and for his work with the Rabies Challenge Fund. Extending the length of time between rabies and other vaccinations, thereby reducing the total number of vaccines animals receive during their lifetime, will be a huge benefit to the health and well being of pets.

Mercola Healthy Pets is proud to partner with the Rabies Challenge Fund to raise money to help improve the lives of animals. This week, for every $1 donated to the Rabies Challenge Fund by a Mercola Healthy Pets reader, we will donate $2, up to $30,000. I hope you’ll join us in helping RabiesChallengeFund.org fund the remaining research needed to complete their seven-year study.

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November 11, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sidestep This Feline Vaccine – Despite the Potentially Fatal Disease Outcome

Story at-a-glance
  • Feline infectious peritonitis, or FIP, is a viral disease caused by certain strains of the feline coronavirus.
  • Most cats who acquire a feline corona infection are able to overcome it, however, in 5 to 10 percent of infected cats, either a mutation of the virus or an abnormality in the immune system allows the infection to progress to FIP.
  • FIP is seen in both domestic and wild cats, and most often in young cats living in multi-cat households or shelters. Any cat exposed to the feline coronavirus can develop FIP, however, kitties with compromised immune systems or FeLV, elderly cats, kittens, and purebreds are at increased risk.
  • The most common route of infection is from mother to kittens. Symptoms depend on whether the FIP is the wet or dry form of the disease.
  • Diagnosing FIP can be tricky because the symptoms are seen in many other types of diseases. In addition, there’s no diagnostic test for the condition. Once a diagnosis is made, however, the prognosis is poor. Cats with the wet form of FIP go downhill rapidly; kitties with the dry form may live a year or so past diagnosis.
  • Prevention of FIP includes keeping your cat’s immune system strong and balanced. We absolutely do not recommend the FIP vaccine as a preventive measure, as it is ineffective and can cause significant immune system damage.

Video: Dr. Becker Talks About Feline Infectious Peritonitis

By Dr. Becker

Feline infectious peritonitis, or FIP, is a viral disease caused by certain strains of the feline coronavirus. Most strains, called feline enteric coronavirus, do not cause disease.

How FIP Develops

Most kitties with feline corona infection are asymptomatic during the initial stages. The immune system responds by producing antiviral antibodies to kill off the infection. But in about five to 10 percent of infected cats, it is believed either a mutation of the corona virus or an abnormality in the immune system response allows the infection to progress to FIP.

In FIP, the antibodies that should provide protection actually help infect white blood cells with the virus. These cells, in turn, spread the infection throughout the cat’s body. This results in a very powerful inflammatory response in tissues where the infected cells locate — frequently in the abdomen, kidneys, or brain.

It’s the interaction of the body’s immune system with the virus that results in disease. It behaves unlike any other viral disease we know of in either animals or people. Sadly, once FIP has involved one or more organs or body systems, the infection is quite progressed and almost always fatal.

Transmission of Feline Infectious Peritonitis

FIP is a disease of both domestic and wild cats. It’s most often seen in young cats living in multi-cat households, shelters, and catteries. Any cat exposed to the feline coronavirus can develop FIP. However, cats with compromised immune systems, those already infected with the feline leukemia virus, geriatric cats, and kittens are most likely to develop the disease. Males are more commonly infected than females, and purebred cats are at an increased risk, especially the Asian breeds.

FIP in symptomatic cats is not highly contagious, because by the time a kitty shows clinical signs of the infection, he is shedding only a small amount of the virus.

Fortunately, FIP is relatively rare in the general cat population. However, feline coronavirus is found in large quantities in the feces and saliva of cats during the acute stage of infection when there are no symptoms. It’s also found to a lesser extent in cats that have recovered, as well as carrier cats.

The coronavirus can be transmitted from one cat to another through physical contact and through exposure to feces. Usually, transmission occurs long before clinical signs are noted. The virus can also live in the environment for several weeks.

The most common route of infection, though, is when an infected mother passes the virus to her kittens. This usually occurs when the litter is between five and eight weeks of age.

The Two Forms of FIP and Their Symptoms

Kitties exposed to the feline coronavirus often have no clear symptoms, although there may be some sneezing, watery eyes, or nasal discharge. Sometimes a cat who has been infected will show mild intestinal signs like diarrhea.

Only a small percentage of cats exposed to the feline coronavirus go on to develop FIP. It can be weeks, months, or even years after exposure before symptoms appear.

Kitties that wind up with FIP often seem to their owners to develop symptoms very suddenly. This is probably due to the ability of cats to mask illness until they’re terribly sick. In addition, initial symptoms are often non-specific. They can include a lack of appetite, weight loss, fever, poor hair coat, and sometimes mild depression.

There are actually two forms of FIP, the effusive or wet form, and the non-effusive or dry form. Cats with the dry form tend to show signs of the illness more slowly. Those signs can include weight loss, depression, anemia, inflammation of the eye, and a stubborn fever that doesn’t respond to antibiotics.

Kitties with the wet form of the disease accumulate fluid in the abdomen and sometimes in the chest. Early on, symptoms may mimic those of the dry form of FIP. But effusive FIP progresses pretty quickly. The cat may suddenly develop a potbelly due to fluid accumulation in the abdomen. In addition, breathing can sometimes be labored due to a buildup of fluid in the chest.

Diagnosing FIP

Diagnosing feline infectious peritonitis can be difficult because many of the symptoms are common in many other diseases. In addition, there’s no simple diagnostic test for the condition.

Several tests can detect feline corona antibodies, but they can’t tell what strains are involved. A positive result on an ELISA, IFA, or a virus neutralization test simply means the cat has had exposure to the coronavirus, but not necessarily a strain of the virus that causes FIP.

There is an immunoperoxidase test that can find the presence of viral infected cells in the tissues. But it must be followed by a biopsy to evaluate the affected tissue.

Routine blood tests, including a complete blood count and serum biochemistry profile, can show elevated liver enzymes, anemia, and abnormal blood protein levels, which are typical of kitties with FIP.

Chest and abdominal X-rays may show an abnormal accumulation of fluid.

Blood samples from cats with very high blood protein levels can be submitted for serum protein electrophoresis testing. Cerebral spinal fluid samples can also be analyzed for protein content, which is typically elevated in FIP cats. But the only way to definitively diagnose FIP is by a surgical biopsy of an affected organ (often the intestines) or examination of tissues during an autopsy.

Veterinarians often rely on a presumptive diagnosis, which can be made with a high degree of confidence based on the cat’s history, symptoms, examination of fluids, and a high corona antibody titer.

Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no cure at the present time for FIP. Once a kitty develops clinical signs of the disease, either the dry or wet form, the prognosis is very poor.

I have had some success in helping several kitties overcome this disease by supportive care and using homeopathic FIP nosodes, cytokine therapy, and IV vitamin C therapy, in addition to immune-modulating nutraceuticals.

I have also attempted to help many kitties that, unfortunately, end up succumbing to the disease. It’s a devastating situation for both the owner and the veterinarian.

The wet form typically progresses very rapidly. Many cats live only a month or two after diagnosis. Cats that have been diagnosed with the dry form may have another year or so with a good quality of life. Unfortunately, the dry form of FIP can progress to the wet form if the cat lives long enough.

Supportive care for FIP patients includes good nutritional and environmental maintenance, alleviating the inflammatory response of the disease, fluid therapy, draining fluid accumulation, and blood transfusions.

Preventing FIP in Your Own Cat

The best way to prevent FIP is to keep your cat’s immune system strong and balanced. This includes feeding a balanced species-appropriate diet; keeping vaccines and other drugs to an absolute minimum; providing a stress-free, enriched environment for your cat; regular wellness checkups with your veterinarian; either keeping your pet indoors at all times or providing a safe outdoor enclosure; and supervising walks with a harness and leash.

Of course, I always advocate rescuing cats rather than buying them, but if you do purchase a purebred cat, only do business with breeders who guarantee their kittens are FIP-free.

In a multi-cat household, it’s important to keep litter boxes clean and located in areas away from food and water bowls. Litter should also be scooped at least once daily, removing all feces, and dumped weekly or every two weeks, at which time the box should be completely and thoroughly disinfected with mild soap and water.

New cats to the household and certainly any cat that might be infected should be kept separate from other cats for a quarantine period.

There is an FIP vaccine available. However, I do not recommend it. It has little to no effectiveness in preventing FIP and is not recommended by the American Association of Feline Practitioners’ Feline Vaccine Advisory Panel. This vaccine causes substantial immune system damage and, in my opinion, should absolutely not be used.

April 23, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dog and Cat Vaccines are Not Harmless Preventive Medicine

Story at-a-glance
  • Vaccinosis is a condition recognized almost exclusively by the holistic veterinary community. It is not generally acknowledged by traditional veterinarians.
  • Dr. Richard Pitcairn defines vaccinosis this way: “Vaccinosis is to be understood as the disturbance of the vital force by vaccination that results in mental, emotional, and a physical change that can, in some cases, be a permanent condition.”
  • Vaccines are composed of modified live viruses, killed viruses and a number of potentially toxic substances. They also enter the body in an unnatural way (by injection) compared to real viruses. They bypass the body’s first lines of defense and are delivered directly to the blood and lymph systems.
  • Vaccine reactions, or vaccinosis, are wide-ranging. Some reactions are relatively minor, while others are life-threatening.
  • Fortunately, the traditional veterinary community is slowing becoming aware that vaccines are not the benign disease-prevention tools they were once thought to be.

Video: Vaccinosis and Your Pet

Download Interview Transcript

By Dr. Becker  -  Dr. Mercola.com

I talk a lot about vaccine dangers here at MercolaHealthyPets, and I often mention a condition called vaccinosis.

Since vaccinosis isn’t recognized by most traditional veterinarians and isn’t something many pet owners have ever heard of before, I thought it would be helpful to do a short video to explain the condition.

Vaccinosis Defined

First, let’s talk about what vaccinosis isn’t.

It isn’t an acute, often immediate adverse reaction to a vaccine. Adverse events, or hypersensitivities, whether mild (such as lethargy, flu-like symptoms, etc.), or severe (such as anaphylactic shock), that are clearly linked to a recent vaccination are widely acknowledged by the traditional veterinary community.

Unfortunately, these reactions are considered by traditional vets to be occasional aberrations of a basically safe procedure.

Vaccinosis, on the other hand, is a problem only holistic veterinarians seem willing to acknowledge. It is a reaction of a pet’s body to vaccines that have been injected without the pet having experienced a notable adverse event or hypersensitivity. These are chronic reactions to not only the altered virus contained in the vaccine, but also to the chemicals, adjuvants, and other components of tissue culture cell lines — as well as possible genetic changes — that can be induced by vaccines.

Dr. Richard Pitcairn, who holds a PhD in immunology, defines it this way: “Vaccinosis is to be understood as the disturbance of the vital force by vaccination that results in mental, emotional, and a physical change that can, in some cases, be a permanent condition.”

Dr. Pitcairn: Vaccines Create Chronic Disease

According to Dr. Pitcairn, vaccines intended to protect pets against acute natural diseases actually create chronic conditions with features of the disease the vaccine was supposed to prevent.

This transformation happens in the laboratory, where natural viruses are modified in order to make vaccines.

Where the natural virus would trigger a strong immune system response, the modified lab-created virus in the vaccine doesn’t elicit much of a reaction by the animal’s immune system. Instead, it creates chronic disease.

The delivery of a vaccine is also very different from how a natural disease develops in an animal’s body.
Vaccines contain a number of toxic substances, including viruses, mutated bacteria, immune irritants, foreign proteins, and chemical preservatives. All of these toxins are delivered by injection directly into the blood and lymph, bypassing the usual first line of defenses, including the skin, mucous membranes, saliva, and so forth. So not only is the virus in the vaccine unnatural, the way it enters a pet’s body is also very unnatural.

When you look at the situation from this perspective, it’s easy to see how abnormal immune reactions are triggered by vaccinations.

Your Pet’s Individual Risk of Vaccinosis

The strength and balance of every animal’s immune system is different, so there’s no way to predict – unless your dog or cat has had a reaction in the past — how much danger your pet is in from exposure to the modified virus contained in any given vaccine or the many toxic ingredients it contains.

That’s why I strongly encourage pet owners to avoid all unnecessary vaccines and re-vaccinations.

Symptoms of Vaccinosis

Common vaccine reactions include:

  • Lethargy
  • Stiffness
  • Hair loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Hair color change at injection site
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Fever
  • Sneezing
  • Soreness
  • Oral ulcers

More serious reactions:

  • Immunosuppression
  • Granulomas and abscesses
  • Behavioral changes
  • Hives
  • Vitiligo
  • Facial swelling
  • Weight loss
  • Allergic hypersensitivity
  • Reduced milk production (females)
  • Respiratory disease
  • Lameness
  • Allergic uveitis

Very severe illness:

  • Injection-site sarcomas (cancer)
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Myocarditis
  • Autoimmune arthritis
  • Encephalitis or polyneuritis
  • Polyarthritis
  • Seizures
  • Hypertrophic osteodystrophy
  • Abortion
  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia
  • Embryotic (fetal) death
  • Thyroiditis
  • Infertility

Dog and Cat Vaccines: The Importance of Exercising Caution

Since the introduction of dog and cat vaccines, the traditional view of their use has been that they are safe and can be given as frequently as once or twice a year. This approach, tragically, has caused a tremendous amount of suffering for millions of pets.

As the truth about the dangers of vaccines slowly emerges, even traditional veterinary organizations and practitioners are acknowledging that vaccines are not the benign, “better safe than sorry” veterinary tools they were thought to be.

My recommendations for vaccinating your pet can be found in several videos, articles, and interviews here at MercolaHealthyPets. Most importantly, I don’t recommend automatic re-vaccinations at prescribed intervals for any pet.

If you believe your pet could be suffering from the negative effects of over-vaccination, I strongly recommend you work with a homeopathic or holistic vet to create a tailor-made vaccine detox program to assist your dog’s or cat’s body in recovering from vaccinosis.

Related:

Do Vaccinations Affect the Health of our Pets?

New Parasite Prevalence Maps Help Pet Owners Prepare

The dangers of vaccines are surfacing for children, people in general, and now pets: New Organization VaxTruth Fights Vaccine Damages

August 13, 2012 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Do Vaccinations Affect the Health of our Pets?

Story at-a-glance

  • The AHVMA Foundation is an effort by the AHVMA organization and holistic veterinarians to make a difference in their profession by finding ways to support research into the theory and practice of complementary and alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM), and to expand CAVM education into more veterinary schools across the U.S.
  • The foundation’s goal is to find financial support from unbiased individuals and organizations with no agenda other than to learn what works and what doesn’t in CAVM. They want to support CAVM techniques by developing better evidence.
  • Another foundation goal is to develop a wholly independent, certified PhD program in veterinary nutrition based on documented scientific evidence of the benefits of species-appropriate diets.
  • The foundation also plans to tackle the problem of over-vaccination of pets and the larger issue of how traditional veterinary medicine can create or contribute to illness, when the goal should be to create wellness.
  • Between now and July 2, 2012, every $1 donated to the AHVMA Foundation toward the “Be One in a Million” campaign will be automatically doubled. That’s right – MercolaHealthyPets.com will contribute $2 for every $1 donation to the foundation from June 25th through July 2nd.

    Video:  Do Vaccinations Affect the Health of our Pets?

    In this video, Dr. Karen Becker interviews Dr. Barbara Royal, founding member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), about an exciting new campaign the foundation is kicking off.

    By Dr. Becker

    Today I have a very special guest, Dr. Barbara Royal. Dr. Royal is one of the founding members of the AHVMA Foundation.

    I’m very excited about this interview because the AHVMA (American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association) Foundation is very close to my heart, and I want all of you watching here today to understand why I’m so passionate about this organization.

    A Little about the Foundation

    The AHVMA Foundation has been in existence for quite some time, but Dr. Royal and other board members are steering it in a new, exciting direction. I asked Dr. Royal to explain a little about the foundation.

    The foundation has two co-directors, three board members including Dr. Royal, and an executive director. This structure is fairly recent. As mentioned, the foundation has been in existence for quite some time — funding scholarships and other small projects, and working quietly behind the scenes to encourage holistically-oriented curriculums in veterinary schools.

    More recently, the members decided the foundation has an opportunity to have a much greater impact on the practice and teaching of complementary and alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM), and that’s the direction they’re headed in now.

    I asked Dr. Royal to talk about the goals of the foundation. She explained that it is an effort by the AHVMA organization and holistic veterinarians to make a difference in their profession by finding ways to support research into the theory and practice of CAVM, and to expand CAVM education into more veterinary schools across the U.S.

    As Dr. Royal points out, most of the research done in veterinary medicine is funded by government agencies, large corporations and pharmaceutical companies that have a stake in the results. The research is undertaken specifically to promote a certain type of processed pet food, a new drug, a piece of surgical equipment, or some other profit-making product.

    But when someone wants to research a natural ingredient for pets, for example, or a nutraceutical – something low-profile that doesn’t carry a patent or trademark – there’s little or no funding available.

    The Goal: Independently Funded Research into Alternative Veterinary Medicine

    What the AHVMA Foundation wants to do is raise the money necessary to facilitate research into alternative veterinary therapies, and to provide more CAVM coursework in veterinary schools. And their goal is to find financial support from unbiased individuals and organizations with no agenda other than to learn what works and what doesn’t. They want to assist the entry of CAVM techniques into evidence-based medicine. Evidence-based medicine is defined as:

    “The judicious use of the best current available scientific research in making decisions about the care of patients. Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is intended to integrate clinical expertise with the research evidence and patient values.” (MedicineNet.com)

    In order to conduct independent research not backed by special interests like pet food manufacturers or veterinary pharmaceutical companies, the funding has to come from private citizens and groups.

    And as Dr. Royal explains, veterinarians must also to come together as a group to impact the direction of future research. DVMs have to make a conscious, collective decision not to simply take whatever data is offered by Big Pharma and large pet food companies and call it a day. They have to have interest in finding out what’s real and what’s not for themselves.

    Dr. Royal believes the AHVMA Foundation has the ability to bring in money to start funding research and education projects that will provide scientific evidence of the value of alternative veterinary therapies. This research will support what holistic and integrative vets already know about what works and what doesn’t in CAVM. It will also provide evidence of the benefits of integrating Western and alternative medicine techniques to make a much bigger positive impact on the health of animals.

    Lack of Research Means Lack of DVMs Willing to Explore Alternative Therapies

    Dr. Royal and I and most holistic/integrative practitioners have had experiences with colleagues in the traditional veterinary community in which we’ve found ourselves defending our integrative approach.

    Part of the reason for their viewpoint is the lack of scientific research into the modalities used in CAVM. There is some human-directed research available using rats and primates, but dog and cat research just isn’t there. And many vets seem to use the lack of research as an excuse to ignore alternative methods of healing, which isn’t necessarily correct

    Because there is more research into integrative medicine for humans than animals, we often find ourselves experimenting with human model treatments to see what works for our animal patients.

    Both Dr. Royal and I have had a great deal of success integrating alternative therapies into our treatment plans, but because there’s so little scientific evidence pertaining to animals to back up what we’re doing, our traditionally trained colleagues remain skeptical.

    We simply have no research we can point to for many of the things we do in our practices – we just know they work because we’ve used them successfully. Having actual research to point to would pull many more traditional vets toward learning about CAVM and incorporating it into their practices. And that would be a win for everyone.

    In evidence-based medicine, a doctor or vet can treat a patient with a new therapy that appears to work, but if he or she doesn’t publish the work, then that information doesn’t technically exist. No veterinary school or researcher can know about it.

    When doctors and DVMs want to find new treatments, they search the medical literature. If no study is published then there is no evidence of a potential healing tool to help your pet or a human family member. Only through properly done research and publication can new tools and potential healing therapies gain wider awareness and use. Research and education are essential in addressing the gap in knowledge between clinicians with special training in CAVM and those in traditional veterinary schools.

    Another Goal: A PhD Program in Pet Food, Based on Species-Appropriate Nutrition

    Dr. Royal believes the AHVMA Foundation should also create a PhD program in animal nutrition – a program not funded by commercial food companies. Obviously, a veterinary nutrition education program developed by a pet food company has built-in conflict of interest issues.

    In fact, when Dr. Royal was in veterinary school, nutrition class consisted of visits by corporate employees to talk about their products. And hers isn’t an isolated case. This is the extent of the “objective” education many vet students receive in pet nutrition. Some veterinary schools don’t offer a nutrition program at all.

    Holistic practitioners learn about nutrition outside their formal DVM education. Dr. Royal picked up much of her knowledge when she worked in zoo medicine. She learned what happens to animals when they aren’t able to eat food appropriate for their species. This is the kind of truly objective information every vet student needs.

    So another of Dr. Royal’s goals for the foundation is to create a certified PhD program in veterinary nutrition that is based on documented scientific evidence of the benefits of species-appropriate diets.

    In my view, this one groundbreaking program could do more to improve the health and vitality of pets than almost anything else.

    How Dr. Royal Gravitated to Integrative Veterinary Medicine

    Next I asked Dr. Royal when she decided to broaden her traditional veterinary skills to incorporate alternative medicine techniques.

    She responded it actually sort of took her by surprise. As a vet student, if anyone had asked her if she planned to be an alternative practitioner, she says she would have laughed.

    Dr. Royal explained that when she graduated from vet school she was very serious about practicing Western veterinary medicine. She also had experience with zoo medicine and felt confident about her knowledge of different species. But she soon discovered she wasn’t able to help a lot of her very sensitive patients or exotic animals using the Westernized drugs-and-surgery medical model she learned in school.

    At the time she had a lot of racing greyhound patients. Greyhounds are an extremely sensitive breed and can’t tolerate many of the drugs used in veterinary medicine. So these poor dogs would come in, in pain, and Dr. Royal would have to send them away untreated. It felt awful not to be able to help those patients.

    So she decided to learn acupuncture. On her first day of class, the instructor stood up and said, “This is going to change your life.” And Dr. Royal thought to herself, “Oh, please.” And then, of course, it did indeed change her life.

    Her acupuncture training not only gave her the skills to perform the procedure, it also made a big difference in how she came to view the practice of medicine. There is more than one way to promote healing, and the body can teach us things. Primarily what Dr. Royal took away from the training was the importance of nutrition as the foundation of good health. The decisions we make about what to put in our dog’s or cat’s food bowl are the most important health choices we make for them.

    When Dr. Royal attended Tufts University for extra coursework in herbal medicine and nutrition, she became even more passionate about alternative therapies.

    From my viewpoint, the AHVMA is an interesting organization because its members are veterinarians who aren’t satisfied to practice just one method of treating patients. Holistic practitioners seek to fill their toolboxes with resources so they can help a wide variety of animals with a wide variety of health challenges.

    When a holistic vet doesn’t see progress using a certain medical technique, he or she goes looking for a different tool in the toolbox. Holistic vets are never satisfied with saying, “There’s nothing more we can do.”

    Vaccinations: How Many Does a Dog or Cat Really Need?

    The foundation is actively involved in supporting the Rabies Challenge Fund, a research project intended to show the rabies vaccine actually provides protection for at least five to seven years, and perhaps for a lifetime.

    The Rabies Challenge Fund involves ongoing FDA-level research that Dr. Royal believes will ultimately change the way veterinary medicine is practiced. Repetitive vaccinations are not only unnecessary in the vast majority of cases, they also carry significant risk of adverse reactions and establishment of permanent, chronic disease.

    Many traditional vet practices are set up around the idea of yearly vaccinations. That’s how they get clients to bring their pets in for checkups, and they assume it’s the only way to get those pets in there. But there is another way to encourage vet visits, and it is to keep pets healthy.

    It’s a shift from the “disease model” the traditional vet community uses, to a wellness model that helps owners understand the importance of creating vitality and wellness so their pets can live in good health into old age.

    In my view, that kind of shift takes a lot of education. Dr. Royal agrees.

    She explained that clients accustomed to the Western medicine model have a hard time believing alternative treatments can often halt or reverse a disease process in their pet. They’ve accepted the idea that their dog just has chronic ear infections or their cat just throws up a lot, but in holistically-oriented vet practices, we don’t accept health imbalances as “normal.” We deal with them by identifying the root cause and working to resolve it.

    Dr. Royal explained that once animals have a foundation of good health established, they can come in for annual exams and their owners will end up spending much less money than they would with a traditional vet practice. According to veterinary insurance statistics, the average pet has 6 to 8 vet visits per year. That’s quite a high number. And from the perspective of holistic vets, it almost always means the DVM is treating symptoms of disease rather than creating wellness.

    The Value of a Proactive Approach

    Holistic and integrative vets aren’t fighting fires all the time like many traditional vets who wait for disease to occur. Our approach is proactive and focused on maintaining health. The goal of proactive wellness medicine is to create healthy, resilient animals whose bodies are able to handle the pathogens they encounter.

    Nature creates most animal bodies with the capacity to heal themselves. Holistic medicine works with that natural healing ability; Western medicine most often works against it.

    In Dr. Royal’s opinion, the Western medicine approach has created an appalling state of health for pets across the country – obesity, diabetes, Cushing’s disease, chronic allergies, seizures, arthritis, and more. We’ve come to accept as “normal” that most 8 year-old large breed dogs are severely arthritic. But that’s not normal – we’ve created the problem through mismanagement of the health of animals.

    We’ve created all kinds of degenerative diseases, not to mention cancer.

    Dr. Royal and I agree the amount of pet cancer we’re seeing, coupled with the limitations of treatment and the poor prognosis many animals have even with treatment, could be one thing that encourages more traditional veterinarians in the direction of alternative medicine.

    The vast majority of vets are wonderful people who truly want to help their patients. They are disheartened and frustrated when they can’t. As the number of cancer cases continues to increase, it’s possible more traditional vets will open their minds to the idea of creating health vs. treating disease. As a profession we need to take a closer look at what we’re doing that could be causing the diseases we see so often in today’s pets.

    Rather than accepting as “normal” that 25 percent of all pets will get cancer, or 50 percent will be obese, we need to take a step back and question why this is happening.

    Why are animals in the wild not suffering the same types of disorders pets and captive animals deal with? What’s different about their lifestyles? What factors are contributing to illness in animals dependent on people vs. animals dependent on their natural instincts to survive?

    And organizations like the AHVMA Foundation can help promote the notion that “No, this level of illness in animals is anything BUT normal.” These trends can be reversed. There are tools available. Holistic and integrative practitioners use them everyday in their practices.

    Pet owners not content to accept the new “normal” can also motivate traditional vets to pursue alternative therapies with greater interest.

    How to Help Support the Efforts of the Foundation

    I asked Dr. Royal where people can go who are interested in getting involved with the AHVMA Foundation.

    She refers everyone to the website at foundation.ahvma.org. The site is still under construction in some areas, but there are several ways to donate, including making a gift toward a specific research area. You can also read inspiring stories about pets who’ve been helped by integrative veterinary medicine. And the foundation would love you to submit your story. Simply write it up and send it to them with a letter from your veterinarian supporting the facts.

    The AHVMA Foundation is the only entity of its kind, in that it is a national organization supporting unbiased integrative veterinary medicine, and finding funding for research into the theory and practice of complementary and alternative medicine.

    As we discussed earlier, part of the work of the foundation has been to help veterinary students interested in holistic medicine further their studies in CAVM so they have a more integrative educational foundation by the time they graduate.

    It would be wonderful if one day every vet student, in addition to working through an ophthalmology rotation, a cardiology rotation, etc., would also have the opportunity to work through an integrative medicine rotation.

    What the foundation needs to get the ball rolling is a big infusion of initial funding. After that, financial support becomes self-perpetuating because the research and educational programs that result touch so many lives.

    Right now the only way most vet students in the U.S. can acquire integrative medicine training is to attend AHVMA conferences. The conferences, which are partly funded by the foundation, are fabulous tools, but the foundation’s larger mission must be to get CAVM training into veterinary schools across the country.

    I’d like to thank Dr. Barbara Royal, founding member of the AHVMA Foundation, for joining me today. I look forward to collaborating with her in the future.

    You Can Make a Difference

    I’m tremendously excited to announce that now through July 2, 2012, all donations will be automatically doubled. That’s right! For every $1 donated, MercolaHealthyPets.com will donate an additional $2. So please, take a moment right now to make a donation to the AHVMA Foundation.

    Donate Today!

    Video:  Blue Turns Sweet 16

    Blue, a Sheltie/Blue Heeler mix, lived well past the 30 days she was given after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Blue’s owners attribute her longevity and quality of life to holistic veterinary care.

    June 29, 2012 Posted by | animals, Holistic Pet Health, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

    Getalife Petrescue: Vaccinations & Plenty of Good TIPS!

    Vaccinations & Plenty of Good TIPS!

    Vaccinations: What you Need to Know

    The most important thing for you to know is that annual revaccination of your pet is unnecessary! This information is based on scientific studies conducted by Dr. Ron Schultz, a very well respected veterinary immunologist. What continues to amaze me, is how few people know about this important information. The studies I am speaking of were done over 10 years ago. This is not new information. The truth is that the majority of veterinary practices continue to not only offer annual revaccination, they insist upon it.

    We have become a nation of over-vaccinated and over-medicated people and animals!!! Time to educate ourselves and to use common sense!!

    Over vaccination can be hazardous to your pets health. Vaccines have been linked to a number of autoimmune diseases: interstitial nephritis in cats, pancreatitis in both dogs and cats, Addisons, Cushings and thyroid disease. Other diseases that can be triggered or worsened by vaccines are: seizure disorder, allergies and cancer.

    To protect your pet:

    1. Vaccine selection should be based on risk assessment. There are a variety of vaccines on the market for dogs and cats and not all of them should be given to every pet. The AVMA has set guidelines for the core vaccines (what they feel every animal should have).
    a. Core vaccines in dogs are: Distemper, Parvo and Rabies.
    b. Core vaccines in Cats are: FVRCP and Rabies
    c. Core vaccines in both dogs and cats have been scientifically proven to provide immunity for 3-7 years.

    2. 3 year vaccines are readily available for the core vaccines in dogs.

    3. Non-adjuvanted vaccines (those that are supposed to be less likely to cause Feline Sarcomas in cats are currently only labeled for 1 year. This does not mean that they don’t provide immunity for a much longer period. It just means that the manufacturer has not done studies to prove duration of immunity.

    4. Titer tests are available for both dogs and cats. These tests will show if the pet has antibodies to the diseases tested for which is one indication that the pet remains protected. Titer testing costs more than vaccinating but is the safer alternative.

    5. Vaccines are labeled for use in healthy animals only. If your pet is sick with either an acute or chronic illness, he/she should not be vaccinated. This means that animals diagnosed with seizures, cancer, cushings, addisons, thyroid disease, allergies just to name a few should be deemed too sick to vaccinate. As we mentioned above, the fact is they probably don’t need to be revaccinated anyway!
    I have to say that this is probably the hill I will chose to die on. Why? My practice consists mainly of the treatment of chronically/terminally ill animals and I continue to see other veterinarians vaccinating these pets prior to their coming to me for treatment.

    If you are not my client, I want you to know that as the advocate for your pet’s health, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE VACCINATIONS, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK FOR A 3 YEAR VACCINE OR TITER TESTING. Just learn to say NO! Your pet will thank you.
    The photo at right is a picture of an injection site sarcoma in a dog, that was taken by my good friend and colleague, Dr. Patricia Jordan, while researching her book, “Mark of the Beast”, on vaccine damage. To see more of her photos, click this link: http://www.jordanmarkofthebeast.com/gallery.htm

    Renal Disease in Cats linked to FVRCP Vaccination

    I have attached a research study that clearly shows a link between vaccination with FVRCP vaccination and interstitial nephritis in cats. Kidney disease is one of the most common problems facing our feline animal companions and vaccination with a common feline vaccine can cause or worsen that condition. I have been telling my clients about the dangers of over vaccination for years and I am still trying to spread the word that this routine procedure carries risks when done too frequently. Scientific studies are available that clearly show most vaccines given to small animals provide effective immunity for up to 7 years.

    Cats already suffering from renal disease should never be vaccinated.
    If you know someone who is still vaccinating their cat annually, please share this article and help save a life.

    This is a new program for me. If for some reason the attachment is not present and you would like a copy, email me directly at drmarcia@creatingwellbeings.com and I will send you one.

    Feline House Soiling: No Easy Solution

    One of the most difficult problems I face as a veterinarian is the issue of house soiling. I think this is probably the number one reason that people re-home or euthanise their companions.

    I would like to say there is an easy answer to the problem, but I would be lying. House soiling generally requires a multidisciplinary approach.

    1. Rule out physical causes of the condition: at minimum I would want to run a urinalysis, a urine culture and an abdominal radiograph. The few tests will rule out: bladder infection, diabetes, crystalluria and bladder stones as the underlying cause. In an older cat, I would want to add a CBC, chem profile and a T4, to rule out renal insufficiency or other metabolic illness and hyperthyroid disease.

    2. Address diet: cats fed a dry food diet are much more likely to have crystalluria and associated cystitis. A raw food diet is the most species appropriate diet for all cats. If this is not an option, then a high quality grain free canned would be the second choice. For more information on feeding cats: http://www.felinefuture.com/

    3. Address litter box issues: My friend and feline homeopathic vet, Andrea Tasi has addressed this very well, click the link to see the full article: http://kingstreetcats.org/Dr.%20Tasi’s%20General%20Litter%20Box%20Suggestions.pdf

    4. Emotional issues: House soiling is often triggered by emotional upset and stress. Try and identify any household stress: personality clashes between cats, new human household members, death of either an animal or human friend, move to a new home, construction. Bach flower remedies and felaway spray and plug ins can be helpful.

    5. Boredom: all animals need mental stimulation. Cats in the wild spend a great deal of time hunting. Toys and activities that simulate stalking and capturing prey can be very helpful in alleviating boredom.

    6. Treatment: The conventional veterinary treatment if the changes mentioned above fail to help, is the use of sedatives and other psychotropic drugs. Classical homeopathy can also be very effective in treating these animals.

    Homeopathy: The Best Treatment Choice for Your Entire Family!

    As most of you already know, I consider homeopathy to be the most amazing form of medicine available for the treatment of humans and animals.

    Dana Ullman is one of the world’s premier homeopaths and homeopathic educator. Follow this link to listen to him explain how homeopathy works: http://www.youtube.com/user/HomeopathicDana#p/a/u/2/xedLd9djgyg.
    Dana’s book “Everybody’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicines”. Is an excellent reference for you to have for treating ACUTE illnesses in your family members. Remember that acute illnesses are those that are naturally self-limiting: the flu, food poisoning, minor injuries, etc. These are quite readily treated at home with a minimum of homeopathic knowledge. However, chronic illnesses such as: allergies, cancer, thyroid disease, etc., should only be treated by an experienced and well trained homeopath. In the near future, I plan to offer a course in homeopathic first aid to help you feel more confident in this treatment modality.

    If your pet has an acute illness, remember you can also call me for a phone consultation ($15/5min + 20/5 min case analysis and remedy selection) and I can prescribe for your pet over the phone and hopefully save you a trip to the veterinary emergency room. If I feel that your pet is too sick to be treated without diagnostics or hospital care, I will refer you to a veterinary clinic or emergency room. Avoiding ER visits is also the new wave in human medical care with telemedicine consults becoming more available.

    Homeopathy has always offered this service as it is a modality that lends itself easily to phone consultation.

    I also recommend that everyone read “Beyond Flat Earth Medicine” http://www.beyondflatearth.com/ which is available as a free online read. It is a fun book that does a great job of explaining homeopathic theory and will really help you become a true advocate for your family’s health.

    For More Information!
    Visit my website and my blog:
    http://www.creatingwellbeings.com
    http://www.drmarcia.wordpress.com

    Min-Pin LOVE @ GALPR♥

    Homeopathy Beyond Flat Earth Medicine, Second Edition

    February 12, 2010 Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Saving Molly… and Other Animals From Similar Laws

    This story was updated today on CBS-2 News.  This couple is still fighting this nightmare of paperwork and conflicting laws between the city and state.  Legislation will finally be introduced in January to hopefully stop the insanity…

    CHINO–Under state law, dog-owning residents are required to get their dogs vaccinated for rabies in order to prevent the spread of the disease, but one Chino Hills couple is refusing to do so for fear it might cost their dog’s life.

    “I’m not a person trying to buck the system,” said Sam Gadd. “I’m just trying to save my dog. This is a legitimate fight and it has become a passion of mine.”

    Sam and his wife Cecilia are the proud owners of five-year-old Molly, a brown English Springer Spaniel, who suffers from auto-immune disease, which enables her immune system to kill her red blood cells. The Gadd’s say they believe Molly received auto-immune disease after receiving her first rabies shot about three years ago. They say another shot may kill her.

    “It is my medical opinion that any vaccination of Molly could potentially be detrimental to her health, and may incite another recurrence of her Immune-mediated disease,” wrote the Gadd’s veterinarian, Heather Mineo.

    The Gadd’s have received a citation from the Inland Valley Humane Society, which contracts with Chino Hills for animal control services. Gadd says he won’t get the shot and will do whatever it takes to save his dog, even if it means putting Molly into hiding.

    “The shot is lethal to my dog,” he said.

    Gadd said he would have liked the city to approve a contract amendment or an ordinance that would allow an exemption, but city officials say their legal counsel has advised them to comply with state law.

    “Really our legal staff says no they say state law prohibits any type of exemption,” said Councilman Ed Graham. “The county has said that Chino Hills would provide an exemption (for sick dogs) because they allow it in the county, however the humane society and our legal council says that that is incorrect. Our people and the Inland Valley Humane Society has said this correction would have to be done by state law.”

    Although it does not offer lifetime exemptions, the Inland Valley Humane Society offers 30 to 90 days extensions to owner’s who are told to fulfill a rabies shot requirement, and those are based on medical review by the humane society’s staff. Bill Harford, executive director of the Inland Valley Humane Society, said his staff has reviewed Molly’s case and he did not agree that Molly would die if she were to be given a rabies shot.

    Harford said allowing an exemption would open up his agency and the city to litigation.

    “What if that one dog that lives in Chino Hills came in contact with a rabid bat or a rabid skunk and contracted rabies and then bit a baby at a local playground,” Harford said. “Who is liable? The rabies shot is a buffer between the wild community and the human community. We’re safeguarding our responsibility to safeguard the public to make sure we fulfill the local rules and regulations pertaining to rabies control.”

    The Gadds say they will do all they can to lobby state lawmakers to change the law. The Gadd’s are encouraging residents statewide to write their legislators to allow an exemption on rabies shots for special cases involving rabies vaccinations that may prove lethal to a dog.

    “This is not our fight anymore,” Gadd said.

    neil.nisperos@inlandnewspapers.com

    (909) 483-9356

    By Neil Nisperos – Staff Writer

    1 Comments

    Councilman Graham received incorrect information from his legal staff because state law DOES include an exemption. This is to be found in the “Compendium of Rabies Control and Prevention, 2004” (available on the California Department of Public Health’s rabies page, click on CA Rabies Compendium, 2004 to download the document):
    http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HEALTHINFO/DISCOND/Pages/rabies.aspx

    From Part I on page 6 of the Compendium is to be found this language:

    “6. Rabies Immunization Exemptions:

    A rabies immunization exemption may be issued by the local health officer upon the written recommendation of a California-licensed veterinarian where illness or a veterinary medical condition in a dog warrants. The exempted animal shall be maintained in strict rabies isolation, under conditions that are at the discretion of the local health officer, until such time as the medical condition has resolved, and the animal can be rabies immunized.”

    Also someone might want to check into the Rabies Challenge Fund for additional information:  http://www.rabieschallengefund.org/

    October 8, 2009 1:08 AM

    Posted:  Just One More Pet

    November 24, 2009 Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Political Change, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Pets may be susceptible to swine flu virus

    Thousands of Americans have been infected with the H1N1 flu virus, but that’s just counting people. This week it was announced a domestic cat in Iowa also was stricken with the virus — most likely transmitted by sick owners — as well as two ferrets in Nebraska and Oregon.

    This sudden infection may have pet owners wanting to put their furry friends in line for an H1N1 flu shot, but state veterinarian experts say not to worry. (H1N1 or any type flu vaccines are a bad idea!!  We are over vaccinating our pets, just like we are over vaccinating ourselves and our children.)

    “Theoretically, you could pass it on to pets, but the chances are extremely low,” said Dr. Bob Ehlenfeldt, a state veterinarian in the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture.

    The reversal of pets transmitting the virus to humans is even less likely, he said.

    The chances are so low, according to Ehlenfeldt, because the H1N1 novel 2009 flu virus is a human disease being transmitted and maintained in humans. It’s unusual for species other than humans to become infected because viruses tend to adapt to certain species, he said.

    For example, the bird flu from a few years ago was highly adaptable to infecting birds, whereas this strain of the H1N1 flu is adept at people-to-people transmission, he said.

    Besides the cat and the ferrets, the only other non-human species known to have been infected with the virus are about a dozen swine herds worldwide, and recently some turkeys in Chile, according to Ehlenfeldt and Dr. Jim Kazmierczak, a state veterinarian in the Wisconsin Division of Public Health.

    The infection of the ferrets, however, didn’t surprise Kazmierczak because the lanky rodents are thought to be susceptible since they are used as laboratory animals and are sensitive to human strains of influenza, he said.

    Also, since turkeys were infected, Kazmierczak said it could be possible for other types of birds to get the virus. So far, however, no incidents have been reported.

    “The safe thing to do is to assume that while we know cats and ferrets are susceptible, we should assume dogs and pet birds are also susceptible,” Kazmierczak said.

    Thus, owners infected with the H1N1 flu should still be careful around their pets and maintain distance from them as you would with other family members.  It really is a matter of common sense!!!

    For example, Kazmierczak said to relocate a bird cage if it is positioned in the room in which an infected person may be recuperating.
    Also, wash your hands before handling or feeding the pet, he advised

    By Hilary Dickinson – Published: Saturday, November 7, 2009 12:57 AM CST
    hdickinson@beloitdailynews.com

    Posted:  Just One More Pet – Cross Posted:  True Health Is True Wealth

    Related: 

    Katie Couric  Reports on Serious Vaccine Safety Issues – Finally

    First Daughters Not Vaccinated Against H1N1

    November 9, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment