Barbara Cicognani

Shots may not cost much, but, in truth, there are no cheap shots. The cost is extremely high. Sometimes up front...most often down the line. And the cost cannot be computed in dollars and cents.
According to Catherine O'Driscoll, author of Who Killed the Darling Buds of May?, a well-researched book about vaccine, vaccines are not always effective in doing the job for which they were designed: conferring immunity for disease.

In fact, the results of her Canine Health Survey reveal that many dogs contract the very disease for which they were supposedly immunized. In fact, at least 50% of dogs in the CHC Survey who were diagnosed with a disease for which we commonly vaccinate became ill within three months of being vaccinated for that disease.

Consider how the body's exposure to vaccine differs from the usual exposure to disease.

1. Vaccines are usually given in combination; disease exposures do not commonly occur in multiples.
How many dogs have you ever heard of coming down with parvo, distemper, kennel cough, leptospirosis, and corona at the same time? Yet, when we inject our dogs with a multi-valent vaccine, we expect them to cope with an influx of varied disease-causing agents at once. This is a major assault and insult to the immune system. The immune system is overwhelmed with the effort to produce so many different anti-bodies at the same time, often leaving it too worn-out to respond to other disease-causing agents that it would normally repel in normal circumstances.
2. Vaccines are given several times over a short period of time; disease exposures are not usually so concentrated.
The same arguments holds for this point, as well. How many dogs face so many diseases on a monthly basis over several months? Yet, multi-valent vaccines challenge our dogs this frequently when we give them so often.
3. Vaccines are injected into the body, bypassing the body's natural defenses; disease organisms must overcome these defenses before they can cause disease.
In general, when exposed to a disease-causing agent, the optimal response involves the whole body, beginning with its first line of defense, the skin and mucus membranes. In addition, various bodily secretions are designed to erode or destroy bacteria as they move through the upper respiratory system or the gastro-intestinal tract. Specific blood cells destroy and/or ingest harmful organisms that enter the bloodstream. The body reacts to disease agents in several ways. Often it develops a fever, in an attempt to make the environment unconducive to bacteria or viruses. Coughing and sneezing are the body's attempt to expel them from the respiratory system, as vomiting and diarrhea cleanse the gastrointestinal tract. In contrast, vaccines are injected into the body and are absorbed directly into the bloodstream without the body having received any warning whatsoever that they are on their way.
4. Vaccines stimulate the formation of specific antibodies; disease exposure stimulates the whole body to react to a foreign substance, a broader and more natural response.
Vaccines target specific diseases. As such, the antibodies produced are specific to that particular bacterial strain. Many diseases are caused by multiple strains of a bacteria, however, and it is impossible to vaccinate against every strain of viruses or bacteria. Leptospirosis, for example, is a range of some 150 different bacterins. In addition, modified live virus vaccines can shed in the environment (through an animal's feces or urine) and mutate, posing the threat of disease and creating a further dilemma for the vaccine makers.
5. Vaccines are administered to puppies at an age when their immune systems are not yet fully developed and when they still have maternal antibody protection.

Maternal antibodies are specifically designed to protect puppies from disease until their own immune systems are mature enough to mount a full-scale defense against invaders. To compensate for this, vaccine manufacturers have developed vaccines that are strong enough to over-ride maternal anti-bodies. Why? Why vaccinate a puppy who already should have adequate maternal anti-body protection. Unless, of course, the dam's own immune system has been compromised by vaccinations she received herself!
In closing, if the immune system is not healthy, then vaccinations are the last thing you want to consider, for they will only further stress an already weakened system.

If, however, your dog has a strong immune system, it can handle the average assault. Vaccine won't change that. The body, whether human or canine, was designed to resist disease. Poor nutrition and vaccines actually undermine these built-in defenses.

A healthy immune system requires optimal nutrition, which is why I, and others, advocate a canine diet that consists primarily of raw meaty bones. A well-nourished body is better equipped to handle encounters with most disease-causing agents.

This is the foundation of a holistic approach to canine health and well-being.
Copyright 1998 Barbara Cicognani. All rights reserved. The author grants permission to reprint this article, provided such reprint is for information purposes only and is not conveyed for any commercial consideration and further that credit is given to the author, Barbara Cicognani.
2006 Westland Cockers