Category Archives: Vaccines

Vaccine Warning for Small Dogs (and Some Big Ones Too)

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Vaccine research from the November 15th Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association confirms what I wrote about here. Small dogs are more likely to suffer adverse reactions to vaccines than larger dogs.  The current study gives more specifics. It turns out dogs who weigh less than 10 lbs are 7 times more likely to have an adverse reaction to a vaccine than dogs who weigh more than 100 lbs.

This finding should not surprise anyone since the dose of vaccine is the same for every dog. How can the same dose be appropriate for a ½ lb Chihuahua as for a 150 lb Great Dane? In fact this study calls for the vaccine industry to develop lower dose vaccines for small dogs. But don’t hold your breath.

I vaccinated my own dog, Katy, with half the dose of the Distemper/Parvo vaccine when she was 12 weeks old. I’ve been doing yearly blood titers ever since. Twelve years later she still has protective immunity. I’m not saying it works that way for every dog but there is that potential.

This study also found that certain larger breeds of dog are also more likely to have a vaccine reaction. These include the German Shorthaired Pointer, Mastiff, and Pit Bull Terrier. Apparently there is a genetic predisposition to vaccine reactions in these breeds.

A new finding from this study is that the Leptospira vaccine (AKA Lepto) doubles the chances for an adverse reaction. Whether the Lepto vaccine is given alone or as part of the Distemper/Parvo vaccine, dogs receiving it are 2 times more likely to have a problem.

Although the chances of any dog having an adverse reaction to a vaccine is very low (less than 1 in 100), it does not make sense to give more vaccines than are needed. Every vaccine you give your pet increases the chance of a reaction.  I recommend having yearly blood titers done after the initial series of puppy vaccines. I have written more about vaccines and titers here and here.

Have any of your pets ever had an adverse reaction to a vaccine?


Health Care vs. Disease Care


Most veterinarians are out of touch. That’s the conclusion of a new study.

Recently, a consumer research company looked at over 2 million conversations about pet care that appeared in online forums, on blogs, and on Facebook in 2014. They found that for veterinarians, “preventive care” was all about vaccines, spay/neuter, and parasite control. Meanwhile, pet owners were concerned about the role of diet, exercise, care, play, and emotional well-being in their pet’s health.

Also, 81% of pet owners consider that they themselves are primarily responsible for preventive care. Only 19% believe it’s up to their vet. This flies in the face of a current veterinary trend that contends that veterinarians know more about pet health so we are the best advocates for the pet. Some take this attitude to the extreme and do their best to overrule the pet caregiver or guilt them into doing unwanted tests and procedures.

From my perspective, the pet owners referred to in this study are absolutely right. Too many veterinarians have lost sight of the true meaning of health care. More precisely, we were never taught much about it. Veterinary education is really focused more on disease care rather than health care (as in the maintenance of health).

Preventive care is what holistic veterinary medicine is all about. When an animal is nourished properly, cared for properly, given minimal vaccines, and treated with natural rather than pharmaceutical medicines, it is much less likely to need “disease care.”

Please don’t wait until your pet is sick to get with it. Once dis-ease has progressed to disease, it is much more difficult to bring the system back into balance. Start today, now, this minute! Get your pet on real food! Find a local holistic vet to help you keep your four-legged loved ones healthy.

How has your pet benefited from holistic care?

Chronic Kidney Disease – Stop the Madness!

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In my last blog I gave the background for chronic kidney disease (CKD). Now let’s look at possible causes and treatments.

Studies show an association between the feline distemper vaccine and CKD. It turns out that the viruses used in the vaccine are grown on feline kidney tissue cultures. While the vaccinated cat’s immune system is being stimulated against the viruses, it is also being stimulated against its own kidneys. That’s a great recipe for CKD.

In my opinion, another contributing factor in CKD is dry pet food. This is especially true for cats. It turns out that cats evolved from desert creatures. Since in the desert, there are few puddles to drink from, cats do not have a strong thirst drive. They were designed to get the fluid they need from the food (mice and birds) they ate.

Enter conventional kibble. If you have ever soaked dry pet food in water and watched it suck up all the fluid then you have an idea of what happens when pets eat dry food – it sucks much of the fluid out of their systems.

Research has shown that cats eating dry food make a more concentrated urine than those on canned food. The high concentration is due to the dehydration caused by the food. As I mentioned last week, dehydration damages the kidneys. The more concentrated urine also more easily causes the formation of crystals in the urine. Isn’t it interesting how cats are prone to CKD and urinary crystals? Ya think the food could have anything to do with it???

Once a pet has developed CKD, most vets want to pop them on a low protein prescription diet. Though the names of these diets may sound scientific, what’s inside is not. Remember how protein loss from the kidneys is one of the first signs of CKD? What happens if you lower the protein intake while the body is kicking out more protein? Basically, the body takes protein from its own muscle tissue. While the kidney numbers might look better, the patient is not. TREAT THE PATIENT NOT THE NUMBERS!

This study indicates that protein restriction does not stop the progression of kidney disease in dogs and this study and this study come to the same conclusion for cats. Protein restriction is only helpful in the late stages of CKD, especially when the blood phosphorus level starts to elevate.

And of course, high protein diets do not cause CKD. If they did, dogs and cats would not have evolved eating high protein diets. The ancestors of the dog and cat that could not handle high protein diets did not live to pass on their genes.

So, to prevent CKD in cats, limit vaccines and eliminate dry food. Once any pet is diagnosed with CKD, DO NOT put them on a low protein diet until late stages have been reached.

Next week I have more tips for helping pets with chronic kidney disease.