Vaccinosis: The Unspoken Risks of Vaccination for Pet Dogs & Cats
Whether you’ve just adopted a new puppy or kitten, or have been a pet parenting veteran – the vaccination of our pet dogs and cats have always been a subject of tea-time anxiety in our households. Our pets are an integral part of our families. And a family is ‘a happy one’ only when all its members are healthy and hearty. Even if one member falls sick – the whole family comes under a lot of stress; more so if the member is a four-legged one.
As responsible pet parents, we leave no stone unturned to see our furry babies healthy and happy. From food to exercise, to their vaccinations – we do it all; but what if the very effort that we put into helping them, makes them sick instead? Vaccines, if not administered properly, can cause serious damage to our pets. While your vet may shy away from accepting this, the consequences of vaccines overdose are serious for your pet! That being said, it’s important to understand & acknowledge that vaccination is essential for the health of your dog or cat. But we also cannot ignore the adverse impact that repeated vaccinations and revaccinations causes on our babies’ bodies.
The Anti-Vaxxer Movement
There has always been segments of people who have refused vaccines. Some cite cultural or religious reasons, some express a strong disbelief in the science behind vaccines, while some others consider mandated vaccines a violation of their civil liberties and human rights. A lot of anti-vaxxers, who refuse to inoculate themselves or their families, believe that human vaccines lead to autism, among other diseases.
The controversies around vaccines are not new. The protests against the concept of artificial immunization date back to before Edward Jenner developed the cowpox vaccine. And the protests were somewhat justified, given the poor success rates of Variolation, the predecessor of Jenner’s vaccines. Several reports have since then, provided material evidence that modern vaccination is successful at building a long-lasting active immunity against a host of diseases. Many studies have shown little or no connection between vaccination and autism. But anti-vaxxers seem to have held their fort so far.
The Risks of Over-Vaccination in Pets
While the debate between Vaccines or Not may be endless, the risks of overdoing vaccines for your pets are very real. Vaccinosis or Vaccine Induced Disease (VID) is the collective term for the set of severe adverse reactions to over-administration of vaccines to pets, presenting long-term disease symptoms, poor health and immunity. Vaccinosis is different from Vaccine Associated Adverse Events (VAAE) or Anaphylaxis followed by a side-effect to a vaccine.
Vaccinosis often causes long-term damage to your pup or kitten, ranging from food allergies, skin issues, thyroid imbalance, autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoids and even cancers (sarcomas). You won’t find a lot of information about Vaccinosis because the mainstream medical community is yet to accept and acknowledge the effects of over-vaccination. However, a lot of holistic veterinarians and experienced pet parents have identified the diseases associated with over-vaccination of pets.
There are two major drivers behind over-vaccination of pets: 1) Incorrect Dosage – vaccines should be administered to pets based on their size. A few kgs puppy Shih Tzu or Pug cannot be given the same dosage as a 20 kg Great Dane or Saint Bernard pup; 2) Annual Revaccination – perhaps the most controversial aspect of pet vaccination. A leading veterinary immunology researcher Dr. Ronald D Schultz found decades ago that pets acquire a permanent active immunity after the initial course of vaccination. Once vaccinated as a puppy or kitten, your pet is immune to all core diseases for life, and does not need an annual revaccination.
In spite of this, most vaccine labels do not prescribe dosage based on weight of the pet. Several veterinary practitioners inject the same amount of vaccines in small and large dogs. The pharmaceutical lobby still pushes for an annual revaccination. It’s no wonder that it’s a criminal offense in many countries to miss your pet’s annual revaccination. Why? Because the Global Animal Vaccination Market is expected to reach USD 20.60 Billion (with a B) by the year 2021. It’s serious money, and nobody wants to leave it on the table. New vaccines receive drug approvals and are sold in the market after only a few months of testing. Long-term effects are never studied. The frequency for re-vaccination was arbitrarily chosen initially as one year, and then again as three years in some countries. There is no scientific evidence behind the ‘expiry’ of an immunity acquired through use of vaccines. Dr. Schultz’s research suggests that like humans, the active immunity in pets also lasts for a lifetime.
Repeated vaccinations cause irreversible damage to our pets. Even though modern vaccines are relatively much safer than their predecessors, they’re still disease causing pathogens injected into your dog or cat’s bloodstream. Vaccines cause immense strain on your body. While stimulating your immune system to train itself is a wise choice growing up, stressing it repeatedly causes severe tissue damage and often trigger autoimmune diseases due to overstimulation. Damaged tissues and a malfunctioning immune system is a recipe for disaster. These tissues coagulate together, often near the site of injection and form tumors that quickly turn malignant. Vaccinosis is the leading cause of cancer in pet dogs and cats.
SEE ALSO: Pet Cancer is Real
The Antibody Titer Test
The serum vaccine antibody titer (pronounced: tight-er), also known as the serologic vaccine titering is a laboratory test method that detects the presence and measures the amount of disease-fighting antibodies in your pet’s blood. The levels of antibodies correlate with the strength of immunity against that disease. Any level of titer, however low, guarantees that the body’s immune system can respond in time to any pathogen outbreak that it has been inoculated for. Titer tests are useful in assessing if your pet needs to be revaccinated. They remove the guesswork from the equation and ensure that your pet is only vaccinated when needed.
Titer costs are currently quite expensive in India. An average veterinary lab could charge anywhere between ₹8,000 – ₹25,000 for a titer for your pet, depending on the antibodies to be tested for. The costs are higher because not many pet parents are asking for these test results yet, and thus the samples have to be sent outside of the country for testing. As more and more pet parents insist on titers for their pets, costs will normalize automatically. Whatever may be the cost though, it’s justified if it helps your darling doggo or kittie live a happy and disease-free life without life-threatening revaccinations. Your dawgie’s life is priceless!
Adverse Side Effects of Vaccination for Pets
Vaccine Associated Adverse Events (VAAE) are a group of hypersensitivity and non-hypersensitivity reactions, which could occur as an adverse effect of a vaccine. VAAE are different from Vaccinosis or Vaccine Induced Disease (VID) because they’re usually more immediate and rather acute in nature.
Hypersensitivity reactions, also known as Allergic reactions typically occur within a few minutes to a day or two, and can manifest as mild symptoms like hives and swelling or escalate into something more serious like vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, stumbling and collapsing, coma and even death. The more serious signs of hypersensitivity are called Anaphylaxis and need immediate medical attention, else could turn fatal for your baby. The clinical signs of non-hypersensitivity reactions include general lethargy, decreased appetite (anorexia), fever, muscle and joint soreness, swelling or lumps in muscles.
Non-hypersensitive reactions are expected, but don’t always occur. They’re commonly resolved with minimum to no supportive care. Anaphylaxis is rare, but a reality and a life-threatening one. Without immediate and appropriate care, anaphylaxis is fatal. If you ever see anything abnormal with your pet within the first few days of his vaccine shot, report it to your vet immediately.
It’s extremely important that caution is taken while taking your puppy or kitten for vaccinations. Take these simple precautions to ensure that your pet has a safe inoculation. Always have an open dialog with your vet and understand the neccessity of the vaccines he or she recommends for your pet. And always remember, more vaccine DOES NOT mean more immunity.
Yes, repeated vaccination & over-vaccination pose potent health risks for your pet dog or cat. But that doesn’t make vaccines any less important for your pet. They only make it more important to pay attention to detail. Do your research on the vaccines that are really necessary for your puppy or kitten; talk to your vet about your pet’s needs and only move forward when completely satisfied. Titer when in doubt, and vaccinate your baby responsibly!
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