Animal Vaccines: Why My Heart Says There Has to be a Better Way

by | May 5, 2020 | Animal Wisdom

This is my personal experience of over 15 years in my veterinary hospital with the side effects of vaccines.

Are the vaccines you’re giving to protect your companion animals in fact causing a lifetime of chronic disease?

We have all heard about the controversial aspects of vaccines. I am constantly asking not only why, but more importantly how and when did the topic of vaccination come to be so controversial?

This is especially true when we start to question what we are told…

Controversial, to Say the Least, But Why?

No matter who you talk to, the topic of vaccines is so heated, so censored, so hidden. These common medical procedures, carried out by the thousands every day, have the ability to spark such intense discussion. Why is that?

There are, I believe, 4 main reasons:

  1. Because as a pet parent or human parent, feeling forced to inject a substance into a body that you love more than life itself, knowing full well it could very well cause harm, becomes not only a heated debate but an out-and-out war to protect your loved one!
  1. Drug companies make on average $30 billion a year on one vaccine. Yes, 30 billion dollars. I’m not making that up. Any discussion of the risks versus benefits threatens that.
  1. Doctors and veterinarians (who take oaths that they truly mean to do no harm to their patients) are being educated by vaccine manufacturers, but for whatever reason they don’t seem to question the integrity of those pharmaceutical companies. 
  1. The Centre for Disease Control can be described as a protective cocoon for the vaccine manufacturers and when the public or even Congress questions ethics or research on vaccine damage, they can and do easily dismiss it by saying that disease control far outweighs the research that would cost taxpayers millions of dollars to conduct.

So what if I told you there are no studies that vaccines are safe?

Where is the Proof Animal Vaccines are Safe?

Animal vaccines are a huge bone of contention for me. Why? Because I’ve personally worked my heart out trying to help thousands of animals who’ve been forever damaged by vaccines. 

I was once asked by a drug rep, “How do you know it was the vaccines?” I loved this question, because I’ve heard it before, so I was happy to answer. My response was that in the animals who were negatively affected by vaccines there was a clear correlation that you could map out, from the time of vaccine to the animal’s disease state. And it wasn’t just me. I told him that hundreds of veterinarians have been able to trace vaccine damage in the same way; carefully studying an animal’s record led them from vaccination to the disease. 

Then it was my turn. I asked that same drug rep to show me studies and research proving that vaccines are safe and don’t cause long-term damage. After weeks of him calling saying he hadn’t forgotten me, the end result was that unfortunately he “could not provide me with any long-term studies showing that they did not cause damage.”

That’s right. He couldn’t provide me with any scientific proof that vaccines are safe. Why on Earth are there no peer reviewed, independent, double blind studies on vaccines conducted by qualified scientists available to the public?

Because they don’t exist! Vaccines are reviewed and passed by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or USDA (US Department of Agriculture) and not researched or passed through the regulatory departments like drugs are. This means they’re allowed to by-pass double blind studies that are required for other drugs.

Animal vaccines are not researched like drugs because they’re considered a public health safety protocol, which allows them to forgo the research and get licensed in a fraction of the time a drug would.

Please don’t mistake what I am saying! This debate isn’t about whether a single monovalent vaccine has health benefits in protecting against puppy viruses like distemper. It’s more about the clear business model vaccine of predominately combination vaccine manufacturers have not only for animals but also for people, and how the manufacturers control the protocols. 

Yes, they control the process. How can a company that makes so much money on one vaccine be allowed to mandate protocols for their own products on any level? It’s an absolute conflict of interest. And their interest is not about the health and safety of your animal or child but in their company’s bottom line.


Animal Vaccines in Veterinary School

The problem, really, starts in school. Veterinarians are trained that vaccine side effects only occur during an extremely short post-vaccine reaction – about 24 hours. 

The thing is, I’ve seen hundreds of cases where owners called their vet clinic to say that their dog had loose stools for two weeks after the vaccine, or suffered other post-vaccine reactions, like inflamed ears, itching, limping, arthritis, fearfulness or aggression, bladder infection, hot spots – or kennel cough after the Bordetella vaccine. These owners were reassured that there was no way the vaccine could cause any of these symptoms – especially if the symptoms didn’t occur within 24 hours of the vaccine. 

Why were they told that? How can thousands of pet owners be wrong or blind or confused in noting that after vaccination their beloved pet was different or sick? Because that’s what veterinarians are taught in veterinary school. It is not their fault; it’s part of their education 

The Merck Veterinary Manual (the veterinarian’s bible) states:

“The most common risks with vaccines include injection-site reactions (such as pain or swelling, which usually subside within a short time), allergic responses, incomplete inactivation, disease in animals with compromised immune systems, neurologic complications, and, rarely, contamination with other live agents. The stress of vaccination may be enough to activate an infection already present in the animal. Hypersensitivity reactions – which range from mild to anaphylactic shock – can also occur.

All animals should be observed for a period of time following vaccination.

Discuss with your veterinarian what signs you should watch for. In rare cases, certain vaccines have been linked to development of a type of skin cancer in cats at the site where the vaccine was given.” 

Note that the only time the manual says symptoms subside within a short time is for pain and swelling at the injection site.

There’s no mention of “rare” reactions other than contamination or skin cancer in cats. If the other side effects listed were rare or usually subsided within a short time, you can be sure they would have mentioned that – but they didn’t!

Then, where it states  “All animals should be observed for a period of time following vaccination. Discuss with your veterinarian what signs you should watch for.” I wonder how many pet owners were advised to watch for any adverse signs other than being told their dog might be quiet for the next 24 hours after vaccination. Probably not very many… if that was a mandate you can be assured that many more “ reactions”  would be recorded then they should be documented and sent to the governing body to be placed in adverse effects so that there is an actual data base that can clearly link the thousands of animals that are negatively effected. If this happened we would have a much more educated, researched based, evidence of the what safe vaccine protocols actually are.

The Risk with Combination Vaccines 

Think about this: some veterinarians give dogs as many as 12 vaccinations in one visit. That’s a huge number!

When I had my veterinary clinic, we’d order single vaccines for clients who wanted to vaccinate their dogs responsibly.

That was such a promising trend among the holistic veterinary community. People were becoming more educated about the risks of combination vaccines, leading to more demand for single vaccines. But the animal vaccine manufacturers didn’t like that, so lo and behold you can no longer get single parvo and distemper vaccines; they only come in combination.

We’re seeing fewer distemper cases and that’s truly wonderful. I’ve never had an issue with the single canine distemper vaccine, unless it was given too young and too often.

But now, instead of distemper we have more than six million dogs a year diagnosed with cancer! Of those six million cases, an estimated 5% are genetic and 95% are the result of lifestyle and environmental factors (including vaccines). And the average dog is being diagnosed with a chronic disease like allergies before the age of one. Not only does this mean to incur great expense to support this lifelong disease, but poor quality of life for the pet, plus stress and sadness for the pet owner.

This is nothing short of a tragedy. What’s even worse is that these chronic diseases have now somehow been accepted as healthy or “normal” or just a “common” ailment!

The Problem with Vaccination Schedules

In veterinary medicine, independent studies have clearly shown the detrimental side effects of vaccinating puppies under 10 weeks, yet the veterinary vaccine manufactures recommend it, hence then the veterinary community continues to do it all the time.

In fact, 8 weeks is the most commonly used protocol. It’s also been proven that yearly vaccinations can harm your pet; even veterinary schools and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommend core vaccines every three years. This three-year frequency still lags the research showing that protection from these vaccines lasts many years, and probably for the life of your animal , but it’s an improvement on yearly. 

Veterinarians are free to follow any protocol that they feel is correct for the patient. So many clinics are still doing yearly vaccines, either not even knowing there is an alternative that’s much safer, or again, this is what they were taught in school, and many are too afraid to change.

It’s hard to look at all this information from a positive perspective yet I can’t help but feel really hopeful that more information is getting out there. No matter how daunting it looks or sounds, at least it’s there! It would be wonderful to create a space where honest transparent studies can happen, even if publicly funded, one vaccine at a time. 

Animal vaccines are NOT black and white. The largest portion of my practice was working with pet parents who just wanted the studies and knowledge and information to make the most responsible choice for their beloved animal. Vaccines are a wonderful thing, but when you mix it with greed, gain, and big business, they no longer become what we all set out to offer and want, and that’s to protect our animals, our children, and our planet.

Julie Anne Lee, DCH RCSHom

Julie Anne Lee, DCH, RcsHOM, has been the owner and practitioner of some of the busiest and long standing holistic veterinary hospitals and clinics in North America. This includes founding the first licensed strictly holistic veterinary clinic in Canada. She developed and taught a three year post-graduate program for veterinarians at the College of Animal Homeopathic Medicine. She also presented lectures for the American Homeopathic Veterinary Association on homeopathy and functional pathology, the British Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons Association on treating chronic disease, the Canadian Society of Homeopaths on clinical comparisons of the treatment of human to animals, P.E.I Veterinary University on the gut microbiome, and many more over the last 20 years.

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