Thank you, Eileen.
Pause while I bang my head against the wall. I'm going to try
not to be too intense here (no promises), but I have to wonder now why I spent all those years growing intimate with the intricate workings of the immune system, and all those hours trying to share the knowledge here, when something like this can come along and completely convince (some?) people that science is wrong, medicine is evil, vaccines are the work of the devil and no animal should have them. The quoted article is, IMO, poorly written and so unclear as to be almost unintelligible, and yet it apparently carries a weight of authority so complete that it has silenced, at least in some ears, the biological truths of the function and purpose of the immune system.
Perhaps it's a flaw in the way the quoted article (italicized) was written, but to me it's quite misleading. To say that the healthy individual is asked to "maintain a low-level stimulation of a state of distemper" (or parvo or rabies) via vaccination is incorrect. I'll say it again: THIS IS INCORRECT. It implies - in fact, you could argue it states outright - that vaccination for, say, rabies, CAUSES RABIES - and "maintains" it in the system. A low level of it to be sure, but a persistent state of rabies none the less. This demonstrates a lack of knowledge about how vaccines work. If that was indeed written by a vet and not paraphrased, he or she needs to go back to immuno 101 and get a refresher since apparently they slept through that the first time. They should also consider that it IS NOT POSSIBLE for a killed virus vaccine to cause the disease it vaccinates against.
No. No, no and no again. Rabies is a fatal disease. If your dog had a persistent level of rabies in his system, he would die. Sorry. That's how it is.
In case I was not clear in earlier posts, let me reiterate: the purpose of vaccine is to educate the immune system. Your immune system is getting educated all the time in the natural world, and if all goes well it will acquire the relevant education before you are killed by something about a billionth of your size. The PURPOSE of the immune system is TO REACT. That's what it's SUPPOSED to do. The reason we vaccinate is to give the immune system a chance to react and develop a good immunity to a disease agent BEFORE the disease agent, in its virulent state, comes along and kills us. It harnesses the immune system to perform the function FOR WHICH IT IS DESIGNED, but to do so in a situation that is vastly less risky to the animal. If your dog went out and got parvo, his immune system would get quite the education in parvo virus fighting - IF he survived it. In my expereince, hospitalized and agressively-treated pups have about a 70% survival rate. Pups treated at home with fluids and antibiotics have about a 30% survival rate. Pups not treated have less than a 5% survival rate - so the ability of the dog to survive the infection in the first place is in question. But if he DID manage it - and managed it without long-term defecits, such as intestinal scarring, failure to thrive and chronic immunosupression - is this somehow going to lead to the "evil" of immunostimulation? Is he going to die of mysterious disease syndromes because he got parvo? Maybe - just like a vaccinated dog. If your dog got distemper his odds would be considerably worse. If he got rabies, he's dead - and so might you be. And so might your child, or mine. If you choose to fail to comply with the law in your state about rabies vaccine, you should do so in the full awareness that your unprotected dog, if infected, stands as a potentially lethal threat to everyone with whom it comes in contact. This is why there are laws to govern rabies vaccination. There are no laws to govern diseases that are not fatal or otherwise risky to human health, so there the choice is yours - but you should realize that should your dog contract one of those dieases, he will be a nice little disease vector for other animals in your community - and not just other dogs, but other species (including wildlife) as well, depending on the virus.
It's all very well to say, "Yeah, but how often do distemper outbreaks occur, really? I'VE never heard of one!" No, of course not - BECAUSE OF VACCINES. So why should you vaccinate your dog? By all means, make your decision as you like - but be aware that the reason you DON'T see parvo and distemper outbreaks every year that decimate entire kennels (or somtimes entire towns) is VACCINE.
I don't even know where to start with the statement "Therefore, the vaccines provide protection by keeping the body in a diseased state of health." Say what? Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary defines "health" as "a state of optimal physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of of disease or imfirmity." It defines "disease" as "any deviation from or diusruption of the normal structure or function of the body that is manifested by a characteristic set of symptoms and signs whose etiology, pathology and prognosis may be known or unknown." Hence the term "diseased state of health" is nonsensical in and of itself. Further, if the body is "diseased" (without simultaneously being "healthy", one presumes), then the vaccines are providing protection how, exactly? And if the vaccines are providing protection, which means the avoidance of disease, then by definition is that not PREVENTING disease?
Now we get to the thing where the vaccinated dog will somehow not manifest the disease that it was vaccinated for (well, no, since that disease was prevented by vaccination
) and will instead manifest some other condition as a result of vaccination. And evidently "Usually these conditions are inherited weaknesses." I'm sorry, but vaccines are not inherited, so how is a vaccine causing an inherited weakness? That's like saying that you inherited your native language. You didn't. You learned it after birth. If you had been born in China you'd have learned Chinese. It isn't genetic. By the same token, saying that a vaccine causes an inherited disease is nonsensical.
Let me clarify something that often confuses people: there is a difference between INHERITED and CONGENITAL disease. Inherited is by defininition something that is present IN THE GERM CELL - egg or sperm - PRIOR to fertilization. A congential disease is one that occurs AFTER fertilization, but prior to birth - as in a mistake made during development, for whatever reason - including, perhaps, the vaccination of the bich during pregnancy. But here let me be VERY clear - the cause of that is the VIRUS - NOT THE VACCINE. A spontaneously-encountered virus which replicates in a susceptible pregnant bitch causes the same problems - and possibly worse ones, such as the loss of the entire litter and/or the bitch. Moreover, unless it causes a mutation IN THE GERM CELLS - ALL
of them - IT DID NOT CUASE AN INHERITED DISEASE.
Now to the list of "possible manifestations." These are far too broad and nonspecific to be of any value. Let me cite an example in everyone's favorite, diarrhea. (You KNEW I was going to get here eventually, didn't you?)
Diarrhea is what is called a "non-specific" sign - in that a great many things can cause it, and diarrhea in itself is non-diagnostic. If every single time a dog had diarrhea it could mean only one disease, then it would be a specific, or pathognomonic, sign (one on which a diagnosis can be made with no other information - an example being the dendritic corneal ulcer in cats, which is diagnostic of feline herpes.) However, there are a GREAT many things that can cause diarrhea, and I'm sure every one of my readers can attest to that from personal experience. (I am NOT asking for testimonials, and please do not mail me samples.)
Can diarrhea be laid entirely at the door of vaccines? Nope. Can it be laid partly at the door of vaccines? Maybe - but show me the proof before you ask me to believe it. The impassioned insistance of even another vet, in the absence of proof, is not enough. That is not science. It's proseletizing.
There are a great many diseases we see now that we used to rarely see - but you must be VERY
careful not to overinterpret that. There are also a great many other variables that we did not used to see (such as pets living into their teens and twenties, global warming, and two different Presidents both named George Bush, to name but a few) - and unless you can completely control those variables and test every single one of them
, alone and in combination, and compare them to vaccination changes in the last 20 years, you cannot conclude that vaccination has led to the changes in disease occurence.
That's important, so I'll give an example. Let's say you went out and got a new dress and then your friends took you out for dinner for your birthday, at which you wore the new dress, ate sushi, and drank a quart of saki. Later, you feel crappy, vomit quite a lot, and have a terrible headache, stomach ache, nausea and (ta-da) diarrhea the next day. You could conclude that birthdays cause illness, or saki does, or sushi does, or your friends do, or that any of the variables or any combination of variables caused you to be ill. But before you decide that your new dress causes diarrhea and run around telling everyone that new dresses are the cause of all illness and no one should get one, don't you think you should maybe consider some other possibilites? Maybe run an experiment or two to try to rule it in or out? Consult a dress expert? Maybe you meet someone who says, "You know, I had a similar experience - I got a new dress, went out for my anniversary, drank three bottles of wine, and got sick! Well, the only thing in common is the new dress, so you must be right - new dresses DO cause diarrhea!" This doesn't make any logical sense when you look at it from a scientific point of view - yet there are bound to be people who fail to recognize that and draw the erroneous conclusion.
The fact of it is, there will always be people who fail to believe the evidence set before them, and who will listen to the neighbor before the feedstore guy, the feedstore guy before the farrier, the farrier before the vet. I don't know why this is, but it seems that for this segment of the population, the greater the level of competence, the less likely the person is to be believed. So be it. There's probably nothing I can do about that - but I can not in good conscience allow this to pass without comment. I don't know if anyone else felt there was an insinuation that all those idiots read all the information and STILL decided to "blindly" follow AN EPXPERT'S advice, proving that they're stupid, and if only everyone would read what the poster had read we'd ALL decide never to vaccinate - but to me there was a tone of implied insult in that - not just to the profession of veterinary medicine, not just to me personally, but to every person who has decided to vaccinate their dogs. Perhaps that was unintentional, but it smacks of the zeal of the recent convert.
As for the "horrible, senseless diseases we are giving our dogs by vaccinating them so much" - how about the horrible senseless deaths we give them by NOT vaccinating them? Until you have, as I have, literally crawled through blood and shit trying to save the life of one parvo puppy after another, I don't think that you're in a position to really understand just what horrible, senseless dieseases we do NOT see as a result of vaccines. These puppies die miserable
deaths - ones that could be prevented by vaccination.
You want to talk seizures? Distemper causes ones so severe that they are usually completely unresponsive to medication and result in the death of the animal. You want to talk behavioral changes? Ditto, and add rabies to the list. You want to talk chronic diarrhea, poor body condition, failure to thrive? All consequences of parvo AND distemper. Conjunctivitis? Distemper. Hoarseness, bronchitis, pneumonia? Bordatella. Paralysis of the throat and tongue, drooling, agression? Distemper AND rabies (to be followed by death, don't forget.) Hepatitis? Adenovirus. Anxiety and behavioral issues? Poor training, insufficient time with the animal, inappropriate match between the breed and the owner, poor breeding, etc etc etc. Can I say that in any given case the dog is NOT affected with these things as a result of vaccination? No - you can't prove a negative. Can you prove that the dog IS afflicted with these as a result of vaccination? Let's see the proof - and I do NOT mean something that someone wrote as an observation or conculsion based on their impression. I want to see numbers, I want to see statistical analysis, I want to see good experimental design, I want to see controlled variables, I want to see refereed journals.
YES, we see more cancer now than we used to - but we also see more geriatric animals now than we used to - because medicine works. (And while age is not a disease, things accumulate over time, so cancer is in the main a disease of older animals.) If your dog dies of parvo at the age of two, he's not going to be sticking around to get cancer. Also, you have to consider the other factors, such as genetics. Look at the diff between a Chihuahua and a Mastiff. That's a lot of messing around with the genome. You start breeding for traits, as we do, and sometimes you'll inadvertantly get stuff you don't want, like a prediliction for cancer. On the subject of genetics, you must also consider that some breeds are more prone to cancer than others - so even if your premise is that they GOT cancer because of vaccines, you MUST (if there is an ounce of logic anywhere in the Universe) also concede that if vaccines were the only culprit, ALL dogs would get cancer at the same rate. This does not happen.
Do I want you to go out and vaccinate your dogs? Not my lookout. Am I trying to get you to change your position about it? Doubt anything could. Do I think you should stop trying to get OTHER people to do so, and stop implying that those who choose to vaccinate are stupid or uninformed? You betcha. Am I hoping to get you to recognize that there is a difference between an impression and a fact, and between impassioned breast-beating and fear-mongering and reasoned argument? Yes. Am I being a bit mean about all this? Well, perhaps - although that is not my intent, and if Eileen feels I should be censured for this post or it should be deleted for tone, I will abide by her judgement - and either way I will apologize if this hurts anyone's feelings. However, I cannot possibly convey just how frustrating this is; having felt that I did a reasonable job of explaining (at considerable length and effort) myself and the facts at issue, and then discovering that I apparently did NOT, by use of reasoned tone and cool head and hard fact, make my point, I am inclined to state my case more agressively. I sincerely apologize if that is offensive to anyone here.
Okay. Done with rant.