Canine Immune System
Barbara J. Andrews,
A Vet student launched a vehement attack on my
column about the vaccination debate, thereby proving how little they are taught
about canine health and the
soon-to-be-released vet student raised some interesting points although I doubt they are
what she intended. Apart from being “appalled and very disturbed”, she felt
“the entire article is utter nonsense, with no facts to back up any of BJ’s
'old fashioned common sense.'”
Because I fear
that she speaks for a growing number of practicing vets, I decided to elaborate
on some things she pompously derides. Should she go into private practice,
she might note what time of year her waiting room fills with itching,
scratching, sparsely coated pets that
self-mutilate. "Old fashioned common sense" suggests the seasonal increase in dermatitis coincides
with spring cleaning chemicals, fertilizing and yard spraying, and starting
dogs back on heart worm prevention.
Just this week a veterinarian described
unethical changes in many veterinary practices since the introduction of pet insurance.
He said it enables vets to push formerly unaffordable, medically unnecessary
Anesthesia is hard on the patient. He gave as an example; subjecting a dog to
anesthesia risk in order to clean teeth instead of recommending raw beef bones
appropriate to the dog's size or advising the owner to regularly brush a toy dog's teeth.
Why do drug companies say that the older a dog is, the more its immune system is wearing out and therefore, it should be vaccinated more frequently
than younger dogs??!!!? To
the veterinary college student I say that is exactly the kind of deadly policy that “appalls and disturbs” knowledgeable dog owners!
Back to my comment about host and parasite. What is broadly termed “flea allergy” is in fact a warning that the
pet’s immune system is under attack. When people inhale irritants, they
sneeze. Dogs sneeze too but are
more likely to itch when exposed to inhaled allergens.
So let's look at selling drugs and chemicals to prevent or treat "flea
Dermatitis can signify a wide range of environmental antagonists,
anything from food additives to chemicals absorbed through the pads or foot-licking,
which by the way, can also signify a classic reaction to heartworm "meds." Incredibly, the most common treatment is to further depress
the dog’s immune system with cortisone injections, chemical flea baths, and
if not already on it, heartworm prevention. Steroid shots may bring temporary relief but
any vet who only treats symptoms
instead of identifying and preventing further exposure to the causative agent
should be sued and disbarred. Many have been. It is quite simply profit-motivated cruelty to animals.
Using topical treatments instead of bombarding the entire dog with a
prescription for front office profitability,
a good vet could boost the dog’s immune system with those dratted “alternative”
methods and supplements. Y’know,
the ones that work but can’t be patented and are therefore of “no value”
to drug companies. Vitamins E, C and zinc, plus fish oil
supplements will help restore a healthy epidermis and bring itch relief. Yes, dogs do respond to
therapeutic use of vitamin C and no, they no longer synthesize their own
"C" due to the modern diet.
The vet student states “heartworm
is 100% preventable with the use of safe, effective monthly tablets” and goes
on to blame owners for trying to “de-worm their dogs at home using large
animal products.” Such parroted statements are a frightening example
of why robotic medication dispensers (ignorant vets) are so harmful to dogs.
In the hands of unscrupulous vets, prescribed whole-body (systemic) poison is a
lot more dangerous than home or herbal wormers. See link below (1) for
in-depth, novice-friendly information on intestinal parasites and wormers.
of a treatment which can be worse than the disease is unforgivable. The professionals in whose hands we trustingly place our best friends
have a moral obligation to expand their education with a big dash of common sense. Apparently
vet school textbooks omit the reams of published information regarding potential side
effects of some medications. For
example, Dr. Jean Dodds, prominent veterinary lecturer mentions antibiotics such as tribrissen and heart worm preventatives
can adversely affect (link 2) thyroid function (whoops, that can mean
and can cause reproductive problems. Vets
need to know all the factors before simply prescribing a highly profitable
product based on the
manufacturer’s sales and promotional materials.
I wanted to know about mosquitoes since they are the delivery boys for
heartworm disease. ref # 3) So I bit the
bullet and did that research-stuff. Having done so, I weighed the odds of an infected mosquito
flying it’s maximum three hundred
yard range in order to feast on my double coated dogs when a.) there are no
loose dogs in my horsey-set, country club neighborhood, and b.) my dogs are sold to people in
upper class neighborhoods where there is no medically deprived dog population.
I have never, ever given heartworm preventative and never, in half
a century of breeding dogs, had a single dog affected with heartworm. The
odds are with me. If you live next to the city dump, I advise you to use
Taking the veterinarian's side, they protect the average
pet owned by the average person who has no motivation, time, or desire to employ
safer but often, more complex ways of caring for it.
Additionally, most such dogs have been surgically sterilized so there’s no concern about
reproductive ability. I get it. Still, they are supposed to protect
Therefore the best thing I can say about heartworm "medication" and
booster vaccinations is that they motivate owners to bring their dogs in to
the vet regularly. It provides the
conscientious vet an opportunity to catch any developing problems that the owner
may have overlooked. And for what
it’s worth, a heartworm-positive diagnosis is not uncommon in dogs that were maintained
on monthly heartworm medications. Do not trust your own or your handler’s memory
about dosing or the
effectiveness of heartworm prevention. Blood test your dogs regularly.
Vets will love me for saying that but a blood draw is cheaper than monthly
prescriptions and a lot easier on your pet.
I’m sure many readers react to my columns just as the vet
I make no apology. As a professional journalist, I have a
responsibility to be factual, verify the source, and when possible, weigh
information based on personal knowledge.
Magazine knows that I know that some of their best advertisers are also physicians,
vets, and dog food companies. I believe that those advertisers are deeply committed to
healthy dogs. I think of all ShowSight readers as
post-graduates in the school of canine management so I need not footnote or
reference every statement. Furthermore,
egotistical though it may be, I am my own reference and hundreds of you are my source!
Let's get real! Decades of clinical experience and proven success in maintaining optimum canine
health surely counts for as much as a neophyte research scientist working in a lab where the
only animals he touches are in stainless steel cages.
He/she works for or receives sizable grants from companies whose primary
motivation is to develop profitable new products.
I work for the dogs. I
thought everyone knew that!
don’t recommend herbs to stop a bleeding artery.
My dogs go to the vet. I go
to the doctor. Significantly, my sources differ from those of the angry
vet student. I have many friends in the medical arts. They have impressive degrees in veterinary medicine, medical sciences,
homeopathy, naturopathic medicine, and herbology. Our readers also share with me a
lifetime of genetic success and healthy dogs. These are real world credentials
that I hope the confused vet student comes to understand.
If you missed
what initiated the vet student's outrage, go to Vaccine
intestinal parasites and wormers
information in-depth but layman friendly
Cause and cure for thyroid problems, i.e. hypothyroidism
Heartworm Prevention Medication (Risk vs Benefit)
And for important background
Inoculating The Immune System
Reprinted courtesy ShowSight Magazine,
Doll-McGinnis Publications, Sept.
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