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Call Your Shot
VACCINES or GENETICS?
Barbara (BJ) Andrews, TheDogPlace Publisher
updated from ShowSight Magazine column
If your dog has chronic health problems and the veterinarian says its genetics, learn what causes most immune system problems and is so profitable for the practice!
Genetics are a handy excuse when a baffled veterinarian has no answer for missed or flakey seasons, failure to conceive, skin problems, deformed puppies, thyroid or autoimmune disease. Or, because of his veterinary school education, which is partially funded by the pharmaceutical companies, he doesn't associate immune system problems with over-vaccination.
He may not know that the adjuvant in vaccines can alter DNA, nor is he likely to consider environmental toxins, chemicals, electromagnetic fields, etc. We'll cover some of those weird risks but the most common challenge to canine health is still, you guessed it, overuse of vaccines. Veterinarians are 'caught between a 'rock and a hard place' as we used to say.
Having written for the dog fancy since the early 70s, I was intrigued by the first glimmers of vaccination risk and by the turn of the century, vaccinosis was well documented.
By 2010 Vaccine Induced Disease was so common it earned an acronym - VID. Today I ask you to keep in mind that we still don't know the extent to which vaccines damage the hormonal and immune system! Oh we think we know but allow me 90 seconds to prove how uninformed we really are.
Immune System & Hypothyroidism (Low Thyroid Hormone)
Thyroid gland malfunction is or will be discussed by every serious breeder. I have no medical training but like some of you, I finally made the connection between immune-system breakdown and vaccines. That was in 1993, when I wrote what you are now reading (for ShowSight Magazine) but even before that I warned Canine Chronicle readers that there was a connection between vaccines and reproductive problems.
What's really KNOWN about thyroid function in companion animals is but a speck of dust compared to the city dump of what we still DON'T know in 2023.
It's the stuff nightmares are made of and I'm about to introduce you to the bogeyman.
Researchers still link hypothyroidism to a deficient immune system. OK. That's like saying you'll get bad gas mileage with a faulty carburetor but here's the catch - a bad immune system is only as hereditary as a good veterinary education...
Many veterinarians today never heard of Dr. Jean Dodds published many papers relating immune system problems to hypothyroid. She even dared to link low thyroid gland function to commonly prescribed antibiotics and (gasp) heartworm preventatives. Dr. Dodds was an outspoken pioneer on thyroid problems and in the 80s, most veterinarians agreed with her observation that external influences, not "genetics" most often precipitate thyroid gland malfunction. Today we know that vaccines and incomplete dog foods lead the list of causative factors in hyperthyroid problems.
Red Mange, Demodectic Mange, Demodex
It hasn't been very long ago that demodex or "red mange" was said to be hereditary and so a lot of good show prospects were petted out. Then, in the late 70s, a top veterinary university announced that the mites were everywhere but only weak, ill, or stressed puppies "broke out" with red mange. Gads! Norma Price was my Dog World editor and a top Dalmatian breeder. We were gratified to have what we had both been saying for years proven true - neither breeders nor genetics were to blame. By 2020 we had reason to worry about those early vaccines that veterinarians insisted on starting at 6 weeks...
Radiation Exposure, Genetics, And The Canine Immune System
Breeders are to blame for believing what big business sells us. We went crazy on hip x-rays in the 60s and 70s. Everybody made out, from the local vet to the new Orthopedic Foundation For Animals (OFA). Puppies were crippled by fulcrum-twisting x-rays promoted by Dr. Bardens.
Others were put down (killed) based on bad x-rays taken by good vets or read by someone who had not assessed the dog's physical condition. Dr. Jerry Schnelle, who actually identified and pioneered study of canine hip dysplasia, published his resignation from OFA to call attention to those serious problems.
How many note that we still x-ray our dog's hips AND simultaneously (reproductive organs) without radiation shields? "Coincidentally" reproductive problems became as prevalent as the x-ray culture, opening a whole new field in canine veterinary medicine. Yep, vet schools added Canine Reproduction to the curriculum.
Speaking of radiation exposure on DNA, and how that can cause good genes to go bad...We no longer hear about Chernobyl but the people there haven't forgotten. The Russian nuclear accident affect many generations of people and did Japan's nuclear meltdown in 2012. Click this Instant Information on ii radiation because if you have dogs (or family) with thyroid or other immune related problems, you need to learn about unnecessary radiation exposure.
Radiographs are a great tool but also a money-maker that is too often used without regard to cumulative risks.
Chemical Exposure = Immune System/Reproductive Problems
Right up there with radiation, check out exposure to toxaphene, sulphur dioxide, and many COMMON chemicals, pesticides and manufacturing by-products that damage the immune system and cause thyroid disease, including cancer. Scientists and EPA officials know the dangers and how widespread such toxins are. You might remember "The Love Canal" was all about dioxin. We might have never known about toxic chemicals in our environment had it not been for Erin Brockovich and the hit movie.
Career dog breeders (those who survive the first ten years with sanity intact and ten or twenty Champions under their belt) know what risks are. We build dreams around great ones not yet born and we work hard to eradicate genetic problems because we know darn well they'll come back to haunt us. Give us the right tools and we can create a work of art.
Ask yourself, do you think marketing strategists and drug companies care about achieving a disease-free life for our animal? Don't try to sell us flawed logic and double-edged ethics and then blame us when the paint peels away. We get it. We know that new diseases are emerging - and that for each new virus, incredibly, there will be a new vaccine. We are grateful for life saving surgical procedures but we've grown skeptical of health hype.
I warned you this was the stuff nightmares are made of so before you turn out the light, answer this question.
How many dog breeders had thyroid or immune problems before parvovirus emerged? When I was a columnist for Holly Meir's The Dog newspaper, I theorized about the origin of parvovirus, about the safety and efficacy of the stop-gap feline derivative vaccine, and later, about the wave of reproductive problems.
Do you remember when thyroid, immune system, and reproductive problems were NOT common? When there was no parvo, corona virus, kennel cough, or Lyme vaccine?
Please don't say it's because we're better at diagnosing such problems. Vets ARE better. Labs are better. But smart breeders are tuned in to their dogs, to creating a genetically healthy next generation when new animal diseases keep cropping up like weeds in your manicured yard. What is going on???
For more thought-provoking information "call your shots" on Lepto or Lyme Disease. For a baseline reference on vaccine development, I suggest go to origin and History Of Parvovirus and the dark History of Canine Flu Vaccine, and the classic disclosure, Leptomania by Patricia Jordan, DVM.
If you live in the cattle belt, you may remember when the isolated Plum Island Bio-Warfare Research Facility moved to the mainland! If your property is close to high-power generators or overhead power lines, you need to know about ii Symptoms of EMF exposure and no matter where you live, you are likely affected by Magnetic Fields and Ley Lines. All of these factors affect your animal's immune system. And your overall health. This information is unfortunately, NOT outdated. If you care about your own health and that of your animals, learn more in these articles:
Instant Information on ii Vaccine Facts & History chronological coverage of vaccines from 1981's lab-created Parvo-vius to today's health risks of over-vaccination.
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