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Core Vaccine Testimony


If you value the health and longevity of your dog or cat, we urge you to learn the risks of over-vaccination.  Only parvo, hepatitis, distemper and rabies vaccines are classified as “core vaccines.”


The vaccine recall was the beginning of the shot scandal. Contrary to AVMA vaccination policy, many vets still insist on "sticking it" to dogs - and their owners.


First, there are many other immunization products to which dogs and cats are needlessly subjected or overexposed. But more to the point, core vaccines are proven to immunize (protect) your pet for a  minimum of 7 years!   This not-new information has been withheld from the pet owning public for obvious reasons.  Read and learn.


We begin with this report from one of our most valued contributors Kris Christine. Kris's February 2005 testimony before the State Of Maine's Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry Committee. Kris L. Christine became the Founder and Co-Trustee of The Rabies Challenge Fund now backed by Dr. Jean Dodds and other prominent veterinarians and veterinary universities.  Kris’s determination, knowledge, and discovery of significant vaccine risks began long before the historical formation of the Rabies Challenge Foundation. Here is Kris's Testimony.


(Most) “veterinarians have failed to inform clients that most core veterinary vaccines protect for seven or more years and pet owners, unaware that their animals don’t need booster vaccinations more often, have unwittingly given their companions useless booster shots – taking an unnecessary toll on their finances and animals’ health.  The human equivalent would be physicians vaccinating patients against tetanus once every year and not disclosing that the vaccines are known to be protective for 10 years.


For years veterinarians have sent pet owners annual, biennial and triennial reminders for redundant booster shots and justified it with vaccine manufacturers’ labeled recommendations.  According to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Principles of Vaccination (Attachment 6), “..revaccination frequency recommendations found on many vaccine labels is based on historical precedent, not on scientific data … [and] does not resolve the question about average or maximum duration of immunity [Page 2] and.. may fail to adequately inform practitioners about optimal use of the product…[Page 4].” As the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital states it:  “…booster vaccine recommendations for vaccines other than rabies virus have been determined arbitrarily by manufacturers.”


Dr. Ronald Schultz, Chairman of Pathobiological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, is at the forefront of vaccine research and is one of the world’s leading authorities on veterinary vaccines. His challenge study results form the scientific base of the American Animal Hospital Association’s (AAHA) 2003 Canine Vaccine Guidelines, Recommendations, and Supporting Literature (Attachment 7).  These studies are based on science – they are not arbitrary.  The public, however, cannot access this data.  The American Animal Hospital Association only makes this report available to veterinarians, not private citizens, and Maine’s pet owners are unaware that the AAHA Guidelines state on Page 18 that:  “We now know that booster injections are of no value in dogs already immune, and immunity from distemper infection and vaccination lasts for a minimum of 7 years based on challenge studies and up to 15 years (a lifetime) based on antibody titer.”  They further state that hepatitis and parvovirus vaccines have been proven to protect for a minimum of 7 years by challenge and up to 9 and 10 years based on antibody count. So, unless the Legislature passes LD429 requiring veterinarians to provide vaccine disclosure forms, dog owners who receive an annual, biennial, or triennial reminders for booster shots will not know that nationally-accepted scientific studies have demonstrated that animals are protected a minimum of 7 years after vaccination with the distemper, parvovirus, and adenovirus-2 vaccines (see Page 12 AAHA 2003 Guidelines attached, and Table 1, Pages 3 and 4).


"My own pets are vaccinated once or twice as pups and kittens, then never again except for rabies,” Wall Street Journal reporter Rhonda L. Rundle quoted Dr. Ronald Schultz in a July 31, 2002 article entitled Annual Pet Vaccinations may be Unnecessary, Fatal (Attachment 2).  Dr. Schultz knows something the pet-owning public doesn’t – he knows there’s no benefit in over-vaccinating animals because immunity is not enhanced, but the risk of harmful adverse reactions is increased.  He also knows that most core veterinary vaccines are protective for at least seven years, if not for the lifetime of the animal.


The first entry under Appendix 2 of the AAHA Guidelines (Attachment 7) “Important Vaccination ‘Do’s and Don’ts” is “Do Not Vaccinate Needlessly – Don’t revaccinate more often than is needed and only with the vaccines that prevent diseases for which that animal is at risk.”  They also caution veterinarians: “Do Not Assume that Vaccines Cannot Harm a Patient – Vaccines are potent medically active agents and have the very real potential of producing adverse events.” Very few pet owners have had this disclosed to them.


The AVMA’s Principles of Vaccination (Attachment 6) states that “Unnecessary stimulation of the immune system does not result in enhanced disease resistance, and may increase the risk of adverse post-vaccination events.” (page 2)  They elaborate by reporting that: “Possible adverse events include failure to immunize, anaphylaxis, immunosuppression, autoimmune disorders, transient infections, and/or long-term infected carrier states.  In addition, a causal association in cats between injection sites and the subsequent development of a malignant tumor is the subject of ongoing research.” (Page 2)


Referring to adverse reactions from vaccines, the Wall Street Journal article cited above (Attachment 2) reports: “In cats there has been a large increase in hyperthyroidism and cancerous tumors between the shoulder blades where vaccines typically are injected.  With modified live virus vaccines (distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis), some animals can actually contract the same disease which they are being inoculated against.  If the public knew an animal’s immunity to disease is not increased by over-vaccination, they would certainly not consent to expose their pets to potential harm by giving them excessive booster shots.


Veterinary vaccines are potent biologic drugs – most having proven durations of immunity much longer than the annual, biennial or triennial booster frequencies recommended by vaccine manufacturers and veterinarians.  They also carry the very real risk of serious adverse side affects and should not be administered more often than necessary to maintain immunity.


The extended durations of immunity for vaccines is not “new” or “recent” science as some members of the Maine Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) have claimed.  AAHA reveals on Page 2 of their Guidelines that ideal reduced vaccination protocols were recommended by vaccinology experts beginning  in 1978. A "Veterinary Practice News" article entitled “Managing Vaccine Changesby veterinarian Dennis M. McCurnin, reports that: “Change has been discussed for the past 15 years...”


According to a September 2004 article in the DVM veterinary news magazine (Attachment 1), the 312 member Maine Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) “champions full disclosure of vaccine information to pet owners.”  MVMA president, Dr. Bill Bryant agrees.


Pet owners have the right to know the scientifically proven durations of immunity for the veterinary vaccines, as well as the potential adverse side effects and benefits.


Kris continued her powerful testimony with detailed adverse reaction symptoms and advice which should be heeded by all conscientious pet owners:




Vaccines have played a significant role in enabling animals to live longer and healthier lives.  Thorough evaluations of the risks of the disease, and those potentially associated with the vaccine, compared to the benefits of vaccination for the patient, are necessary in crafting optimal health recommendations that include vaccination.


The proper application of vaccines to animal populations has enhanced their health and welfare, and prolonged their life-spans.  The risks to animal health from non-vaccination are significant.  However, vaccination is a potent medical procedure associated with both benefits and risks for the patient.  Adverse events, including some that are potentially severe, can be unintended consequences of vaccination.  Because vaccinating an animal which is already immune to a disease does not increase their immunity, but does expose them to the risk of adverse reactions, it is important to avoid over-vaccination.  Blood titers can help determine whether an animal’s antibody count is at protective levels.


The risks associated with the core canine diseases are as follows:

  1. Distemper – high rates of morbidity and mortality from respiratory, gastrointestinal and neurological abnormalities; a widespread disease.

  2. Parvovirus – high rates of morbidity and mortality resulting primarily from gastrointestinal disease; this disease has worldwide distribution;

  3. Adenovirus – high rates of morbidity and mortality from liver dysfunction.

  4. Rabies – nearly universally fatal neurological disease.  Infected animals are a potential source for human infection, thus vaccination is mandated by law in most states.

The risks associated with vaccination are as follows:


Possible adverse events from vaccination include failure to immunize, anaphylaxis, immunosuppression, autoimmune disorders such as hyper/hypothyroidism, polyarthritis, allergies, transient infections, and/or long-term infected carrier states.  In addition, a causal association in cats between injection sites and the subsequent development of a malignant tumor is the subject of ongoing research.


Optimal immune responses are obtained by vaccines administered singly three to four weeks apart rather than in combination shots.  Single vaccine administration also reduces the likelihood of adverse events as well as increasing the animal’s immune response.  Only healthy animals should be vaccinated.


Except for the rabies vaccine, manufacturers’ labeled revaccination recommendations are based on limited scientific data and do not contain information on the vaccine’s maximum duration of immunity.  The tables below contain the minimum duration of immunity data from the canine vaccine studies performed by Dr. Ronald Schultz, Professor and Chair of the Pathobiological Sciences Department at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, which form the scientific base of the American Animal Hospital’s "2003 Canine Vaccine Guidelines, Recommendations, and Supporting Literature."


If your animal experiences any of the following symptoms after vaccination, you should contact your veterinary care provider immediately:  fever, vomiting, diarrhea, uncontrollable trembling, lack of coordination, seizures or a hard lump at the vaccination site which doesn’t disappear after a couple of weeks.


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