February 04, 2009

Leading Vaccine Scientists Present Seminar to Pet Owners

Pet owners and concerned veterinarians interested in gaining knowledge of current vaccine science are urged to attend a seminar presented by two of the world's leading veterinary vaccine research scientists: Dr. W. Jean Dodds of Hemopet and Dr. Ronald Schultz of the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine.

Drs. Dodds and Schultz will be speaking at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ on March 14, 2009. Registration is open until March 1st

Dr. Schultz is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathobiological Sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine, UW-Madison. He reports the results of 20 years study :

Dr. Ronald D. Schultz, Ph.D.- “Annual revaccination provides no benefit and may increase the risk for adverse reactions. The percentage of vaccinated animals (those vaccinated only as puppies) protected from clinical disease after challenge with canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus and canine adenovirus in the study was greater than 95%.”

Current and Future Canine and Feline Vaccination Programs. Dr. Ronald Schultz i. Schultz, R.D. - Current & Future Canine & Feline Vaccination Programs. Vet Med 3: No. 3, 233-254, 1998 more . A chart provided in the report shows immunity levels for all vaccines currently given to dogs lasting a minimum of 5 years with most lasting 7-15 years!

Registration details follow.

Dr. Ronald D. Schultz will be presenting:

"What Every Dog Owner Should Know About Canine Vaccines and Vaccination Programs"

Dr. W. Jean Dodds will be presenting:

“Clinical Approaches to Managing and Treating Adverse Vaccine Reactions”

When: March 14, 2009

Where: Trayes Hall, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Time: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Cost: $115/person
Note: All funds collected through registration fees, less Benefit expenses of approximately $25/person, will be added to the donations sent to the Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust.

Continuing Education Credits: The 2009 NE Rabies Challenge Fund Seminar & Benefit has been approved for 6 Continuing Education (CE) Credits by the NJ Veterinary Medical Association (NJVMA). Certificates will be provided at participant's request.

*Registration closes March 1, 2009*

For more information on the seminar, please visit the website

http://www.freewebs.com/rcfbenefit2009/theseminar.htm or e-mail event organizer, Judy Schor at pupster28@comcast.net .



Elizabeth Hart said...

I wish we had people like Jean Dodds and Ron Schultz in Australia to tell us the true story about vaccinating dogs and cats.

Here in Australia, in my personal experience, there are vets who are misleading people with dogs to have their pets over-vaccinated with the core MLV parvovirus, distemper, and adenovirus vaccines every year.

I now know there is no need for dogs that have already had the puppy series and 12 month booster to be revaccinated with these core MLV vaccines every year.

But I found this out the hard way, after my beloved eight year old Maltese Silky x terrier, Sasha, became very ill eight days after her last vaccination. Four days later, on 22 September 2008, she was put to sleep.

I was shocked when Sasha died, and bewildered how this could happen so suddenly. Undertaking research after Sasha's death, I found out about the controversy surrounding over-vaccination of dogs and cats. I had no idea of this before, I had simply trusted my veterinarian's advice. Now I know about the international guidelines that state the duration of immunity for the core MLV vaccines for dogs is seven years or longer, and that dogs and cats should not have core MLV vaccines more often than every three years. But it's absolutely no thanks to the veterinarian I had trusted for the last seven years, and who I had, unknowingly, taken my dogs to for unnecessary revaccinations every year.

In his annual reminder letters, cutely personally addressed to my dogs he said "You may not be aware of it, but if you are going to stay healthy, you need this vaccination". That was a lie. My dogs did not need the revaccination, and far from keeping them healthy, it put them needlessly at risk of an adverse reaction. And now one of my dogs is dead.

I challenged the vet about his vaccination policy after Sasha's death, but he insisted he was still going to tell people to revaccinate annually.

I am now campaigning in Australia to have this dreadful situation addressed. I am determined to do my best to make sure other people with pets are informed of the international guidelines and allowed to make their own informed decision about vaccinating their pets.

For anybody who might read this, read the international dog and cat vaccination guidelines carefully before you take your pet to the veterinarian. Challenge your veterinarian if he tries to make you have your dog or cat unnecessarily revaccinated every year with core MLV vaccines.

Link to WSAVA VGG Dog and Cat Vaccination Guidelines: http://www.wsava.org/PDF/Misc/VGG_09_2007.

Pamela said...

Thank you for sharing your story Elizabeth. Sadly, this is how we all seem to learn about the risks of annual vaccinations. The loss hurts all the more because we were misled by a medical professional we trusted to believe that annual "booster shots" were the right thing to do for our pets.

Elizabeth Hart said...

Thank you for your response Pamela.

I am absolutely furious about this. This outrageous practice of unnecessary over-vaccination must be stopped immediately. Does the veterinary "profession" have no concept of ethical behaviour? Is it not familiar with the ideal of "do no harm?"

While I am sure not all veterinarians are guilty of this deeply unethical practice, I am concerned that a substantial number of veterinarians are misleading their clients about revaccination.

Recently, as a quick experiment, I randomly selected 10 veterinary surgeries out of the Adelaide telephone book, and rang to enquire about vaccination for my five year old dog and to ask how often vaccination was recommended. I was advised that annual revaccination with at least a C3 Booster (and usually a C5) was necessary.

I understand Professor Schultz has been warning against annual revaccination since the late 1970s – for forty years! In fact, Professor Schultz has indicated the "maximum duration of immunity may be for the life of most (>80%) vaccinated animals".
Ref: Considerations in Designing Effective and Safe Vaccination Programs for Dogs: http://www.ivis.org/advances/Infect_Dis_Carmichael/schultz/IVIS.pdf

So this means that revaccination after the initial puppy series and 12 month booster might not be necessary at all… And veterinarians have known about this for years.

How on earth have veterinarians gotten away with this for so long? It is now 2009 and still veterinarians are getting away with misleading us into having an intervention for our pets that is of no benefit and can actually cause harm – even death.

It is absolutely criminal. I have been complaining to the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) about this for the past three months and I am just being fobbed off and ignored. Well if they think I am just going to go away, they are very much mistaken…

Last night I sent a detailed email letter of complaint to the President of the AVA. I will be interested to see what sort of response that elicits.

Early in January I sent a detailed email letter to all the Heads of Veterinary Schools in Australia, asking them what vaccination guidelines are being taught in their schools, and what is being taught about veterinary ethics, such as the concept of "informed consent", and also about reporting adverse reactions.

So far I have not had one decent response to the important questions and issues raised in my letter.

It is obvious that the veterinary profession in Australia is treating pet owners with disdain. The veterinary profession cares nothing for our concerns, we are just being ignored.

People bring their beloved pets to the veterinarian because they care for their animals and want to protect their health. They don't expect that veterinarians are going to make their animals so sick they can even die – and then charge pet owners for this "privilege".

I am so angry and upset that my pet dog Sasha's illness and subsequent death could have been caused by a totally unnecessary intervention. I know beyond doubt that she did not need that last revaccination, or most of the revaccinations she had needlessly been having for every year of her life. I know that long-term revaccination could have seriously impacted on her health.

If the veterinarian had been following the WSAVA VGG Guidelines published in 2007 (which were based on the AAHA canine vaccination guidelines originally published in 2003, and updated in 2006) and more importantly, if he had advised me of the Guidelines and allowed me to make my own informed decision, I simply would not have had my dogs revaccinated on 9 September 2008, because they did not need it. Sasha would not have been revaccinated, and perhaps her subsequent illness and death might not have happened.

It is shocking to realise that dogs and cats are more likely to stay healthy if they simply avoid veterinarians altogether.

Those ethical veterinarians who value the integrity of their profession need to address this untenable situation, and impress upon their unethical colleagues that this despicable practice of unnecessary over-vaccination must cease immediately.

As more and more people discover that there are veterinarians who are actually putting their beloved pets needlessly at risk, there is likely to be a significant backlash against the veterinary profession.

Pamela said...

In my opinion, veterinarians get away with willfully ignoring current knowledge of vaccinology because government officials and pharmaceutical companies are complicit and the general public is unaware of this information. That the medical profession engenders - and betrays - such trust is simply shameful. Keep up the good fight, Elizabeth. But in addition to expressing your concerns to the powers that be, inform your friends and family. Veterinarians will change when pet owners - who are their clients - put financial pressure on the profession to curtail this mercenary malpractice.

Elizabeth Hart said...

Pamela re your comment "Veterinarians will change when pet owners – who are their clients – put financial pressure on the profession to curtail this mercenary malpractice."

This is what astonishes me. We, the pet owners, are having to bring the veterinary "profession" to account by ourselves. It is simply bizarre. This isn't a "profession". It's an unethical industry, where turnover and profit is paramount, and the health of our pets is compromised by veterinarians' illegitimate practice.

These people have lost sight of what should be their true vocation, i.e. to protect and enhance the health of our pets, not to threaten it.

(Of course people like Dr Jean Dodds and Professor Ron Schultz are shining and exceptional representatives of the veterinary profession. I greatly admire their persistence and dedication in trying to spread the true story on vaccination to pet owners.)

Why is annual revaccination with core MLV vaccines allowed to continue in Australia after veterinary experts such as Dr Steven Holloway, Head of Small Animal Medicine at the University of Melbourne, have warned that "it is not possible to defend the practice of annual vaccination for CPV2, CDV, CAV given the volume of data available"?

Ref: Current Issues in Vaccination: http://www.vin.com/proceedings/Proceedings.plx?CID=WSAVA2007&PID=18190&Print=1&O=Generic

Why does this "indefensible" practice of annual vaccination continue in Australia today?

The reason why this indefensible practice continues is because pet owners are manipulated into it by veterinarians' deceptive and unsolicited reminder letters. Really, it is false advertising, so how do they keep getting away with it? Why aren't we being informed about the WSAVA dog and cat vaccination guidelines, which contain the latest scientific advice? Why isn't anybody or organisation protecting the rights of the consumers, the pet owners? Why are we being treated with contempt by those in authority?

As you say, the vaccine manufacturers and government bodies are complicit in this too. If the latest scientific guidelines say core MLV vaccines should not be given any more often than every three years after the 12 month booster, why are core MLV vaccines that have an outdated recommendation to revaccinate annually allowed to stay on the market? They should be deemed obsolete and removed from the market immediately.

Alternatively, if the latest scientific advice overrides the outdated information on the vaccine label, the recommendation on the vaccine label should be ignored.

In a paper titled: "Vaccination guidelines: a bridge between official requirements and the daily use of vaccines", Etienne Thiry and Marian C Horzinek state that:

"It is of primary importance that the vaccination schedules followed by the veterinary practitioners are the most efficacious ones even if this means that they do not strictly follow the recommendations of the package inserts."

Ref: http://www.vetscite.org/publish/articles/000065/index.html

So there is no excuse for veterinarians to continue revaccinating adult dogs and cats annually with core MLV vaccines, they should be following the latest scientific advice, not the outdated recommendation on the vaccine label.

Of course the reason why unethical veterinarians keep getting away with over-vaccination is that they simply bury their mistakes, and pet owners are often none the wiser. If I hadn't decided to do some research after Sasha died, I wouldn't have found out about this. Sasha would have been just another unknown statistic.

Who knows how many other people's pets have gotten sick or died a week, a month or even longer after a revaccination and they haven't made the connection that the revaccination could have been at fault? The veterinarians aren't likely to mention it are they? The WSAVA guidelines make the point that adverse events are grossly under-reported. So dogs and cats can end up with chronic illnesses, or even die, and the pet owners often never know that over-vaccination may have been the cause. It really is a rotten business.

It's devastating for people if their pet gets lost, or it's killed in an accident, or when it dies of old age. Pets are part of the family and you grieve their loss. But when you discover your pet may have become sick and died because a vet manipulated you into buying a revaccination that wasn't going to provide any benefit, and actually put your pet's life at risk, it is very hard to bear.

I have been sickened by this experience. That is why I am so passionate about trying to get the message out to others. It's too horrible to think of other people's pets going through the misery our dear gentle little Sasha endured, locked up in a cage in a suburban veterinary surgery, left alone for much of the time she was there, and then put to death in front of our eyes four days later. It was a terrible experience, an experience I do not want others to endure.

Lee Cullens said...

Elizabeth Hart,

I'd like to add a note to a book pointing to your paper [ http://users.on.net/~peter.hart/Is%20over-vaccination%20harming%20our%20pets.pdf ] and wonder if I could save a copy of the paper for anyone asking if the link is broken in the future.

The book is "Ol' Shep's Well-being: A Natural Perspective" [strictly noncommercial]. The author Euan Fingal has offered up a free ebook (pdf) to try to help us understand how we might improve our well-being and that of our domestic animals in general, but especially that of our canine companions. The book brings together ample unbiased natural sciences evidence, and the experiences of many naturally oriented caregivers, to clear a convincing swath through the propaganda surrounding well-being, and the misguided understandings it fosters.

To learn more about the book, and to download it, see the journal entry:

My best to you and yours,
Lee C