March 13, 2013

Veterinarians Jean Dodds and Karen Becker Discuss Vaccines & Food Today

Skype interview between Dr. Jean Dodds, Dr. Jean Dodds and Dr. Karen Becker, holistic veterinarian specializing in integrative medicine. Among the important questions addressed in this wide-ranging discussion are:

  • Why is the veterinary community as a whole so reluctant to accept the data [on vaccine adverse reactions] as fact and convey it to the public? Why do vaccine-related reactions and diseases still feel like a well-kept secret?
Dr. Dodds believes the profession is still in denial despite the fact that evidence has been accumulating for at least two decades. Her opinion is that the peer-reviewed literature most DVMs use doesn’t contain much information on vaccine adverse reactions, whereas research immunology literature does. It seems only the occasional horrible adverse reaction – for example, tumors that form at the site of rabies vaccinations (called vaccine-associated sarcomas) – gets out to the veterinary community as a whole.

  • What core vaccines are perhaps necessary and which may be overkill?

  • Dr. Dodds believes that with the appearance of adenovirus 1 in the Maritimes, if you live in or visit the New England area and your dog could be exposed to potentially infected wildlife, you can add CAV-2 vaccines – two doses for puppies, and then re-vaccinate adult dogs as needed based on hepatitis titers.

    Since hepatitis titers are expensive, another approach would be to titer for distemper and parvo, since those tests aren’t expensive, to see how the dog’s immune system is functioning. If the animal remains protected against distemper and parvo, he’s probably protected against adenovirus, too, because his immune system is working well.

    For dogs living in areas where adenovirus 1 is prevalent – Alaska and the Yukon, for example – Dr. Dodds brings up an intriguing alternative to the CAV-2 proposed by Dr. Schultz: Give intranasal kennel cough vaccines, which include CAV-2, to dogs with high risk of exposure, to help protect against CAV-1. Dr. Dodds feels this could be a viable alternative to giving high-risk pets repeated CAV-2 vaccines, especially since the CAV-2 is combined with the other two cores and can’t be purchased as a single vaccine.

    When we re-vaccinate against CAV-2 via injection, we are also re-vaccinating unnecessarily against parvo and distemper. Unnecessary vaccines increase your dog’s toxic load as well as the potential for short- and long-term adverse reactions.
  • Are veterinarians adequately informing pet owners about the benefits versus the risks of vaccination?

  • To pet owners, veterinarians are medical experts. So the vet says your dog or cat needs a vaccination, you give consent, and the vet gives your pet a seven-way booster. Did you realize you were giving your consent to seven vaccines? Vaccines for diseases that perhaps aren’t prevalent in your area and/or diseases your pet is already protected against?

  •  What role does nutrition play in the health of our companion animals?
    Dr. Dodds responded that the bottom line is this: wholesome nutrition is the key to a healthy immune system and resistance to disease, whether we’re talking vaccine reactions or any other immunological challenge that pets and their humans are exposed to every day. Since nutrition is the key, we obviously must balance nutrition. 
    Since about 2002, nutrigenomics has been an emerging scientific concept that holds that the nutrition we need as individuals depends on our genetic makeup. Our genes and the expression of our genes are controlled by individual nutrients, which means we need personalized, individualized functional nutrition. 
    It’s important to understand how the nutrients we feed our pets will affect their genes, and therefore, their health and longevity. And in fact, if we know which nutrients are essential for individual pets (and people), we can impact longevity, reduce the risk of chronic disease, and heal from illness much more rapidly.
Listen to the entire interview on Dr. Becker's website.

Dr. Dodds gives lectures all over the world on a variety of veterinary topics including clinical pathology, hematology, blood banking, immunology, endocrinology, nutrition and holistic medicine.

Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian.

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