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New Updates on Vaccinations

Vets in UK Speak Out Against Vaccination

Ten years after the start of the Canine Health Concern campaign to end annual vaccination, the following letter appeared in Veterinary Times, UK - at the end of January 2004. In the world of science, ten years is a very short time in which to expect a sea change. We and others whose dogs have suffered vaccine reactions; we whose beloved friends have died and suffered unnecessarily, have been pilloried and castigated for speaking the truth for long enough now. Time to take this letter to your vet; time to post it to other vets in your neighbourhood; time to show this letter to all the dog lovers you meet in the park or at classes. Time to get the truth out there once and for all. Time to stop our beloved animals suffering. Time to say 'YES!' - but not yet time to stop the campaign. We shall not be finished until annual vaccination is a thing of the past.

I dedicate this post to my own dear friends who had to die for this letter to appear in Veterinary Times: Oliver, Prudence and Samson, and to the thousands, or even millions, of animals and children whose lives have been terminated because people in scientific and veterinary communities saw a way to make a quick annual buck.

My respect and gratitude go to the courageous veterinarians who have signed the letter below.
Catherine O'Driscoll

Please feel free to cross post far and wide:

Dear Editor

We, the undersigned, would like to bring to your attention our concerns in the light of recent new evidence regarding vaccination protocol.

The American Veterinary Medical Association Committee report this year states that 'the one year revaccination recommendation frequently found on many vaccination labels is based on historical precedent, not scientific data'.

In JAVMA in 1995, Smith notes that 'there is evidence that some vaccines provide immunity beyond one year. In fact, according to research there is no proof that many of the yearly vaccinations are necessary and that protection in many instances may be life long'; also, 'Vaccination is a potent medical procedure with both benefits and risks for the patient'; further that, 'Revaccination of patients with sufficient immunity does not add measurably to their disease resistance, and may increase their risk of adverse post-vaccination events.'

Finally, he states that: 'Adverse events may be associated with the antigen, adjuvant, carrier, preservative or combination thereof. Possible adverse events include failure to immunise, anaphylaxis, immunosuppression, autoimmune disorders, transient infections and/or long-term infected carrier states.'

The report of the American Animal Hospital Association Canine Vaccine Taskforce in JAAHA (39 March/April 2003) is also interesting reading: 'Current knowledgte supports the statement that no vaccine is always safe, no vaccine is always protective and no vaccine is always indicated'; 'Misunderstanding, misinformation and the conservative nature of our profession have largely slowed adoption of protocols advocating decreased frequency of vaccination'; 'Immunological memory provides durations of immunity for core infectious diseases that far exceed the traditional recommendations for annual vaccination. This is supported by a growing body of veterinary information as well as well-developed epidemiological vigilance in human medicine that indicates immunity induced by vaccination is extremely long lasting and, in .most cases, lifelong.'

Further, the evidence shows that the duration of immunity for rabies vaccine, canine distemper vaccine, canine parvovirus vaccine, feline panleukopaenia vaccine, feline rhinotracheitis and feline calicivurus have all been demonstrated to be a minimum of seven years, by serology for rabies and challenge studies for all others.

The veterinary surgeons below fully accept that no single achievement has had greater impact on the lives and well-being of our patients, our clients and our ability to prevent infectious diseases than the developments in annual vaccines. We, however, fully support the recommendations and guidelines of the American Animal Hospitals Association Taskforce, to reduce vaccine protocols for dogs and cats such that booster vaccinations are only given every three years, and only for core vaccines unless otherwise scientifically justified.

We further suggest that the evidence currently available will soon lead to the following facts being accepted:

* The immune systems of dogs and cats mature fully at six months and any modified live virus (MLV) vaccine given after that age produces immunity that is good for the life of that pet.

* If another MLV vaccine is given a year later, the antibodies from the first vaccine neutralise the antigens from the subsequent so there is little or no effect; the pet is not 'boosted', nor are more memory cells induced.

* Not only are annual boosters for canine parvovirus and distemper unnecessary, they subject the pet to potential risks of allergic reactions and immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia.

* There is no scientific documentation to back up label claims for annual administration of MLV vaccines.

* Puppies and kittens receive antibodies through their mothers' milk. This natural protection can last eight to 14 weeks.

* Puppies and kittens should NOT be vaccinated at less than eight weeks. Maternal immunity will neutralise the vaccine and little protection will be produced.

* Vaccination at six weeks will, however, DELAY the timing of the first effective vaccine.

* Vaccines given two weeks apart SUPPRESS rather than stimulate the immune system.

This would give possible new guidelines as follows:

1. A series of vaccinations is given starting at eight weeks of age (or preferably later) and given three to four weeks apart, up to 16 weeks of age.

2. One further booster is given sometime after six months of age and will then provide life-long immunity.

In light of data now available showing the needless use and potential harm of annual vaccination, we call on our profession to cease the policy of annual vaccination.

Can we wonder that clients are losing faith in vaccination and researching the issue themselves? We think they are right to do so. Politics, tradition or the economic well-being of veterinary surgeons and pharmaceutical companies should not be a factor in making medical decisions.

It is accepted that the annual examination of a pet is advisable. We undervalue ourselves, however, if we hang this essential service on the back of vaccination and will ultimately suffer the consequences. Do we need to wait until we see actions against vets, such as those launched in the state of Texas by Dr Robert Rogers? He asserts that the present practice of marketing vaccinations for companion animals constitutes fraud by misrepresentation, fraud by silence and theft by deception.

The oath we take as newly-qualified veterinary surgeons is 'to help, or at least do no harm'. We wish to maintain our position within society, and be deserving of the trust placed in us as a profession. It is therefore our contention that those who continue to give annual vaccinations in the light of new evidence may well be acting contrary to the wefare of the animals committed to their care.

Yours faithfully

Richard Allport, BVetMed, MRCVS
Sue Armstrong, MA BVetMed, MRCVS
Mark Carpenter, BVetMed, MRCVS
Sarah Fox-Chapman, MS, DVM, MRCVS
Nichola Cornish, BVetMed, MRCVS
Tim Couzens, BVetMed, MRCVS
Chris Day, MA, VetMB, MRCVS
Claire Davies, BVSc, MRCVS
Mark Elliott, BVSc, MRCVS
Peter Gregory, BVSc, MRCVS
Lise Hansen, DVM, MRCVS
John Hoare, BVSc, MRCVS
Graham Hines, BVSc, MRCVS
Megan Kearney, BVSc, MRCVS
Michelle L'oste Brown, BVetMed, MRCVS
Suzi McIntyre, BVSc, MRCVS
Siobhan Menzies, BVM&S, MRCVS
Nazrene Moosa, BVSc, MRCVS
Mike Nolan, BVSc, MRCVS
Ilse Pedler, MA, VetMB, BSc, MRCVS
John Saxton, BVetMed, MRCVS
Cheryl Sears, MVB, MRCVS
Jane Seymour, BVSc, MRCVS
Christine Shields, BVSc, MRCVS
Suzannah Stacey, BVSc, MRCVS
Phillip Stimpson, MA, VetMB, MRCVS
Nick Thompson, BSc, BVM&S, MRCVS
Lyn Thompson, BVSc, MRCVS
Wendy Vere, VetMB, MA, MRCVS
Anuska Viljoen, BVSc, MRCVS,
and Wendy Vink, BVSc, MRCVS

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Vaccination Story in the Dogs World UK March 2004

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Links to recent articals in this topic

It appears that the letter written by those UK veterinarians and published in the Veterinary Times in January subsequently was picked up by the Dog World then the Dog Training Weekly in the UK.
Then, last Thursday, it seemed like most of the mainstream media picked up on it.
The below three links will take you to 3 of those.
It was also in the Daily Express, the Daily Mail, The Times and I don't know what else.

Also below is the article in the Times, and if you go to this BBC site there is a video interview:
Under April 1st, click on the 0640 timeslot "a group of vets.........",3604,1184067,00.html

Times article The Times Newspaper April 02, 2004
Annual pet jab is waste of money, vets claim By Sam Lister

DOG and cat owners are spending millions of pounds on unnecessary and potentially dangerous vaccines for their pets, according to a group of veterinary surgeons.

More than 30 vets have signed an open letter accusing the pharmaceutical industry of encouraging annual vaccinations, although doses last much longer. The advice being given to vets by drug companies, and passed on to pet owners, amounts to "fraud by misrepresentation, fraud by silence and theft by deception", the group says.
Annual vaccination boosters, which cost up to #50, are given to dogs and cats to protect them against potentially life-threatening conditions such as distemper, leptospirosis and several strains of flu.

In the letter to the Veterinary Times, the vets point to American research that links the overuse of boosters to "adverse post-vaccination events", including auto-immune disorders and transient infections. "It is our contention that those (vets) who continue to give annual vaccinations in the light of new evidence may well be acting contrary to the welfare of the animals committed to their care," the letter concludes.

The pharmaceutical industry defended the advice given on its products yesterday. Members said that they were bound by rules from licensing authorities. Because of a lack of general research into the long-term efficacy of the drugs, a minimum 12-month period of immunity had to be recommended. John Saxton, one of the letter's signatories, described the level of vaccinations given to Britain's 13 million dogs and cats as "complete overkill". Mr Saxton, from Leeds, added: "All the research is saying the same thing, that annual boosters are not necessary. But vets cannot give impartial advice because they are not being passed on impartial advice from the drug companies. "The information they are working on may have been valid 20 years ago, but things have moved on." A primary course of two vaccinations is normally given to puppies and kittens between the age of eight and 14 weeks, followed by annual boosters. Pet owners can expect to pay more than #700 for vaccinations over the lifetime of the average pet. The boosters, which cost from #20 to #50, are central to the annual income of most veterinary clinics, with a large practice likely to see in excess of 5,000 cases a year.

Bruce Fogle, a vet and broadcaster based in West London, said that after studying research from Europe and America he had decided to stop giving annual vaccinations for some conditions. "As the number of diseases against which dogs and cats were being vaccinated increased during the 1970s and 1980s, so the culture changed to an annual booster inoculation for everything," he said. "I have now switched back to vaccinating every three years against the diseases where I was confident that the efficacy was sufficient to give three years' protection. But the problem for most vets has been that the manufacturers have recommended yearly doses." The manufacturers say that although they can test animals for one or two years so that they can give a minimum cover or immunity, it is difficult to perform lifelong tests.

David Sutton, a spokesman for Intervet, one of the world's largest veterinary drug manufacturers, said that proving longer > term immunity would require testing a large number of animals for many years. "We base our recommendations on the science and the science we have tells us that we don't know how long immunity lasts > in any individual animal," he said. "What we do know is there are some animals that need more frequent vaccination than others and our vaccine recommendations have to be based on taking account of those animals."

Freda Scott-Park, president of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association, said that all vets should continue to observe current drug recommendations until more conclusive scientific evidence suggested otherwise. "We are trying to protect as many pets as possible from these diseases, which can be deadly," she said. "There is no guarantee that one animal will respond as well to a vaccine as another animal."

Dr Scott-Park dismissed suggestions that repeated vaccines could have an adverse affect. "Vaccination is vital. No other single thing has provided a greater benefit to companion animals," she said.

The primary course of vaccinations normally comprises two injections - the first at about eight weeks and the second at 12 to 14 weeks - costing #80 in total. A third jab is sometimes recommended and annual booster jabs cost about #50, making #730 in total for a dog or cat that lives to 14.

The jabs, which are given in the scruff of the neck, protect against conditions including:
DOGS: parvovirus (a gastrointestinal infection); canine distemper (pneumonia and inflammation of the brain); and leptospirosis (a liver or kidney infection).

CATS: feline enteritis; feline respiratory diseases (cat flu); and feline leukaemia, which suppresses the immune system.

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