Letters November 1999 Issue

Questioning Vaccinations

Readers share their negative vaccination experiences; and a reader’s dogs (!) enjoy WDJ’s grooming tips.

Regarding your article on vaccination (“Current Thoughts on Shots,” WDJ August 1999): Thank you for confirming my belief that its the excessive challenging of the dog’s immune system that is responsible for so many auto-immune disorders.

I am a non-practicing LVT in New York state and I have three dogs, two of whom have autoimmune disorders. I used to vaccinate religiously, and even brought the vaccines home to administer them.

My 10-year-old Standard Poodle has seizure disorder (idiopathic). We’ve had a brain scan and all kinds of tests, under the supervision of a neurological specialist. All results were negative – no brain tumor or old lesion of the brain. The seizures started abruptly about a month after I vaccinated him. I was working at an animal emergency clinic at the time, and a few weekends prior to his first seizure, we had no fewer than 12 seizuring dogs come into the clinic in a 48-hour period, whereas we usually had less than one each weekend. Bad batch of vaccines that year?

My other dog, a four-year-old Bichon, developed AIHA and very nearly died last October. He was vaccinated in the spring before this episode, and he had an allergic reaction – we had to rush him to the emergency clinic for a shot of Benadryl. I truly believe that it was the vaccine that caused both these reactions – and it included bordetella, which he’d never had before. He was not vaccinated this year. We did a titer and it was fine. I doubt that I will ever vaccinate him again, except for rabies every three years.

A readers’ dogs cast their votes for the
“Grooma” (aka the ZoomGroom) type of
soft rubber brushes.

I am seriously considering not vaccinating my Poodle any longer, especially after reading your article. And my healthy (though itchy) Bichon will probably go on a reduced vaccination schedule; we’ll be testing titers on all three dogs come spring. Thank you for the article and Dr. Dodds’ vaccination schedule. I hope they start teaching this in vet school and vet tech programs.

-Kathleen Foley, LVT
via email


I live in Scotland, but a friend sent me your article on vaccinations. This issue is also being discussed in Britain. My interest in this is because my favorite breed is Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. I’ve collected the pedigrees of around 90 Cavaliers who have had heart trouble (about 50 percent of King Charles Spaniels suffer from heart murmurs by five years of age). A number of the dogs whose pedigrees I have, and who come from fairly inbred American stock, had their heart trouble within about a month of having their vaccinations. Some died shortly afterward.

When the Cavalier breed was getting established in the 1930s and 1940s, it was not uncommon to breed mothers to sons, fathers to daughters, brothers to sisters. It’s a fact that inbreeding tends to weaken the immune system. Some Cavaliers are born with a lesser immune competence; others are stable and competent enough to withstand the challenge of their vaccinations.

It’s also been published in veterinary literature that adverse reactions to vaccination are generally uncommon, and thought to be more prevalent in certain breeds. I think that Cavalier breeders should give great thought to their vaccination programs, especially in lines that suffer from heart conditions.

-Bet Hargreaves
Thankerton, Scotland


We just wanted to let you know how much we enjoy your journal. Our human reads it from cover to cover as soon as it arrives. We’ve experienced a lot of new things like whole fresh chopped garlic and Ester C. We loved the whole fresh food idea but we needed some time to assimilate and therefore the other end result was not pretty. We were constantly asking to go out or leaving deposits which she did not greet with a smile. She changed back to the best dry food she could find as per your article. We’re doing fine now.

The reason we are taking the time to bark this note to you is your “Grooming for the Look of Love” article (WDJ July 1999). Now, she always grooms with love but this time she marched out to the barn and borrowed that Grooma curry from the horses. She first tried it on Gwenie, my adopted sister, a sort of German Shepherd. Gwenie is very sensitive about combs and usually displays her dislike for this ritual. This time, however, she rolled from side to side with glee and stretched her legs out for more! Of course our human (her name is Ava) was delighted.

I thought, “What About Me?” I’m a male Collie/Malamute mix. My turn came and I showed my joy by placing my paw on her arm and showering her with kisses. She even tried it on the finicky cat! Purring could be heard far and wide! So, keep up the good work. We appreciate it as much as she does.

-Jake and Gwenie Eskin
via email

Comments (1)

Does giving my dogs rabies shot every year decrease their lifespan?

Posted by: TONY N | April 2, 2013 11:52 PM    Report this comment

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