Vaccines + Heavy Metals

Talking about vaccines is a very sensitive topic for some, especially during a time when communities are dealing with measles outbreaks. I had my cat Simon vaccinated against Rabies and FVRCP (Distemper) as a kitten and in his youth, but he’s eight now and has not received vaccines in about five or six years. Don’t worry, I may be extreme about Simon and his health, but I’m not an anti-vaxxer. I just think there is no need to over vaccinate our animals. There’s no way that would be acceptable with our human children, so how has it become normal to vaccinate on a regular one or three year basis? We have the ability to test their titers to ensure that they have the appropriate amount of antibodies, so we don’t need to continue to put poison into their little bodies.

In March of 2018, I was taking care of a dog I had known for the last six years. At the end of the walk, we had our usual routine; he sat nicely while I got him a treat to balance on his nose and attempt to catch it as it falls. If I was lucky I would also get a face full of kisses. This time went a bit differently, however. Instead of kisses, he very calmly grabbed my face with his mouth, and I realized I could not move. I couldn’t open my mouth, or pull back. He had punctured my top lip and nose. I had to stay as calm as possible, so I felt for his mouth and opened it with my hands. The last thing you should do when a dog sinks his teeth into any part of your body is to pull away! It was a very dramatic scene after that, but I made my way to the hospital where I received about thirty stitches in my top lip.

At the time, I worked part time for a pet nutritionist and she just happened to be attending a seminar about vaccines the same time this incident occurred. I mention this because I found out that the dog had received all of his booster vaccines a week earlier, and they can exhibit symptoms of vaccine reactions up to twelve weeks after the fact. The main reason why I believe this dog was having a vaccine reaction was his demeanor. If this was a “dog attack,” he probably would have gave me warnings to back away, or tried to shake or let go just to turn and bite me more. None of those things happened. He was very calm, did not growl or make a sound, and it almost seemed like he had lock-jaw and could not let go of me. Once I was able to get his mouth open he ran away and hid. This seemed like very odd behavior.

While I was in the hospital, they gave me a tetanus vaccine. It had been about eleven years since the last time I needed one, so the doctors felt it was necessary. Understandably,  I was very sore from the trauma to my face, but that tetanus shot really made my arm achy the following day. I’m an adult and this was all very tiring for me, so imagine puppies who go in to the doctors for their spay or neuter surgery, and then also receive a handful of vaccines while they are still under anesthesia. Their little bodies are trying to mend itself from surgery, plus now we have injected them with poison. I can imagine how traumatic that can be for them in the days that follow. 

One veterinarian office I worked for had designated days where they only did appointments with the technicians. This meant that if an animal needed additional services after their doctor’s visit, like injections, fluids, wound care, etc. the veterinary technicians would administer it and there wasn’t another office visit fee to pay. This is a great way to spread out vaccines rather than giving them to a dog or cat all in the same visit. If I had received three or four vaccines the day I went to the hospital, I’m sure I would have felt very ill after.

Can vaccines really cause an animal to lash out and bite? More common symptoms that animals experience from vaccine reactions tend to be lethargy, swelling or soreness at the site of injection, fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, hives, and seizures, among others. Not only could these symptoms cause an animal to act out, but changes in behavior can also be an effect of a vaccine. Why? Because of the ingredients in them. However, I recently learned that the ingredients in vaccinations is proprietary information. In other words, manufacturers do not need to divulge that information to the public. Susan Thixton (The Truth About Pet Food) has a wonderful article where she breaks down the ingredients we know of, but it really is hard to say what exactly we are injecting into our dogs and cats.

Among these ingredients, I cringe the most at aluminum, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and mercury or thimerosal. The latter is a preservative that contains mercury. There are other variations of thimerosal, so don’t be fooled if you do some research about vaccines and don’t see mercury clearly stated as an ingredient. Years ago people began talking about the link between aluminum and dementia or alzheimers. I know I switched deodorant brands without question, and I rarely use aluminum foil when I cook. There was also a change in thermometer manufacturing in the US to no longer use mercury. We are already aware that these substances are most likely not good for us, but we need transparency in our vaccine ingredients.

Let me go back to my question as to whether or not behavioral changes would occur in animals. The owners of the dog in my unfortunate experience immediately contacted their trainer. I insisted that this was a vaccine reaction and they just refused to accept that. Well, mercury was used in the millinery industry from the 17th century up until 1941. The process to make hats was poisoning hatters with mercury, causing an illness known as mad hatter’s disease. The medical term for this disease is erethism, and it affects the entire central nervous system, causing people to act very strange or insane. My sister is a custom milliner in Brooklyn, and I’m very grateful that method is not still used today.

If people exposed to mercury on a regular basis were essentially poisoning themselves, and becoming insane, why would it be so far fetched as to think the regular doses of vaccines we administer aren’t doing the same to animals? Not to mention our organ systems that filter everything that goes into our bodies are going to be affected in a physical manner as well. 

Luckily for us, there are veterinarians fighting to change the way we vaccinate our animals. One of them is Dr. Karen Becker. She discusses this topic in depth, and often to help spread the word about Vaccinosis. Vaccinosis is generally acknowledged more among holistic veterinarians. The symptoms I listed earlier in this article are not considered in the definition of vaccinosis. Those reactions to vaccines (vomiting, fever, etc.) are acute symptoms that can occur after a vaccine is administered. Vaccinosis encompasses the long-term effects that vaccines have on animals. Dr. Richard Pitcairn defines it as: “Vaccinosis is to be understood as the disturbance of the vital force by vaccination that results in mental, emotional, and a physical change that can, in some cases, be a permanent condition.” I’ve included the link to Dr. Becker’s article about vaccinosis below and I strongly recommend reading it.

From listening to Dr. Becker’s podcast and reading her articles, I’ve also learned about a fellow veterinarian, Dr. John Robb, who is also trying to change the way we vaccinate pets. He is based out of Connecticut, and has fought very hard to bring morality back to veterinary medicine. He discusses at length his experiences of this industry choosing profit over the health of many canine and feline patients. In fact, he and his wife invested their retirement fund to start an organization called Protect the Pets, in order to increase awareness and fight to change vaccination laws in the United States. He is a huge advocate for titer testing, which is a simple blood test to determine if an animal’s immunity is strong enough against particular disease, and allow pet parents to avoid over-vaccination. In human hospitals, titer testing is actually quite common. Again, I’ve included more information about this for you to read.

Since I work in the petcare industry, I constantly find myself at odds about vaccines. Working in dog daycares and grooming facilities, state officials require us to obtain proof of vaccines in order to provide our services. I’ve seen people literally go to a clinic and come back the same or following day with proof of vaccines. People don’t think twice about the way their pets may feel or about the affects these injections may have. We need more awareness about titer testing, especially for older animals or those with compromised immune systems. I’ve told pet owners that if they don’t want to vaccinate, but still want the services, they should ask their doctors for a titers test. Many times a letter from the doctor with proper reasoning as to why they feel the animal does not need vaccines (i.e. history of reactions, allergies) is acceptable.

It is perfectly acceptable to go to your veterinarian and tell them you don’t want to do yearly vaccines anymore, and would prefer titer testing. Dr. John Robb’s Protect the Pets organization actually offers affordable titer testing for pet owners. Check out his website (link below) to see how you can order a titer test. Review the prices before heading to your next exam, because if your veterinarian wants to charge you significantly more, you have other options! It is not required that you vaccinate throughout your pets’ lives!

The next step I recommend you can take is to test the heavy metal content in your pets’ body. 5 Strands recently came out with a new test for our pets; heavy metals! I know that when I saw my personal results for heavy metals I researched how to detox the body and did just about every method. Our four-legged loved ones deserve that same treatment. They can benefit from a detox just as much as us. The physical and mental clarity that comes with detoxing heavy metals from the system is amazing. It could save you money in the long run by possibly avoiding illnesses associated with heavy metals, but it could also help our furry loved ones live longer and healthier lives. It’s a very easy, non-invasive procedure, requiring only ten to fifteen strands of your pet’s hair. Your pets never have to leave home, since you can mail in the hair sample and wait to receive an email with the results!

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