Taking a deeper look at Vaccines and Nutrition in Animals from a Holistic Perspective
Vaccines and Nutrition. Two separate topics that are both related to each other and to the well-being and health of an individual. Two separate related topics that could easily each be an independent study all on their own. Going into this Independent Study I had already created a story about both. I came with slight bias and believed this to be the perfect opportunity to immerse and engross myself further into these topics. Perhaps my internal questions and subconscious bias would be answered, validated, or negated. As with my first Independent Study, each learning sent me to the next; each answer created more questions. And down the rabbit hole I went, feeling much like Alice from the tale, Alice in Wonderland.
Beginning this Independent Study, I stated my objectives to be as follows:
v My objective is to develop the capacity to more deeply understand the efficacy and use of vaccines in animals (horses, dogs, and cats).
v My objective is to learn and understand more about animal nutritional needs (horses, dogs, and cats).
v My objective is to make this learned knowledge more open and available to others.
v My objective is to network with like-minded practitioners to create a space for larger conversation.
Reflecting back, while I did achieve the objectives stated above, I will also state that there is room for more learning and that this will be a lifelong process. As the world and our treatment of the earth and each other shifts, so also will the needs of each individual shift to allow for the change(s) we will experience.
As I researched and processed the information about vaccines, I am undecided about whether they are necessary or needed. To be perfectly candid, I believe they do more harm than good. I also question current recommended nutritional practices and "feeds." I believe that nutrition is the foundation to wellness, and quite frankly, optimal and balanced nutrition cannot be found in a box of processed product, cannot be found in a bag of processed product, cannot be found in a pellet, and cannot be found in a kibble. I equate pellets and kibble to cereal for humans; it is not good, balanced, "nutrition." There are so many variables to consider. First and foremost, I assert current practices in conventional medicine does us (animals, humans included) a grave disservice and great harm. This is not to say that conventional medicine does not have its place, because if I break a leg conventional medicine may come in handy, it is more to say that the western and conventional practices and their ideas about health are significantly skewed. From a holistic perspective to treat an issue we must look at the whole of the body, mind and spirit and the whole must be in communication. Treating a headache isn't only about the head. In contrast, western/conventional medicine divides the body. We have "specialists" for the head, the kidneys, the liver, the heart, the bladder, the list goes on. And these "specialists" do not necessarily communicate with each other when seeking to heal; they do not take into consideration that each organ, each system, supports the next and all must be in balance. Rather than search for the root of the concern, conventional treatment tends to only address the symptoms by masking them and as a result the underlying issue may continue to present itself as different symptoms in areas not necessarily related to the original manifestation. In my opinion this is the equivalent of using duct tape to cover a hole in the water pipe. The issue lies at the pressure tank, but rather than address the water pressure, more duct tape is applied to the various holes that pop up and out along the pipes.
It has been my learning that the majority of conventional veterinarians and doctors tend to lean more towards pushing products, both vaccines/pharmaceuticals and foods, that are not necessarily in the interest of wellness and thriving health. I assert that current recommendations by the conventional pet and vet industry organizations (AVMA, AAEP, AAHA, NASPHV, AAFP, etc) are not in the best interest of the animals they are supposed to represent. I assert that Big Pharmaceutical (Big Pharma) and the Pet Food industries as organizations that continually pump money and funding into the vet and pet organizations and schools have vested interests; these interests do not include that of thriving health and wellness of the animals they claim to support.
I look back at what I have been told and learned from my conventional small animal and equine vets over the years. I think about the "health" workshops I attended put on by the vet clinics, thinking that I was furthering my education into my pets' health and well-being. Workshop topics included, "How to Feed the Senior Horse," or, "What Do You Know About Disease?" or "Optimal Health for Your Active Partner." Reflecting upon those experiences I realize those workshops were not about health and wellness. They were about pushing and selling products. The "vets" and speakers at those workshops were representatives of either a major food distributor and manufacturer, or vaccine and pharmaceutical company. I think about how the representative would stand at the front of the room with their power-point slides and share with us why only Purina's "Wellsolve Low Sugar, Low Starch" pellets were THE FOOD our horses needed if they were insulin resistant (IR) and/or had equine metabolic syndrome (EMS), or how only Duramune Max5-CvK/4L by Fort Dodge (now Boehringer Ingelheim) is the protection we need to save our dogs from coronavirus, canine distemper, adenovirus cough, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, and four strains of leptospirosis. Additionally, that recommended vaccine should begin being administered for dogs 6 weeks of age and older, then given as a booster every 2 to 3 weeks until 12 weeks old, per manufacturer recommendation, then additional boosters given yearly, per vet recommendation. I ask myself now, how are these practices in the best interest of our pets? How is injecting live viruses, neurotoxins, known carcinogens and genetically modified organisms year after year a "good" thing?? How is feeding our pets species inappropriate foods setting them up for thriving health? How is feeding my dog, cat, or horse genetically modified corn and soy based , highly processed "food" preserved with ethoxyquin (a known toxin) possibly "good" for their health and well-being? The answer I receive to these questions is a resounding and echoing, "NO!" NO! NO!! The current accepted practices promoted and recommended are NOT in the best interest of those we are charged to represent and advocate for.
I find myself pushing strongly back at the current and accepted practices of today. We are our pets (and our children's) greatest advocate. It is up to us as their caretakers to do what is best for them to thrive. I say it is also up to us in this role as advocate to share this knowledge with others. It is equally important to share this information so that it is inclusive and not offensive. Two tools I use often when making this information more readily accessible is social networking and my website. I post often about recommended books and studies that are related to both vaccination and nutrition. I will include links to articles and other resources for further learning. I utilize my personal Facebook page, my business Facebook page, and Twitter. It is my hope that these postings will stimulate curiosity and draw a person in to reading some of what is posted. Perhaps reading the information will spark a question in them that will lead to more questions and they will seek to learn more. I also find and believe that sharing this information with like-minded practitioners is invaluable. We have so much to learn from one another and from the animals we treat. The animals prove to be our greatest teachers and sharing our experiences creates larger conversations that we are able to learn from and of course, leads us deeper into the "rabbit hole."
Because the wellness and health of animals is so near to my heart, I found this independent study to be invigorating and easy to dive into. I was (and continue to be) all over the place when researching and reading material. The more I learn, the more I find to learn, the more questions I have, in turn, these questions lead me to seek answers, which then lead to more questions, and so the cycle continues. For me, this study began far before I even put my thoughts and words into the initial Independent Study Application. This has been a cumulative process and path that I have been walking. The animals themselves have been my guides. The research material that I gathered my information and learning from also has proved to be invaluable. In particular are the books, websites, and articles shared and/or written by Catherine O'Driscoll, Susan Thixton, Ann Martin, Dr. Don Hamilton, Dr. Patricia Jordan, Dr. Karen Becker, Dr. Ronald Shultz, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, Dr. Christina Chambreau, Dr. Suzanne Humphries, Barbara Loe Fisher, Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Peter Dobias, Dogs Naturally Magazine, The Whole Dog Journal, Holistic Horse Magazine, The Holistic Horse-Care Cooperative, Prevent Diseases.com, Natural News, The National Vaccine Information Center and VacTruth. The previously listed resources were paramount in disseminating information and leading me to resources, links, and websites for further research and investigation.
In my own life and practices, I have opted not to vaccinate and I feed the animals in my care (horses, dogs, cats, and humans) species appropriate foods. Species appropriate to me translates simply to mean that the carnivores eat meat and the herbivores eat forage. I believe one of the best ways to support and prevent them from contracting disease is to minimize the toxins they are exposed to. This means, no chemical treatments for fleas, ticks, and other pests, no injections, and inhalations that are toxic (vaccines), support their overall health and wellness by feeding an optimal diet, and providing nutrition that will lead them to thrive, not survive, and looking at the whole of the animal to help balance and support them when needed. There are a host of holistic modalities available to help support and heal. These modalities include: homeopathy, chiropractics, Reiki, flower essences, acupuncture, aromatherapy and essential oils, healing touch, craniosacral, massage, acupressure, animal communication, cold laser treatment, etc. I say it is important to create a healing "team" for each individual. A collective of modalities and practitioners one can call on to help support the being when dis-ease occurs. Additionally, I often share what I have learned (and continue to learn) with friends, clients, peers, and anyone else who is interested and curious to hear and learn what I have to share.
It is said that the animals in our care are reflections to us and take on much of what we have to offer within ourselves. They take on our ills, our dis-ease, our struggles, our destruction; it is my intent that when this information becomes more widely learned and distributed all humans will recognize all beings as sacred and when this happens the reflection the animals have to take on will be those of thriving health, happiness, joyful living, and peace. As more individuals learn this information, it will lead them to more questions and the answers they find will then create a shift in the way society views life and wellness. The shift in this view will lead to honoring of earth, all life, and each other; that is my intent.
~*~*~* Addendum (additional thoughts, questions, and information)~*~*~*~*
Theories: sort of covered. 1. Why vaccinate - develop Ig.... so that when exposed, has ...ready to go. 2. If not vacc, can Ig...develop? 3. IF yes, then you can titer test ONCE. Why only once needed? 4. which vaccines last for life? 5. Which are ineffective?
1. To "teach" body how to fight when exposed to certain or organisms.. it will "remember" how to fight it
2. yes, by natural exposure and when young passed through mothers milk. Though some are finding that when dams are vaccinated it is not necessarily passing on immunity
3. theory is that the antibodies will be elevated to show that protection against disease.
4. (viral) rabies, parvo, distemper (though I believe this to be subjective and due to exposure and overall health of the animal. How do we really know?? Do we have any long term studies? And, studying this would be difficult, not all animals are equal and the same. Some may be more susceptible.. also there needs to look at the "whole picture".. foods, environment, energetics of the household).
5. Parainfluenza, bordetella, lepto, corona, lyme, strangles, botulism, anthrax, equine influenza, Potomac horse fever., rhino
RISKS: You covered a bit of this - the toxic side from the adjuvants. 1. Cancer - conventional reports of what in what vaccines? 2. Autoimmune diseases - any evidence? 3. Chronic illnesses per holistic approaches.
2. Kidney issues, thyroid issues, liver, allergies
3. Holistically, body stating out of balance, expelling.
4. Additionally, vaccine inserts state to only vaccinate "healthy" animals. This protocol is not practiced. Many conventional vets/owners are vaccinating animals with allergies, kidney disease, laminitis, ppid, ems, epsm, etc. This then asks the question.. what is "healthy" and do we recognize healthy… the term, "health" is purely subjective.
EFFICACY: 1. How many years do "they" say good for in each vaccine? (mfrs. AVMA. AHVMA.) 2. Can shot be given and no immunity? 3. How know if immunity? 4. If positive titer, then later not positive, does that mean not protected? Why?
1) Depends on vaccine- most manufacturers state 1 year, AVMA- (rec) 3 years, though some practices are still pushing yearly, for equines, bi-annually for some vaccines. There is also a push by some sects for double vaccination, and beginning vaccines as early as 5 weeks of age, or in the mother. Core vaccines yearly AHVMA- may use nosodes for "core", and 5-8 years to life, vaccinating may weaken immune system (vital force), making animal more susceptible to dis-ease.
2) Yes, shots do not equal immunity, honestly immunity is not "known" for certain.
3) Some say to pull titers and look at antibodies. Others say that that is not an effective way of looking at whether an animal is truly immune since it does not always have the same results year after year. Additionally, "immunity" is determined by "memory cells" or the body remembering how to "fight" the disease
4) While some reading suggested that prior to having titers drawn to give nosode that will increase antibodies to "show" immunity.
5) Additionally, schedules between conventional v. holistic vets differ with conventional recommending vaccines much earlier than holistic practitioners. And holistic practitioners saying it is the overall health (vital force) of the animal that must be supported and that (wellness) will lead to the animals ability to stave off dis-ease. Foundation being proper diet, maintaining energetic balance, etc.
VACCINE INGREDIENTS (include and not limited to):
Other animal tissue (cell cultures)
Genetically engineered animals
Virus (living and killed)
Need anatomy and physiology of dog/cat/horse, etc. and how that dictates what they should eat.
Dog/cat- relatively short digestive tracts, also look at teeth (canines) and way in which animal chew (up & down,like scissors) made for tearing and swallowing, shape of skull and strength in neck and jaw, also claws. (predator) eyes in front. Expansive stomachs. Do not have the enzymes necessary to break down (amylase) or the "friendly" bacteria to break down carbs and starches/plant matter. Made to digest proteins/fats. May not eat often/every day . expend more energy seeking food (prey).
Horse- longer digestive tracts. Have a foregut and hindgut. Saliva aids in buffering/transporting food and breakdown of plant matter. Need forage constantly due to acid content, and to get necessary nutrients and energy. Teeth are flat, chew by grinding/crushing. Hooves, eyes on side. (prey) relatively small stomachs. Have the necessary bacteria to digest plant matter. Do not expend as much energy seeking food. Horses unable to relieve gas or obstructions by vomiting.