/Dogs Rights Now Exceed Human Rights

Dogs Rights Now Exceed Human Rights

Delaware is the first state in the U.S. to pass a bill that would allow titers to be given in lieu of rabies vaccines for certain dogs, cats and ferrets. An antibody titer measures the concentration of antibodies in the blood produced after an inflammatory response to vaccination. Measuring the number of antibodies present is used to certify that a person or animal is immune to a specific antigen or virus.

If enough antibodies are present after recovering from the natural disease or being previously vaccinated, it can be used as “proof” of immunity to that disease. The Delaware bill — Maggie’s Vaccine Protection Act, formally known as House Bill 214 — was initiated by Al Casapulla, a businessman who lost his shih tzu, Maggie, due to over-vaccination.1

Rabies vaccine requirements vary by state, but many require mandatory vaccinations, regardless of the health status of the pet. Although a few states, such as Illinois, Maine and New Hampshire, allow animals to be exempted from rabies vaccines if it would compromise their health, many other states have no exemptions to vaccinations.2

Once the bill is signed into law, Delaware will become the first state to accept a rabies titer in lieu of the shot. It will allow veterinarians to complete a titer on their pet patients and decide whether or not a rabies vaccination is necessary.

The bill reads, “This Act enables licensed veterinarians to exempt an animal from the mandated rabies vaccination, if the veterinarian determines, based on their professional judgement, that the vaccine would endanger the animal’s health and a titer test may be administered to assist in determining the necessity of the vaccine.”3

Pet Vaccine Bills Aims to Protect Dogs From Over-Vaccination

Maggie’s Vaccine Protection Act passed the Delaware General Assembly by a unanimous vote.4 Casapulla told Coastal Point that the bill’s passing is the culmination of years of work aimed at protecting animals from the harms of over-vaccination:5

“I have been working on this bill since she [Maggie] died … My passion to see this through was more than the passion I had when I started my business, because I knew if this gets passed we would be saving the lives of so many innocent animals and allowing vets to use their discretion on making legal, educated exemptions … Maggie will be saving lives long after I am gone.”

The support for the bill was strong among legislators, including state Rep. Ruth Briggs King, who said pet owners and veterinarians should have the ultimate say on whether pets need vaccines, instead of them being forced into it due to the law.

“These are responsible pet owners,” she told Coastal Point, “so we are hopeful this time it’s going to move through. This is the second session for it, on the second legislature it’s been through.”6 Similarly, Sen. Gerald Hocker stated:7

“I feel it’s a good bill. It corrects something I wasn’t aware of. Vaccinations will be based on the health of the dog. Who better than the veterinarian to decide, depending on the health of the dog? Constituent Al Casapulla, who lost his dog, spent several hours working with vets.”

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The Irony of Granting Pets Greater Rights Than People

The passage of Delaware’s House Bill 214 is excellent news for frequently over-vaccinated pets — something veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker writes about often — but the irony is glaring. Why can state legislators recognize the risks of applying one-size-fits-all vaccine mandates to pets, but overlook the same risks when applying vaccine schedules to people, especially infants and children?

Today we know, for instance, that some children, like those with mitochondrial disorders, are at increased risk from vaccinations, but efforts aren’t being made to identify these children to prevent unnecessary harm. Further, an individual’s response to a vaccine is influenced by many factors.

Gut microbes may help determine immune response to vaccines, for starters. In one study, infants who responded to the rotavirus vaccine had a higher diversity of microbes in their gut, as well as more microbes from the Proteobacteria group, than infants who did not mount the expected immune response.8,9

Likewise, in a study by Nikolaj Orntoft and colleagues, researchers looked into changes in gene expression after diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP) vaccination in African girls to see which genes might be upregulated or downregulated (basically “turned on” or “turned off”).10 What they found is that there’s really no way to predict which genes will be affected.

So, not only will each individual have a unique response to any given vaccine based on their age, current health status and microbial makeup, but each is also epigenetically predisposed to respond differently in terms of the side effects they might develop. You can see, then, how vaccine mandates may turn out to be health disasters for some children and adults, just as they are for some pets.

Combo Vaccines Risk Highest Reactions

Also at odds with human medicine are discussions by veterinarians suggesting that giving pets multiple vaccines at once may be dangerous, especially for smaller animals. Dr. W. Jean Dodds, founder of Hemopet Blood Bank, told Veterinary Practice News all the way back in 2009 that the frequency of vaccinations is heavily debated, with some suggesting that giving core vaccines every three years or every year is outdated.

“Few veterinarians are proactive about discussing the options clients have in protecting their pets against disease,” Dodds said. “The industry promotes more vaccines and veterinarians feel comfortable telling clients they’re necessary. Often, technicians have vaccines prepared before the doctor even examines the animal. Many vets don’t know how to handle titers or don’t want to bother with them.” What’s more, she noted:11

“When vaccines are needed, they shouldn’t be given at the same site or at the same exam. Banfield Animal Health released two papers on this topic saying animals weighing less than 20 pounds and receiving combo vaccines are at the highest risk of vaccine reaction, yet few DVMs arrange separate visits as a precaution.”

In humans, however, multiple vaccinations are regularly given at the same time to infants and children — including multiple combination vaccines in one visit.

The fact is, all vaccines need to be carefully evaluated not only individually for long-term safety, but also for synergistic toxicity when the vaccine is given in combination with other vaccines and given repeatedly over a period of time, as well as given to people of varying ages and sizes — premature infants included.

For instance, among unvaccinated premature infants, no link to neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD) was found. However, a significant link between vaccinations and NDD was detected, regardless of whether the child was premature or full-term.

The combination of preterm birth with vaccination was associated with a 660% increased odds of NDD,12 suggesting a synergistic effect and a need to fully research whether it’s safe to vaccinate premature infants.

‘Individual Situations’ Taken Into Account for Livestock

Again in the case of livestock, discussions are underway into whether or not to vaccinate very young calves, as many factors influence the outcome.

An article in Beef magazine, for instance, suggested that age and colostrum intake should be taken into account when deciding when to vaccinate, as calves that get colostrum may have higher levels of maternal antibodies. Chris Chase, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, South Dakota State University, told the magazine:

“In the 2-week old calf, there are two things you need to be concerned about. One is age, the other is colostrum intake.

Typically, even in a calf that got no colostrum [and no maternal antibodies to interfere with building its own immunity], the response for making antibodies [when vaccinated early] is not great under 3 weeks of age. If they have higher levels of maternal antibodies than the older calves, they also may not respond [to vaccination].”13

Chase went on to explain that when calves were vaccinated at two or three days old, then challenged with disease seven months later, 20% still got sick. But waiting to vaccinate until the calves were three to four weeks of age led to a better outcome, with less than 5% getting sick. Even then, however, age is only one factor, and he stressed the need to look into individual situations:14

“Age at vaccination is a big factor, but it all goes back to individual situations. If someone is having trouble with summer pneumonia, we’d have to say the vaccine at a young age [several weeks old] probably doesn’t hurt them, but how much good it actually does those calves may be minimal.

Then it goes back to colostral intake and whether it was low, and we still have the issue that they are young when you are giving the vaccine. A person can work with their own herd health veterinarian and take a look at what is going on in their particular situation, and figure out what to be most concerned about.”

Why Are Livestock and Pets Treated Better Than People?

Animals deserve to have their health put first when it comes to medical procedures like vaccinations, but people deserve to be able to exercise a more precautionary approach to vaccination as well. Unfortunately, these same commonsense approaches that are sometimes afforded to animals, in terms of evaluating individual risk factors when choosing whether or not to vaccinate, are not typically given to people.

Today, many doctors are not just strongly promoting vaccination, they are threatening to deny medical care to children and adults if all vaccinations recommended by health officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are not given on the federally recommended schedule.

Children may be vaccinated when sick, for instance, or kidney patients on dialysis given vaccinations upon arrival at a hospital, even before a diagnosis had been given or a doctor had approved of the shots.

Dr. Suzanne Humphries, author of “Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History,” is a nephrologist who has raised similar concerns, suggesting that vaccines may not be safe for people with chronic conditions like kidney failure, or for babies, who have reduced kidney function compared to adults.

As Humphries said in a video, “We’re very careful as nephrologists when treating babies because the kidney functions of babies isn’t the same as adults — it’s vastly reduced. But when it comes to vaccines, this reduced kidney function in infants is always left out of the discussion.”

It’s no wonder why, in an online survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, conducted on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association, 45% said they had doubts about vaccine safety.15 Unfortunately, vaccine exemptions are increasingly under attack.

The ability to make informed, voluntary vaccine choices for yourself and your children must be protected, because vaccines are not a one-size-fits-all-solution, nor is the U.S. public as a whole a one-size-fits-all population. It’s time that this became widely accepted for humans, just as it’s starting to be acknowledged for pets and livestock.

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