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The following article is an excerpt from the book,

It's For The Animals! Natural Care & Resources

by Helen L. McKinnon 


The Story of Laddie

By Helen McKinnon


These photos of Laddie were taken after a bath, grooming, 100 ml of fluids SQ injected, Vitamin B Complex injection, and 4 days of INTENSIVE CARE with special food (5 meals per day), and supplements. 

Here are photos of him when he arrived at the shelter -- before he was in my care:

He was 15" at the withers, weighed only 10 lbs. -- skin and bones under matted coat. Normal weight for this dog would be 30-35 lbs.  He was covered in filth (feces, urine, & tapeworms), unable to walk and  was could hardly stand up.   As the vet said, this dog was extremely malnourished, starving, and neglected for a very long time evidenced by advanced muscle wasting, dehydration, an advanced heart murmur, open infected sores, a skin infection that was eating away at his ears, advanced periodontal disease, abscessed teeth adversely affecting his ability to eat food.  There was clear evidence of old wounds and a massive tapeworm infection.  His tail looked like an opossum's as it had no hair covering on more than half of it. Over his entire body there was extensive hair loss, and severe matting.

If You Ever Rescue A Dog, Read My Story about Laddie.  It May Help.

After arriving at the shelter, I was told that there are 26 Shelties in very bad shape and they will be there shortly.  One poor dog had to be immediately euthanized. The 26 Shelties were kept for 24 hours / 7 days a week in wire cages that were too small for them - the dogs couldn't turn around in them.  The cages were stacked one on top of the other without bottom trays and the waste fell on the dogs below.  More on the rescue mission is here: 

The shelter authorities intended to vaccinate these dogs.  I spoke up and questioned this as I am concerned about this relatively common and unscientific practice -- because I know that only healthy animals are supposed to be vaccinated.

Shortly afterwards, the van pulled up with the Shelties.  The frightened captives never made a sound.  Everyone gasped at the horrible condition of these dogs.  One by one, the rescued Shelties were brought into the 'conference room' where they were microchipped, photographed, and vaccinated.  I just couldn't bear to witness the vaccination of such clearly unhealthy animals, so I waited outside. Finally, when my name was called, I grabbed the collar and leash and went in.  What I saw sickened me.  Here was a dog that was barely able to stand, covered in feces, urine and tapeworms. He had open, infected sores on his ears and chest.  The collar and leash went into my purse. They gave me some antibiotics. I asked for a blanket, then, I gently picked up this "feather-light" abused being and carried him in my arms to my car, softly telling him that he was safe now, that he was going to be cared-for properly.

I was shocked to find out just how emaciated he was.  I felt no muscle under that matted coat, and his entire feces-covered rear was like a nest -- filled with tapeworms. I was concerned about exposing anything harmful to my other two dogs at home, and so, after leaving the shelter, I called many grooming shops and all but one flatly refused to shampoo this dog.  When that one gal hesitated, I begged her to help him, promising that I would assist in his grooming.  She agreed, and as it turned out, she was the shop owner.  She started crying as she shampooed him, and hurried because she said that she could feel his heart really pounding and was afraid he would have a heart attack right then and there.  We both groomed him and had to cut off a lot of matted hair.  It was so disgusting to see tapeworms flying through the air from the blower!

From there I brought him directly to the vet's office. The exam indicated that this dog had an advanced heart murmur and probably a broken back.   I asked for SQ fluids, a Vitamin B Complex injection, and blood drawn for a CBC and heartworm. The dog is 15" at the withers, weighed only 10 lbs. As the vet said, this dog was extremely malnourished and neglected for a very long time and -- with advanced muscle wasting, dehydration, open infected sores, a skin infection that was eating away at his ears, and many areas of hair loss. Because of his advanced mouth infection and severe tooth decay he could not chew at all.  Blood was drawn, and another appointment was scheduled for x-rays. As soon as his heart could withstand the anesthesia, he had his teeth cleaned and necessary extractions.

My sense was that this little dog had a strong will to live, and I was determined to provide for him everything I could to help him be restored to good health.  It was truly heartbreaking to witness the neglect in this dog.  I thank God that the intervention took place when it did, because it is clear that that this dog was literally starving to death.  He probably would have been dead had the rescue been delayed by more than a day or so.  I got him home and kept him in my office as a peaceful 'recovery room'.  After a while, laying at his side on the floor, I asked him what he would like to be called.  My impression was "Laddie" and so that's what I named him.  

He was fed about 4-5 small meals a day, the food that my other dogs and cats eat -- home-made, all human-grade, and he had special supplements.  Even though he couldn't chew at first, and despite the severe diarrhea (in our home and outside) from the vaccinations, he thrived -- gaining 5 lbs. in just over two weeks.  For the first few days slept on a flannel-covered king-sized down pillow.  During the day I had "music for The Mozart Effect -- Heal The Body" playing softly in the background.  Several times a day he was walked around the fenced grassy yard for a little exercise, fresh air and sunshine. Although he was an adult dog, he followed me around like a puppy.

Amazingly, the blood tests indicated that he was negative for heartworm. The x-rays showed that his back was not broken, just that there were some problems.  Dr. John Faherty, my chiropractor, is also Certified in Veterinary Chiropractic, provided chiropractic care for Laddie which really helped.  I also utilized the unique healing energies of  Susan Grey (see my Links page ), and had a session with an animal communicator, both modalities really contributed to helping Laddie.  In just 18 days, with me, Laddie was literally transformed!  After the chiropractic care, he was feeling pretty frisky -- even trying to entice my then 12 yr. old, (spayed) Maggie Mae, to mate with him! I guess he fell in love with life -- and Maggie!  

Unfortunately, we found that Laddie was not housetrained.  Even with the pet doors, he soiled the carpeting and floors all over the house.  One afternoon, when trying to housetrain him, he bit my husband, and we then had to place him with the Sheltie Rescue folks. 

For the record, the vaccination of the unhealthy Shelties was done on March 10, 2000.  According to documentation by the shelter employee, at least one vaccine was out of date by more than a month and two vaccines had double doses.

The complete list of the all the 10 vaccinations administered to these unhealthy dogs are as follows:

         Canine Coronavirus Vaccine (killed) and Leptospira Bacterin (killed) by Fort Dodge, Set # 251414C Note: Already Expired: Feb 2, 2000  Via Injection

         Duramune DA2P+Pv by Fort Dodge Set #946215A Expiration April 30, 2000  Canine Distemper, Adenovirus Type 2, Parainfluenza, Hepatitis, and Parvovirus Vaccine.  Modified Live Virus.  Via Injection

         Bronchi-Shield III by Fort Dodge, set # 112153A  Expiration: June 21, 2001  Canine Adenovirus Type 2, Parainfluenza, and Bordetella Bronchiseptica Vaccine.  Modified Live and Avirulent Live Culture.  Via intranasal.

We know that vaccines contain Formaldehyde, Aluminum, Mercury, which are TOXIC! We don't know ALL of the ingredients, though because their formulas are proprietary (trade secrets).

Something to think about, according to Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary:

"VACCINE: A preparation of killed microorganisms, living attenuated organisms, or living fully virulent organisms, that is administered to produce or artificially increase immunity to a particular disease.

    attenuate:  To lessen the amount, force, magnitude, or value of: WEAKEN. To reduce the severity, virulence, or vitality of [killed vaccine].

    virulence: MALIGNANCY, VENOMOUSNESS. the relative capacity of a pathogen to overcome body defenses.

    virulent: fr. virus poison. Marked by a rapid, severe, and malignant course.  Able to overcome bodily defensive mechanisms.  Extremely poisonous or venomous: NOXIOUS. Full of malice: MALIGNANT. Objectionably harsh or strong.

    avirulent: Not virulent -- compare NONPATHOGENIC

VIRUS: Venom, poisonous emanation.  The causative agent of an infectious disease. The causative agent of an infectious disease, any of a large group of submicroscopic infective agents that are regarded either as extremely simple microorganisms or as extremely complex molecules, that typically contain a protein coat surrounding an RNA or DNA core of genetic material but no semipermeable membrane, that are capable of growth and multiplication only in living cells, and that cause various important diseases in humans, lower animals, or plants. Something that poisons the mind or soul."

Another point that I found to be very significant:

Recall that 10 vaccinations were administered to these unhealthy, rescued Shelties, and some of these dogs were old -- Laddie's age was determined to be 11.  Not one of those 10 vaccinations that those dogs received was legally required.  The only one that IS legally required is the rabies vaccination.  Well, after Laddie bit my husband, I thought it would be a good idea to see if, in fact, Laddie had ever been vaccinated for rabies.  So, I had  a rabies titer done and the results for his titer-response was 1:125.  According to the information sent with the results, it states: 

    "Domestic animals (dogs and cats) being exported to 'rabies free' countries may have a reduced quarantine period with proof of rabies immunization [vaccination] and serological test result demonstrating the presence of greater than 0.5 IU/ml of rabies antibody." 

 So, it looks to me as though Laddie, was vaccinated for rabies, as his test results were 83 TIMES GREATER than the amount accepted for importing him to a rabies-free country.  How many rabies vaccinations and other vaccinations Laddie had in his lifetime is not known.

I don't claim to be an expert, however, the package insert clearly states "Only healthy animals are to be vaccinated". By over-vaccinating/ unnecessary vaccines being administered, it may very well cause serious life-long harm to the animal -- which is immoral, unethical and totally unacceptable.

The problem that many people with companion animals are trying to deal with is the issue whereby some ignorant or greedy people are requiring that their dogs and cats must be vaccinated for "annual boosters"  in order to receive veterinary medical treatment, training or boarding.  According to the experts cited below, there is no scientific justification for those excessive vaccinations.

Why then is this happening?  Well, entire books have been written on this subject and I have two more pages here on my Web Site to provide information about this important  and complex issue:

But, suffice to say that it appears to be all too often the money factor, which is unfortunate.  One option many of us are utilizing is to have the blood tests with the vaccine antibody titers run instead of just vaccinating.  As with the vaccinations, the titers don't guarantee immunity, but at least they don't harm the animal.  For all those interested, see my page www.ItsForTheAnimals.HEMOPET.HTM  for complete information on the blood tests, and titers, with 'print-out' forms.

Another suggestion is to find another professional and /or kennel who does not require these unnecessary vaccinations.

Forwarded with permission from Louise...
Well, look what I just found in the 

Merck Veterinary Manual, p 1496, 

under the heading 

'Routine Immunologic Procedures':
".. Vaccination is an important adjunct in the control of many livestock diseases, but the immunity is relative and may be overcome by massive exposure, by moderate contact with a highly virulent strain of the infecting agent, or by stress, such as poor environmental conditions. Vaccination should not be considered a panacea in disease control and it should be supplemented with sanitary and management measures designed to prevent the introduction and spread of infection.

When an effective immunizing agent is injected, the tissues react to form immune bodies against the agent.   This reaction may be accompanied by signs of distress, and these signs may be exaggerated if the animal is not in a state of good health when vaccinated.  If a live vaccine is employed in an unhealthy animal, it may actually produce the disease it was intended to prevent."

And this:

..."When live, unmodified, fully virulent viruses are used, it should be remembered that the vaccinated animal may become a carrier and shed the virus for varying periods.  This means that susceptible stock should not have contact with vaccinates until the period of elimination has passed."

..."It is very satisfying to see these words in a textbook of orthodox veterinary medicine, but very troubling to know that there are still so many veterinarians out there who view vaccination as an unquestionable and unqualified good [harmless procedure], and who react to those of us who have misgivings as though we were either imbeciles or the Antichrist." Respectfully, Louise

For more info on the Sheltie Rescue, go to the sites below, the photo indicating the poor state of the teeth/mouth on the left shows my hands holding Laddie's mouth. Fortunately, the Sheltie Rescue organization later reimbursed me for most of the veterinary fees.

 Something that EVERYONE should know, ESPECIALLY those who 'rescue', take in an animal from a shelter, or buy from a breeder who vaccinates just before the animal is re-homed: VACCINES SHED IN THE ENVIRONMENT!

 Also, Leptospirosis vaccine is NOT recommended - for many reasons.  You should know that it also sheds in the environment and can adversely affect other companions already at home. 

 ONE month after I took in that NEAR-DEAD &  excessively OVER-VACCINATED abused/neglected Sheltie, Laddie, my 11 year-old Golden, Paco, suddenly died. See:

Unfortunately, I did NOT have a necropsy done.  My vet did open him up to find that he'd bled into his abdomen and there were lesions on his spleen, which 'could' have indicated hemangiosarcoma.

 Because of that tragic experience, I learned a VERY important LESSON about vaccines shedding in the environment -- and the RISK to the other animals at home. 

 The following article is a REAL eye-opener, and I strongly recommend that everyone take a few minutes to READ it.    

 Mon May 17, 2004

Subject: letter about annual lepto vaccines

 [Excerpt]  "... It seems that on one hand you have the vaccine manufacturers, who appear to be hiding behind legislation and the advice of an industry report (2). Their stance that annual vaccination must be continued relies on the following points

 (a) They do not know the actual duration of immunity

 (b) Vaccines do not cause significant harm, so annual vaccination is acceptable.

 This is also the stated view of the veterinary organisations i.e. the BVA and BSAVA (3)

 However, the incoming President of the BSAVA Dr Ian Mason has been reported as saying   after due consideration of the evidence, the current recommendations on vaccination of animals may need to be refined  (4). Vaccine manufacturers must have known about the changes in recommendations in response to detailed evidence in the US for some time, and have been affiliated to UK groups, such as the Cat Group  (11) that have been looking at the work quoted (1). So far it seems the only action to be taken has been that of Intervet UK in extending their duration of immunity for Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvo to 3 years. While this is to be welcomed, no mention has been made yet of the Cat situation.

 On the other side there is a small but growing number of veterinary surgeons and a strongly supportive public who are citing recent reports and research

(5,6,7,17,1Cool and conclude

 (a) That duration of immunity for parvovirus, adenovirus, distemper

(5), and feline enteritis (1Cool, is established as >7years, and for feline calicivirus and herpes (5,1Cool is established for at least 4 years, and it seems that giving booster vaccinations does not offer any further protection (6). Therefore, annual vaccination is not needed for dogs and cats (with the exception of Leptospirosis, discussed below)

 (b) That vaccines can cause harm (5,8,9,11,14,1Cool and therefore unnecessary vaccination should be avoided if at all possible.

 Additionally they also consider that information from the manufacturers is notable. These state that about 50% of dogs (10) and 2/3 of cats (10,11) in the UK are not vaccinated at all or only infrequently, but where are the reported outbreaks of the diseases one would expect if the duration of immunity were so short as to need annual Boosters?

 While following the recent debate, there seems to have been only two arguments put forward for continuing annual booster vaccines in dogs and cats.

 First there has been suggestion that the originating letter calling for cessation of booster vaccines was written by homeopaths and by inference should be ignored, in fact this was cited as  relevant correspondence  for the debate in a mailing from a vaccine manufacturer to all vets in the UK (12) and the profession is misguidedly it seems seeking to use this (13). Whilst it is true that some of the signatories have interests in this field, it is certainly not the case that all the signatories do. All are scientifically trained Vets in the first instance, all recommend initial vaccination, and they quote the recent published orthodo x research of others.

 Secondly, and perhaps more significantly, is the argument for Leptospirosis vaccine, where it is claimed there is a poor duration of immunity and so annual vaccination of dogs only for this must continue. This has been the basis of much research in the USA, and it is appropriate that we in the UK are aware of the findings. We summarise them below

 1. Immunity to Leptospirosis is complex and poorly understood. It can only be measured by challenge studies. This is ethically unacceptable so we have to examine what is happening in the field by epidemiological methods (5).

 2. Kansas University reports that the Leptospirosis vaccine is THE major cause of vaccine reactions, so much so that they consider the risks outweigh the benefits. It is no longer considered a core vaccine and they even recommend it should not be given to puppies (9,14).

 3. Another study found the vaccine highly immunosuppressive and recommended that the vaccine should not be given in conjunction with other vaccines (it is currently in the UK).

 4. The Leptospirosis vaccine does not protect the dog from being infected with the disease; it just minimises the clinical symptoms. Hence there seems to be/have been a real risk of vaccinated  healthy  dogs shedding the spirochetes so possibly posing a threat to other dogs and humans. Although one manufacturer has recently claimed it has a new vaccine to prevent this, the clinical study conducted to test the vaccine was based on a sample of only 6 dogs (15). In our opinion a study so narrowly based cannot of course be scientifically credible.

 5. The duration of immunity measurable by titre induced by the Leptospirosis vaccine can be as little as a few months (14,16) yet the advised interval for boosters is 1 year, which it seems has been an entirely arbitrary recommendation. By inference it may well be therefore that even vaccinated dogs have not been protected as their owners expect.

 6. There is little protection between serovars (types). Use of the vaccine in the USA has led to a shift in the serovars such that the serovars now infecting dogs are not the ones used in the vaccines (14). Can we assume this is true also in the UK? Are we now vaccinating against a disease that barely exists in the form vaccinated for?

 7. The vaccine efficacy seems between only 50 -70%, depending on the author (5).

 The outgoing president of the BSAVA, Dr Freda Scott-Park, stated that when the science is there the profession would respond. The science is here, and the profession must respond now or lose all credibility in this debate. In the USA working parties have resulted in the removal of mass vaccination requirements in favour of individual vaccination programmes and consumer choice. This would answer the issues of insurance and kennels/catteries that are now being raised as well as restoring public faith in the industry...."

 Please click on the above link to read the article in its entirety.

The fact is that the vaccine virus does indeed shed for up to 14 days in the environment.

This information has been scientifically studied and repeatedly published in peer-reviewed veterinary literature for over a dozen years. The following references provide documentation:

∑ DVM Vaccine Roundtable: Safety, efficacy heart of vaccine use: experts discuss pros, cons, DVM Newsmagazine 119:16, 1988

∑ Hoskins, JD: Vaccination protocol for canine parvovirus, Vet Forum 13(1):60, 1996

∑ Schultz RD: Canine vaccines and immunity: important considerations in the success of vaccination programs. In Small Animal Immunology: New Faces of Immune-Mediated Diseases and Current Concepts in Vaccine Immunology, Proc San Diego Spring Vet Conf, pp 100-113, May 6-7, 1995b

∑ Tizard I: Risks associated with use of live vaccines, J Am Vet Med Assoc 196:1851, 1990

Some additional important information which you might find helpful with regard to the judicial use of vaccines:

The 1998 article in Veterinary Medicine, Current and future canine and feline vaccination programs, Ronald D. Schultz, PhD, Department of Pathobiological Sciences School of Veterinary Medicine University of Wisconsin-Madison

∑ Kirkís Veterinary Therapy, Vol. XI, page 205 pertaining to canine and feline vaccines.


Copyright 1995 Helen L. McKinnon All Rights Reserved

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