Introduction & Diet
What constitutes Health? Does it mean inoculating our children & dogs with multiple combination vaccines, injecting microchips, strapping on flea collars, using toxic topical pesticides or spraying our yards with chemicals? Is good health the result of eating convenience foods or feeding heavily processed, chemically preserved, dry, extruded kibble?

There have always been people who looked outside the mainstream for answers. They’re often viewed skeptically & are considered a bit peculiar. “Thinking outside the box” applies to them. Those outsiders often end up being in the vanguard. When it comes to animals, stepping back & looking at the inherent needs of a species is sometimes referred to as “Natural Rearing.” Afghan hound breeder Juliette de Bairacli-Levy coined the term over 50 years ago, but many others have explored & further refined her ideas. Natural Rearing starts with feeding a species-appropriate raw diet, but it’s much more than that. It’s a whole life approach that encourages & supports the body to be strong & self-sustaining from within, sparing it as many unnatural assaults like over-vaccination, toxic chemicals, artificial foods, chlorinated water & unnecessary stresses wherever possible. It supports the body to heal & maintain itself in optimal health using gentler, more natural means like a raw diet & herbs, & by using less invasive healing modalities like homeopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, reiki & flower essences. It respects the body’s inherent abilities to seek & maintain a balanced state of good health.

So, why feed our pets a raw diet? Especially in a breed like Irish Water Spaniels where we have a very limited gene pool, & where dietary allergies are not unheard of, it is extremely important to keep our dogs as robust as possible. Back in the early-nineteenth century, Justin McCarthy's IWS, “Boatswain,” who is considered to be the "father" of the breed, is said to have lived to the ripe old age of eighteen when McCarthy put him down NOT due to the dog's ill health. I’ve been told that even into the 1950s, IWS lived well into their twenties. Such longevity is unfortunately largely unheard of today. Many breeders have been reexamining the issues of health & diet & have concluded that feeding a biologically/species-appropriate raw food diet instead of grain-laden so-called “balanced” kibble, & giving fewer or no inoculations, is in our dogs’ best interests.

True health is a basic virtue that we seek for our companion animals & ourselves. We've correctly come to point a finger at the chemicals, stresses & pollution of modern life as the major sources of our ills – myriad vaccinations, genetically modified crops, chemical pesticides, fast/convenience foods, overcrowding, lack of sanitation – that have contributed to the proliferation of diseases including AIDS & autism, as well as endless varieties of cancer. What can we do to turn things around? We know that eating a diet of fast food day-in, day-out isn't healthy. It's heavily processed, overcooked, loaded with fats & sugars, greasy, & largely lacking in usable/available protein or nutrition. Then why would we assume that feeding our pets artificially preserved, heat-processed, extruded kibble would be any healthier for them? The answer is that most kibble isn't very healthy or even appropriate for our animals. Like their wild cousins, dogs & cats have the dentition (tooth) & jaw structure that defines them as carnivores – meat-eaters. Yes, they may eat some grasses, veggies & fruits, but they primarily crave meat. Sure, they can slowly digest the heat-processed foods, but at what price to their health? Western man has been feeding this type of grain-based, processed diet to companion animals for barely 100 years – far less than that in many countries. However, even that processed, supposedly complete, diet used to be augmented with fresh meats, veggies, fruits & the often-maligned table-scraps. Feeding tests conducted as far back as the 1930s (Pottenger et al) show the negative effects of feeding a cooked, processed diet. Rather than seeing improved longevity, we unfortunately see the opposite, including chronic problems that never existed before. Switching to & feeding your dog/pup a raw diet may seem a bit confusing at first, but remember that this is just feeding a dog as it was meant to be fed. The plan is to feed a varied diet -– a diet that is balanced over time, not necessarily at each individual meal. For those occasions when time is short, there are more & more commercially available acceptable premade frozen raw diets, dehydrated or grain-free dried foods. But doing it yourself provides the best control & the healthiest options for you & your dog. Here’s what you do…


Raw Diet – Always Keep your Puppy LEAN!
To understand the rationale behind feeding a raw diet, it‘s helpful to read at least one of the books listed below. An appreciation for why things are included is more important than sample menus. Planning your pup’s meals will be easier if you give yourself some background information, BUT – don’t be intimidated – it's just feeding a dog appropriately. This is a quick introduction to get puppy owners started until they’ve had a chance to do their reading.
–    The BARF Diet, Give Your Dog A Bone, Grow Your Pup With Bones by Ian Billinghurst, DVM
–    Switching to Raw by English Setter breeder Susan K. Johnson
–    Work Wonders: Feed Your Dog Raw Meaty Bones & Raw Meaty Bones by Tom Lonsdale
–    Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats: The Ultimate Diet by Kymythy R. Schultze, CCN, AHI

Raw Meaty Bones (RMB's) – organic is great if you can afford it:
Poultry: Chicken, Turkey, Duck or Game Bird Wings, Backs, Necks, Legs, Feet, Frames, Breasts
Beef: Rib or Neck Bones [beef bones can be very hard & may crack/chip adult teeth], Oxtails
Lamb: Neck or Rib Bones
Pork: Neck Bones (apparently trichinosis is no longer a concern, but if you’re apprehensive, freeze for three weeks prior to defrosting & feeding)
Other Meat Protein Sources: Buffalo, Fish, Game, Goat, Rabbit, Veal, Venison, et cetera

Remember that Variety Over Time is the key, so be sure to feed different types of meat proteins.

Bones should always be fed RAW!
Never give Cooked Bones – they are neither safe nor nutritious!

The following items can be fed as an entrée or added to a veggie mix:
Offal/Organs: Green Tripe (GREAT for coats), Gizzards, Kidneys, Hearts, Brains, Liver, etc.
Fish: Fresh Raw Fish (NOT fresh salmon), or Canned Sardines, Jack Mackerel, Anchovies, Tuna, Salmon
Ground Meat: Beef, Chicken, Game, Lamb, Turkey, etc. (bones are essential so don’t feed only ground meat!)
Goat’s Milk Yogurt: Occasionally, especially if the dog is taking, or has recently taken, antibiotics
Raw Egg with Shell: Occasionally – or lightly cooked (can also be added to Veggie Mix or yogurt) 

Feeding veggies is open to discussion. I used to feed them religiously. Now I feed them occasionally -- whenever I feel that my dogs need them. Supplements can be added to the Veggie Mix, or be given with a bit of raw meat. Think, ”Some from above ground & some from below” when you make this up. Make a big batch, freeze in portions, thaw & feed as needed. Fresh veggie juices are also a good option.

Veggie Mix (or make a Ripe Fruit Mix, but aside from apples, don’t mix Fruits with Veggies.
Above-Ground Leafy Green Vegetables (good for softening stool): Celery, Dandelion Leaves, Mustard Greens, Collard Greens, Wheat Grass, Sprouted Veggies, Cabbage, etc. (spinach & kale should be fed INfrequently).
Below-Ground/Root Vegetables
(good for firming up stool): Carrots, Yams, Parsnips, etc.
Non-Leafy Above-Ground Vegetables: Cucumbers, Brussels Sprouts, Green Beans, Peas, Pumpkin, Squash, Zucchini, etc. [plain canned pumpkin is great for diarrhea & constipation]
Sprouts – Seeds & Herbs+: Broccoli, Clover, Fenugreek, Pea, Pumpkinseed, Sunflower, Sprouted Grains (the only good way to feed grains), etc.
Fresh Herbs: Ginger (great antioxidant), Watercress (very balanced overall), Garlic (herbal antibiotic), Parsley, etc.

There are many other useful herbs & vegetables, just remember to ROTATE what you use. The greater the variety, the more likely you are to give your dog the nutrient & vitamin balance that he needs. Blend it all together with water/broth/veggie juice in a food processor/blender.

NEVER feed onions, leeks, raw green potatoes, rhubarb or their leaves – they can be toxic to your dog! Also, try to avoid the nightshade veggies (tomatoes, eggplant, white potatoes, peppers, etc.), especially raw – cooked isn’t so bad.

How Often to Feed & How Much:
Until ~6 months: breakfast & dinner with a mid-day snack.
Your pup will let you know when it no longer wants its snack.
6 months-1 yr: two meals/day
1 year+: one meal/day -- either breakfast or dinner, based upon whichever suits your schedule better -- & supplements given with a bit of raw meat fed at the other end of the day.

An active adult IWS eats between 1#-2# of raw food/day depending upon age, activity level & metabolism. Youngsters metabolize their food more quickly & are often more active than a senior dog, so can handle more food per day.

Please don't overfeed your pup! Too much weight puts unnecessary strain on their growing bodies. You always want your pup to be lean, & you always want to be able to feed its ribcage easily.

There is a place for supplements, but use your judgment & only give them if there’s a need. The easiest way is to offer them with a little ground meat or to add them to the Veggie Mix if/when you feed it:

For essential fatty acids: Some kind of fish oils from deep sea, cold waters – mackerel, salmon, sardines, anchovies, etc. Good olive oil is also fine as is borage oil. Oil of Evening Primrose may contribute to seizure activity in some animals.

For strong bone & cartilage development + antioxidant: Vitamin C in the forms of Calcium Ascorbate or Ester C. 'Especially good for a developing puppy
For general health: Apple Cider Vinegar (cloudy kind with the “mother”), added to drinking water or veggie mix
For general health + wonderful antioxidant: 200-400 iu Vitamin E caplet
To help protect against parasites: Either raw Garlic or a deodorized Garlic supplement

For a general mineral supplement: Alfalfa Tablets or Powder
If your dog doesn’t get a lot of sunlight + good for protein assimilation: a little Cod Liver Oil
If coat issues arise: a bit of Kelp/Bladderwrack, but don’t overdo as too much can suppress thyroid function
For urinary tract issues: Cranberry Juice capsules + some form of Vitamin C
For cardiac/heart issues: Co enzyme Q-10
For very occasional general detoxifying: Flor-Essence liquid by Flora
There are MANY other useful herbs & supplements that can be used on an "as needed" basis.

•     Raw Knuckle or Marrowbones (great recreationally & for teething puppies)
•     Dried Fruits: Figs are a wonderful anti-parasitic – don’t overdo!
•     Ripe Fruits: Apples, Bananas, Berries, Mangos, Melons, Oranges, Papayas, Pears, etc.

Grains are often the source of allergies for many dogs. They’re difficult to assimilate & often pass through undigested. Most commercial kibbles use them as filler. Please, don’t make a regular practice of feeding grains (the odd dog biscuit is fine).
•     NO Corn, NO Wheat, NO Rye, NO Soy
•     No Rice (OK sometimes when convalescing)
•     No Oats (OK used occasionally as an herbal calmative)
•     No Barley (OK occasionally as Barley Water for tummy upsets or when convalescing)

If doing this feels too overwhelming, there are lots of pre-made frozen raw food diets available, in addition to a wide range of kibbles or freeze-dried meals that do not contain grains.

Vaccinations & Immunity
Immunity & shots are controversial topics. Drug & vaccine reactions are not unheard of in Irish Water Spaniels – sulfa drugs have been known to cause death in IWSs. Sometimes these reactions are subtle; sometimes they don’t happen the first time that a shot or drug is given, but they can & do occur. The most commonly seen vaccination reaction in IWSs is anaphylactic shock after a Leptospirosis shot. However, there are also other more & less subtle reactions that we often don’t notice or do our best to deny or explain away. They can include minor things like fever, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, loss of balance/staggering, assorted dermatological conditions (warts, lipomas, periodontal or ear problems, etc.), or more major reactions like seizures, behavioral changes (usually aggression or suspicion), autoimmune diseases (allergies, colitis, IBD/irritable bowel disease, sarcomas, AIHA/auto-immune hemolytic anemia, lupus, encephalitis, kidney or liver damage, thyroid disease), mast cell tumors, fibrosarcomas, cardiomyopathy & even death. They can come shortly after a vaccination or linger unexpressed for years.

Giving a vaccination is giving your dog or yourself a low level, chronic form of disease. Vaccinosis reactions to distemper vaccine include: watery nasal discharges, conjunctivitis, ocular discharge, entropian, chronic gastritis, hepatitis, pancreatitis, appetite disorders, 
recurrent diarrhea, food sensitivities/allergies with/without diarrhea, epilepsy, rear leg paralysis, spondylitis, dermatitis, excessive licking of feet, eruptions between toes, kennel cough, chronic bronchitis, chronic skin eruptions, failure to thrive, dental nerve damage, HOD, links to panosteitis & possibly hip dysplasia, & so on.

Parvo vaccine reactions include; cardiomyopathy, IBS, IBD.

Rabies vaccinosis includes: behavioral problems [from fear, shyness, fear-biting to aggression towards animals & people, suspiciousness], changes in behavior [aloofness, lack of affection, desire to roam/restless nature, or clingy, separation anxiety, 'Velcro dog', violent behavior], self-mutilation &/or self-injury, tail chewing, destructive behavior/shredding bedding, voice changes [hoarseness, excessive barking], chronic poor appetite, throat or tongue paralysis, sloppy eaters/drooling, dry eye, loss of sight, cataracts, eating inappropriate things [wood, stones, earth, stool, etc.], seizures, epilepsy, twitching, increased sexual desire, sexual aggression, irregular pulse, heart failure, reverse sneezing, etc.

Vaccinosis symptoms can also be inherited – passed from one generation to the next.

Many holistically oriented people feel that overcrowding, inadequate nutrition & lack of sanitation were the primary causes of the epidemics of the past. Scientists have shown that most epidemics had a life cycle where first they proliferated then died out largely on their own. There are indications that many of our newer diseases have actually been caused by viruses being studied that have “run amok.”

Research also indicates that inoculating may actually make a being more susceptible to getting a disease. The appearance of cancers at the site of inoculations is well documented, especially in cats. Puppy inoculations given too early may compete with existing maternal antibodies to disease, effectively canceling each other out. That, combined with the fact that parvovirus & distemper are largely diseases of puppyhood, creates concern regarding the wisdom of juvenile inoculations. If the dam’s immune system & disease resistance are strong, she’ll convey it to her pups.

There are various theories & approaches regarding the mechanism of developing immunity, including questions about puppy shots & shots in general. The standard approach is to vaccinate, but the frequency of vaccination & boostering, as well as the appropriate age, are disputed. There have been and continue to be ongoing studies regarding the duration of immunity generated by different inoculations, The Rabies Challenge Fund among them [] Also: and

As you can see above, there may also be many consequences from vaccinating. One approach is the administration of homeopathic nosodes, however, there is considerable debate as to whether giving nosodes prophylactically is advisable or appropriate. Another approach is based on the concept of “herd immunity” where an animal develops immunity without actually being vaccinated. Instead, it is exposed to an inoculated animal during the 45-90 day period when the inoculated animal “sheds” its viral load.

We feel that the best approach is to foster Natural Immunity – to slowly build, develop, nurture, & support the immune system so that it has the ability to mount an appropriate defense when faced with a challenge. The way to do that is through proper & appropriate nutrition + gradual contact with the world.

It isn’t vaccines that provide immunity; it’s the animal’s immune system. Immunity is created by gentle exposure to diseases without overwhelming the animal’s immune system. The immune system responds to the introduction of viruses by creating memory cells that recall the exposure & protect the animal when there are similar challenges in the future. It’s the creation & actions of those memory cells that constitute immunity. It’s those memory/humeral cells in the mucous membranes that are the body’s first line of defense. That’s Natural Immunity. However, if the immune system is overwhelmed & isn’t functioning properly, immunity won’t be generated even when vaccinated.

Dr. Ronald D. Schultz, Professor & Chair of the Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has studied the more traditional approach to developing immunity in animals, & has arrived at the following conclusions regarding the most worrisome canine diseases. Dr. Schultz’s research shows that one dose of modified live distemper vaccine & one dose of modified live parvovirus vaccine, given separately at an appropriate age (NOT in the form of combination/galaxy shots), will successfully immunize 95% of animals for their entire lifetime. He further states that one (or two) dose(s) of killed rabies vaccine provide the same lifetime immunity. In many places state law unfortunately mandates a rabies booster be given every three years, however, some progressive states/municipalities are beginning to accept vaccine titers instead of shots. Some enlightened veterinarians are now giving rabies injections using reduced doses as research has shown that vaccine to be many times more potent than necessary to stimulate an immune response. While titers cost more than boosters, they can provide an indication of whether an animal already has circulating antibodies to disease. ANY circulating antibodies are indicative of the body’s ability to properly mount a defense/response to a disease challenge. Titers can provide evidence of an animal’s inherent health & can prevent a possibly sensitive immune system from being unnecessarily overwhelmed.

More & more researchers, veterinarians & schools of veterinary medicine in the US & abroad are revising their core inoculation protocols. They are repeatedly affirming that revaccination in the form of annual boosters does NOTHING to increase the immunity of an animal to disease & that revaccination is NOT necessary. In lieu of that, an annual well-pet check-up is an appropriate practice.

Regarding other common inoculations: kennel cough/bordetella-parainfluenza vaccine often causes the cough instead of preventing it. While kennel cough is annoying, it can usually be treated with a good cough syrup & herbs instead of subjecting your animal to the shot. Leptospirosis vaccine often not only can trigger anaphylactic shock, but the vaccine has a very brief period of efficacy & only addresses a few of the many strains of the disease. Shots for corona, giardia or Lyme disease are not recommended because of questionable effectiveness &/or need. Most importantly, please, NEVER give an inoculation to an unhealthy animal, to an animal under stress, or to an animal about to undergo surgery!

In IWSs, where autoimmune problems sometimes do occur, I have no doubt that the fewer unnecessary challenges, the better. While I followed the Schultz protocol with Callie’s pups & found it to be an acceptable compromise at that time, Edie’s pups left here unassaulted by vaccines. Those pups’ immune systems were nurtured while they remained here. When they left at about twelve weeks old, their immune systems were sufficiently developed so that they were capable of dealing with vaccinations IF their new owners insisted on following that path.

Towards the end of his life, Pasteur recanted his faith in vaccination. His comments were to the effect that, “The terrain is everything.” The “terrain” to which he referred was an organism’s immune system. A strong immune system supported by a natural, healthy, species-appropriate diet is the best defense our pets can have. The way to build that hardy immune system is to nurture it with good food, moderate exercise, appropriate supplements, lots of love, & by allowing it to develop naturally. A strong immune system is the best gift that we can give our dogs & ourselves!

Some veterinarians’ comments regarding vaccination:

"I think that vaccines...are the leading killers of dogs & cats in America today." Dr. Martin Goldstein, DVM, South Salem, NY

"I believe that poor diet & vaccinations are responsible for most chronic diseases. Acute 'diseases' are discharges of toxins & energy from the body. The 'causative' germs assist by breaking down toxins & stimulating cleansing. By preventing these discharges, vaccines result in chronic disorders. Injected vaccines bypass normal defenses. They implant mutated microorganisms, preservatives, foreign animal proteins & other compounds directly into the system. This is done in the name of preventing a few syndromes. If an animal is in an optimal state of health, he or she will produce the strongest immune response possible. This response offers protection against all natural challenges. The irony is that vaccine labels say they are to be given only to healthy animals. If they were truly healthy, they would not need them. Those who are not healthy are the most severely damaged." Dr. Russell Swift, DVM, Ft Lauderdale, FL

"Routine vaccinations are probably the worst thing that we do for our animals. Repeating vaccinations on a yearly basis undermines the whole energetic well being of our animals. Animals do not seem to be decimated by one or two vaccines when they are young, & veterinary immunologists tell us that viral vaccines need only be given once or twice in an animal's life. First, there is no need for annual vaccinations, & second, they definitely cause chronic disease. … They cause all types of illnesses, but not directly to where we would relate them definitely to be caused by the vaccine." Dr. Christina Chambreau, DVM, Sparks, MD

"In a general & frightening context, I see the overall health & longevity of animals deteriorating. The bodies of most animals have a tremendous capacity to detoxify poisons, but they do have a limit. I think we often exceed that limit & overwhelm the body's immune system function with toxins from vaccines." Dr. Pat Bradley, DVM, Conway, AZ

“Over the past 40 years & 17 generations of dogs & cats we are seeing tremendous increases in chronic ill health in our pets that was rare back in the early 1960's. Most of these illnesses revolve around breakdown in our pets' immune systems, & include chronic skin/ear allergies, digestive upset, thyroid/adrenal/pancreatic disorders, seizures, gum/ teeth problems, degenerative arthritis, kidney/liver failure, & cancer across all ages & breeds. We are also seeing a record number of behavioral & emotional disorders including alarming & unexplained fears/aggression, as well as difficulty focusing/training & paying attention. The analogy of these compared with escalating immune/behavioral diseases in children is quite disturbing. The two biggest factors in our pets' population health decline over these generations has been the severe overuse of multiple vaccines & nutrient poor & toxin filled commercial pet foods. We have also failed to address the underlying cause of disease by only suppressing symptoms with antibiotics, cortisone & related drugs, so the disease progresses & goes deeper." Dr. Michael Dym, DVM, Moorestown, NJ

"Unfortunately our society is in the grasp of a health panacea & this panacea is fueled by the biomedical & pharmaceutical industries. Vaccinations have become the modern day equivalent of leeching. First of all, introducing foreign material via subcutaneous or intramuscular injection is extremely upsetting to the body's defense system. In response to this violation, there have been increased autoimmune disease (allergies being one component), epilepsy, neoplasia (tumors), as well as behavioral problems in small animals. Even though man & animals have been around for thousands of years, interestingly, the increase in cancer, respiratory disorders (most air quality standards are higher today than in decades past), & autoimmune problems have likewise escalated alarmingly during the previous decade. Vaccines are not the only culprit for these increases; however, I feel they are one of the primary offenders." Dr. Mike Kohn, DVM, Madison, Wl

"Vaccinosis is the reaction from common inoculations (vaccines) against the body's immune system & general well being. These reactions might take months or years to show up & will cause undue harm to future generations." Dr. Pedro Rivera, DVM, Sturtevant, WI

“If an animal already has problems, those problems are contributed to by vaccines. So I don't want to give any more (shots)." Dr. Michael Lemmon, DVM, Renton, WA

"Vaccines are not always effective, safety is unproven, & long term consequences are unknown. Despite this, the government requires their use, resulting in a lack of incentives for drug companies to produce better products. Additionally, mandatory vaccine laws make it impossible to conduct properly controlled studies, so we'll never know if vaccines are truly safe, as is claimed by the government & medical profession. Similar to other procedures, the right of informed consent, i.e., the right to say 'NO', should apply to vaccines." Dr. Kristine Severyn, RPH, Ph.D., Director Ohio Parents for Vaccine Safety

"Many veterinarians trace the present problems with allergic & immunologic diseases to the introduction of MLV vaccines..." Dr. W. Jean Dodds, DVM, Santa Monica, CA

"Homeopathic veterinarians & other holistic practitioners have maintained for some time that vaccinations do more harm than they provide benefits. Vaccinations represent a major assault on the body's immune system.... Vaccine induced chronic diseases range from life-threatening conditions such as auto-immune crises to conditions destroying the quality of life of an animal as in chronic skin allergies." Dr. Charles E Loops DVM, Pittsboro, NC

"In response to this [vaccine] violation, there have been increased autoimmune diseases (allergies being one component), epilepsy, neoplasia [tumors], as well as behavioral problems in small animals." Dr. Mike Kohn, DVM, Madison, WI

“Routine vaccination has adverse side-effects, either short or long term. With vaccines that are repeated year after year, the frequency & severity of these side effects in our pets has increased dramatically. Most of the problems involve the immune system. After all, the immune system is what vaccines are designed to stimulate. But they do so in a very unnatural way that can overwhelm & confuse the immune system." Dr. Donna Starita Mehan, DVM

"Annual revaccination provides no benefit & may increase the risk for adverse reactions. The percentage of vaccinated animals (those vaccinated only as puppies) protected from clinical disease after challenge with canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus & canine adenovirus in the study was greater than 95%." Current & Future Canine & Feline Vaccination Programs. Dr. Ronald Schultz, PhD, Professor & Chair, Dept of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, U Wisconsin, Madison. Schultz, R.D. - Current & Future Canine & Feline Vaccination Programs. Vet Med 3: No. 3, 233-254, 1998. A chart in the report shows immunity levels for all vaccines currently given to dogs lasting a minimum of 5 years with most lasting 7-15 years.

“Yearly "boosters" are unnecessary, provide no benefit if given (will not increase immunity). Thus boosters are either a legal issue (Rabies) or a manipulation issue (inducing clients to come in for examination rather than directly suggesting an examination).” Dr. Don Hamilton, DVM & Veterinary Homeopath

Some web sites that address vaccinations & other holistic information:

By Catherine O'Driscoll

This is a subject I have researched in depth - the results of this research are carried in the book, “What Vets Don't Tell You About Vaccines.” Before I start, I want to make one thing totally clear. I am not asking you to stop vaccinating your be­loved animals. I don't believe that any human being has the right to dictate that sort of thing to another human being. However, I do believe that you have a right to the facts so that you can make an informed choice.

The first fact is this:
Annual vaccination is fraud. Strong stuff, eh? There is absolutely no scientific basis for annual vaccination. It was just a practice that was started many years ago, probably because the shots weren't working & someone had the bright idea to keep repeating it in case it helped. In fact, we have discovered that, far from helping, an­nual vaccination is destroying our animals' immune systems. This is widely known in scientific circles - but vets are reluctant to look at the evidence too closely due to potential lost booster income. I am sorry to say this but long years of campaigning allow me to develop no other conclusion. The vets who have read my book take it very seriously. However, most refuse to read it.

"Once immunity to a virus exists, it persists for years or life." - Dr Ronald D Schultz, head of pathobiology at Wisconsin University. My own six-year-old Golden Retriever - Gwinnie - gives a good example of this. Gwinnie was vaccinated ONLY as a puppy. We got her when she was five months old, already vaccinated. She was never vaccinated again. Last year, at the age of six, Gwinnie had a blood test & this revealed that she still has high antibody levels to distemper & parvo. The advice from Professor Hal Thomson at Glasgow University was "no need to revaccinate." After SIX years. Dr Jean Dodds in America has just completed a study that shows much the same thing. You don't NEED to keep vaccinating your dogs.

There is one exception, & this is the leptospirosis component of the vaccine. Lepto is a bacterin, not a virus, & you can't get permanent immunity to a bacterin. However, the vaccine has been described as 'useless' & there have been many calls for it to be withdrawn from the market. There are hundreds of strains of leptospirosis, but only two in the vaccine, & it provides immunity (if at all) for only between three & six months. This means that your dog is probably unprotected against the two strains for around nine months of the year, & against all the other hundreds of strains forever. Australian research shows that the lepto component of vaccines can cause horrendous side effects, so top veterinary immunologists, microbiologists & pathobiologists have advised we don't use it.

Fact two:
Vaccines can cause a whole range of diseases.
Skin problems: Frick & Brooks, in 1983, showed that dogs who were genetically susceptible to develop atopic dermatitis ONLY contracted the condition IF they were vaccinated before being exposed to an allergen. So - vaccines trigger skin disease.

Arthritis: there are many, many studies, which show that vaccines can cause arthritis. Vaccine components have even been found in the bones of arthritis sufferers.

Cancer: Vaccine components have been found at the cancer sites of victims. Worse, they have been found at the cancer sites of the CHILDREN of the people who received the guilty vaccine. In other words, vaccines can cause inheritable cancer.

Leukaemia: Dr Jean Dodds has linked leukaemia to vaccines. Also, Merck, a vaccine manufacturer, has linked leukaemia to a leukaemia-like retrovirus found in birds. Merck were investigating the link between this retrovirus & the eggs they cultivated the measles vaccine on. Distemper & measles are virtually the same virus, & both vaccines are cultivated on chick embryos.

Aggression: Vaccines are acknowledged to cause inflammation of the brain &, in severe cases, lesions in the brain & throughout the central nervous system. This condition, known as encephalitis, lies at the root of much aggressive & vio­lent behaviour, autism, epilepsy, attention deficit disorder, & other neurological conditions (for example, CDRM, Ataxia, etc).

Autoimmune disease: It is widely acknowledged that vaccines can cause a whole range of autoimmune diseases, such as Cushings disease, Addisons disease, thyroid disease, autoimmune haemolytic anaemia, & many others. The scientific evidence is there for anyone who wants to look at it. Dr Larry Glickman at Purdue University has found that routinely vaccinated dogs develop autoantibodies to a wide range of their own biochemicals. This means that vaccines cause dogs to attack their own bodies - which is what autoimmune disease is all about.

Fact three:
Some animals are genetically pre-disposed to suffer fatal reactions to vaccines, or to develop vaccine-in­duced disease. The Merck Manual (the doctor's bible, published by a vaccine manufacturer) says that children with B &/or T cell immunodeficiencies should not receive live virus vaccines as the vaccine can stimulate a severe or FATAL infection. Not to put too fine a point on it, 'fatal' means death.

Merck explains that features of B & T cell immunodeficiencies include eczema, dermatitis, heart disease, inha­lant aller­gies, food allergies & neurological conditions. They say that humans suffering with any of these con­ditions, or from families with these conditions, should not receive live virus vaccines because the vaccine can kill them. Our dogs also have B & T cells, & B & T cell immunodeficiencies. So if your dog has allergies, or heart problems, or neurological problems… vaccines represent a life threatening risk.

Fact four:
Vaccines cause more diseases than they prevent. This is the one the scientists are currently arguing about. You can probably guess which way I've fallen on the debate. In my humble opinion, vaccination is probably the worst thing we can do for someone we love. Obviously, this is a scary statement. Let me tell you a little about why I'm saying this. Oliver, a beautiful Golden Retriever, lost the use of his back legs one day when he was four years old. We rushed him to the vet but he was dead by four that afternoon. For two years, I asked every vet I met 'why?' No one could tell me until I met a homeopathic vet named Chris Day. He asked me when Ollie had last been vaccinated. He told me it was a classic vaccine reaction, falling within three months of the shot. Since then, I have met many people whose dogs died in exactly the same way.

Prudence, another Golden Retriever, died of leukaemia when she was six. The last time I vaccinated her, her eyes rolled in her sockets, & she climbed up on my back, begging me not to have it done. But we carried on be­cause I thought it was good for her. Distemper & parvo are horrible diseases, of course - but so is leukaemia. You don't want to see a dog die this way. Samson's back legs were paralyzed the day after his second puppy shot. I thought maybe someone had put poison down because I didn't know vaccines could do this. The next year he was boosted, & his head swelled up like a football & he ran around screaming - I now know that this was a massive allergic reaction to the vaccine. At the age of two we had a blood test done, & it came back autoimmune disease. He died of cancer at the age of five. Having studied the scientific evidence, I know that Sammie was killed the day a vaccine destroyed his immune system.

Edward & Daniel are three-year-old Golden Retrievers. Neither has ever been vaccinated. Not once. They are the healthi­est two Goldens I have ever had the privilege to share my life with. No sickness, no diarrhoea, no allergies, no illness. The vet doesn't know who they are - they have only ever visited to have their blood tested (both have antibodies to distemper & parvo… which means they've met the diseases but not succumbed).

They also went to the vets a few weeks ago to have ticks removed. The vet remarked on how fit & healthy they were. But that's it - their entire veterinary history at the age of three. Compare this with Samson's veterinary history! I was literally at the vet every two weeks with Sammie. Edward & Daniel are fed real food - raw meaty bones, vegetables, etc. This means that they have optimal immune systems, so they are in a good position to fight any viruses or bacterins that come along. They also receive the homeopathic vaccine alternative. When they were nine months old, my older vaccinated dogs contracted kennel cough. My two homeopathically protected pups didn't cough once. A few days ago on the CHC discussion list, one of our members reported meeting two 17-year-old Golden Retrievers on the beach. Both ran & jumped around like young ones. The owner told her that they had never been vaccinated &, as he was a butcher, he had fed them raw meat. Seven years into the campaign, we are beginning to see the results of not vaccinating & feeding real food. Ca­nine Health Concern members are now constantly reporting that their dogs are incredibly healthy, & those who show are winning at all the shows. Don't blame the 'irresponsible breeders' - blame vaccines. Without vaccines, you too can hope for long-lived friends who get through their lives without the crippling debilitating diseases that have become common in the dog population.

One last fact:
Vaccines don't offer GUARANTEED immunity. Nearly all of the dogs in the CHC vaccine survey - which involved over 4,000 dogs & is still ongoing - contracted distemper, parvo, lepto, hepatitis, etc, within three months of being vaccinated.

I know that this is going to unsettle & disturb many people & I apologize for this. My motivation is that you don't have to sit & watch your beloved friends die years before their time, or suffer from any of the many vaccine-induced diseases. We are making a terrible mistake on behalf of our animal friends. What we think is best for them is in fact the worst thing we can do. I am not alone in saying this - the very top veterinary specialists agree. We just need to get the other vets up to date.

I promise you this - annual vaccination is coming to an end. We will look back in horror at what we used to do to our pets.
~ Catherine O'Driscoll

To learn more about vaccines, read Catherine O'Driscoll's book "What Vets Don't Tell You About Vaccines"



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