by Dr Jeannie Thomason


The purpose of this article is to explain why I personally and many Natural Rearing/holistic dog breeders don’t vaccinate their puppies/dogs. If you are unfamiliar with holistic or naturopathic medicine, most of this article may not be very meaningful to you. In fact, you might even decide that anyone who doesn’t give vaccines to their puppies is insane. You are indeed welcome to your own opinions.

I just want to share some facts and personal experiences with you and encourage you to start researching this topic out for yourselves. Don’t take my word for the dangers of just one vaccine but by the same token, please don’t take your veterinarian’s word for it that they are “safe and effective” either! Study this out for yourself and be convinced in your own heart and mind as to what the truth is.

My intention here is to give you food for thought and hopefully inspire you to research this out for yourself.

In general, Breeders give vaccinations to their puppies because they have been told that they must vaccinate them in order to protect them from getting deadly viruses such as Canine Parvo, Distemper, etc. The ones still vaccinating  are doing so out of love concern and mainly fear. They do so because they believe that the dangers of these viruses outweigh the risks of the vaccinations or more usually because they have never really questioned the practice of vaccinating in the first place.

More breeders and pet owners are beginning to question vaccinations and vaccination protocols these days with all the information available about the dangers of “over” vaccinating our pets.  Breeders (and dog owners) want to be sure that the puppy will be safe from dis-ease, and they have come to believe that vaccines immunize their puppy.

More and more, breeders, pet owners and professional caregivers are experiencing negative and even, often dangerous, life-threatening repercussions, from the vaccinations they are giving their dogs.

A little background on me: I am an animal naturopath/natural animal health care coach and have worked in the animal care industry and specifically the veterinary field for many years as a licensed Veterinary Tech, Assistant & Front Office Manager. I have spent a good amount of time in the last 25 years, studying the issue of vaccinations – their efficacy and the damage done by them.

As a veterinary technician, we were taught to warn the puppy owners that after the pup being vaccinated that it may run a fever, develop a painful lump at the injection site and/or lose his appetite, have diarrhea and not have much energy for a day or so – this is all “NORMAL”. In fact, we were taught that any reaction at all was a good sign that the vaccines were doing their job.

I personally witnessed many situations when the perfectly healthy puppy was brought in at 6-8 weeks of age for his first vaccines. Then the puppy is scheduled for an appointment to return in 2 to 3 weeks for more vaccines-“boosters”. And of course again in another 2 or 3 weeks for the final round of vaccines that should “protect” him until he is a year old when they of course explain he will NEED yet another booster!

More frequently then I wanted to see, these same puppies, were now coming back for their third series of vaccinations now had owners complaining of the puppy scratching a lot or having digestive problems – vomiting, diarrhea. Of course we taught that we should vaccinate anyway (even though the label on the vaccine clearly states that only healthy dogs should be vaccinated) and recommend a change in diet to one of the clinic’s prescription formulas to help eliminate the itchy skin and/or digestive upsets.

It got so that I could predict that these same puppies would yet be back again in just a month or two with chronic loose stools, harsh, dry coats and skin “allergies”.  By the age of 6 – 12 months they would be back with reported changes in their behavior. Thus would begin the first stages of chronic illness brought on by ……. the vaccines and often exacerbated by poor nutrition (the kibble and/or canned diet we were taught to recommend). These puppies became known by name and constantly at the clinic for one health problem or another which warranted prescription medications of one kind or another. Some of these puppies even developed idiopathic epilepsy and were on phenobarbital to keep their seizures under control. I even held most of these same puppies – now dog owners hands and cried with them when they decided to have the young dog put to sleep as the veterinary bills were mounting and they only appeared to be getting sicker. I kept track of at least 7 puppies from the time they came in for their first vaccinations until they were put to sleep 4 – 7 years later due to chronic disease of one sort or another that began to manifest within 6 months of their first vaccinations.

When a perfectly healthy puppy is given viruses in the form of a vaccine in a totally un-natural way, (via an injection into the blood stream instead of naturally via the mucus membranes while sniffing and licking) what happens is the immune system goes into “hyper-alert” and is unable to turn off. The once healthy individual is now required to maintain a low-level stimulation of a state of distemper, parvo, lepto, rabies, and so on. As long as the animal is in a low-level state of illness, it is not in a high level state of health. In other words, vaccines that are touted as being able to provide protection by keeping the body in a diseased state of health. Does this make sense to you?

Often the animal will not manifest the actual virus it is vaccinated for, at least not in its acute form, but it will manifest in other chronic conditions such as: auto-immune diseases such as: auto- immune hemolytic anemia or in the form of cardiomyopathies, fibrosarcomas, inflammatory bowel disease, dermatological conditions, warts, lipomas, poor hair coats, IBS, periodontal disease, thyroid disease, mast cell tumors, thyroid tumors, etc. and the list goes on and on.

A team at Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine conducted several studies to determine if vaccines can cause changes in the immune system of dogs that might lead to life-threatening immune-mediated diseases. They obviously conducted this research because concern already existed. It was sponsored by the Haywood Foundation which itself was looking for evidence that such changes in the human immune system might also be vaccine induced. It found the evidence. “Effects of Vaccination on the Endocrine and Immune Systems of Dogs, Phase II”, Purdue University, November 1,1999, at: Also see  PLEASE, read the article “Science of Vaccine Damage” by Catherine O’Driscoll HERE

Homeopathic veterinarians, animal naturopaths and 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. Attenuated organisms or chemically killed viruses or bacteria are injected directly into the blood stream, an unnatural route of infection. This profound insult, avoiding the body’s first line of defenses, and flooding the system with millions of organisms or viral particles, stresses the immune system in a way not of natures design. This insult causes irregularities and abnormalities in the immune system which then manifests as chronic diseases in animals.” Dr Charles E Loops DVM

“We see a lot of epilepsy/seizures, often after a rabies vaccination. Or dogs or cats can become aggressive for several days. Frequently, you’ll see urinary tract infections in cats, often within three months after their [annual] vaccination. If you step back, open your mind and heart, you’ll start to see patterns of illness post-vaccination.” Dee Blanco, DVM

“Routine vaccination has adverse side-effects, either short or long-term. With vaccines that are repeated year after year, the frequency and 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 and confuse the immune system.” Donna Starita Mehan DVM

“We worry about the research that shows that vaccinated dogs have antibodies against THEIR OWN CELLS, while a control group of un-vaccinated dogs does not. (Larry T. Glickman, DVM, “Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Vaccination,” Advances in Veterinary Medicine, Vol. 41, 2001)

“The only safe vaccine is the one not given”Patrica Jordan, DVM, CVND

Many of us question the very act of immunization its self. We question the effect of injecting a disease into our dogs, thus putting a virus directly into the bloodstream that normally enters only through the mouth, respiratory system, etc., thus bypassing the entire primary immune response that occurs in the mucous membranes. We worry about the effect on the immune system of an animal, to inject them with a virus that has been changed and modified so that it cannot cause symptoms. Symptoms are, after all, the way a body “discharges” or detoxes the disruptive forces of a dis-ease in the first place. Vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, running noses, increased urination, rashes, hot spots, infections, all of these discharges are the body’s way of moving the disease out of the body.

Okay, that said, what do you think the immune system does with a virus that sets up house in its cells but causes no acute symptoms? Those suppressed acute symptoms become chronic disease. And chronic disease is deeper and more serious than an acute disease. So if ones comfort zone in not vaccinating is going to be dependent on some kind of guarantee, or use of a substitute product like supplements or even nosodes or colloidal silver, to hopefully prevent their puppies from contracting Parvo, Distemper, etc. then I sincerely believe they are not ready to stop vaccinating. However, if one is truly committed to and understands the principles of natural rearing, understands the nature of acute disease and the risks of suppression and believes the facts that there is no guarantee of protection via vaccination then they are ready to consider and stop vaccinating.

I know what you are thinking – What If Don’t Vaccinate But They Still Get Sick?

I think the “missing piece” for a lot of people’s fear with not vaccinating is that they are not prepared for their dog to actually become sick with a virus for which a vaccine exists. They do not believe in or have faith in natural rearing. I know, this is a big step/ a true leap of faith for many but only because they have not researched this out for themselves.

More and more people are seeking out naturally reared puppies because their first dog or dogs died from some ailment brought on by being vaccinated.  This seeking out of a naturally reared puppy is a great first step however, it needs to be understood that unless the puppy is at least 4th generation they may still have at least some minor health issues/symptoms to deal with as the body discharges these inherited toxins. We are finding that even first and second and sometimes third generation non-vaccinated puppies/dogs can present with inherited weaknesses from their ancestors being over vaccinated and/or being fed a cooked and/or processed diet.  The reason is that we breeders have not been allowing for natural selection or letting nature cull the weakest. Our dog’s immune systems are not what they could be or should be if we as breeders would work with nature instead of against to build up the puppy and dog’s natural immunity.

You need to be aware and I want to be perfectly clear here, DISEASE CAN AND OFTEN DOES HAPPEN! It truly is or least should be all about survival of the fittest/healthiest when it comes to breeding dogs.

While it is almost rare in comparison with vaccinated and kibble fed dogs; healthy, multi-generation, unvaccinated, naturally raised dogs can and sometimes will manifest infectious viruses and dis-ease. However, I also want to make it very clear that in my 27 years of experience and feeding my own dogs a raw, natural diet, not vaccinating and lessening their exposure to toxic chemicals, has greatly increased the chances of puppies having a strong immune system that can fight off viruses and dis-ease on its own with just a little naturopathic/holistic support.

While working at veterinary clinics in years past, I noted that the majority of cases of Parvo were actually in puppies that HAD been vaccinated. The majority of the vaccinated puppies that had the virus – died even with support/treatment. However, in the more rare cases of non-vaccinated puppies contracting Parvo, I witnessed firsthand ALL of them heal quickly and none of them died while only having minimal support and treatment. The non-vaccinated puppies, while still having non-mature immune systems were still stronger than the vaccinated puppies and far better equipped to fight off a deadly virus and win.

Be Prepared

I have studied and continue to study natural healing and wellness and am well-educated in species specific nutrition and animal physiology. I do not use in, on or around my own dogs, anything containing toxic chemicals such as flea prevention, heart worm pills, commercial, synthetic supplements, etc. Nor do I use any household chemicals in my home or garden. I feed a species appropriate, raw diet as close to what a dog would eat in the wild as possible. I occasionally supplement them with naturally sourced (no synthetics) probiotics, omega 3 fatty acids, glandulars and trace minerals.

When needed I also will use natural immune boosting products such as medical grade essential oils, medicinal mushrooms,colostrum etc.. I keep a medicine chest full of supplies such as: lactated ringers, IV sets, essential oils, colloidal silver, Parvaid, a few homeopathic remedies, activated charcoal, bentonite clay, etc.

From working as a licensed vet tech with veterinarians for many years and in more recent years as a veterinary naturopath, I have seen and assisted in the treatment and care of puppies and dogs with Parvo, Distemper, etc. I have seen far more healed with just natural support then I have seen die. If cared for naturally, right away and properly, these viruses only rarely end in death. It has been my personal observation that healthy animals who recover from an acute dis-ease with holistic/natural support – bounce back quickly and very clean, while animals who have had their symptoms suppressed with drugs usually have very lingering convalescence and most of the time, suffer from chronic problems later on should they survive the virus/dis-ease. I have also seen and experienced first-hand that healthy, un-vaccinated animals have a vigor and disease resistance that is quite awesome, and which until you’ve really seen multiple generations of un-vaccinated, un- suppressed animals, you might not believe it yourself.

In my 23 years of not vaccinating my litters or adults, I have only had Parvo once, very early on in my breeding. I had a new litter of puppies about a week old and three puppies that were 8 weeks old at the time. I only lost one of the week old pups, the other week old pups never even vomited or had diarrhea. The eight week old pups did have vomiting and diarrhea but only for about 3 days, none of my adults were affected in the slightest.

So there you have it, there is an argument to be made for not vaccinating, although not everyone will be willing or even ready to hear it, and many will even disagree violently with it,  vaccinating your puppy against parvo or distemper or other viruses, no matter how wisely and moderately and scientifically you do so, does NOT produce immunity against viruses and dis-eases but instead, doing so actually sets up the body for dis-ease.

There is so much information available now about the immune system, dis-ease, the real dangers of vaccinating and especially “over vaccinating” our pets out there to study. In the end, we each need to make our own decisions on this issue.

Everyone has the right to decide for him or herself, just as I have. Is this path of true natural rearing and not vaccinating right for you? I don’t know. But please don’t make this decision lightly, or without a full understanding of the historical and theoretical basis for the decision.

Read! Question! Educate yourself! And then decide.

Good luck and blessings to you and your puppies on your natural rearing journey.


Copyright 2003 -2013  (updated August 2018)

This article is the sole property of Dr.Jeanette (Jeannie) Thomason,The Whole Dog and Natural Rearing Breeders Association. It cannot be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the expressed written consent of the author.

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