Recently I ran across a sad, maddening news article discussing an increase in autoimmune disorder diagnoses by veterinarians.
According to the article: “Similar to humans, autoimmune disorders in dogs can happen suddenly. But what’s different is the condition is just recently being heavily researched in dogs because they’re dying from it.”
The article discusses a 7-year-old dog named Toby who stopped eating regularly, was losing weight and became lethargic to the point of immobility.
Toby’s veterinarian immediately suspected an autoimmune disorder a disease in which the immune system, designed to protect the body, begins attacking it instead.
I’m not sure why the dog’s vet suspected an autoimmune problem right off the bat, since Toby’s symptoms can have many different causes.
Had he recently vaccinated Toby? And how many vaccinations had the dog received in his seven years?
Toby’s health was quickly declining. His veterinarian did a complete blood workup and ultrasound to check for cancer, enlarged organs and other abnormalities.
Autoimmune disorders are diagnoses of exclusion, meaning all other possible underlying causes are ruled out first.
And tragically, once the diagnosis is finally made, traditional veterinary medicine has little to offer because from their perspective, “there is no known cause.”
Whereas holistic veterinarians have linked vaccines to autoimmune disorders for decades, the conventional veterinary community just can’t seem to get there.
As for poor Toby and other pets like him, according to veterinarian Scott Campbell, who was interviewed for the article:
“You have about a 7 out of 10 chance that your pet is going to get better. But the reality is that this isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Sometimes multiple blood transfusions are needed, which can be costly.”
The article wraps up by stating that Toby is “pulling through,” though his treatment is far from over. His owner seems resigned to the fact she may never know what caused his illness.
And then there’s this. Veterinarians the news writer spoke with “said testing is getting better and said it’s a learning process where they get more information with every case.”
Too bad the learning process apparently doesn’t involve erring on the side of caution and foregoing unnecessary vaccine boosters.
Pets With Autoimmune Disease Are Suspicious for Over-Vaccination
Since this was just a short online news article and video put together by a local television station; I really didn’t expect an in-depth analysis of the rise of autoimmune diseases in pets. However, a glaring omission in the coverage is any mention of Toby’s vaccine status.
Any discussion of a diagnosed autoimmune disease in a pet should include information about vaccinations. We need to know how often the dog has been vaccinated, for what and how recently he received a vaccine(s).
Toby’s owner seems unaware of the connection between vaccines and autoimmune diseases in pets; which suggests her veterinarian hasn’t raised the issue with her, which leads me to believe that if Toby survives, there’s a good chance he’ll be vaccinated again in the future.
That’s not good news for Toby or any animal dealing with an autoimmune disorder.
Researchers Have Long Suspected a Link Between Vaccinations and Autoimmune Disease
Back in 1999, a team of researchers in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology at Purdue University conducted a series of experimental studies to determine if vaccination of dogs affects the function of their immune system and results in autoimmune disease. In the study introduction, the authors wrote:
“There has been a growing concern among dog owners and veterinarians that the high frequency with which dogs are being vaccinated may lead to autoimmune and other immune-mediated disorders (Dodds, 1988; Smith, 1995).
The evidence for this is largely anecdotal and based on case reports. A recent study observed a statistically significant temporal relationship between vaccination and subsequent development of immuno-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) in dogs (Doval and Ciger, 1996).
Although this does not necessarily indicate a causal relationship, it is the strongest evidence to date for vaccine-induced autoimmune disease in the dog.”
The Purdue researchers set out to evaluate whether vaccination at a young age causes alterations in the immune system of dogs, including the production of autoantibodies that could lead to autoimmune disease.
Whereas antibodies are produced by the immune system to defend the body by attacking invading pathogens such as bacteria and viruses, autoantibodies are produced by a confused immune system and attack the body itself.