Rabies Shots ... a hidden risk?

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An unexpected surprise awaited Dr. Richard Pitcairn as he researched the cause of chronic disease in dogs.

Some dog owners have complained for years about rabies vaccinations, saying the vaccine itself scares them more than the threat of rabies.

According to information presented recently, they may be right. Veterinarian Richard H. Pitcairn told a Seattle audience during a fall homeopathy conference that a whole range of chronic disease in dogs can be traced to the harmful effects of the rabies vaccine.

"I was especially skeptical myself at first," said Pitcairn, who received a Ph.d in immunology in 1972. "If anyone was pro-vaccination, I was. I can assure you that I didn't come to this conclusion on any basis other than clinical experience. I'm finding that the chronic disease we're seeing in dogs seems to be related to the effects of excessive vaccinations."

Rabies vaccinations are required by law in such states as California. But there hasn't been a single case of rabies reported in the last 40 years (except for bats) in the Seattle area.

Rabies, in fact, suffers more from media hype than anything else. It's fatal once the symptoms show, but according to Ray Watkins, a public health veterinarian who has handled the Seattle-area rabies situation for the past 30 years, deaths are very rare. In the entire U.S., 0 to 3 people die each year from it. The rabies vaccine for dogs contains the rabies virus.

It's this virus that's the culprit, and that ultimately led Pitcairn to realize that the rabies vaccine may be more harmful than originally thought. That's his conclusion after research led him in late 1983, to what Pitcairn describes as his 'Eureka!' situation: "From clinical experience I had used lachesis and other homeopathic remedies which were particularly effective for treating chronic disease in dogs.

"Then, while reading homeopathic literature—and there's very little in there on animals--I found lachesis listed in Clark's Clinical Repertory as the main remedy for treating rabies in people." In other words, the remedy that was effective in treating dogs with various chronic diseases was the same remedy listed in homeopathic literature as effective for the disease of rabies in people.

Once Pitcairn singled out lachesis as being clinically successful, and matched it with the homeopathic literature that described lachesis as a cure for rabies in people, he knew he was at a turning point, the beginning of what he would later call his "breakthrough."

To support his new findings, Pitcairn had clients watch their dogs after vaccination. When the clients reported problems with itching and skin eruptions at the injection site, Pitcairn knew he was on the right track.

‘I've seen so many cases of chronic diseases in dogs of various sorts that respond to lachesis that I've no doubt whatever that this is what we're dealing with: a chronic disease created by vaccinaiion or at least aggravated by it.’

Understanding the link between individual chronic diseases and the rabies vaccine involves what homeopathic physician Samuel Hahnemann called a 'miasm'. The miasm is an underlying disease, like the part of the iceberg lurking beneath the water's surface. You can see and deal with the tip of the iceberg—in this case, individual disease symptoms—but the iceberg's essence (the miasm) is submerged, unreachable, deadly.

"Clinically," said Pitcairn, "you see certain symptoms.  A miasm is a chronic disturbance unrecognized except as it's manifested by acute flareups of what seem to be individual diseases.’

Pitcairn had been particularly frustrated by chronic disease cases, since, as an ‘alternative veterinarian' he was often the last resort for distraught animal owners. "I was getting the bottom-of-the-barrel cases, the ones that couldn’t be cured by conventional medicine,” said Pitcairn. "But I couldn't help them, in spite of my best prescribing."

Now, however, lachesis allows Pitcairn to pierce the miasm and get right to the heart of what's causing or aggravating the individual chronic disease symptoms: the rabies vaccine. With lachesis, dogs are treated for chronic ailments ranging from severe flea allergies to arthritis, hip dysplasia, ear inflammation, mammary tumors, colitis, epilepsy, warts, kennel cough—even fear of strangers.

A dog from Texas recovered from her problems of irritability, abnormal stiffness, panting, and a ravenous appetite for such strange things as leaves after being treated with lachesis.

Another patient of Pitcairn's had greatly enlarged lymph glands (lymphosarcoma, or cancer of the lymph system), plus extreme hair loss, skin eruptions, and bad smell.

Chemotherapy and steroids had been recommended and the dog had already received a cortisone injection. But after treating with lachesis, Pitcairn said all the dog’s hair grew back in and its eruptions subsided. Now, the dog's smell is gone, its energy level is increased and although the glands are not yet back to normal, they're smaller. It's Pitcairn s belief that these types of chronic diseases call for lachesis.

“Nine out of 10 chronic cases use this remedy -- all breeds, small and large.”

If you decide to use lachesis on your dog, be careful with potency, advises Pitcairn. Older dogs in particular may harbor malignant tumors which are undetectable through physical examination. Once given lachesis, the body will try to heal itself by getting rid of the tumor, but the dog's system is already so weakened that the dog may die from the excess toxins produced by the breakdown of the tumor.

Old and weak dogs that have been suppressed for years with steroids have very little energy left. "It's not an exaggeration to say that lachesis 30 produces a long aggravation of five to six weeks," said Pitcairn.

What are the alternatives to vaccination? There arc none yet, said Pitcairn. More research in homeopathy needs to be done. Until it is, however, there s every reason to thoroughly analyze the risks and benefits of rabies vaccination — before subjecting your dog.


CASE HISTORIES

WHAT'S HOMEOPATHY?

Cara, a 14-year-old small collie cross owned by Louis Zwierzychowski, Junction City, Kansas, had skin problems most of her life. Hair missing from much of body, with red, oozing eruptions, including periodic eruptions on face, which were triggered by almost anything, particularly certain foods. Diagnosed as mainly pernphigus. Treated with cortico-steroids. Area in face would become so terribly inflamed and dog was so itchy that she would rub her face on the floor until it would bleed.
After three treatments, "She's now in a state where she's basically symptom free." Hair is growing back. No eruptions. "One of my worst cases," says Pitcairn. "It was a breakthrough for me."
Mary Loy, a 2-year old white shepherd cross owned by Veronica Armenti. suffered epileptic seizures. Behavioral changes. On walks, intense craving for feces. Extremely sensitive around neck area—a touch would cause fainting or seizure.
After lachesis, an immediate marked improvement.  Still under treatment, has ups and downs, but overall, seizures much less frequent and less severe. Prodromal signs-depression, salivating—are gone.

Molly, an 11-year-oldGerman Shepherd owned by Linda Fry, had a lifetime of health problems. Severe hip dysplasia, severe arthritis (hips almost totally destroyed). Chronic eye inflammation with cortico-steroids for treatment. Cortisone injections for several years’. Lost her ability to walk in 1992. Before visiting Pitcairn, had been treated with acupuncture, Chinese medicine, yucca, tiger balm, ascorbic acid, comfrey, and a home prepared diet of grains, meats and vegetables. A fever, developed after recommended swimming exercise, kept her temperature at 103-104 degrees for months She had to be picked up and carried to go anywhere; held up to eat. She could not use her hind legs. She developed an inflammation in one of her front legs and a condition where she could not lie down, so she spent her days, and nights, leaning against the wall on just one leg.
After six months of lachesis treatments, she's able to rise on her own and lie down completely. She can indeed walk, though she's slightly gimpy. She does something like running. Her weight is back to normal. "Her skin is the best I've seen it. We're certainly all pleased at the progress."

Homeopathy is based on a very simple principle. What a substance can cause in the way of symptoms, it can also cure. So if you ask a homeopathic physician to give you something for itching, burning eyes, chances are they'll prescribe an extremely diluted amount of a substance that produces those same symptoms in a healthy person. The effect is to rally your body's defense systems to expel the substance, and at the same time, the illness. So instead of taking a variety of chemicals to subdue your symptoms, you receive small amounts of a single natural substance that helps you fight off the ailment. The result is a treatment for the person, instead of the disease.
RICHARD H. PITCAIRN, DVM, Phd, specializes in homeopathy and nutrition at his Santa Cruz, Calif., clinic.  Pitcairn and his •wife, Susan, co-authored Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. He's wntten a pet column for Prevention Magazine for the past six years, and he advises the California Veterinary Medical Association committee on alternative therapies. His Ph.d, in veterinary microbiology and biochemistry, is from Washington State University.