Updated: Dec 17, 2021
The immune system is extremely complex. At this point in time while plenty of research exists and is still being performed, we do not understand it entirely. We do know there are many systems, organisms, organs and much more at play to achieve its job of defending the body against foreign invaders.
The basic assumption with vaccinating is a dead or modified toxin or foreign substance is injected into the body (1) that is going to attack invaders and defend the body from naturally occurring illness and disease. (2) However, vaccines are nowhere near natural. They are lab created and artificially treated and contain harmful ingredients in order to provoke an antibody response (3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
There are two types of vaccines killed and modified live. Killed vaccines are vaccines that have the main pathogen inactivated by heating or chemical application. While considered “safer” than modified live vaccines (8), they require larger amounts of the pathogen, administration of multiple doses and require adjuvants to activate an immune response which is often weaker and shorter in duration (2, 5).
Modified live vaccinations contain viruses that are still active more closely resembling the real pathogen that would be encountered in nature. While they produce stronger and longer immune responses, they are less safe resulting in shedding, immunosuppression and even cause vaccine induced disease (8,9, 10, 11, 12).
Both types of vaccines are the WRONG approach and do not make the immune system work properly, in fact it is suppressed. We aren’t saying vaccines have never helped and will never help, but there is so much more to the immune system that naturally can be boosted and improved for the overall health of your companion outside an endemic situation.
True health can only be maintained by natural means as nature designed and intended. While a natural unprocessed diet, avoidance of chemical toxins, drugs, vaccinations, flea, tick and deworming products, antibiotics, steroids etc. are all an important consideration in maintaining a healthy immune system, the immune system itself should be trusted. In short, this complex system made up of various systems, organisms and organs have the ability to recognize its own self while launching defense mechanisms to fight off foreign cells (13, 14).
The immune system has a great memory and ability to learn. After a foreign invader appears and the body launches a full-on attack, they disappear, but not before a blueprint is created resulting in the ability to more quickly and more strongly recognize and destroy the attacker in the future (15, 16).
The natural immune system is comprised of non-specific and specific modes of action. The non-specific operates in a manner where the whole body uses natural organisms to destroy invaders such as a disease (14). Specific modes are more targeted and respond to specific infections for example. It seems vaccines only target the specific NOT a whole-body response. Unfortunately, the specific mode of action is only elicited when the first line of defenses fails so by vaccinating, we are encouraging the body to work only in pieces against illness and disease versus as a whole to fight off pathogens (14).
There are two main systems involved in the immune system, the Humoral and the Cell Mediated. The Humoral system produces antibodies to identify and neutralize antigens (17). The humoral system includes B cells. When they come across a foreign agent, they stimulate plasma cells to produce antibodies to the antigens which are manufactured at an astronomical rate to flow into the bloodstream. Like a lock and key, the antigen is made specifically for the antigen marking it for annihilation. (18, 19)
The second system is Cell Mediated which involves specialized cells that provide a "deeper" immunity. These two systems work together and if one doesn't work it usually doesn't stimulate the other to work. (Note that vaccines do not stimulate the cell-mediated system. (20, 21)
Hindering these systems in any way creates a whole slew of issues including illness and disease often autoimmune diseases and inappropriate responses like allergies, behavior issues and much more dysfunction that we commonly experience in our companion animals but attribute to food and other situations (which still should not be discounted).
Antibodies are responsible for ambushing antigens in the body's fluids, but do not penetrate cells (17). They are part of larger molecules known as immunoglobin (22). They increase destruction of bad agents, some kill bacteria (23), some guard entrances to the body, some detect parasites and even elicit an allergic reaction to signal the body that something is wrong. (24)
The Complement System helps these antibodies to quickly remove foreign agents and destroy microbes (25). They also help alert the body via inflammation, redness, swelling etc. (13).
Lymphocytes are also an important part of the immune system. They reside in the blood and represent 25-40% of the total blood count. The range represents times of illness when these numbers will increase (26).
T and B lymphocytes make up the main cellular defense and are made in the bone marrow (27). but can be found in the spleen (28, 29), connective and epithelial tissues. They can travel throughout the body mainly via blood vessels but also in the lymphatic system (13).
B cells account for 10-15% of all lymphocytes where as 70-80% of lymphocytes are T cells (30). You also have NK cells which are created by the helper T cells to kill tumor cells (31). They account for 10-15% of all lymphocytes (13, 26, 30, 32).
In addition to lymphocytes there are also several types of T-cells that help the immune system. T cells contribute to the immune defenses in two major ways (33). Some direct and regulate the immune responses. Others are killer cells that attack infected or cancerous cells.
Helper T cells become memory cells and help create a quicker stronger response for future attacks, They account for 60-75% of all the T cells (26, 34).
Killer T cells destroy cells that have been turned into virus makers. They account for 25-30% of all T cells (13, 35)
Finally, you have Suppressor T cells making up the remaining percent of T cells present. Suppressor T- cells make excessive immune reactions by suppressing antibody activity (36).
If you pay close attention to the aforementioned percentages, you will note that conventional vaccination attempts to stimulate B cell recognition only at about 10% of the total lymphocytes. It ignores 90% of the overall immune system.
You also have macrophages that eat other cells like microbes and foreign invaders. They are responsible for triggering an immune response and tell the T cells to identify the foreign agent which helps to figure out how to destroy the invader. They also secrete histamines that increase the attack of surrounding macrophages to kill the invader. (13, 37).
Neutrophils are white blood cells that are commanded to areas of inflammation and infection and release chemicals in and around foreign invaders. (13, 38, 39)
In addition to these beneficial microorganisms in the body, the spleen releases healthy stores of blood during times of damage (40). The liver produces lymph (41) which is dependent on macrophages and contains Kupffer cells (42) that filter bacteria and toxic foreign invaders found in the digestive tract. (43).
While the immune system and terminology are complex hopefully simplifying it helps one to understand the concept of a "strong" or "weak" immune system is a lot more than simply vaccinating. While it seems illness and disease are everywhere killing animals in record numbers and spreading those diseases to humans the prevalence is not what it is made out to be and the solutions don’t need to be as drastic as injecting our companions with endless vaccinations. Bombarding the body with everything and anything in the hopes you can fight whatever you MAY come across combined with repeated exposure to numerous harmful ingredients and administered in a manner that is anything but natural is purely bodily abuse and too overwhelming to our companions.
Again, these choices are completely up to you. We recognize that this is not a popular opinion, however, we don't want you to take our word for it, we want you to research on your own as well. We all know the "pros" of vaccinations, here is the other side of the story. You have a right to protect your pet!
Amanna, Ian J, and Mark K Slifka. “Wanted, dead or alive: new viral vaccines.” Antiviral research vol. 84,2 (2009): 119-30. doi:10.1016/j.antiviral.2009.08.008
Lee, Nak-Hyung et al. “A review of vaccine development and research for industry animals in Korea.” Clinical and experimental vaccine research vol. 1,1 (2012): 18-34. doi:10.7774/cevr.2012.1.1.18
Growth and attenuation of rabies virus in cell cultures of reptilian origin. Clark HF, Kritchevsky D Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1972 Apr; 139(4):1317-25
Live bacterial delivery systems for development of mucosal vaccines. Thole JE, van Dalen PJ, Havenith CE, Pouwels PH, Seegers JF, Tielen FD, van der Zee MD, Zegers ND, Shaw M Curr Opin Mol Ther. 2000 Feb; 2(1):94-9
Petrovsky, Nikolai. “Comparative Safety of Vaccine Adjuvants: A Summary of Current Evidence and Future Needs.” Drug safety vol. 38,11 (2015): 1059-74. doi:10.1007/s40264-015-0350-4
Kocourkova, Aneta, et al. “Vaccine Ingredients: Components That Influence Vaccine Efficacy.” Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27488583.
Increased virulence of an infectious bursal disease live virus vaccine after passage in chicks. Muskett JC, Reed NE, Thornton DH Vaccine. 1985 Sep; 3(3):309-12.
Hanley, Kathryn A. “The double-edged sword: How evolution can make or break a live-attenuated virus vaccine.” Evolution vol. 4,4 (2011): 635-643. doi:10.1007/s12052-011-0365-y
Use of live bacterial vaccine vectors for antigen delivery: potential and limitations. Medina E, Guzmán CA Vaccine. 2001 Feb 8; 19(13-14):1573-80.
Nasal vaccination using live bacterial vectors. Mielcarek N, Alonso S, Locht C Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2001 Sep 23; 51(1-3):55-69.
Mucosal delivery of vaccines in domestic animals. Gerdts V, Mutwiri GK, Tikoo SK, Babiuk LA Vet Res. 2006 May-Jun; 37(3):487-510.
Tizard, Ian. “The Immune System of Cats - Cat Owners.” Merck Veterinary Manual, Merck Veterinary Manual, www.merckvetmanual.com/cat-owners/immune-disorders-of-cats/the-immune-system-of-cats.
Tizard, Ian. “Immune System Responses in Cats - Cat Owners.” Merck Veterinary Manual, Merck Veterinary Manual, www.merckvetmanual.com/cat-owners/immune-disorders-of-cats/immune-system-responses-in-cats.
Tizard, Ian. “Overview of the Biology of the Immune System - Immune System.” Merck Veterinary Manual, Merck Veterinary Manual, www.merckvetmanual.com/immune-system/the-biology-of-the-immune-system/overview-of-the-biology-of-the-immune-system.
Innate and acquired humoral immunities to influenza virus are mediated by distinct arms of the immune system. Baumgarth N, Herman OC, Jager GC, Brown L, Herzenberg LA, Herzenberg LA Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Mar 2; 96(5):2250-5.
Janeway CA Jr (2001). Immunobiology (5th ed.). Garland Publishing. ISBN 0-8153-3642-X.
Marginal zone and B1 B cells unite in the early response against T-independent blood-borne particulate antigens. Martin F, Oliver AM, Kearney JF Immunity. 2001 May; 14(5):617-29.
B-cell subsets and the mature preimmune repertoire. Marginal zone and B1 B cells as part of a "natural immune memory". Martin F, Kearney JF Immunol Rev. 2000 Jun; 175():70-9.
Cell-Mediated Immunity Frank W. Fitch, in Encyclopedia of Immunology (Second Edition), 1998
Cell-Mediated Immunity Susan Pross, Doris Lefkowitz, in xPharm: The Comprehensive Pharmacology Reference, 2007
Rhoades RA, Pflanzer RG (2002). Human Physiology (4th ed.). Thomson Learning. p. 584. ISBN 978-0-534-42174-8
Silverstein AM (May 2003). "Cellular versus humoral immunology: a century-long dispute". Nature Immunology. 4 (5): 425–8. doi:10.1038 ni0503-425. PMID 12719732.
Pier GB, Lyczak JB, Wetzler LM (2004). Immunology, Infection, and Immunity. ASM Press. ISBN 1-55581-246-5.
Ravetch JV, Bolland S (2001). "IgG Fc receptors". Annual Review of Immunology. 19 (1): 275–90. doi:10.1146/annurev.immunol.19.1.275. PMID 11244038.
Abbas, A. K.; Lichtman, A. H. (2003). Cellular and Molecular Immunology (5th ed.). Saunders, Philadelphia. ISBN 0-7216-0008-5
Loder, By Florienne; Mutschler, Bettina; Ray, Robert J.; Paige, Christopher J.; Sideras, Paschalis; Torres, Raul; Lamers, Marinus C.; Carsetti, Rita (1999-07-01). "B Cell Development in the Spleen Takes Place in Discrete Steps and Is Determined by the Quality of B Cell Receptor–Derived Signals". The Journal of Experimental Medicine. 190 (1): 75–90. doi:10.1084/jem.190.1.75. ISSN 0022-1007. PMC 2195560. PMID 10429672
Murphy, Kenneth (2012). Janeway's Immunobiology(8th ed.). New York: Garland Science. ISBN 9780815342434
Janeway, Charles; Travers, Paul; Walport, Mark; Shlomchik, Mark (2001). Immunobiology (5th ed.). New York and London: Garland Science. ISBN 0-8153-4101-6.
Gong JH, Maki G, Klingemann HG (April 1994). "Characterization of a human cell line (NK-92) with phenotypical and functional characteristics of activated natural killer cells". Leukemia. 8 (4): 652–8. PMID 8152260.
Salerno-Gonçalves and M. B. Sztein, “Cell-mediated immunity and the challenges for vaccine development,” Trends in Microbiology, vol. 14, no. 12, pp. 536–542, 2006
Cano RLE, Lopera HDE. Introduction to T and B lymphocytes. In: Anaya JM, Shoenfeld Y, Rojas-Villarraga A, et al., editors. Autoimmunity: From Bench to Bedside [Internet]. Bogota (Colombia): El Rosario University Press; 2013 Jul 18. Chapter 5. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459471/
Tan, Jin-quan et al. “Type I natural killer T cells: naturally born for fighting.” Acta pharmacologica Sinica vol. 31,9 (2010): 1123-32. doi:10.1038/aps.2010.119
McHugh, Rebecca S, and Ethan M Shevach. “The Role of Suppressor T Cells in Regulation of Immune Responses.” The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2002, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12417876.
Mosser DM, Edwards JP (December 2008). "Exploring the full spectrum of macrophage activation". Nature Reviews. Immunology. 8 (12): 958–69. doi:10.1038/nri2448. PMC 2724991. PMID 19029990.
Jacobs L, Nawrot TS, de Geus B, Meeusen R, Degraeuwe B, Bernard A, Sughis M, Nemery B, Panis LI (October 2010). "Subclinical responses in healthy cyclists briefly exposed to traffic-related air pollution: an intervention study". Environmental Health. 9 (64): 64. doi:10.1186/1476-069X-9-64. PMC 2984475. PMID 20973949.
Yoo SK, Starnes TW, Deng Q, Huttenlocher A (November 2011). "Lyn is a redox sensor that mediates leukocyte wound attraction in vivo". Nature. 480 (7375): 109–12. Bibcode:2011Natur.480..109Y. doi:10.1038/nature10632. PMC 3228893. PMID 22101434. Cohen S, Burns RC (2002). Pathways of the Pulp(8th ed.). St. Louis: Mosby. p. 465.
Lewis, Steven M, et al. “Structure and Function of the Immune System in the Spleen.” Science Immunology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Mar. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30824527.
Chung, Chuhan, and Yasuko Iwakiri. “The lymphatic vascular system in liver diseases: its role in ascites formation.” Clinical and molecular hepatology vol. 19,2 (2013): 99-104. doi:10.3350/cmh.2013.19.2.99
Naito M, Hasegawa G, Takahashi K (1997). "Development, differentiation, and maturation of Kupffer cells". Microscopy Research and Technique. 39(4): 350–64. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-0029(19971115)39:4<350::AID-JEMT5>3.0.CO;2-L. PMID 9407545.
Helmy K, Katschke K, Gorgani N, Kljavin N, Elliott J, Diehl L, Scales S, Ghilardi N, van Lookeren Campagne M (2006). "CRIg: a macrophage complement receptor required for phagocytosis of circulating pathogens". Cell. 124 (5): 915–27. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2005.12.039. PMID 16530040.