Jonas' Vaccination Story:
One Family's Terrible Ordeal

Jonas is a lucky dog, since his vaccination story has a happy ending. Not all pets are as lucky as Jonas.

When Lisa LaVallee brought Jonas, a standard schnauzer, into her life at nine weeks old, she had no idea of the nightmare that he – and her whole family – would soon endure.

vaccination story Jonas

Jonas came from Germany and is of a breed that is known to be very healthy. In fact, none of his siblings have ever had any serious health issues.

The only difference between Jonas and his siblings were the vaccinations they were given. In Europe, his siblings had their puppy shots, and that was it.

Not so for Jonas, who came to the U.S., where yearly vaccine boosters are the norm.

The Beginning of Jonas' Vaccination Story Ordeal
Jonas was born on November 14, 2006. In October of 2007, Jonas went to see the vet for his one-year vaccine boosters. About three weeks later, he suffered from his first Grand Mal Seizure.

Jonas Suffers from More Seizures
Three weeks after Jonas had his Grand Mal Seizure, he had another type of seizure called a Tonic Clonic seizure. He woke up in the middle of the night, whining and panting. By morning, his mouth was covered with foam. On the way to the vet, he lost control of his bowels and urine.

At the vet’s office, Jonas had another Grand Mal seizure and his temperature shot up to a deadly 105.3. Jonas stayed at the veterinary hospital for two nights, during which time he continued to have seizures.

Lisa was scared and confused, and had no idea what was going on.

Finally, with strong doses of Phenobarbital (120 mgs) along with Valium, Jonas’ symptoms subsided. Over the next few months, Lisa was able to wean Jonas down to a 60 mg level of Phenobarbital without him having any more seizures.

But Jonas' vaccination story was far from over.

More Vaccinations Mean More Trouble for Jonas
Then, in March 2008, Lisa took Jonas for his rabies vaccine. He also received his Parvo, distemper and kennel cough vaccines at the same time.

Read our article on dog vaccinations to learn why your dog should never be given “vaccine cocktails”.

After his vaccines, the whites’ of Jonas’ eyeballs became very bloodshot, but Lisa didn’t think much about it.

But in late April, Jonas' vaccination story got worse as things began to go quickly downhill for him.

First, Lisa noticed that her usual happy, perky dog was now depressed. A few weeks later, she looked into his eyes to find that his eyeballs were completely white. There was no red in them at all.

The next day (May 5, 2008), she tried to take Jonas for a walk, but he was unable. All he could do was drag behind her.

Lisa immediately brought her beloved Jonas to the veterinarian.

Jonas’ Vaccination Story Takes a Turn for the Worse
The vet told her that Jonas looked anemic. He performed a PCV test to check Jonas’ packed red blood cell level and found that Jonas was severely anemic. The normal PCV values for a dog are 40 - 59. Jonas’s PCV was 6 when Lisa brought him in. With levels this low, Jonas was at high risk for dying.

Jonas was kept overnight at the vet, where his condition was so critical that he required two blood transfusions.

The following morning, the vet called Lisa to tell her that everything went well. And that’s when he asked her a question she didn’t expect: Had Jonas been immunized within the previous six weeks?

Lisa’s answer was – “yes”.

The vet diagnosed Jonas with Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA) a disease that is considered rapidly life-threatening. He also told Lisa that he felt it had been caused by Jonas’ vaccinations, and that he should not receive any more going forward.

Scary Times for Lisa and Jonas
The following months for Jonas – and Lisa – were very difficult. Jonas was on a cocktail of very strong medications, including Prednisone, Cyclosporine and Azathioprine, as well as baby aspirin to prevent blood clotting.

But in spite of the medications, Jonas’ weekly blood tests revealed that his PCV numbers were not climbing as fast as they should have.

The medications were also causing terrible side effects for Jonas, including severe weight loss and stomach problems such as gurgling, belching, nausea and vomiting.

But even on the potent medications, for weeks Jonas PCV numbers roller-coasted. One day they would go up, the next they would fall.

Because Jonas’ PCV numbers would not go up and stay up, the vet thought he had aplastic anemia (a condition where the bone marrow does not produce sufficient new cells to replenish blood cells).

If this were the case, it would mean Jonas would require blood transfusions every few months for the rest of his life. He was already on the maximum amount of drugs, so raising the dosages was not an option. The vet suggested testing Jonas’ bone marrow to see if he had aplastic anemia.

It certainly did not look as if Jonas' vaccination story was going to have a happy ending.

Lisa Takes Matters into Her Own Hands
Determined that Jonas would not have to endure anything more than he already had (it was now late June) Lisa decided to do her own research, and began searching the Internet for information on IMHA in dogs.

She also contacted a homeopathic veterinarian, who told her that under no circumstances was Jonas ever again to be immunized.

Lisa’s research also led her to transfer factors, small immune messenger molecules that are produced by higher organisms.

The role of transfer factors is to transfer immune recognition signals between immune cells and thereby assist in educating naive immune cells about a present or potential danger. Due to their functioning, transfer factors enable the body to heal from within by boosting the immune system.

Three days after starting Jonas on the transfer factors, Jonas’ PCV count climbed.

The following week, it climbed even higher.

And the following week, it climbed higher.

Lisa Sees a Light at the End of the Tunnel
Finally, Lisa felt like there was a light at the end of the tunnel for Jonas, and she began to wean him off the cocktail of medications that had been making him so sick.

About six weeks after starting on transfer factors, Jonas was able to go off all of his medications except for the Phenobarbital, to prevent his seizures from returning.

Thanks to Lisa’s love and dedication – and, in her opinion, to the transfer factors – Jonas’ IMHA is now in remission and he no longer needs to go for weekly PCV blood tests. But the seizures are something he will probably have for the rest of his life, and he continues to take the Phenobarbital.

Jonas also continues to take many natural supplements to keep him healthy, including the transfer factors, a canine vitamin/mineral supplement, Omega 3 salmon oil, kelp, alfalfa, milk thistle (for his liver, since he is on the Phenobarbital) and occasional raw liver.

Lisa and Jonas found out the hard way of the possible dangers of canine vaccinations. Fortunately, their vaccination story has a happy ending, and Lisa is grateful for Jonas’ recovery, and to have her happy, healthy boy back.

Lisa has shared Jonas' vaccination story in the hopes that it will help save other dogs -- and their parents -- from the terrible ordeal she and Jonas went through.

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