Dr. John Robb, a popular veterinarian and advocate for pets, was ousted from his Stamford, Connecticut pet hospital inside PetSmart for giving thousands of dogs and cats smaller vaccination doses than recommended by vaccine manufactures. Since December, Dr. Robb has been banned from entering the PetSmart store and his former hospital but says that he will sue to get the hospital back. He continues to stage protests calling on pet owners to not over-vaccinate their pets.
The situation has left many pet owners wondering what is the right thing to do. Dr. Robb, who earned his doctorate of veterinary medicine at the University of California at Davis, insists that he gave dogs less than 50 pounds half doses of vaccine because the fuller doses would make many of the dogs sick and possibly kill them. He says that the requirement of franchise holders to provide full doses of vaccines is harming pets, and as someone who has taken an oath to do no harm it would be unethical for him to continue with the practice.
Dr. Robb told the Stamford Advocate that, "They are practicing the old model. It has been proven now that vaccines are killing pets, over-vaccinations are killing pets at an unprecedented rate." He also said that if a pet already has immunity from diseases because of prior vaccinations, the new vaccinations will cause the immune system to attack the body and red blood cells and possibly kill the pet.
Jean Dodds, an expert in companion animal vaccinology, who has been involved in the clinical and research fields of animal health for nearly 50 years, told the Stamford Advocate that vaccine dosages can be adjusted safely. Dodds, has been vaccinating toy breeds weighing less than 12 pounds with half doses of vaccines for years and Robb says that she has played a large role in his views on vaccinations and their dosages. Dodds said that, "Vaccinations are up to the discretion of the veterinarian. It is not required to follow the label direction as long as you have informed consent and discussed it with the owner."
Dodds says that she has seen adverse reactions to vaccines -- especially rabies vaccines. Rabies vaccines, she says, have the strongest antigens of them all. "Viral disease and recent vaccination with single or combination modified live-virus vaccines are increasingly recognized contributors, albeit relatively rare, to a wide variety of adverse reactions, the severity of which varies from mild localized reaction to severe systemic reactions and even death," wrote Dodds in a declaration submitted to a federal court at the end of January.
Robb said a federal law called the federal Virus-Serum and Toxin Act of 1913 supersedes Connecticut state law and allows discretionary use of all vaccines. He said, "If you know that you are going to inject a vaccine into a pet that has the potential to kill him and you know the pet doesn't even need it, then you can't do it ethically and morally, no matter what the law is." In an email Robb wrote, "When laws are written that are wrong, the way we the people change them is to challenge them. Personally, I don't believe I have broken any laws."
Stamford resident David Longo, who helps manage an executive charter company, used to have two cats that got regular vaccinations and died. He tends to trust Robb, who gave him and his pets such great service. Longo said, "I can't speak highly enough of the care we perceived we were getting."
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