Heather Dexter, whooping cough, and the clinical course of quackery

Quack Doctor

On Monday I wrote about Heather Dexter, the naturopathic quack who proudly (proudly??!!) boasted about the severe medical neglect that nearly killed her children.

Heather refused to vaccinate her three small children against pertussis (whooping cough), in her quest to provide them with “natural” immunity.[pullquote align=”right” color=”#555555″]Children who survive pertussis DON’T develop permanent immunity.[/pullquote]

Her children suffered bitterly for months:

At this point, Madilyn’s cough was beginning to scare me. She would wake in the middle of the night, multiple times a night, coughing so hard that she would puke over the side of her loft bed, followed by turning purple and then finally gasping for air.

What was Heather doing during this time? She was consulting with other naturopathic quacks on how to “treat” her children. Their stupidity defies belief.

Turns out the best way to clear out the lungs is through the rectum … enemas.

After it was over Heather celebrated … herself:

It took a good 120-150 days from the start of the coughing for each of them to eliminate the bronchial damage and lung weakness caused by the bacterial infection, Pertussis. We spent hundreds of dollars on natural health products and consultations with various Naturopathic Professionals. It was a living HELL. Every day. It had an intense effect on my marriage and relationship with my husband. It caused me to question everything I knew about Natural Health.

Apparently, she didn’t learn a damn thing:

We made it through using only natural remedies. Seeking no medical attention. We did it. My children developed REAL and TRUE immunity from being exposed to this bacteria and fighting it off naturally. It has been my biggest challenge to date as a mother. This mother conquered. (my emphasis)

There is a bitter irony to this story. Actually two bitter ironies. Heather thinks she “treated” her children with her quackery, but the fact is that their clinical course was dramatically prolonged compared to the typical clinical course for pertussis. Second, and perhaps more important, Heather accomplished absolutely nothing! Children who survive pertussis do NOT develop permanent immunity, and each of her three children are no more protected from pertussis now than they would have been had they gotten the vaccine and avoided the 6 months of torture altogether.

What is the typical clinical course of whooping cough?

The CDC explains:

The clinical course of the illness is divided into three stages:


Pertussis has an insidious onset with catarrhal symptoms that are indistinguishable from those of minor respiratory tract infections. The cough, which is initially intermittent, becomes paroxysmal. In typical cases paroxysms terminate with inspiratory whoop and can be followed by posttussive vomiting.

Paroxysms of cough, which may occur more at night, usually increase in frequency and severity as the illness progresses and typically persist for 2 to 6 weeks or more… After paroxysms subside, a nonparoxysmal cough can continue for 2 to 6 weeks or longer.

Unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated infants younger than 12 months of age have the highest risk for severe and life-threatening complications and death. In infants, the cough may be minimal or absent, and apnea may be the only symptom.

Apnea means the baby stops breathing for a period of time.

They also offer the following chart; I’ve highlighted the length of each stage.

Pertussis chart

The typical clinical course lasts 12 weeks (84 days). According to Heather, each of her children was sick almost twice as long. So much for natural “treatments.” Turns out that enemas are NOT best way to clear out the lungs.

And how about the children’s “real and true immunity”? That doesn’t exist.

According to the CDC’s frequently asked question about pertussis:

Getting sick with pertussis … doesn’t provide lifelong protection, which means you can still get pertussis and pass it onto others …

The bottom line is that Heather’s children endured 6 bitter months of medical neglect and the only thing that was “treated” was Heather’s ego. In her arrogant ignorance, she let her children suffer the horror of coughing until they vomited and being unable to catch their breath over and over and over and over again for no benefit at all.

During the course of the children’s illness, Heather’s father begged her to get treatment for the children:

Heather, there is a time and place for every thing and the time to go get an antibiotic is now. It may be that your pride has got you confused …

No doubt Heather loves her children very much. Nonetheless, her pride and her need to believe the naturopathy nonsense on which she has staked her self-esteem were more important to her than her children’s intense suffering. What she did was monstrous, but some good could come of it.

This story should serve as a wake up call to anti-vaxxers. This is the suffering that awaits your children if you refuse to protect them.

317 Responses to “Heather Dexter, whooping cough, and the clinical course of quackery”

  1. B.E. Miller
    September 29, 2019 at 8:49 am #

    I was googling “Heather Dexter whooping cough” due to having read about the entry in a science blog.

    Thankfully “Like Minded Mamas” blog seems to be gone now. (Though it does mean you can no longer see Heather’s post.

    I wonder how her kids are doing now….

  2. Green Fish
    November 8, 2015 at 10:09 am #

    Looks like many other parents will get the opportunity to “conquer”:

  3. BobbyD
    November 6, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    All these years I thought coughing was the body’s way of clearing out the lungs. Imagine my dismay when I read that I should’ve just been squirtin’ things in my rear

    • carbonUnit
      November 10, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

      It’s like fixing a car with a garden hose up the tailpipe.

  4. moto_librarian
    November 6, 2015 at 9:57 am #

    Where are all of the usual anti-vaccine morons? Are their parachutes broken? Maybe even they are horrified by this level of medical neglect?

    • Nick Sanders
      November 6, 2015 at 6:44 pm #

      I was wondering, too. I am amazed none of them have shown up this time.

      • Who?
        November 7, 2015 at 7:52 pm #

        Their arses, as I recall, were wrapped in pretty bows and handed to them.

        They may still be tryinig to work out the knots.

    • KarenJJ
      November 8, 2015 at 2:55 am #

      Hopefully ducking off to the local GP with their kids and getting them vaccinated?? A person can dream…

  5. sdsures
    November 5, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

    Oh my god. While Heather Dexter’s children were continually in danger of choking to death over weeks, all she really cared about was blogging about it.

  6. Jamie
    November 5, 2015 at 3:09 pm #

    I am personally very flabbergasted that Heather, who can tolerate hearing that dreadful cough from her helpless children for months on end, cannot take the heat from some people who call her out on her cruelty and neglect. Unbelievable.

  7. Idontwanttoliveonthisplanet
    November 5, 2015 at 10:41 am #

    I browsed the site. I came across an article by Heather about why circumcisions your newborn son is traumatizing and monstrous. About how the anesthetic doesn’t always even work so that it is painful to circumcise the newborn boy, and strapping him down causes permanent damage and scares him..
    Um. Yes, suffering through 150 days of whooping cough is NOT scary and traumatizing!?? And not to mention there’s no pain relief she gave them for that! Makes total sense.

    • Idontwanttoliveonthisplanet
      November 5, 2015 at 10:42 am #

      Pretty sure kids that age remember more as well…. *eye roll*

    • David
      November 7, 2015 at 6:08 pm #

      Don’t forget she had all her kids operated on without anaesthetic to prevent being tongue tied!!!! In some weird realm of her psyche , that surgery had to be done. No worry though, she used homeopathic drops as Anaesthetic

    • Ano
      November 9, 2015 at 5:34 am #

      circumcision is genital mutilation you ignorant fuck

      • hmmm
        November 9, 2015 at 6:55 pm #


        • Ano
          November 9, 2015 at 7:03 pm #

          Circumcision removes 2 thirds of the penile skin and, according to many men circumcised as adults, three quarters of the feeling. People doing that should get life imprisonment

          • Roadstergal
            November 9, 2015 at 7:19 pm #

            Sorry, Ano, the circumcision debate is at the below link today. This is the “Heather is a hypocrite as well as an asshole” debate, which is separate.


          • Who?
            November 10, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

            It’s good to be tidy.

          • Nick Sanders
            November 10, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

            Two thirds? That would mean a sack of skin twice as long as the penile shaft hanging over the glans. That or a ruffled collar that would make a bloodhound look smooth. I’m not sure how either is supposed to be conducive to sex.

          • Ano
            November 11, 2015 at 9:45 am #

            watch a crcumcision video. The foreskin rolls back during sex

          • Nick Sanders
            November 11, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

            Yes, but that still doesn’t make it two thirds of the penile skin.

          • Tulisa Tinkle
            July 1, 2016 at 12:36 am #

            That is not true. More studies with more men being taken into account shows circumcision does not have any loss in feeling.

        • Mezzra Tey
          June 8, 2016 at 2:38 am #

          Ano is an idiot, ignore him.

          • October 16, 2018 at 4:54 pm #

            > Ano is an idiot, ignore him

            Says the poseur who doesn’t even understand the basic principles of scientific research and statistical probability theory.

          • Mezzra Tey
            October 17, 2018 at 8:18 pm #

            You do not understand the basic principles of scientific research and statistical probability theory. You have done nothing but spread false information from ridiculous websites.

          • October 18, 2018 at 2:38 pm #

            > You do not understand the basic principles of scientific research and statistical probability theory.
            Oh yeah? Tell me again about how Bossio et al. didn’t violated the tenets of the central limit theorem.

          • Mezzra Tey
            October 18, 2018 at 8:43 pm #

            You can repeat a word you learned all you want but it does not prove your case.

          • October 22, 2018 at 2:21 pm #

            > You can repeat a word you learned all you want but it does not prove your case.

            Circumcision is objectively mutilation.

            Mutilate: to injure, disfigure, or make imperfect by removing or irreparably damaging parts

            Circumcision injures (it bleeds), disfigures (it creates a scar) and makes imperfect by removing (the ridged band and foreskin) or irreparably damaging (the frenulum) parts.

          • Azuran
            October 22, 2018 at 3:18 pm #

            So, by your definition, all surgical procedures are mutilations.

            (But of course, they are not, because you are wrong.)

          • MaineJen
            October 22, 2018 at 3:59 pm #

            Lady, you need a new hobby

          • Mezzra Tey
            October 22, 2018 at 8:04 pm #

            “male genital mutilation” refers to removing the glans which is not the topic I am discussing here. No country and its’ medical community has EVER referred circumcision as a “genital mutilation”. You seem to be having issues with this part and your denial is pretty obvious.

            Again, medical communities decide what is or is not a mutilation. Circumcision is not a mutilation and is even seen as a CORRECTION.

            Male circumcision is not a “mutilation” and never has been, no medical organization refers to it by that name. They see circumcision as a medical procedure.

          • October 23, 2018 at 2:18 pm #

            Argumentum ad nauseam. This is nothing but a boring copy-and-paste of already eviscerated codswallop.

          • Mezzra Tey
            October 25, 2018 at 7:51 pm #

            I will have to repeat myself. “male genital mutilation” refers to removing the glans which is not the topic I am discussing here. No country and its’ medical community has EVER referred circumcision as a “genital mutilation”. You seem to be having issues with this part and your denial is pretty obvious.

            Again, medical communities decide what is or is not a mutilation. Circumcision is not a mutilation and is even seen as a CORRECTION.

            Male circumcision is not a “mutilation” and never has been, no medical organization refers to it by that name. They see circumcision as a medical procedure.

          • October 29, 2018 at 8:29 pm #

            > I will have to repeat myself. “male genital mutilation” refers to removing the glans

            Repeating an ignorant statement doesn’t make it true. Male genital mutilation refers to any non-therapeutic cutting of the male genitalia, not just complete ablation of one part of it (the glans).

          • Mezzra Tey
            November 1, 2018 at 7:54 pm #

            I will have to repeat myself. “male genital mutilation” refers to removing the glans which is not the topic I am discussing here nor is it practiced. No country and its’ medical community has EVER referred circumcision as a “genital mutilation”. You seem to be having issues with this part and your denial is pretty obvious. British medical boards do not refer to circumcision as a “mutilation”.

            Again, medical communities decide what is or is not a mutilation. Circumcision is not a mutilation and is even seen as a CORRECTION.

            Male circumcision is not a “mutilation” and never has been, no medical organization refers to it by that name. They see circumcision as a medical procedure.

          • November 13, 2018 at 4:24 pm #

            > I will have to repeat myself.

            Repeating a lie does not make it true. It just makes you a propagandist.

            > medical communities decide what is or is not a mutilation.

            Not true at all, but have it your way –> Swedish Pediatric Society: “[Circumcision] is a procedure to be done away with…It’s a mutilation of a child unable to decide for himself.”

            > Circumcision is not a mutilation and is even seen as a CORRECTION

            How arrogant, ignorant, and blasphemous can one be to claim that chopping functional parts off a healthy, normal body is a “correction”. Absurd.

            > Male circumcision is not a “mutilation” and never has been, no medical organization refers to it by that name.

            Wrong. Here it is again for you: Swedish Pediatric Society, “[Circumcision] is a procedure to be done away with…It’s a mutilation of a child unable to decide for himself.”

          • Mezzra Tey
            November 15, 2018 at 8:10 pm #

            I will have to repeat myself. “male genital mutilation” refers to removing the glans which is not the topic I am discussing here nor is it practiced in the West.

            No country and its’ medical community has EVER referred circumcision as a “genital mutilation”. You seem to be having issues with this part and your denial is pretty obvious. British medical boards do not refer to circumcision as a “mutilation”.

            Again, medical communities decide what is or is not a mutilation. Circumcision is not a mutilation and is even seen as a CORRECTION.
            Male circumcision is not a “mutilation” and never has been, no medical organization refers to it by that name. They see circumcision as a medical procedure.

          • November 21, 2018 at 11:48 am #

            > “male genital mutilation” refers to removing the glans which is not the topic I am discussing here nor is it practiced in the West.
            Male genital mutilation refers to the cutting of any part of the male genitalia. Like female genital mutilation, it encompasses a broad spectrum, from ceremonial pin pricks to subincision and everything in between. You’re ignorant.

          • Mezzra Tey
            November 24, 2018 at 2:57 pm #

            I will have to repeat myself. “male genital mutilation” refers to removing the glans which is not the topic I am discussing here nor is it practiced in the West. No Western medical society uses “mutilation” to describe the procedure.

            No country and its’ medical community has EVER referred circumcision as a “genital mutilation”. You seem to be having issues with this part and your denial is pretty obvious. British medical boards do not refer to circumcision as a “mutilation”.

            Again, medical communities decide what is or is not a mutilation. Circumcision is not a mutilation and is even seen as a CORRECTION.

            Male circumcision is not a “mutilation” and never has been, no medical organization refers to it by that name. They see circumcision as a medical procedure.

          • November 28, 2018 at 12:08 pm #

            > Male circumcision is not a “mutilation” and never has been, no medical organization refers to it by that name.

            Here it is again for you: Swedish Pediatric Society, “[Circumcision] is a procedure to be done away with…It’s a mutilation of a child unable to decide for himself.”

          • Mezzra Tey
            December 4, 2018 at 10:00 pm #

            I will have to repeat myself. “male genital mutilation” refers to removing the glans which is not the topic I am discussing here nor is it practiced in the West. No Western medical society uses “mutilation” to describe the procedure.

            No country and its’ medical community has EVER referred circumcision as a “genital mutilation”. You seem to be having issues with this part and your denial is pretty obvious. British medical boards do not refer to circumcision as a “mutilation”.

            Again, medical communities decide what is or is not a mutilation. Circumcision is not a mutilation and is even seen as a CORRECTION.

            Male circumcision is not a “mutilation” and never has been, no medical organization refers to it by that name. They see circumcision as a medical procedure because it provides medical benefits.

          • AnnaPDE
            December 5, 2018 at 6:37 am #

            Given that male circumcision is the precise equivalent to FGM Type Ia (“removal of the clitoral hood or prepuce only”), there is certainly a case to be made that double standards rooted in tradition are at play here.
            I really wonder why you insist so vehemently that cutting off a healthy and normal part of genital tissue without an existing medical problem should be called a “correction”.

            See http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/fgm/overview/en/ for the definitions. Oh and yes, I’m aware that my genital piercing is classified as Type IV genital mutilation, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Informed consent in getting it was a pretty important detail.

          • Mezzra Tey
            December 19, 2018 at 1:14 pm #

            FGM refers to the most COMMON form which is removal of all or parts of the clitoris which would be equivalent to removal of parts of the male glans. They are not the same! Stop trying to make it seem like FGM is even close to the removal of the male foreskin. FGM is never just the removal of the female clitoral hood. There are no double standards, they are actually very different procedures.

            FGM carries carries far more risks and has proven to cause damage. Male circumcision has many large scale studies backing up the health benefits and show it is very low risk.

            Foreskin can be irritating and can cause issues. I do not understand why people spread so much hysteria around male circumcision, which is legal in most countries for a reason.

            The consent argument has many holes in it, if your argument is consent then you should be against vaccinations of infants.

          • rosewater1
            October 22, 2018 at 8:30 pm #

            By your standard. Please don’t apply yours to everyone else.

          • October 23, 2018 at 2:24 pm #

            > By your standard. Please don’t apply yours to everyone else.
            That’s not “my” standard. That’s literally the objective definition of mutilation. “Circumcision” is objectively genital mutilation.

      • Lorelai
        November 13, 2015 at 10:46 am #

        Yet unlike female genital mutilation, it actually helps prevent STDs. It was probably a good thing before condoms, and in HIV-endemic areas.


        • October 16, 2018 at 4:52 pm #

          > Yet unlike female genital mutilation, it actually helps prevent STD

          Actually, FGM has been shown to prevent STDs as well. See

          * Stallings, Rebecca Y. “Female Circumcision and HIV Infection in Tanzania: For Better or For Worse”

          * Kinuthisa, Rosemary G. “The Association between Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and the Risk of HIV/AIDS in Kenyan Girls and Women (15-49) years.

          * Kanki P, M’Boup S, Marlink R, et al. “Prevalence and risk determinants of human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2) and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in west African female prostitutes”. Am. J. Epidemiol. 136 (7): 895-907. PMID

          Do you think we should now as a society also support forced genital cutting of newborn girls too, or should we just continue to hypocritically support it for boys only, even though babies are asexual and more effective, less invasive prophylactics exist?

  8. KeeperOfTheBooks
    November 5, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    You know, in reading this, I was reminded of that nursing student in Nigeria who, during the Ebola outbreak, saved most of her family with very, very little. The local hospitals were overwhelmed, so she brought 4-5 family members home, got someone to deliver a *lot* of bleach, trash bags, gloves, and IV fluids, and settled in for the siege from hell. I seem to remember she saved either 3 or 4 out of the 5 *and* managed not to contract Ebola herself…no small feat. She figured out some setup involving using the trashbags as a biohazard suit.
    Of course, this meant round-the-clock nursing for weeks, and she was utterly exhausted by the end. But she did what she had to in order to save her family.
    I hardly dare imagine what she’d think of someone with Mrs. Dexter’s opportunities (vaccines, antibiotics, steroid breathing treatments, modern medical system, etc) who deliberately shunned all those for her sick kids in order to make herself out to be some sort of “warrior mama.”
    You know what? That nursing student IS a warrior. Life handed her a sack of crap, and she handed it right back with smarts, guts, determination, and education. Mrs. Dexter is nothing more than a privileged, narcissistic jackass. (With appropriate apologies to jackasses, who would probably protect their colts–or whatever you call a baby jackass–rather better than Mrs. Dexter did.)

    • Gemman Aster
      November 8, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

      I don’t really understand this phrase ‘Warrior Mom’, ‘Warrior mama’. Who are they fighting? What are they fighting against. Is the archaism in fact deliberate? By identifying themselves as ‘warriors’ instead of ‘soldiers’ are they intentionally championing their perceived cause from a position of antiquity, fighting for and with outdated views and ideas in the face of modern élan?

      In fact, given that Dexter also labels herself, I believe a ‘Doula’ rather than the – slightly – less obsolete ‘midwife’ I sense she feels using these ridiculously pretentious and outmoded terms is in some way a positive pose to strike. Once again in her case it seems image is all.

      • shay simmons
        November 8, 2015 at 6:23 pm #

        I know. Anyone who refers to herself as a warrior mom better have either a current military ID or a DD-214.

        • demodocus
          November 9, 2015 at 12:04 am #

          Or an awful lot of black belts, ’cause I ain’t arguing with her!

  9. MaineJen
    November 5, 2015 at 9:32 am #

    My grandmother had an older sister who died, at age three, from pertussis. Now, thanks to Heather Dexter, I have a mental picture of just how horrible that must have been. Grandma used to say that my great-grandmother never, EVER got over the horror of her little girl dying.

    Vaccines, lady. Vaccines prevent this.

  10. niteseer
    November 5, 2015 at 3:33 am #

    Not only did she put her children through weeks or months of hell (can you imagine the nightmare of gasping for breath until you become purple??), she also allowed her children to be repositories of infection that can spread easily to others. Probably, if she even considers this aspect, she would say that she is contributing to the immune systems of the children infected. I can guarantee that she isn’t sparing any concern for infants who are too young to be vaccinated, and who also have the most severe illness and the highest death rate when infected. She should watch this…the entire video.


    • Chi
      November 5, 2015 at 3:44 am #

      If she didn’t even spare a concern for her own infant, her 9 month old infant, knowing full well that pertussis is even nastier for babies under 1 year old, why the hell would she give a toss about other people’s children?

      Hell because she was vaccinated, she may have contracted a milder case and passed it on to the pregnant women and their new babies she came into contact with as her role as a doula.

      Her narcissism truly knows no bounds.

      • Chione
        November 5, 2015 at 6:04 am #

        Not only that, but one would assume that even if she herself wasn’t infected, she most probably carried the bacteria around in the form of droplets of bodily secretions on her body and clothes.

        Considering how little effort she made to quarantine her children when they were infectious, I seriously doubt that she has any kind of even remotely sufficient hygiene procedures in place when it comes to dealing with her clients.

        I don’t know how long the pertussis bacteria survive in sputum and other bodily fluids, but considering that transference of a disease that way can happen with other pathogens, I do think that there’s at the very least reason for concern.

        • Mel
          November 5, 2015 at 11:57 am #

          We had a pink-eye outbreak on the farm this summer. In cows, pink-eye infections can cause permanent blindness.

          I passed up a lot of fun trips to other dairy farms and to see some old-school oxen demonstrations because pink-eye is generally insect-transmitted and I couldn’t be sure that I wouldn’t bring the bacteria into the insect population on the new farm.

          • PeggySue
            November 5, 2015 at 4:45 pm #

            Because that’s what you do, inconvenient or not, when you’re a grownup dealing with living creatures. Hope everyone is OK now.

      • Gemman Aster
        November 8, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

        Just hearing about her pose as a ‘Doula’ causes me to grind my teeth. Not only does she displace genuine hospital care that any mother who bares her child in 2015 has a right to claim, but she also exposes them to an unthinkable risk of pertussis transmission. Words fail me.

    • AirPlant
      November 5, 2015 at 10:46 am #

      I have asthma to the point where when things get bad I am legitimately gasping for air. It is terrible. Your body and mind panics, you are choking on nothing and your body can’t stop itself from coughing but coughing just makes it worse and your head is spinning and everything hurts and all you can think through the pain and panic and mucus is that you need air and that this is the moment that might kill you if you don’t get help.
      My asthma is not on the severe end, I have never been hospitalized and my emergency inhaler has never failed to stabilize me. My attacks only come when I am stupid enough to exercise in the cold or when I am getting over a bad cough. They still scare the hell out of my nurse husband though. I simply cannot imagine a child of mine having what amounts to a six month asthma attack without doing anything. I am pretty sure I would commit murder to get them help, not sit around and boast on the internet about what a warrior mama I am.

      • demodocus
        November 5, 2015 at 11:32 am #

        A nurse friend of my dad’s died during an attack. They found her with her nebulizer, but she’d started it too late. It was only a couple months after her husband had died.

        • AirPlant
          November 5, 2015 at 11:39 am #

          Before I got married I had a pretty bad attack and nobody was around to help me. I was moving into a new apartment in January and I got triggered from lifting the heavy boxes and my inhaler was packed away. It was bad enough that I was seriously thinking about calling an ambulance because I could not breathe and I could not drive and I didn’t have my medicine to make it better. I don’t know how long the attack lasted, it felt like hours but all I remember thinking was that I was going to die and it would be my stupid fault for not calling an ambulance. I was so scared that they would show up and the attack would be past and I would feel like six types of idiot. I would guess that is what happened to that poor woman.

      • VikingAPRNCNP
        November 15, 2015 at 11:08 pm #

        After having had a bronchospasm in the cold a few years ago I can’t imagine months of air hunger and panic. She is both neglectful and abusive to her children.

  11. CharlotteB
    November 5, 2015 at 1:16 am #

    I live in the PNW and and am currently teaching at a major university. I’m in the humanities, and I take every opportunity I can to fight the homebirth/naturopath/anti-vaccination crap that is basically mainstream around here. Tomorrow I’m lecturing about a person who went blind because of smallpox, and reading this story has reminded me to make sure to mention that smallpox doesn’t exist as a disease anymore because of vaccination. When it’s relevant, I mention infant and child mortality rates, women who died in childbirth, and that modern agriculture and medicine have improved our average lifespan. I hope some of it will sink in…

  12. Zornorph
    November 5, 2015 at 1:02 am #

    I would rather have Dexter the TV serial killer around my kid than Heather Dexter.

    • Montserrat Blanco
      November 5, 2015 at 4:52 am #

      He did not kill children (at least not in the chapters I saw). Pertussis on the other hand…

      • Zornorph
        November 5, 2015 at 8:29 am #

        I saw all the episodes. Dexter would probably go after Heather Dexter is she caused children to die, but he’d never hurt children.

        • Tiffany Aching
          November 6, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

          He is actually pretty good with kids.

  13. SarahSD
    November 5, 2015 at 12:43 am #

    When my kid was 1.5 we had a scare because she developed petechiae, which can be a symptom of serious problems like leukemia or clotting disorder. When her bloodwork came back indicating that my daughter did not have leukemia or another life threatening illness, I did not congratulate myself for triumphing or for being a great mom. I just felt relief, because we were lucky. This woman’s kids were lucky, especially her baby who was at the highest risk of dying from pertussis. The self-justification acrobatics involved in taking credit for being lucky boggle the mind. Her kids survived IN SPITE OF HER CHOICES.

  14. Dean Farrell
    November 4, 2015 at 11:37 pm #

    “This story should serve as a wake up call to anti-vaxxers.” Somehow, I doubt it.

  15. Bertrande
    November 4, 2015 at 10:12 pm #

    “No doubt Heather loves her children very much. Nonetheless, her pride and her need to believe the naturopathy nonsense on which she has staked her self-esteem were more important to her than her children’s intense suffering.”

    Spot-on analysis.

  16. Daleth
    November 4, 2015 at 9:18 pm #

    My kids have mild colds right now and it hurts to see them suffer. I can’t imagine what degree of narcissism or psychopathology you have to have to put your kids through what Heather Dexter did.

    • Bertrande
      November 4, 2015 at 10:13 pm #

      I agree! While reading this I thought, is this legal? If I were her father, I’d have reported her for abuse and neglect. Children should not have to suffer at the hands of those deluded by extreme ideologies.

  17. TsuDhoNimh
    November 4, 2015 at 5:13 pm #

    Here’s pre-vaccine, pre-antibiotic whooping cough for you


  18. DelphiniumFalcon
    November 4, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

    Hundreds of dollars spent on naturopathic treatment.

    As opposed to, you know, getting a shot that’s covered by insurance or free public health programs.

    Makes perfect sense!

  19. Gatita
    November 4, 2015 at 4:51 pm #

    OT:Stressed, Tired, Rushed: A Portrait of the Modern Family. This jumped out at me from the article:

    The survey found something of a stress gap by race and education. College-educated parents and white parents were significantly more likely than other parents to say work-family balance is difficult.

    My take: it’s because of the cult of intensive parenting combined with workplaces making increasing demands on workers and cutting back benefits with no increase in salaries.

    • Who?
      November 4, 2015 at 4:57 pm #

      I’m sure that’s right. And people are scared they will lose their jobs if they don’t put up the hours/travel/commitment as required.

      • SporkParade
        November 5, 2015 at 9:10 am #

        I suspect technology also plays a role. You’re not expected to be available at all hours if you work retail or construction.

    • Angharad
      November 4, 2015 at 10:06 pm #

      When I was hired, I was told that I could work 40 hours as overtime is optional. Nobody mentioned that everyone else on my team works at least 50+ hours a week and that I would be the lowest performer if I took them at their word.

      • Amazed
        November 5, 2015 at 5:07 am #

        I never had a boss. I have been self-employed since day one, working at home. Balance IS difficult! In fact, it took me about a year to learn that I NEED my weekends, that just because I made little money and things were happening slowly (now I work much faster and the money is bigger but then I was a newbie, just a home-based one), that didn’t mean that I should sacrifice my life at the altar of work… and that if I let my problems with fingers (from typing, typing, typing) progress, in a few years I wouldn’t be working anyway. But at the time, I did feel like a low performer.

  20. Indigosky
    November 4, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

    Her father should have called CPS when it was clear his daughter was not going to listen. Those kids could have died.

    • Houston Mom
      November 4, 2015 at 5:08 pm #

      Yep, my husband & I were listing off the number of friends & family who would be calling CPS on us if we were treating our son like that. I would imagine several of them would just try to take him. It’s comforting to know he has a lot of real friends out there in case we go off the deep end.

      • Who?
        November 4, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

        Perhaps it’s more difficult than it seems.

        There was a sad case here a couple of years ago where a baby was left to starve in its cot. Mum wasn’t coping (as it turned out), dad worked away a lot, there was a twin baby being cared for and a number of older siblings. His mother would call around, and ask to see the second twin, sometimes was allowed to, sometimes not. In the end I think one of the older children raised the alarm, aged, perhaps, 9.

        All this happened in a neat home in a nice suburb, very quietly.

        Clearly a failure of the family itself and whatever networks were in place, but the reasons that happened, and why neither dad or his mum ever went for help were never made public.

        It made me realise that even if you fear losing all contact as a result of interfering, sometimes you just must, for the sake of those who can’t help themselves, and for your own conscience.

        • Kathleen Flick
          November 5, 2015 at 12:05 am #

          You make the call, you do the right thing, even if it turns out it doesn’t work. Because it *is* the right thing, and because if you’ve got even half a conscience, you wouldn’t be able to live with yourself if you didn’t even TRY.

    • Chick Sexer
      November 6, 2015 at 12:05 am #


      I am going to argue the idea that this “mother” loves her children. She loves being right, and spreading her “knowledge” more than she loves her children. If you loved your children you couldn’t watch them go through that for months and still be convinced you are doing the right thing. There’s only so many times you can watch someone you love stop breathing and do the same thing which hasn’t stopped the problem before it’s quite obvious you are more in love with your ideals than that person.

  21. The Computer Ate My Nym
    November 4, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

    I wonder if the children didn’t develop secondary infections explaining their prolonged clinical course. Which also means that antibiotics at many points in the infection would have helped. I hope the children didn’t suffer any permanent lung damage from this neglect, but they may have.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      November 4, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

      Yeah, I can’t imagine all those enemas and other nonsensical treatment was doing anything to help their immune system.

      • Sue
        November 4, 2015 at 6:45 pm #

        I posted a question about the content and purpose of the enemas….didn’t pass moderation.

        Interestingly, they have now posted one single comment:
        “Thank you for the information!!!”

        Must be the only supportive one they received – or maybe they posted it themselves – being so like-minded and all.

      • mythsayer
        November 4, 2015 at 9:42 pm #

        She also says chiropractic care is key. FOR A PULMONARY BACTERIAL INFECTION??? How..,just…how? How is cracking joints going to heal any sort of infection??? it makes me want to cry.

        • Chi
          November 5, 2015 at 12:08 am #

          Because in quack-land the spine is the centre of the ENTIRE nervous system. If your back is ‘out’ (with a mythical subluxation) then the nervous pathways are disrupted which means your body DOESN’T KNOW it needs to fight something because it can’t ‘sense’ it.

          Cracking the back reopens those pathways, kicks the lymphatic system into gear and clears infections. Or something.

          At least that was the answer I got when I was stupid enough to ask that question one time.

          • mythsayer
            November 5, 2015 at 9:28 am #

            I get that. I know the theory. But to go that far as to heal a bacterial infection…just no. It goes way too far.

  22. Chione
    November 4, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

    Judging by the text – especially the breathtaking lack of concern for their suffering, and the placement of her own trials and tribulations in the centre of the narrative – arguably a case can be made that she only loves her children inasmuch they are an extension of herself and can be used to stroke her own ego. It’s hard to find a reason to think that she truly loves anyone other than herself.

    • RMY
      November 4, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

      Also did you notice how anyone questioning her about this was talked about as if they were about to stab her in the back?

      • Chione
        November 4, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

        Yup. I’m not a psychiatrist and I don’t like to throw around diagnoses based on scant evidence, but one cannot help but think of narcissism on a level of a personality disorder while reading through that pile of self-serving crap.

    • DelphiniumFalcon
      November 4, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

      Can we just call her Cersei from now on? Definitely reminds me of her. Only loves her children because they’re from her, not because they deserve to be cared for.

  23. The Bofa on the Sofa
    November 4, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

    What is it with cranks and their friggin obsession with enemas?

    I read about those parents that give their autistic kids multiple enemas a day and all I can think is, how awful for those kids!

    • RMY
      November 4, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

      Well the ancient Egyptians thought it was a good idea, and they’re like ancient and exotic?

      • KeeperOfTheBooks
        November 4, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

        They also thought that frying a whole mouse and swallowing it at one gulp was the way to deal with a sore throat, but I don’t particularly want to try it. :p
        (cue all-natural types saying that the mouse’s gut microbiome will kill strep or something)

        • Nick Sanders
          November 4, 2015 at 2:41 pm #

          Well, if you choke to death, your throat won’t hurt any more.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            November 4, 2015 at 2:41 pm #


        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          November 4, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

          They also thought that frying a whole mouse and swallowing it at one gulp was the way to deal with a sore throat, but I don’t particularly want to try it. :p

          Way OT, but I have said this before about Native Americans. They get praised for the ways they were one with nature and stuff, but they also believed that if they painted the right picture on their horses butt it would protect them from bullets.

        • namaste863
          November 4, 2015 at 10:28 pm #

          Assuming survive the Rabies

        • namaste863
          November 4, 2015 at 10:29 pm #

          Assuming you survive the rabies

      • Charybdis
        November 4, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

        They are also all dead.

        • kilda
          November 4, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

          they must not have trusted their mama instincts properly.

        • DelphiniumFalcon
          November 4, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

          And the royal family was so inbred they likely couldn’t produce viable offspring anymore. Maybe the anti-vaxxers will pick that habit up. Since their children always have “strong genetics” they constantly brag about.

    • Lemongrass
      November 4, 2015 at 2:36 pm #

      That’s exactly what I said on her other post on this woman. I seriously don’t get it…

    • Nick Sanders
      November 4, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

      Poop is icky and toxic, so it has to be extracted from the body at all costs. Ideally, food would go from the stomach to the aether, but since it doesn’t, it’s clearly malfunctioning, and copious amounts of weird things must be pumped up the butt to fix the problem.

      • Sue
        November 4, 2015 at 6:48 pm #

        “Poop is icky and toxic, so it has to be extracted from the body at all costs.”

        Yep – that’s why we defacate.

      • Roadstergal
        November 4, 2015 at 6:58 pm #

        *Doula hat on*
        “Childbirth is natural! There is no need for interventions! Your baby will come out just fine if you relax and Trust Your Body!”

        *Naturopath hat on*
        “Your colon is loaded with toxins! You can’t just leave it to its own devices, we have to intervene to clean it out regularly!”

        I’m sure she would also say that circumcision is child abuse because little penises are born perfect, but tongue ties must be snipped.

        • mythsayer
          November 4, 2015 at 9:44 pm #

          That’s pretty much exactly right. She demanded her kids tongue tied be “fixed” and she gave them hypericum for the pain. A real winner.

        • Angharad
          November 4, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

          Good guess! Circumcision is child abuse because babies can feel pain but all she gave her three-year-old when he got his tongue tie clipped was clove oil.

          • Roadstergal
            November 5, 2015 at 11:06 am #

            At least she’s consistently hypocritical?

        • Gemman Aster
          November 8, 2015 at 10:13 pm #

          Circumcision is as much cultural as medical – either alternative or otherwise. I appreciate it is very common in America and many people defend it, but in Britain it is extremely uncommon and almost never performed unless there is an active problem or infection. Obviously religion plays a part on both sides of the Atlantic – a horrific part if the authentic rite is practised!

          As for ‘Tongue Ties’ never heard of that at all. Is it another name for Tonsils or Adenoids or something?

          • Navin R Johnson
            November 9, 2015 at 12:29 am #

            Circumcision is very common in the US, but it isn’t commonly a religious issue. It usually occurs because most men are circumcised and they like their sons to look like them, it’s cultural.

            Tongue-ties refer to the common “problem” with some babies having a tight frenulum at the base of their tongue. The vast majority of children outgrow it without any problems, but some Mothers insist on having it surgically repaired. This usually involves simply taking a pair of scissors and cutting the tight band of skin at the inferior portion of the tongue (sans anesthesia). Some physicians bow to the pressure way too soon. This happens a lot in the US.

      • Sue
        November 4, 2015 at 8:08 pm #

        WAIT – I just worked out the enema thing.

        Bordetella pertussis, the bacterium that causes whooping cough, produces toxins. And the way you eliminate toxins, of course, is through enemas. Of course!

    • SporkParade
      November 4, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

      But remember: enemas are evil if they are given by hospitals to women in labor.

    • Houston Mom
      November 4, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

      I spent a day in the hospital for flu when I was 3 or 4. They gave me an enema, saying it would bring my fever down. This was a small, rural hospital circa 1974,1975. Not a fond memory.

      • Sue
        November 4, 2015 at 6:47 pm #

        Could have been rectal medication, maybe? Rectal acetaminophen?

        • Houston Mom
          November 4, 2015 at 7:54 pm #

          I had an IV too so I don’t know why they would have administered medication that way. I remember someone telling my mother that my fever would go down if I had a bowel movement. Thankfully that was my only enema ever, although Mama would pull out glycerin suppositories when we were vomiting, which just made us hide the fact that we were vomiting.

        • Houston Mom
          November 4, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

          Apparently it’s an old-timey way of reducing fever. I found some old medical books on Google Books recommending cold water enemas to lower fever.

          • Sue
            November 5, 2015 at 2:08 am #

            OK – direct cooling, I guess.

        • Houston Mom
          November 4, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

          This is a news article by a doctor circa 1975 recommending enemas for fever.

        • FrequentFlyer
          November 4, 2015 at 9:06 pm #

          My mom has told me about the time when I was 4 or 5(1976-77)and she and my dad tried to give me a suppository because I was sick. Apparently I defeated both of them. I can’t even imagine multiple enemas, and I think the idea would give Mom nightmares.

        • November 4, 2015 at 10:34 pm #

          As if this “warrior mother” would allow such toxins into her “precious” children by any route.

          This woman disgusts me beyond words.

    • lilin
      November 4, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

      I think about what happens when those kids grow up. Most of them aren’t going to be as nutty as their parents. The homeschooled ones, who never get “corrupted” by outside influences and basically live in a cult compound won’t have as much of a chance. But the regular kids? What are they going to think about the invasive medical procedure their self-aggrandizing parents forced on them for all those years?

      • Houston Mom
        November 4, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

        In a decade or so, maybe the oldest can use this all to file for emancipation from her wacko parents.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          November 4, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

          Indeed. On the bright side, it may make that process as easy as the getting-independent-for-college-financial-aid process was for my sister and me.
          In both cases, the process consisted of a financial aid counselor glancing at our files, saying “That’s freaking HORRIBLE, I’m so sorry, yep, I’m granting you independent status” and signing off on it then and there.
          In a rather twisted way, the idiocy being so very strong made it much easier on us; if it had been less obvious or less full-on nuts, they’d have taken rather longer and possibly left us still “dependent” on our parents’ non-existent help.

      • Squillo
        November 4, 2015 at 6:29 pm #

        Seriously. Enemas are the new bloodletting.

    • Francesca Violi
      November 4, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

      yeah, indeed! they really love their enemas and use them for anything, like old times barber-surgeons prescribed either purge or bloodletting. I think the rationale (so to speak) is that if you cleanse your colon from evil toxins then your immunosystem will be working well again and be capable to fight off all kinds of disease.

      • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
        November 5, 2015 at 8:31 am #

        I blame Gwyneth Paltrow /only halfway kidding

        • Roadstergal
          November 5, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

          I thought her thing was steaming your vagina like broccoli?

          • Sarah
            November 5, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

            There’s an ‘eating’ joke in there somewhere.

          • Roadstergal
            November 5, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

            And a hollandaise, I guess, although I’m not going to make it.

          • Sarah
            November 5, 2015 at 4:12 pm #


          • Charybdis
            November 5, 2015 at 8:14 pm #

            Do we need to revisit the vaginal yogurt?

          • FrequentFlyer
            November 5, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

            Next they’ll be shooting coffee up there too.

    • Roadstergal
      November 4, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

      American Dad explicitly drew the connection to an ‘acceptable’ means of enjoying rectal stimulation. I’m not going to say that’s everyone, but I’d be shocked if it weren’t a decent number.

      Wanting to do it to your kids, though, is just effed up.

      • Gemman Aster
        November 8, 2015 at 10:23 pm #

        I read an amusing agony-aunt column that said much the same thing a good twenty-five years ago. It went along the lines of ‘there is nothing medicinal to it, so you probably need to ask your husband why he feels the need to go to see a strange woman in order to have a hosepipe shoved up his bottom’.

        Again, it may well be a cultural thing as I have very rarely heard of enemas being used here. Laxatives seem to fulfil the ‘purging’ requirement in Britain to a far greater degree – to the extent that when my parents were children in the 1920’s they were force fed terrible, poisonous substances such as Castor Oil, Cascara and even Turpentine believe it or not. The degree of trauma visited on children is much the same though going from my mother’s stories.

    • DelphiniumFalcon
      November 4, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

      And they wonder why their children who usually have gastrointestinal problems as a common comorbidity along with severe sensory processing issues just never seem to get more “normal” and want to be cuddled and touched less after shoving random herbs and liquids up in rather sensitive bit of tubing.

      It’s a fucking mystery lost to the ages, I tell ya.

      • Mac Sherbert
        November 4, 2015 at 10:34 pm #

        And of course….they probably have digestive issues because kids with those type of sensory issues tend to be very very very picky eaters.

    • Azuran
      November 4, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

      Vaginal exam by a medical professional on woman in labour = birth rape.
      Multiple enemas on your own kid who may or may not be able to give proper consent = Loving natural care

      • Houston Mom
        November 4, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

        And sometimes the enemas are garlic enemas, for children – sick children.

      • namaste863
        November 4, 2015 at 10:22 pm #

        Good point. If they don’t like having someone look up their snatch, what makes them think their kids are okay with having God knows what shoved up their ass?

  24. Dr. W
    November 4, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

    I can honestly say that nothing posted on this site has ever angered me more than Heather Dexter. Even the dead kids, which is weird. I guess it’s the way she describes their suffering and turns it into her own, before the sentence is even over. There are lots of dead kid stories that have been posted here, where the mother was just ignorant, and had no time to learn before, boom, dead kid. Heather saw the suffering, day after after day, described it intimately, learned nothing and made it ALL about herself. Pathological narcissism that not only endangers children, but makes them needlessly suffer, for months on end, makes me so so angry.

    • lilin
      November 4, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

      It’s the triumphant, self-righteous tone. Look at me! I defied everyone and I was right!

      Right because the kids only suffered for months and didn’t die? Right because she held to her beliefs despite her own family pleading with her to help her own children? I don’t know.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        November 4, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

        It’s the triumphant, self-righteous tone. Look at me! I defied everyone and I was right!

        I am still at a loss to see how this story can be interpreted as a triumph or success in any way. It’s all very tragic. At best, the outcome is fortunate that it wasn’t worse.

        “My kids didn’t die from whooping cough” is not a story of success.

        • lilin
          November 4, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

          Of course it’s not. That’s why she had to put in the parts where people come to her begging her to stop what she was doing. The fact that she didn’t listen is the “triumph.” She “conquered” by letting her kids gasp and barf and suffer and never, *never* taking them to get help from evil modern western medicine.

          • AirPlant
            November 4, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

            The part of my heart that is a vindictive bitch wishes that she had contracted the disease so she could feel the joy of gaining natural immunity. I wonder if she would have sought medical care for herself?

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
            November 4, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

            But I m guessing her parents got her immunized as a child. Also guessing she would have gone to a real doc if she had felt that bad

          • AirPlant
            November 4, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

            Whooping cough wears off though, you need boosters. It would be high hypocrisy if she got her boosters while denying her children the same protection.

          • Azuran
            November 4, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

            Maybe she had it at some point and didn’t notice. I doubt she had booster vaccines recently, but Immunity is not a white/black situation. It gets weaker as time goes but it’s still there. Being exposed to the disease while still having some residual immunity would probably only give her a lighter version of the disease (and boost her immunity back). The disease is also more serious in children.

          • Dana Carpender
            November 4, 2015 at 6:47 pm #

            They combine pertussis with tetanus, which is given every 10 years. I assume from this that a decade is about right for pertussis as well. She states that she got interested in “natural healing” during her first pregnancy, and the kid was 6 when she got sick. We can conclude from this that Heather had, indeed, been immunized. B!tch.

          • Charybdis
            November 4, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

            My vindictive bitch and vicious streak agree with you. That same dark part sometimes wishes that ERs and on call OBs ould outright refuse to help a homebirth emergency transfer. Hey, you wanted the *homebirth experience *. Go home and embrace the dark side of childbirth like women have had to do for eons. *shoves dark, vicious side back into its box*

          • AirPlant
            November 4, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

            When someone is being a boob Nazi I secretly wish for them to get the kind of thrush that passes endlessly between the baby and you forever. I feel like I might not be a very nice person on the inside.

          • Charybdis
            November 4, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

            You’re not alone. I sometimes imagine the boob nazis talking to their babies like Buffalo Bill from “Silence of the Lambs”: “It takes the boob into its mouth or it gets the hose”.
            I have a dark soul.

          • namaste863
            November 5, 2015 at 12:45 pm #


          • Azuran
            November 4, 2015 at 5:48 pm #

            I fell you. Part of my job sadly includes putting down puppies and kittens practically on a weekly basis because
            their owners were too stupid to vaccinate and now don’t have the money
            to treat their super deadly vaccine preventable disease. I have zero compassion left for idiots who dig their own graves. I will help them, but I don’t really feel sorry for them.

          • Roadstergal
            November 4, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

            There’s an anti-vax movement among pet owners. It makes me so angry. I couldn’t wait for our dogters to be old enough to be vaccinated.

          • Azuran
            November 4, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

            I find this even more ridiculous considering that distemper, parvo and rabies are still killing tens of thousands of pets per single years. You can’t even pretend that those diseases are no longer around nor that they are light disease that are only dangerous to already severely ill pets.

            But sadly it’s not even limited to vaccines. The entire ‘natural movement’ is slowly but surely making it’s way into the ‘animal health’ business.
            We now have stupid things like ‘gluten-free’ food. Holistic/organic/GMO-free food. Raw food. Deworming with garlic or pumpkin. Anti-vaccine/antibiotics, anti-neuter. And my Favorite: Pet homeopathic remedies that are actually not really ‘homeopathic’ and contain actually dangerous ingredients in dangerous dosages.

          • Chi
            November 4, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

            The ones that REALLY piss me off are the vegans who decide that their pet cat needs to be vegan too. If you’re a vegan and can’t stand the thought of animals being killed so your pet can eat, DON’T get a pet that is a freaking OBLIGATE (which mean HAS TO) carnivore.

            Get a freaking pet rock. They’re vegan friendly.

            Oh and don’t forget the acupuncture for your pet.

          • Fallow
            November 4, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

            YEP. I’ve been a vegetarian most of my life, and I feed my cats meat because they are CARNIVORES.

          • November 4, 2015 at 10:40 pm #

            Smart! Because even “ethical” vegetarians need to admit that the choice to be so is directly contingent to being able to comprehend the “ethical” dilema.

          • Bugsy
            November 4, 2015 at 8:35 pm #

            Lol. Years ago, my vegetarian aunt decided that her two cats should also be vegetarian. One of the cats promptly left and adopted herself into a new family. My aunt reclaimed her, and the cat immediately ran back to her new family…permanently.

            AFAIK, she gave up feeding her lone cat a vegetarian diet after that.

          • Dr Kitty
            November 5, 2015 at 5:01 am #

            If she had cats that went outdoors, denying them meat is counter productive if the aim is to reduce animal suffering. If you don’t provide it, they’ll just hunt for it themselves.

            I don’t think it is at all controversial to say that animals slaughtered for cat food will die more humanely than the birds and rodents killed by cats.
            Also one chicken or turkey or tuna will replace many mice or songbirds.

            Commercial cat food for an indoor cat is much more ethical than a cat with outdoor access, and a callous disregard for your preference that they don’t eat meat.,

          • Bugsy
            November 5, 2015 at 11:28 am #

            Great points. I have no idea what the purpose of making her cats vegetarian was, other than to perhaps make a statement of her own personal choices. Thankfully it was pretty short-lived.

          • Angharad
            November 4, 2015 at 10:19 pm #

            Heck, get a bunny or a Guinea pig. Just don’t pretend that your cat wants to be a vegan.

          • Mishimoo
            November 4, 2015 at 11:25 pm #

            And chiropractic care too!

          • Charybdis
            November 5, 2015 at 9:47 am #

            I’ve often wondered how strict vegans square their thinking with breastfeeding. If everything that comes from an animal is WRONG and UNETHICAL to use for any reason, how do they rationalize breastfeeding (humans are mammals and you are using an animal product, human milk) instead of using soy formula? You know, because no animals were harmed in the production of soy formula.

            Also, why is it referred to as “breastmilk”? Is there another place on a woman that can lactate? Other than the armpit, of course. *eyeroll*. You don’t hear of “footmilk” or “earmilk” or “fingermilk”.

            Plus, how tiny are the milking machines for the soybeans? It should be called “soyjuice”, since soybeans don’t have mammary tissue, even though they contain phytoestrogens.

            Can you tell I really don’t want to work today?

          • Michele
            November 5, 2015 at 10:16 am #

            I have read that breastfeeding is considered ok because the mother voluntarily provides the animal product.
            On another note, I am always amused by referring to almond milk as “nut juice.” It’s great when you can work that into conversation and keep a straight face.

          • Azuran
            November 5, 2015 at 10:24 am #

            I’d think that even the most bad ass vegan would consider feeding your own child with your own breastmilk perfectly fine. No animals are harmed in the process and it’s only ‘natural’ for mammals to feed their babies.
            But then again, I know better than to expect people to have logical thinking…

          • An Actual Attorney
            November 5, 2015 at 5:35 pm #

            n=1. I work with a badass hardcore vegan. She says BM is fine because a woman has the capacity to affirmatively consent to being “used.” That’s her issue with animal products.

            Anyway, during a silly moment during the period of my last milk production / pumping, I was telling her that some women say that BFing burns calories. So she came up with this great business idea:

            We would set up pumping stations for women to freely consent to have their milk pumped, and sell it as a diet aid so they would pay us to come in. Then we would turn the milk into ice cream and sell it to vegans who won’t eat cow milk ice cream but really miss it.

            It does suggest that she thought other vegans would be ok with human milk. We didn’t get very far on the business idea.

          • Fallow
            November 5, 2015 at 10:47 am #

            I am no vegan (too much of a cheese fan), but I don’t think this is a fair characterizarion of the vast majority of vegans I have known. There is a qualitative difference in a mammal being fed its mother’s milk, and the voluntary restrictions of a vegan diet. There isn’t actually a contradicfion or anythig hypocritical about being a breastfeeding vegan. Also: Vegans are like any group of people; they are not all the same. There are lunatics who starve their babies on a nut and berries diet, and then there are all the vegan parents i have known whose parenting choices are within normal bounds.

            In addition. My husband eats meat and i dont, but he is the person in our marriage who likes soy milk. I know that soy products annoy people with anti vegetarian attitudes, but i honestly dont have a clue why. Soy milk is food. You dont have to be a vegetarian to like it, even if the name is not perfectly descriptive.

          • AirPlant
            November 5, 2015 at 10:51 am #

            Baked marinated tofu is OMG so good on pasta. Vegetarian food that isn’t just a bastardization of meat based cooking can be delicious. You just have to come at food for what it is not try to make it what it isn’t.

          • namaste863
            November 5, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

            If he likes soy milk, all the power to him. Far be it from me or anyone else to judge.

          • Megan
            November 5, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

            Thank you for this. I am vegan and get tired of being lumped in with the “crazy vegans.” My husband also eats meat when we go out but we don’t eat meat at home and he loves the meals we make. You are right that you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy plant-based dishes.

          • demodocus
            November 9, 2015 at 12:12 am #

            mmm, spaghetti with marinara….

          • Koshka Mashka
            November 5, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

            They make me angry as well. Cats are obligate carnivores and they need meat. Not to mention that cat food uses leftovers from human meat production so it’s not like anybody kills animals just for cats. Cat food actually saves on landfill space. But really, rabbits are cute too, so why can’t vegans just get rabbits, why do they insist on getting obligate carnivore pets.

          • Mishimoo
            November 4, 2015 at 11:25 pm #

            “My dog hates the vets, so I gave her a whole bottle of rescue remedy. Look how calm she is now, isn’t it amazing?!”

          • Dr Kitty
            November 5, 2015 at 4:52 am #

            There’s a pro-life (they won’t spay pregnant animals), anti vax, anti micro chipping, anti- indoor cats “shelter” near here.
            I use “shelter” loosely as it seems to be a network of animal hoarders who “foster” animals in their homes, and will give you one (because they don’t believe in buying or selling animals) if you ask nicely and sign up to their weird manifesto.

            We decided to go with the chipped, vaxed, wormed kitten from the shelter which made you sign a pledge to spay or neuter.

          • Roadstergal
            November 5, 2015 at 11:25 am #

            Ugh. The shelter we got our puppies from fixes and chips every animal that passes through their doors. They charged a hefty fee for adoption, and I was happy to pay it.

            We have a local woman who used to work for the SPCA; she traps and fixes all of the local feral cats, then releases them back to the wild to help control the feral cat population. (Not to mention the local vole and mouse population.)

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
            November 5, 2015 at 7:56 am #

            I had to explain to my adult daughter that the organic drops she got from the all natural store for calming our dog during storms were mostly ethanolbasically booze. As I was tossing them in the trash

          • Roadstergal
            November 5, 2015 at 11:21 am #

            They stock homeopathic remedies at the checkout counter at the pet stores I go to. It gives me a little stabby pain behind the eyes every time I pick up a bag of leftover animal parts.

          • Koshka Mashka
            November 5, 2015 at 11:50 am #

            I am not an anti-vaxxer nor do I believe in any of the “natural” woo. At the same time, how many indoor-only cats have you seen with Distemper? Especially among those who’s had kitten series and one year booster? Is the risk to an indoor-only cat (who’s had kitten series and a year booster by the way and in light of the studies that shows the immunity duration is far longer than what is recommended) really greater than 1/1000 to 1/10000 risk of fatal cancer? Would any parent vaccinate their child with 1/1000 risk of sarcoma for each vaccination especially if for some reason the child had been confined to home 24/7? And then there are vets who insist on yearly boosters for Distemper (never mind that AAFP recommends every 3 years and cites studies that show the immunity is likely to last much longer and might even be lifelong)? Rabies is a special case as it’s state law, but still, there is a 3-year Purevax Rabies vaccine now available which is both non-adjuvanted (so theoretically has smaller risk of FISS) and is approved for every 3 years, but most of us cannot get it for our pets since the vets don’t offer it yet. Never mind, it’s been available for over a year now. Again, I am disgusted with this woman for letting her child suffer, I am strongly pro-vaccine – have actually been arguing a lot with anti-vaxxers, but there really are many considerations with pets, especially indoor-only cats. Obviously, dogs and cats that go out is a different story entirely, but the booster interval is something that needs to be made more science-based, and vets have to be made to follow the guidelines. A doctor cannot insist on yearly boosters for Tetanus, why is it OK for a vet to insist on yearly boosters for FVRCP?

          • Azuran
            November 5, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

            Different situation calls for different vaccines. I totally agree that not all vaccines should be given every single year to every single animals. There are a lot of factors at play. Which should be discussed with your vet.
            To answer your questions, yes, I have seen strictly indoor cats get distemper or other vaccine preventable diseases. Usually following the owners visiting friends/family who recently bought a kitten who ended up having it. Or good Samaritans who tried to help out a shelter and brought the virus back home or brought back a sickly kitten they found on the street. It’s not that frequent, but can happen.
            Then you have to consider the OTHER diseases included in the vaccine. Distemper isn’t the only one. Sure, distemper every year is not always necessary. But the various agents of feline infectious tracheitis are rampant where I live (we have cases every single day) and for some of them, the protection offered by the vaccine is shorter. Financially, it makes no sense to vet clinics to have 10 different type of each vaccine with various grouping of disease in them based on the individual needs of every pet. Owners will also generally decline antibodies testing because it’s very expensive so you cannot know which vaccines are necessary. If I’m going to give him a shot anyway, might as well booster everything, it’s not going to raise the risk of reaction if they are all in the same shot.
            There is also always a difference between what studies show the vaccine can do and what it has been approved for. If a vaccine is approved for boosters every year and you give it every 2-3 years, even if studies show that it works, any failure of the vaccine will be on the vet’s fault because we did not follow the ‘approved’ use of the vaccine.
            Vaccine manufacturers are working on approving their vaccines for longer use, but it takes a long time. Simply measuring antibodies is not a good enough measure of immunity to approve a vaccine. They have to do real trial, vaccinating pets and then exposing them to the diseases years down the road.
            It also depends on where you live, what you do with your pet and which diseases are most prevalent. Rabies is not mandatory where I live, so we do use the 3 years vaccine. We generally don’t vaccinate indoor cats for rabies unless the owner wants it.

          • Koshka Mashka
            November 5, 2015 at 5:21 pm #

            My vet is actually following AAFP recommendations and is pretty good in considering longer intervals on FVRCP, my only issue with them is that they don’t yet offer 3-year Purevax Rabies. Incidentally, you said you do use 3-year Rabies, but is it 3-year Purevax or 3-year adjuvanted vaccine? If it’s 3-year adjuvanted vaccine then the FISS risk might be higher than with one-year Purevax.

            I do understand that indoor only cats can get diseases from FVRCP, but is the probability really greater that 1/1000 chance of FISS, assuming
            the cat had kitten series and a year booster? Just “I’ve seen indoor cats get it” isn’t enough since other vets saw cats with sarcoma. It’s rare for an indoor cats to get any of these diseases, but possible. It’s rare but possible for a cat to get sarcoma. Do you have any studies that show that it’s more likely for a cat that never goes outside to get these diseases than to get sarcoma?

            My point was though not related to what my vet does as much as statistics that shows that 60% of vets in the US ignore AAFP recommendations and do boosters more often than recommended. There are also vets that insist on FELV for indoor-only cats – I saw one on you tube doing it. A quick google shows that over half of vet practices ignore the guidelines and recommend more frequent boosters. I’ve also read on a comment section in a couple of blogs vets say how they don’t do 3-year intervals because then people wouldn’t come for a yearly checkup. How is this ethical?

          • Azuran
            November 5, 2015 at 6:32 pm #

            The studies so far show 1/1000 to 1/10 000, at school they taught us 1/20 000 which tells us one thing: we definitely need more research into this, such a large interval is meaningless. But getting actual number in veterinary medicine is very hard. We are not centralised in any way so getting any kind of statistic is super hard and most of the time it’s flawed. Most stats will come either from labs or teaching school. There is already selection bias since more serious and complicated cases are the one who end up being sent to those places.

            For example, vets might be more inclined to send suspected injection site sarcoma for analysis in a lab because many vaccine company will pay for the treatment since it’s a vaccine complication. Therefore you have an over-representation.

            As for vet not liking the longer interval. I get it. I do admit it’s hard not to take it into consideration. It’s not very ethical, but it’s not for financial reasons. Sadly, the general population does not believe in the ‘yearly vet exam’ for their pets, especially for cats. 3 years in a cat’s life, especially an older cat’s life, is a freaking long time. If you don’t vaccinate, 99% of people won’t bring their cats in for their examination.
            Pets that are vaccinated live longer healthier life if only because they get to see the vet every once in a while.

            Mainly, we want to be careful. Pet’s vaccine preventable disease and human vaccine preventable disease are not on the same page. A HUGE portion of the pet population is still not vaccinated so you cannot count on herd immunity to protect you in case of vaccine failure. Pet’s disease are a LOT more deadly (Some with as much as 50% of death even WITH treatment. Rabies is 100% deadly and there is no treatment) and they are still very prevalent. killing tens of thousands of pet every single year.
            As more and more studies come out, and as vaccine company have their vaccine approved for longer use, then more and more vet will start using longer booster intervals.

          • Koshka Mashka
            November 6, 2015 at 11:51 am #

            I think that regardless of the reason saying “if we don’t vaccinate, they’d not bring for yearly visits” is still unethical. Aside from the fact that you can always send a card, then say during the visit that you don’t need to vaccinate that year, it’s essentially 1) doing something that doesn’t benefit the pet and has risks for an unrelated reason (even if you think it’s for the best) 2) you are asking a client to pay for an intervention that has no benefit 3) you are lying to your client. Would you like your doctor to insist on yearly Tetanus boosters just so you show up for wellness exams? (I am excluding flu for argument sake, besides I am getting it at work).

            Rabies is kind of a special case because it’s so scary. In my area it’s pretty prevalent, so I do vaccinate my cat – I am paranoid of a bat getting in, but I do wish more vets started offering 3-year Purevax, it’s been available for over a year now. My vet clinic says they want to wait to make sure it’s safe, but I read vets’ complaining it’s too expensive. This part I don’t get. It’s a 3-year vaccine, so to my mind, anything less than 3 times the price is a bargain. This is why by the way I mentioned FVRCP specifically: Rabies is way too scary and is state law in many places; FELV isn’t recommended for indoor cats; this only leaves FVRCP.

            My main problem really is that so many vets ignore the guidelines and insist on shorter booster interval than recommended; also on trying to scare people with indoor cats into getting non-core vaccines. The 3-year guidelines have been in existence since the 90s, and even now over half of the vets ignore tham.

          • Azuran
            November 6, 2015 at 12:56 pm #

            Vets do have a lot of freedom to decide what they feel is the safest for the pets they treat. They don’t really do 1 year vaccination out of greed. Most vets who give boosters every year will vaccinate their own pets at the same interval. It really depends on what vaccine you give and what is most prevalent were you work. Regardless of what studies show, not all vaccine are officially approved for 3 year booster use. If you don’t follow the ‘approved use’ you become responsible for any and all failure of immunity.
            I did have a case of Parvo on a vaccinated dog. The vaccination protocol followed the ‘guidelines’ but not the approved use on the actual vaccine. The company refused to pay for the treatment. It’s something we do have to take into consideration.

            Mainly you should have a discussion with your vet if you want to adapt your vaccination shedule. When a clinic has multiple vets, usually all of them will tend to work out a ‘clinic protocol’ for basic things like vaccination (having 4 different vets proposing 4 differents vaccination protocol with 10 diffent vaccine in the same clinic will cause ridiculous amounts of confusion.) So each clinic will usually have a basic vaccination procedure, but if you talk with them, they totally do adapt it to individual situation.

            Seriously. I would love it if more of my clients actually showed 10% of the interest you have. Most of my clients don’t even know what they vaccinate for. And after I explain it all and give the shot they will answer with: So this shot will protect him agaisnt fleas right?

          • Koshka Mashka
            November 6, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

            LOL – shot protecting against fleas. I do realize most people don’t know or care. As I said, I’ve had no problems with my own vet – other than not offering 3-year Purevax yet, but I do understand the issues of the “neweness” of the vaccine, and even the cost i.e. while I can easily pay 3 times the cost of one year Purevax, others might not be able to. My problem is more general – the “if we don’t do yearly shots people will not come for exams” logic; and the fact that many practices still ignore not just the guidelines but for that matter manufacturer recommendations.

          • Azuran
            November 6, 2015 at 4:31 pm #

            If only the anti-flea shot was the worst.
            I seriously had owners ask me if it was normal that their dog’s penis got bigger when they touched it………more than once. We joke sometimes about putting cameras into exam rooms and starting a reality TV show or something. It would be hillarious.

            I couldn’t tell you about the price difference. I’m only an employee in my clinic so I’m not the one making decision on what vaccine we get and I have no idea how much they cost.

            I agree with you. The ‘people will not come’ logic is wrong. But changing mentality will take time. The ‘yearly vaccine booster’ is still what’s being taught in school.

          • Kazia
            November 4, 2015 at 9:44 pm #

            I still can’t believe that some people refuse to vaccinate their animals for rabies. RABIES! Ugh, poor pets.

          • Fallow
            November 5, 2015 at 6:45 am #

            Not just poor pets. Poor anyone who came in contact with those pets and possibly ends up getting an amazingly expensive course of rabies shots due to these people. I’ve had the shots myself; they are not any more painful than a typical flu shot, but the circumstances are often traumatic in themselves. That’s what anti-vaxx pet owners are deciding it’s acceptable. They are not just people who don’t care about their pets – people who will not vaccinate their animals are a public health problem for other pets and for humans. Part of the reasons rabies rates are low among pets is because of the shot program, not because rabies went away. (Sound like any other diseases we know?)

            Pet anti-vaxxers who won’t vaccinate against rabies are also breaking various laws in the US. If I knew one of these people, I would call the authorities on them. I have dealt with our own local Animal Control a few times, and they are not kidding around about rabies shots.

          • Koshka Mashka
            November 5, 2015 at 11:38 am #

            I am as disgusted with this woman and anti-vaxxers in general as you are, but there are genuine concerns about over-vaccination of pets these days even among people who are strongly pro-vaccines and are fully vaccinated themselves. There are questions about interval between boosters for example with research showing longer interval than the one recommended for many vaccines, and vets giving boosters more often than recommended sometimes admitting they do it just because they want you to come for a yearly checkup – I actually read vets’ admitting it, how is it even ethical? How would you feel if your doctor told you he wants to give you Tetanus booster every year?

            It’s especially the case with indoor-only cats when the probability of cats that never go out catching anything is virtually non-existent and there is a small but real risk of FISS (Feline Injection Site Sarcoma). Imagine your doctor telling you before vaccinating your child: there is between 1/1000 and 1/10000 vaccinations risk that your child would get a fatal cancer, but hey we give vaccination in the leg, this way if cancers develops, then the leg could be cut off. This is how it is with cats. Now if your cat never goes out, this small risk of sarcoma may just be greater than the risk of the cat catching something. Rabies is a special case as it’s just too scary, which is why I still vaccinate on an off chance a bat gets into the house or one of my kitties escaping, but I am afraid of sarcoma every time.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            November 5, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

            I’ve often wondered, though, how many of these adverse vaccine reactions are the result of the vaccine itself or because a lot of populations of dogs and cats are the result of unethical breeding/being inbred.

            For example German Shepherds have a lot of problems. Blood clotting disorders, seizures, the usual large dog risk of hip dysplasia, and the bane of any owner, early cancer.

            A lot of dog breeds, especially ones that end up popular for a short time like Dalmatians, end up with a lot of nastiness popping up due to unethical breeding. Most of those popular breeds if you don’t get one from a very good pedigree are very prone to getting cancer and dying young.

            Now I’m definitely not a doctor or vet, but I’d start to wonder if the immune systems of these dogs are a bit messed up if their bodies aren’t able to suppress early cancers. I wouldn’t be surprised if the animals that have adverse vaccine reactions have underlying issues that the vaccine unfortunately exacerbated.

            I don’t think that means we stop vaccinating animals. I have friends that fostered kittens and puppies until they were old enough/healthy enough to go to the shelter and there are a lot that don’t make it. One girl in town takes in even the sickest kittens and she holds them until their last breath. A lot of them do have symptoms of distemper but I don’t know if that’s what it is that these kittens are catching.

            Also seeing puppies that were brought to the vet or the shelter too late and are dying from parvo and all you can do is try to comfort them until they make a miraculous rebound or get to the point where it’s more humane to put them down. Just hearing the shelter volunteers talk about it makes me tear up.

            So it’s like children. There is a chance that vaccines could leave them injured. It’s not a very high risk but there is a risk. And it’s likely they won’t ever encountered something like diphtheria or pertussis. But then they do and then what? Be forced to put down your cat because it’s too dangerous to let them live to spread FIV or FLV to the population.

            So two big things.

            One Is that even pets rely on herd immunity. That’s why we don’t see as much distemper or parvo.

            Two, unethical breeders need to be held accountable for doing things like breeding son to mother, breeding merle to merle, or white and blue eyed animals that are deaf as a result. Encourage people to adopt out of shelters instead of putting money into the pockets of puppy mills.

            Someone dumped a one and a half year old Great Pyrenees that I’m pretty sure is pure bred for the shelter here to pick up. She’s mine now. The shelter didn’t ask for anything except a suggested donation. I gave the suggested donation of $35. After all, she’d been completely vaccinated and they had to shave her to get all the foxtails out of her matted fur and dig them out of her skin. I could at least recoup part of that for them.

            There’s a lot of good dogs that are dumped that are mutts. My favorite dog growing up was a mutt. She was a big, big girl and lived to be sixteen with very few health problems. Hybrid vigor is awesome.

            I’ll get off my soap box now… I just really like animals and think a lot of them deserve better.

          • Roadstergal
            November 5, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

            Long live mutts! ….literally.

          • Koshka Mashka
            November 5, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

            With cats, from what I read (not a vet of a doctor), it’s not really seems to be related to breeding – alley cats are just as susceptible as purebreds, but the way cats immune system works. Cats seem to be very sensitive to local inflammation. FISS (Feline Injection Site Sarcoma) used to be called Feline Vaccine-associated sarcoma, but it was renamed is that it seems like other injections can lead to it as well e.g. some steroids or antibiotics, though much rarer, there was one case of it from microchip as well (though given how many microchips there are, it’s rare). This vet (no, I don’t know him, just wanted a link now): http://speedwayvet.com/feline-injection-site-sarcoma/ seems to give a good up-to-date summary.

            As I said, vaccines are important, but I think that there need to be real up to date guidelines that are based solely on research on how long the immunity lasts and not politics or finances or “if we do it X years, the pet owners will not come for yearly checkup” considerations, and that all vets need to follow science-based guidelines, they shouldn’t be optional. Additionally, I think the pets’ lifestyle is important e.g. the probability that indoor-only cats catch distemper may exist, but it may be far smaller than the risk of FISS. The state laws about Rabies should also consider the cats’ lifestyle in recommendations and maybe allow less frequent boosters for indoor cats – some protection still needed probably in case a cat escapes, though this often depends on cat’s personality. There also need to be more studies on how long the immunity really lasts. Also, given that now 3-year non-adjuvanted vaccine is available, why so few vets offer it? I heard that it’s more expensive, well, I’ll pay 3 times the price of one year Purevax, but my clinic doesn’t have it, and as far as I know neither does any clinic in the area.

            The main thing though – vaccines are important for both humans and pets, but there is also an issue with overvaccination in pets with vets ignoring the guidelines and guidelines themselves not being fully based on science.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            November 5, 2015 at 5:24 pm #

            I don’t know. I’ve reclassified “indoor” cats to be cats that just haven’t been fast/agile enough to make it out the door. Everyone I know with “inside” cats has had at least one extended escape episode.

            Or you could just have the problem my parents did and even if you install the cat door that uses magnets to activate the door, the raccoons go “that’s cute” and rip the whole damn thing out of the wall and proceed to invade the bedroom. They cary all sorts of nasty crap…

          • Koshka Mashka
            November 5, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

            If your parents had a cat door than they had an indoor-outdoor cat, so it’s a different story entirely.

            For strictly indoor cats, it happens, but I think the risk goes down with age. Kittens and younger cats tend to want to slip out more, older cats who’ve been inside for a while tend to be more afraid. It also depends on the cat – my previous cat run away and hid under the bed whenever the front door was opened. In 14.5 years I’ve had her she’d never been outside. My current two are young and curious, and a girl did slip out once when my 84-year old father was bringing groceries. But after an hour or so under the bush, she came home (and attacked her brother…). Now they seem to be getting more cautious. They are current on vaccinations, but my vet follows AAFP protocols as far as booster schedule and indoor cats, and I am fine with it (except for I really wish they offer 3-year Purevax Rabies that Merial made available in summer of 2014). When the time comes for the 3-year FVRCP, we’ll see.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            November 5, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

            For the raccoons I mostly mentioned that because if a raccoon wants something bad enough, it’ll find a way to get it. And they really, REALLY like cat food. Even a partially open window with a screen doesn’t do much to stop them if they can get their little hands close enough to rip the screen.

            They’re tenacious little shits where I grew up. Probably almost anyone in the area has a raccoon story to tell and they aren’t always very pretty.

            I don’t trust raccoons to not infect my cats somehow. Call me paranoid but I’ve have seen some shit with these little monsters. Every year the winters are mild they just more and more desperate to get into you stuff from being starved.

          • Koshka Mashka
            November 6, 2015 at 11:32 am #

            The raccoons cannot get inside unless you have a cat door – in which case all bets are off, or unless you leave your door open. I’ve not heard of raccoons jumping and getting inside through the screen.

            Rabies is state law, so this is this (I am law abiding), but a regular vaccine is approved for 3-years. Unless the vet is using 1-year Purevax as mine does which may actually be safer than 3-year adjuvanted vaccine, there is no need for yearly boosters. I am also going to keep bugging my clinic to start offering 3-year Purevax even if it’s expensive. I don’t care, I am current paying 40 per cat for 1-year Purevax, to me anything under triple of that would be a bargain to get a 3-year version. FELV is only recommended for cats that go outside. It’s spread by close personal contact, sharing of food etc. The probability of an indoor cat engaging in that close contact is slim to none which is why it’s a non-core vaccine and not recommended for indoor cats. Sure FELV is scary, but is the chance of your indoor cat engaging in close personal contact with an outdoor cat really greater than 1/1000 risk of FISS? FELV vaccine is actually most implicated in FISS, so for FELV vaccine the risk might be higher.
            FVRCP can be spread easier, but again, a cat that had kitten series and a yearly booster may have many years worth of protection. AAFP recommends every 3 years, but they say for many components protection lasts longer, might even be lifetime. Do humans need boosters for MMR every year? The only viral vaccine that requires yearly booster is a flu and that is because the virus mutates so much. So why cats require boosters more often? Then there are some vets that ignore the guidelines and insist on giving boosters more often than recommended 3-year interval often for reasons that have nothing to do with science (not my vet, I am talking in general).

          • Azuran
            November 5, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

            In veterinary medecine we are actually in a very weird place. We have, at the same time, a problem of ‘over’ and ‘under’ vaccination.

            There is little to no actual numbers on the actually proportion of vaccinated pets. Were I work, it’s somewhere around 50% to 60 at best. Nowhere near enough to have a proper heard immunity. Especially with how contagious parvo and distemper are or how long parvo can actually last in the environnement.

            The pets that are vaccinated are probably over vaccinated for some of the diseases. Mainly parvo and distemper. Vaccine companies are working on having their vaccine approved for longer booster intervals. It’s coming, but it’s a process that takes years, and since the core vaccine are actually protective avainst 3-5 diseases, they need to test the immunity for all of those.

            Simply measuring antigens is not good enough, we do not know with certainty at what number of antigen (if there even IS an actually number) you stop being protected. And with diseases as prevalent, contagious and deadly as parvo and distemper you need your long term protection to be practivally flawless. Especially when the diseases are still everywhere, I see cases of parvo and feline distemper every single week. Kennel cough and feline infectious tracheitis are daily things. We haven’t had a case of canine distemper in the last 10 years where I work, but from what I understand, it’s still very prevalent in the USA. Those disease are nowhere near being controled, which explains the veterinarians caution with spacing vaccines before it’s definitely proven to be just as effective.

          • Dana Carpender
            November 4, 2015 at 6:44 pm #

            I thought of this. I suspect, however, that since her, uh, revelation re naturopathy came with her first pregnancy that she herself had *been vaccinated*.

          • November 4, 2015 at 10:37 pm #

            It does my dark and vindictive soul good to see all these other treacherous souls posting.

          • Sarah
            November 5, 2015 at 3:25 am #

            Oh no, she’ll be vaccinated. They usually are.

          • Dinolindor
            November 5, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

            Eff that. My compassionate streak wishes she caught it.

          • Guest
            November 5, 2015 at 10:41 pm #

            Oh she would have for sure. My niece who was born at home was so jaundiced (it seriously scared me how yellow she was), but my sister in law treated it with essential oils and sunlight. A few days later when said sister in law had some post birth complications, though, she made sure to high tail it to a doctor.

          • Sue
            November 4, 2015 at 6:52 pm #

            All that “conquering” and “triumphing” smacks of radical-NCB language – the faux achievement of resisting “intervention”, despite rational advice, and seekign out only the advice that backs your own choices.

        • Sue
          November 4, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

          “My kids didn’t die from whooping cough” is not a story of success.

          Or even “My kids had longer and worse cases of whooping cough than most, and all three got it, but at least their gut flora didn’t get permanently ruined – even if maybe their lungs did.”

          • Roadstergal
            November 4, 2015 at 7:02 pm #

            I can’t imagine those enemas did their gut flora any favors.

          • Sue
            November 4, 2015 at 8:06 pm #

            On the contrary, Roadstergal, they clearly “reset” their bowel flora…or something…

    • MaineJen
      November 4, 2015 at 9:43 pm #

      And the irony is that, instead of making her kids “stronger,” the prolonged untreated infection(s) have probably weakened their lungs and made them more susceptible to illness in the future. Stellar job, Heather. Really first rate.

  25. Kelly
    November 4, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

    I bet part of the problem was that she was making them sicker with her “cures.” If she is giving the kids enemas then they are losing even more fluids and their bodies are even weaker which makes it harder to fight off an infection. I am not even a doctor and I can figure this out.

  26. Dr Kitty
    November 4, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

    I’m in the process of organising childcare for my son, so that it is all sorted out before I go back to work.

    One childminder I met told me that she’d had a mother who wanted her to rock a 14month old to sleep for every nap, lift her immediately if she cried, do baby-led weaning with no spoon feeding or adult assistance to eat, oh yes, and the baby had never drunk from anything except the breast, so could she also teach the baby to use a cup?

    This is a childminder who already cares for two toddlers, and very sensibly advised that mother to look elsewhere for childcare.

    • AirPlant
      November 4, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

      True question, do breastfeeding mothers legitimately drop their kids off at the first day of daycare with them having never given a bottle or cup before? I mean, I am currently watching my coworker attempt to teach his five month old to use a bottle for the very first time and the baby is having none of it so I might have an inflated idea of how tricky transitioning can be, but that just seems like a recipe for disaster.

      • Dr Kitty
        November 4, 2015 at 2:41 pm #

        It ended up being that way for my # 1, who refused bottles until her first full day with the Childminder at six months, when she realised that there was no alternative. I blame the fact that she didn’t get her first bottle until she was six weeks.

        #2 has had weekly bottles of EBM from 2 weeks without issues.

        • AirPlant
          November 4, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

          What my friends have mostly said is that newborns will pretty much suck on anything and if you intend to combo feed at any point start giving them a bottle a day (give or take) pretty much right off the bat to create the bottle=food association.
          I kind of secret-think that the wait 6-12 weeks before introducing a bottle thing is a load of hooey, but the plural of anecdote is not statistics and I have been incorrect enough times to know when not to speak too loudly on a topic. 🙂

          • Bugsy
            November 4, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

            We gave #1 his first bottle of pumped milk when he was a week or two old due to my desperate need to sleep; everything told me that I was screwing him up for life by creating nipple confusion, but I needed to sleep. Talk about guilt over doing so, though.

            From that point on, my husband gave him one bottle every evening. Little man always preferred the boob, but also happily chugged the pumped milk. Add to it that my husband very much enjoyed being able to share in feeding our son, and we consider it a success overall.

            You can bet we’ll be starting #2 on a bottle pretty quickly, too.

          • AirPlant
            November 4, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

            That just sounds lovely, it paints such a beautiful picture. For the record I have never actually heard of a baby who nurses well quitting cold turkey after getting a bottle, only kids that didn’t eat well at the breast realizing that they liked eating and bottles were the best way to get there.

          • Bugsy
            November 4, 2015 at 4:13 pm #

            That’s a great point. I don’t mean to say that what worked for us would work across the board, just that we gave #1 a bottle out of desperation (and against all lactation advice we’d received)…and the whole idea of “nipple confusion” that we’d been so scared of ended up being the complete opposite of our situation. Makes me mad that we even remotely bought into the hype (and guilt).

          • crazy grad mama
            November 4, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

            Is there any scientific backing for nipple confusion being a thing, or is it just another breastfeeding boogeyman?

          • Bugsy
            November 4, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

            My guess is that it’s a boogeyman, but I have no evidence other than personal anecdote…

          • Roadstergal
            November 4, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

            I mean – I can totally see a baby who’s having troubles nursing or not getting enough that way refusing the boob in favor of a bottle. But that’s… being-fed-confusion?

          • Wren
            November 4, 2015 at 4:34 pm #

            My own anecdotes:

            Baby 2 never, ever took a bottle, absolutely refusing to drink anything from one, whether pumped milk or formula, for up to 7 hours away from me. We first tried her with one about 5 weeks, and I just plain gave up trying around 8 months.

            Baby 1 would take one as long as I wasn’t nearby then quit nursing all at once at 9 months and refused to ever nurse again, despite happily drinking pumped milk from a bottle. A true tongue tie was finally diagnosed about a month after he quit nursing and probably did explain the issues we had for the whole 9 months.

            On the other hand, my nephew managed to quite happily swap between bottle and breast from 6 weeks to 2 years.

            I don’t think “nipple confusion” is really a thing, but I do think some children have a definite preference. When that preference is for the bottle, it’s explained as “nipple confusion”. When it is for the breast, no one seems to have bothered to come up with a term.

          • Bugsy
            November 4, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

            Yep. The terminology of “confusion” is an interesting one – implies that the baby would do better if he/she knew better. Not that the child could potentially have a preference away from the breast.

          • Roadstergal
            November 4, 2015 at 4:42 pm #

            That’s a good point I hadn’t thought of. “Confusion” does indeed neatly divert the idea that a kid could have a legitimate preference. Poor dear is just confused, like now-legendary ‘Roger Fuckebythenavele.’

          • Bugsy
            November 4, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

            Well, all of us non-attachment parents are just confused, aren’t we really!? 🙂

            (Sorry, cynicism kicks into high gear as I keep sitting here waiting for labor to start!!)

          • AirPlant
            November 4, 2015 at 7:59 pm #

            Judging by the amount of AP lingo claiming that their way is “instinctive” apparently the rest if us are all just confused. I don’t know if my instincts are broken but they tell me pretty clearly that babysitters and strollers are the way to be.

          • Bugsy
            November 4, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

            Yep, we’re confused…or perhaps broken. We’re huge fans of strollers and babysitters ourselves. 🙂

          • Who?
            November 4, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

            My son never took a bottle either, not that we tried v hard or often, and went straight to a cup well before he was a year.

            The daughter was given a supplementary bottle every day after about week 1, and was fine with it.

            I agree with the comments below-the discussion around ‘confusion’ seems to refer to babies who seem to prefer the bottle to the breast, with the alternative being considered ‘normal’. I was always told that babies are basically lazy and bottle feeding is easier for them, therefore they will prefer it. Which seems to me to make babies smart, not lazy-who wouldn’t go for the easy food-but then I’m probably coming at it from the wrong angle.

          • AirPlant
            November 4, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

            I think the term I have heard used is “Deeply bonded and only wants his mother” but it could be that my facebook friends are particularly smug.

          • Wren
            November 4, 2015 at 5:22 pm #


          • Sarah
            November 5, 2015 at 3:34 am #

            That sounds awful.

          • CharlotteB
            November 4, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

            I have no idea, but yeah, baby got bottles pretty much right away, plus I used a nipple shield, plus we used a pacifier–so basically, I think he got used to silicone. I stopped using the nipple shield at around 8 weeks, and he kept nursing until I decided I was done at 10? 11? months, and drinking from the bottle. He’s almost 18 mo, and drinks from cups, straws, bottles, and still LOVES his binky.

            I think they tell you to hold off on bottles “until nursing is well established” in the hopes that baby won’t take a bottle. It’s totally not scientific, but the people I know who didn’t give bottles early had babies who didn’t take bottles easily.

          • AirPlant
            November 4, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

            I get that feeling too, like they are trying to sabotage bottle feeding on purpose and I just can’t wrap my head around WHY. Like it feeds their self esteem to have a baby only want the boob? Or if we are being malicious minded it forces women to continue breastfeeding because their kid literally won’t eat?

          • the wingless one
            November 4, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

            I didn’t really get to breastfeed my son until we brought him home at 3wks. Before that he was getting botles and pacifiers up the whazoo in the NICU. He loved breastfeeding right away (no nipple confusion – my nurse said nipple confusion is a load of hooey) and for a couple months when I was on maternity leave he started refusing bottles. Then we finally figured out that he liked the milk heated up to boob temp and then he was happy to drink it from the bottle. I had to wean him at 10months for my own health reasons and he wasn’t very happy about it. Anyway, not sure what my point is other than that babies (or at least mine) can start on a bottle and still transition easily to nursing.

          • Bugsy
            November 4, 2015 at 8:24 pm #

            You had an awesome nuse!

          • yentavegan
            November 4, 2015 at 4:56 pm #

            I attended a lecture years ago where nipple confusion was identified as a problem only for Western Mothers. The rest of the world has no problem feeding the baby from the bottle and the breast.

          • crazy grad mama
            November 4, 2015 at 4:14 pm #

            We heard that 3-6 weeks was the sweet spot for bottle introduction and can report a 100% success rate from our sample size of one.

        • FangedFaerie
          November 4, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

          My personal experience with “nipple confusion” was that my kids apparently changed the way they held their mouth/lips/tongue for a bottle vs. from me. All three were checked for tongue-tie and other oral issues, and none had anything discernably wrong.

          My oldest hated a bottle, and let everyone in the house know it. She grudgingly accepted one at a little under 3 months when I left for a couple of hours for chores. When she fed directly again, (while before we had had no problems) feeding her was excruciating. It took almost a week to get comfortable feeding her without having to adjust her latch 3+ times per session.

          After the same thing happened with my second kid, I gave the whole thing up.

          But I had the luxury of being a stay at home mother at the time.

        • Grace Adieu
          November 5, 2015 at 3:56 am #

          Mine had bottles of EBM from early on and then suddenly started refusing them at about 10 weeks. He was in full time daycare from 6 months and still refused the bottle for at least another 6 weeks until we worked out that he would drink from a rigid sippy cup (but not from a soft teat or spout), as long as it was formula (which he’d never had before) and not EBM.

        • (No longer) Pregnant Guest
          November 5, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

          Weekly bottles as in once a week? Is that enough to make sure they keep accepting bottles? My first refused a bottle entirely (also tried for the first time at 6 weeks), so with # 2 I’ve been really trying to give him a bottle every other day since we started at 3 weeks. But I have crazy over supply that somehow doesn’t respond well to a pump, and I’d like to get a freezer stash started, so cutting back on bottle feeds would make our lives easier. Not willing to risk having to cup feed this one, though, since I’m going back to work at 3 months.

          • Michele
            November 5, 2015 at 1:44 pm #

            Once or twice a week was enough for #2 while I was on maternity leave. It almost always had to be someone else giving it to him though, if I tried to give him the bottle he just looked at me like I was stupid and would fuss until I opened the buffet. I went back to work at 12 weeks and he didn’t have a problem switching back and forth. YBMV of course.

          • nomofear
            November 6, 2015 at 12:07 am #

            I read somewhere that breast massage while pumping helps a ton. While in that rabbit hole (happens to me a lot on the Internet), there was a lady who eschewed the pump altogether. She had better results with 100% manual stimulation than she ever did with a pump. I think I was looking up how to manually express milk because I was too lazy to unpack the pump, and my milk had recently come in, and when I went to take a shower I saw an angry red streak on one boob, so I knew I needed to get things moving to avoid mastitis. Might be worth a googling

      • Allie P
        November 5, 2015 at 9:30 am #

        My kid had the occasional bottle for the first month or so of her life, but then my breasts decided I was a milk factory so that stopped, and now she fusses if we try to give her now. Now that I’m trying to get outside care for her I have the occasional freak out that she’ll refuse the bottle. Then I remember that no baby ever died of starvation with a bottle at hand. If the 5 month old is hungry enough, he’ll take the bottle.

    • SporkParade
      November 4, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

      Wait, this 14-year-old wasn’t having solids or drinking water yet?

      • Nick Sanders
        November 4, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

        Month, not year. 😛 But that still sounds like kinda a long time, from what little I know about babies.

        • SporkParade
          November 4, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

          That’s what I meant. And yes, the general rule is to introduce solids by 6 months and water shortly thereafter.

          • Nick Sanders
            November 4, 2015 at 2:36 pm #

            Yeah, but the image of a 14 year old who hasn’t been weened yet, even onto water, is just too grotesquely fascinating to pass up. I wonder what kind of uranium-boob-with-sparkly-bizmuth-nipples trophy you get from the extended breastfeeding club for achieving it?

      • Dr Kitty
        November 4, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

        14 months.
        Apparently only drinking breastmilk, and baby-led weaning with finger foods.
        The mother didn’t want the childminder to feed the baby, just to put a variety of foods in front of her, and if she didn’t pick it up and eat it herself, just to throw it away rather than feeding it to her. Other BLW mums had been happy for the childminder to feed the kids rather than have them go hungry, but not this one.

        She looked rather relieved when I said that if we decided it was the right fit I was sure my kiddo would fit himself into her routine and that I’d be sending bottles of EBM, which kiddo already takes, and pots of baby food which she could feed him.

        • Wren
          November 4, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

          To be fair, that was my son’s approach to solids. Turns out he just really hated pureed anything, and still does, with just one exception. Parsnip, apple and pea was apparently awesome. If anyone had been willing to battle the food into him, I probably would have been fine with that though.

          • Megan
            November 4, 2015 at 9:19 pm #

            My daughter is this way too. Initially ate purées but then went on “strike” and from then on would only eat finger foods. So we inadvertantly did baby led weaning. Though at least since it was her choice she never went hungry!

          • KarenJJ
            November 5, 2015 at 4:22 am #

            My eldest was like this. Refused purees and wanted finger food. I ended up spreading the purees that I’d made or bought onto toast fingers for her to chomp on. My youngest loved being spoon fed and even at 3yo would sometimes expect someone to spoon food into him.

          • Amy M
            November 5, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

            We fed purees at first, and then gradually introduced finger foods, and eventually dropped the purees. I thought a large part of the purees was 1)allowing their digestive systems to adjust for new food, 2) allowing the babies to get used to eating something other than liquid and 3)make sure they don’t have any obvious allergies. I just don’t get the big deal here–if purees work for your baby, great, if finger foods first works better, do that. Who cares if the first veggie eaten was mushed up or picked up?

          • Megan
            November 5, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

            They frame it as a “baby will choose when he/she is ready” thing, but I really think it’s more about lengthening breastfeeding, since the people who seem so bent on it are often (though obviously not always) the ones who are very pro-breastfeeding.

          • Megan
            November 5, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

            (Like Mayim Bialik who had her son breastfeed exclusively, with nothing else until something like 22 months)

          • nomofear
            November 5, 2015 at 11:58 pm #

            Ooooh thx for that. I’ll try it. My seven month old is very particular about which purees are acceptable from the spoon, but even if she likes it, it’s slow going. Give it to her in one of the foil bags with a spout to sucks on, she chows down indiscriminately. Solid food from my plate, she tries to steal. I gave her a pickle spear the other day thinking we’d get to chuckle at her expression – well you would have thought it was candy. She demolished it. Anyway, now I have a cabinet full of jars that she’s not keen on, but I bet your toast trick will take care of them!

          • Sarah
            November 5, 2015 at 3:32 am #

            Same. I have a healthy BLW scepticism, and a baby who absolutely refuses to be spoonfed. Not my choice, but nothing I can do about it either, other that give her stuff to feed herself with. Never seems like much is getting in, but judging by the nappies it must be. We don’t need to use childcare outside the family for now, I’m not sure how they’d manage the food if she did. I’d be perfectly happy for a childminder to feed my baby. She, however, would scream like she was being murdered.

            None of those things Dr K mentions are bad in themselves, of course. They’re just not massively compatible with being in a childcare setting with other children. When I only had one, I used to pick her up whenever she cried, because she wanted picking up and the noise did my head in. It’s easy when you’re one on one.

        • Mel
          November 5, 2015 at 11:45 am #

          God, I hope the first toddler doesn’t have any fine motor deficiencies.

      • RMY
        November 4, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

        I wonder what crazy boobs/nipple gems and/or precious metal combo you’d get for fourteen years.

    • Montserrat Boanco
      November 4, 2015 at 6:21 pm #

      Well, I can tell where that approach would have led with my son, let’s say he is FF for this purpose, because my milk amount was very low and he self-weaned after 6 months.

      Baby goes to childminder, happily eats a bottle of two, takes some food, puts it in his mouth and almost chokes and pukes aaaaaalllll over the place. At 13 months it is the first time he did not pke after eating some bread…

      At least he likes pureed foods.

    • Dana Carpender
      November 4, 2015 at 6:48 pm #

      Ah, yes, another Dr. Sears advocate.

  27. Lemongrass
    November 4, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    On top of all this, she took all her kids out for at least the first 10 days of their cough (it’s most contagious the first 14 days) because it was “unrealistic” to expect her to stay home with 3 kids.

    ” How long did you keep each child strictly home during this process?
    Each child was kept home for two week time periods, three different times during this process. This occurred about day 10-day 21 as these were the time when symptoms were the worst. The thought that I could have had my three young children home for 6 months straight and never go anywhere with them during this time period is simply unrealistic. And the truth of the matter is – the coughing wasn’t continuous, it was at most 20x an hour and in the minimal days it was once or twice every hour – with no other symptoms. Clearly this was not a reason to keep them home.”

    • demodocus
      November 4, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

      20 times an hour is once every 3 minutes.
      That is not a small amount of coughing.

      • Grace Adieu
        November 5, 2015 at 4:02 am #

        Especially considering how long each cough lasts.

    • Megan
      November 4, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

      “The thought that I could have had my three young children home for 6 months straight and never go anywhere with them during this time period is simply unrealistic.”
      That’s why you vaccinate. If you aren’t prepared to quarantine your kids when they get a VPD, then VACCINATE. Fool…

    • lilin
      November 4, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

      But what am I supposed to DOOOOOO?
      It’s inconvenient for meeeeeeeee!

      Interesting that she’s only willing to accept inconvenience if it feeds her ego by allowing her to play martyr. If inconvenience is just shitty and boring and doesn’t allow her to show off, never mind.

      She just keeps getting worse, as a human being.

    • Bugsy
      November 4, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

      …and didn’t she make a separate reference to how she was able to treat her kids’ illness and really focus on them because she was primarily home with her kids (as opposed to all of those (pathetic) working parents who put kids in day care)? To add to it, her kids are homeschooled…shouldn’t be too hard to keep them home.

      As a SAHM myself, all I see is that she reeks of hypocrisy. If my son is sick, he stays home with me. Activities and playdates are cancelled, and I figure out how to juggle in errands and such. No, it’s not easy, but it’s reality. But then again, I also wouldn’t be comfortable letting him suffer through 6 months of an illness without any medical attention.

      (Never mind coughing 20x per hour? That’s once every 3 minutes! Pretty darn close to continuous, if you ask me.)

      • lilin
        November 4, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

        Well, she’s proven that she’s pretty much immune to other people’s suffering.

        • Roadstergal
          November 4, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

          She had the vaccine for that?

      • Angharad
        November 4, 2015 at 10:24 pm #

        Sometimes they could breathe for up to an hour straight! Clearly nothing to worry about.

    • Dr Kitty
      November 4, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

      Pertussis is infectious until the end of the third week of the paroxysmal stage.
      Or after 5 days of antibiotics.
      It has nothing to do with how much they cough, but whether they are still infectious.
      If quarantining her children appropriately was too inconvenient, antibiotics were the best option to make it more convenient.

      Did Heather tell anyone she was around that her kids had pertussis?

      Or did she figure that either the contacts were vaccinated and immune, or she was doing them a favour by allowing them to get natural immunity too?

      If she still sent the kids to school and daycare and birthday parties and what not without letting other parents know about the pertussis, she’s an even more terrible person than I thought.

      Other parents should have the option to decide whether or not to expose their kids to pertussis by withdrawing them from contact with her kids.
      They should also have had the information in order to seek post exposure prophylaxis after known exposure or ensuring that the other families knew that it might be pertussis and to seek prompt treatment if their kids develop symptoms.

      Do you think she told the parents of the kids her children came into contact with? Because that would have been the decent thing to do.

      Certainly, the gymnastics teacher should have barred the kids from the class for an appropriate time period if they knew about the diagnosis, which suggests that they weren’t made aware of it.

      • kellymbray
        November 4, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

        “Did Heather tell anyone she was around that her kids had pertussis?”

        Say, like the pregnant women she was around……

        • demodocus
          November 4, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

          Heaven knows a regular cold virus can kick a pregnant woman’s butt. …and toddlerboy is currently coughing up a storm. 🙁

      • Lemongrass
        November 4, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

        Anti-vaxers on another site are claiming that prophylactic antibiotics wouldn’t have helped the other two kids and are citing this “”Thirteen trials with 2197 participants met the inclusion criteria: 11 trials investigated treatment regimens; two investigated prophylaxis regimens. The quality of the trials was variable. For eradicating Bordetella pertussis (B. pertussis) from the nasopharynx, short-term antibiotics (azithromycin for three to five days, or clarithromycin or erythromycin for seven days) were as effective as long-term (erythromycin for 10 to 14 days) (risk ratio (RR) 1.01; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.98 to 1.04), but had fewer side effects (RR 0.66; 95% CI 0.52 to 0.83). Trimethoprim/sulphamethoxazole for seven days was also effective. Nor were there differences in clinical outcomes or microbiological relapse between short and long-term antibiotics. For preventing infection by treating contacts older than six months of age, antibiotics did not significantly improve clinical symptoms, nor the number of cases developing culture-positive B. pertussis. Side effects were reported with antibiotics and they varied from one antibiotic to another.Authors’ conclusions

        Although antibiotics were effective in eliminating B. pertussis, they did not alter the subsequent clinical course of the illness. There is insufficient evidence to determine the benefits of prophylactic treatment of pertussis contacts. ” http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004404.pub3/abstract

        • Azuran
          November 4, 2015 at 1:58 pm #

          But even if ‘prophylactic’ treatment is not helpful. That does not excuse not treating actually sick children.

          • Lemongrass
            November 4, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

            True, but I’m just wondering why even the CDC recommends it if there isn’t good evidence that it even works?

          • splatter
            November 4, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

            My guess:

            The Cochrane review includes two studies of antibiotic prophylaxis for household contacts. One study (Halperin SA, Bortolussi R, Langley JM, Eastwood BJ, De Serres G. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of erythromycin estolate chemoprophylaxis for household contacts of children with culture-positive Bordetella pertussis infection. Pediatrics. 1999;104(4):e42.) does show erythromycin prevents culture positive pertussis in household contacts. (The other study is inconclusive.)

            The problem the Cochrane reviewers had with the Halperin study was that a lot of the contacts in the study still self-reported cough symptoms that in some cases resembled whooping cough, even though they were culture negative. The CDC came to the conclusion that reducing culture positive pertussis meant that prophylaxis worked. The CDCs interpretation makes more sense to

            The Cochran reviewers conclusion might make more sense if you look at it through a 1999-2007 lens:

            1) There were only 5-10k pertussis cases a year in the US. There have been about 30k confirmed this year so far.

            2) In 1999, all we had was erythromycin and it caused a lot of adverse effects. Maybe the reviewers were trying to be objective and stick with the data they had or trying to curb azithromycin overuse, but we use different antibiotics today.

            3) The reviewers had the luxury of excluding infants and pregnant women from their conclusions. The CDC doesn’t. If you look at their references, they cite some cases of parents and healthcare workers bringing pertussis into the NICU. Antibiotic prophylaxis makes more sense if you include high risk people in your recommendations.

          • Chi
            November 5, 2015 at 12:16 am #

            Even if they were past the stage where antibiotics would have helped to reduce the length of time they were contagious, they still could have benefited from some ‘modern medicine’ such as something to ease the cough, probably pain relief cos I bet those poor kids were SORE from all the coughing. And possibly some steroids to help them breathe a bit easier.

            Clearly her ‘natural’ treatments did nothing. At least we know that with the treatments I described, they would have been able to ride out its duration in at least some modicum of comfort.

        • Sue
          November 4, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

          There is good evidence that antibiotics reduce TRANSMISSION.

          At least, protect the baby!

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        November 4, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

        If quarantining her children appropriately was too inconvenient, antibiotics were the best option to make it more convenient.

        I was going to suggest PREVENTING IT IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!

        This is why I don’t care if a disease is “deadly” or not, vaccination still is important. Two weeks of quarantine for a child with the chicken pox is really, really inconvenient, for everyone, and worth avoiding.

        Her approach to “avoiding” it is to expose other kids. It is better to not get sick in the first place.

        • Megan
          November 4, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

          That’s exactly what I said below. These anti-vaxxing parents want to forgo vaccines but not take any responsibility for the consequences of that choice. that includes quarantining your child who is sick with a VPD. If that’s too inconvenient, then VACCINATE!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            November 4, 2015 at 3:01 pm #

            Yep. It’s a really nasty perspective.

            “Oh, we can’t vaccinate our snowflake! It’s too dangerous!!!!”

            “Oh, we can’t keep him at home when he’s sick. It’s too inconvenient. We’ll take him out and expose everyone else. Who cares about the risks we pose. They are vaccinated anyway, why should they care?”

            (so we have to put our kids at risk (according to them) because it’s inconvenient for them to keep their sick kids home)

          • Kelly
            November 4, 2015 at 9:15 pm #

            This is why I can’t wait until Monday when my newborn will be getting her first set of vaccinations. I should not really have to worry about it is stories like this that make me worry. She is a terrible person.

          • Sarah
            November 5, 2015 at 3:36 am #

            Hopefully all goes well, the sooner they can get all jabs the better.

          • Hoter
            November 10, 2015 at 4:48 am #

            the irony of that statement is beyond you

          • Sarah
            November 10, 2015 at 6:29 am #

            It’s beyond your face.

        • Sue
          November 4, 2015 at 6:56 pm #

          “It is better to not get sick in the first place.”

          Especially for the baby, folks!

    • Nick Sanders
      November 4, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

      20x an hour? Even if she is counting every individual expulsion, rather than from start to stop, that’s still an average of 1 cough every three minutes. And that’s somehow not a problem? The kid is not only miserable, they’re spewing crap on everything and everyone around them. Seriously, try to do any interaction with someone with a sick kid more substantial than walking past them on the street, and see if you can get it done in under 3 minutes.

    • Sarah
      November 5, 2015 at 3:35 am #

      I think that’s possibly the worst part in the whole horror story.

  28. yentavegan
    November 4, 2015 at 11:23 am #

    I am horrified that Ms. Dexter failed to bring her children to a board certified Chiropractor for crainial sacral therapy. Those alternative non-allopathic modalities could have really been helpful. Her children could have been suffering because of spinal sublixations.

    • Cere
      November 4, 2015 at 1:03 pm #

      This is a joke, right? God, I hope this is a joke.

      • Blue Chocobo
        November 4, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

        It’s a joke.

      • yentavegan
        November 4, 2015 at 5:20 pm #

        I am exposing the absurdity of the alternative health care adherents.

  29. Sarah
    November 4, 2015 at 11:11 am #

    I’m sure enemas are best for the people who keep their heads stuck up their asses. If for nothing else than comfort.

    My blood pressure spikes every time I read about these poor kids. I need to go watch videos of cats or something now.

  30. Mel
    November 4, 2015 at 11:08 am #

    There’s another dark irony to the story. Heather Dexter lives near Grand Rapids, MI – the home location of Drs. Pearl Kendrick and Grace Eldering who ran the first generalized pertussis vaccine.

    These two women worked for years with minimal support from the government. They were allowed to work on the pertussis vaccine work after hours and once they finished the normal water and milk analysis. Thanks to their dedication, a pertussis vaccine was found and they laid the basis for vaccination testing in the USA.

    I can only speak for myself, but as a Grand Rapidian, I am horrified that Ms. Dexter somehow missed the pioneering work of these two women.


  31. Madtowngirl
    November 4, 2015 at 11:07 am #

    I can’t even imagine the level of narcissism one must have to let a child suffer like this. It breaks my heart to hear my daughter cry when she gets a scratch. I would never forgive myself if she suffered because of something that was my doing.

  32. jhr
    November 4, 2015 at 11:06 am #

    I wonder what CPS would have done had they been informed of this situation during the course of Heather’s kids illnesses. I know that the Courts will step in to order needed blood transfusions or other established medical interventions for a child whose parents demur on grounds of their religious beliefs. Putting aside her anti-vax sentiments, is anti-treatment (once the child falls ill) also a widespread behavior among this demographic? In what state did this dramatic example of parental neglect occur? Given the probability that other reason-challenged parents will follow the same course as Heather, I would love to read an AG (Attorney General) opinion on this issue.

    • Mel
      November 4, 2015 at 11:12 am #

      She lives in Western Michigan where I’ve lived and worked for most of my life. The course of action would depend entirely on how urgent CPS thought the case was. I know that several of my students were on the CPS caseload because their parents were lackadaisical in taking care of Type 1 diabetes or epilepsy.

      Bluntly, I can’t image any caseworker who saw an infant or child coughing so hard they were vomiting and whose parent had failed to seek any medical attention – especially when Ms. Dexter clearly knew that there were treatments that could limit her kids suffering like inhaled steroids or codeine – not giving the parents an ultimatum.

      • jhr
        November 4, 2015 at 11:21 am #

        One of the following antibiotics should also have been taken: Azithromycin (Zithromax), clarithromycin (Biaxin),
        Someone who is a Michigan resident should forward the Heather’s story and Amy’s article to the State’s CPS and AG’s office as this scenario is likely to be repeated by Heather’s co-wooists.

        • Abby
          November 4, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

          To be accurate antibiotics are not particularly effective in whooping cough, especially after the first few weeks of symptoms, which is how long it normally takes to figure out what they have unless there is a mass outbreak, what antibiotics do do is stop patients being infectious which is why they are given, especially if there are babies in the house. This is why it is so important to vaccinate
          This insane woman who certainly should not be responsible for children, obviously had no idea of the long term sequelae of whooping cough, mainly bronchiectasis which they may be stuck with their whole lives. That comment about ‘what did people do in the past with Spanish flu etc’….., millions died you complete and utter privileged moron. Our ancestors who probably buried children due to vaccine preventable disease would be disgusted I imagine.

          • Mac Sherbert
            November 4, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

            From the New American Encyclopedia of social and commercial information (copyright 1908)

            “During the first stage an emetic of ipecacuancha, followed by an expectorant every four hours, should be given, the latter consisting of ipecacuancha wine, syrup of squalls, a little syrup of white poppies and almond milk, and some mild aperient, such as castor oil or salt and senna, the emetic only to be repeated occasionally. The rooms to which the child ought to be confined should be of an equable temperature, about sixty-five degrees, the bedroom being ventilated during the day and the sitting room during the night; but the windows of the apartment must on no account be opened while the patient is in them.”

            I’m going to treat my kids like it is 1908!

          • Mac Sherbert
            November 4, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

            The next page over they discuss vaccines. RE: smallpox vaccine

            “It is astonishing that, though this discovery is undoubtedly one of the very greatest blessings to poor humanity, it should now be thought so little of, and that there should be some who actually decry and refuse to accept it as such, when there is no doubt that if one had followed the instructions as to revaccination, by this time smallpox would have ceased altogether.”

          • Who?
            November 4, 2015 at 4:56 pm #

            It must have been so difficult back in the day when there was nothing you could do. I guess if the choice is sit helplessly, or follow all those very specific guidelines, then the latter seems like helping and why wouldn’t you?

            But surely if there are things you can do now, that might actually relieve a few symptoms a bit, or treat an infection that happened to come on board while the whooping cough is active, why wouldn’t you do that?

            She’s the star of her own show.

          • TsuDhoNimh
            November 4, 2015 at 5:14 pm #

            “expectorant every four hours, should be given, the latter consisting of
            ipecacahuana wine, syrup of squills, a little syrup of white poppies and
            almond milk,”

            that is at least a decent cough suppressant and expectorant.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            November 4, 2015 at 4:56 pm #

            Yup, millions died. Especially young adults with healthy, robust immune systems. The kind of people anti-vaxxers claim to be. They’re superior ubermensch with immune systems!

            This is why I hate the “I don’t need a flu shot! My immune system is super strong!” That’s exactly why you need a flu shot, you dumbass! The theory is for the flu pandemic is that the virus triggered a cytokine storm and the stronger the immune system response the worse off the victim was.

    • Amy M
      November 4, 2015 at 12:07 pm #

      I think Ms. Dexter would argue that she is NOT anti-treatment, just anti-conventional treatment. We all know that she never actually had her children treated, but I would buy that SHE believes they were. I don’t know if or how that would affect a case like this, were it to go to the CPS, but that would be Heather’s argument.

      Do you know if there are any precedents in the US, for a case being ruled “medical neglect” when the parents sought alternative remedies instead of real ones? Would it be considered the same as faith healing?

      • Inmara
        November 4, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

        There was one case (I think even discussed here on SOB) when parents used homeopathic remedies for seriously ill baby and when they finally brought him to real doctor baby died anyway. And they were charged for some serious stuff, like murder through neglect or something.

        • Gene
          November 4, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

          Paul Offit’s most recent book, “Bad Medicine” deals with just this issue.

          • Gemman Aster
            November 8, 2015 at 10:30 pm #

            Is this different to his book ‘Bad Medecine’?

        • Chi
          November 5, 2015 at 12:19 am #

          Is that the couple who tried to treat the baby with severe eczema that got infected?

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