Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Vaccines are Making Our Dogs Sick

The above link talks about the hazards of over vaccinating.  It says that, yes, dogs do need vaccinations but they don't necessarily need them every single year, and that such a schedule only benefits drug companies and veterinarians, but may harm our dogs (and cats).

I wasn't completely convinced by the article, but I thought I should ask my vet anyway.  Here's what Dr. Lori Pasternak from Richmond, VA has to say about the issue:

I do have my own opinion about vaccines, although it's not black/white. I see many dogs still die of parvo and less often distemper. I've seen a few cases of leptospirosis in the past 3 years and kennel cough is very common (I think of it as the equivalent of doggie flu). So yes, vaccines are very important. The big question for me lies in, how often? And that is where the veterinarian needs to talk with the owner to determine an individual pet's risk for these diseases. Not every animal needs every vaccine out there. A pet's lifestyle, where they live and go should determine what diseases they are at risk for. I do think all puppies should be vaccinated and boostered until they are 16 weeks, after that, it should be determined by a conversation between client and vet as to what the pet needs. Just like with my kids, I educated myself about the diseases my kids were to be vaccinated for and made an educated decision about what vaccines were right for them. Pet owners should do the same. I must admit, I do not vaccinate my pets annually but they are very low risk as they are old and never leave my property anymore.  Drawing blood for titers is an option, but it is costly. The vaccines are labeled my the manufacturer to only be effective for 1 year, but I'm sure in some/ most animals they may last longer. The only way to know from animal to animal is to run titers.  Once I did run a titer on a dog after 1 year post vaccine and that dog had a strong titer for distemper,  but no titer for parvo. Interesting, but really confuses the issue. I hope this makes sense. Not very cut and dry, but nothing about vaccines is.

So there you have it.  The vaccination issue isn't completely cut and dry.  It may not be in your best interest to vaccinate every year, but seven years may be too long.  One thing you should keep in mind, though, is that the yearly vaccinations also allow your vet to do a general health check, checking on eyes, ears, and general overall well-being.  If you do decide to vaccinate less, I still encourage you to keep regular vet appointments.  It is important to keep the conversation open with your veterinarian.  Talk to your vet and together the two of you can come to an agreement on what may be best for both you and your beloved friend. 

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