The topic of pet vaccination seems to bring about fear, frustration, and anxiety to pet owners. Veterinarians of yester-year were trained to give shots to every pet every year. The science at the time was that vaccines lasted for 1 year and needed to be boostered annually. No one questioned this. It was the knowledge of the times.
Many veterinarians built their clinics on owners bringing pets in for “shots.” The public perception was that vets were pretty much shot-givers. Now that good science is showing that vaccines often last longer than we think they did, some vets are fearful of the change. They may lose income. Those of us that have moved away from the “every pet, every shot, every year” mentality are successfully able to pay our mortgage and feed our families. There are many much more important services a modern veterinarian can provide to help your pet than we could 40 years ago! Diagnostic testing has improved dramatically. Heck, even the way we check feces for parasites has changed in the last decade!
Then we started suspecting that some vaccines may be associated with side effects. A (thankfully, very rare) kind of cancer in cats seems to be associated with vaccinations, although we’re still not sure which vaccine or component exactly is the culprit. In dogs, some auto-immune diseases (again, very rare) have been linked to vaccines especially in certain breeds.
So pet owners became fearful of ANY vaccines. Hear a couple horror stories, you get paranoid! They also became distrustful of veterinarians. That part makes me sad.
We need a happy medium. Vaccines have saved countless lives. The parvo vaccine alone has probably saved thousands upon thousands of dogs. But we need to be smart about it. We as veterinarians need to look at how long these last. We need to talk to the owner about the pet’s lifestyle and exposure risk. The days of walking into the room, poking a cat a few times, and leaving are in the past.
I created the Vaccine Truth Center to clear up misconceptions, and provide actual facts. Not a rant from an anti-vaccine forum. Not a requirement by an outdated veterinarian to give eight vaccines to each and every dog, every year. As always, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
Here are the articles:
- Dog vaccines – which does yours actually need?
- Cat vaccines – which does yours really need?
- Can my indoor only cat skip all vaccinations?
- Does your dog need a Lepto vaccine?
- Bordatella vaccine myths and facts
- Doggy flu shotsDr. Roger and I had a great time talking about cat vaccinations, fecal testing, and other random things in our podcast here! Have a laugh while you learn a little!