For generations, pet owners have followed the recommended advice of Veterinarians, commonly vaccinating their pets at every annual checkup. But is an annual vaccination really necessary? After all, humans spend much more time socializing than most pets, and they’re not vaccinated every single year.
This is a highly debated and controversial topic in the pet industry. The short answer is this: Certain vaccines are life-saving and essential. Depending on where you live and your lifestyle, certain vaccines may not be needed. Either way, our pets are over-vaccinated.
Why are an increasingly large number of Veterinarians pressuring potentially unneeded vaccines year over year? The answer may be two-fold.
Firstly, liability concerns.
If a pet contracts a vaccine-preventable disease, a pet owner may try to hold their Vet accountable.
Secondly, pet vaccine manufacturers drive the industry.
Vaccine manufacturers educate Veterinarians about their vaccines and frequency of use. Until recently, manufacturers were not required to provide research information, only results. With the recent increase in demand for Holistic and Naturopathic Veterinarians, coupled with an increased desire for pet owners to become more educated about everything pet-related, manufactures are being pushed harder and harder for solid evidence to substantiate their products.
While many non-conventional Holistic Veterinarians argue that over-vaccinating may have adverse effects on a pet’s immune system, this has yet to be proven.
Pet Vaccinations. What Should You Do?
Vaccinations are an important factor in developing a healthy immune system, and initial puppy or kitten vaccinations should never be missed. As pets age, their immunology changes, and immunity to certain diseases may weaken over time .
Before having your pet re-vaccinated, consider speaking to your Vet about a blood titre test. This simple and inexpensive blood test checks for immunity to certain diseases, indicating which ones may need re-vaccination.
Also consider the following factors:
- Your pet’s age and health
- The number of animals in your household
- Time your pet spends socializing with other animals.
The frequency of adverse reactions to vaccines in animals is not fully understood. But like with any medication, vaccinations have potential to cause unwanted reactions.
For an elderly pet spending much of their time indoors and away from unfamiliar animals, there may be little benefit to vaccinating. On the other hand, for a pet exposed to new environments and animals, regular vaccinations are very important.
Carefully consider your pet’s situation, and speak to your Veterinarian about your options. If you don’t feel confident with the information your Veterinarian is providing, seek a second opinion. When it comes down to it, you are the best one to make an informed decision for your pet.