Pet Vaccinations - Needed or Not?

What do you know about pet vaccinations? Your veterinarian will recommend that you bring your dog in annually for its shots, this has been standard procedures. Many states even have laws that you get your animal vaccinated for rabies every year. While you may feel bad that you have to subject your animal to the physical pain and psychological stress of the yearly vaccines, we all do it because we feel we are doing a good thing for our pets and keeping them healthy and protected.

These shots for your animal don’t come cheap, but, again we are willing to spend what is needed. This give us feeling of reassurance and comfort knowing our dog or cat is safe.

A Rising Debate

Recently though there has been a rising debate between some vets and pet owners who contest the idea that vaccines are needed yearly or even at all.

A CBC news article quoted Dr. Margie Scherk of a vet clinic in Vancouver in saying "We have no reason to think a cat's immune system is different than a human's immune system. And we don't get vaccinated every year."  

This is enough to make many of us wonder why it is the accepted norm to take our pets in yearly for their shots. Is it really necessary? Most pet owners are hesitant to discontinue pet vaccinations and continue following these accepted norms and conventions on pet health regardless of current controversial research, at least until more concrete evidence is available that annual vaccines are unnecessary. Pets owners are on the whole anxious to keep their animals safe.

Is There A Risk?

Regardless of the majority of pet owners and the social momentum of years of getting domesticated pets vaccinated, some studies are showing that yearly vaccines in cats may be linked to the growth of tumors. Additionally, there is evidence showing that vaccines in puppies may result in a litter with higher mortality rates.

With research as spotty and inconsistent as it currently is, veterinarians are divided on the issue. Veterinarian Dr. Kruth in an interview with the CBC stated that pet owners should be smart about their animals’ situation and make a decision on annual vaccines based on the animals’ lifestyles.

If your pet is a sporting or hunting dog and they are out and about working, they are at a higher risk for the diseases that veterinarians vaccinate for.

On the other hand if you own a Toy breed such as the Chihuahua, or a house Cat that lives indoors most or all of the time, their risk decreases. It is my personal recommendation to err on the side of precaution and get educated about pet vaccinations and about visitors who come and go in your home.

Make A Smart Educated Decision

So how does a pet owner make an educated, smart decision? It all comes down to self education, there are many resources for you to speak to; veterinary schools and pet organizations as well as on the internet.

Your best source, however, with all of this controversial information floating around may very well be your own trusted family veterinarian or pet hospital.

As of now the recommendation is three years in between most the shots with exception of a few particularly nasty diseases such as feline leukemia and kennel cough.

If you plan to board your pet keep in mind most require proof of current vaccination. Check with them to see what their requirements are.

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