How Often Should Dogs and Cats Be Vaccinated?
|Every day across the country, puppies and kittens, as well as adult dogs are massively vaccinated with multiple viral and bacterial antigens with the hope of enhancing their health and preventing potential future infectious disease. While vaccinations can certainly be an important component of a comprehensive preventative medical program, this “one shot fits all” approach has been taken way too far in quite a nonscientific fashion.|
According to Kirk’s Current Veterinary Therapy, a text taught in many veterinary schools, yearly vaccination was a practice that was started many years ago that was not based on evidence or science, but on a standard of practice to bring pets in for physical exams. And while in the past we used to feel that boosting vaccinations could only enhance health, in recent years there has been increasing evidence that over vaccination may be involved with an epidemic of chronic diseases in our pets from chronic skin allergies, hormonal disorders, digestive tract diseases, behavioral disorders, neurological diseases, autoimmune diseases, as well as potentially certain cancers.
It is for these reasons that I strongly urge that pet owners specifically request and demand from their veterinarians whether a particular vaccination is absolutely necessary in their pets, and/or whether the option of measuring vaccination titers is a viable alternative to the routine jabbing of our pets with multiple vaccinations.
Vaccination titers are blood tests that can document protective immunity in most pets, and we are now finding that viral immunity to most core viruses like parvo and distemper in dogs, as well as panleukopenia in cats can last for many years to the life of the pet. Rabies vaccination should not be given more frequently than needed either, usually every three years to most adult pets in most states. Vaccination has certainly helped prevent many infectious diseases in our pets, however, the overuse and misuse of vaccinations has become a major problem for our pets today, and this is an issue I feel pet owners need to become fully aware of to make informed decisions regarding your pet’s health.