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Pet Vaccination – How Much Is Too Much?
In 2003, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) revised vaccination guidelines, recommending veterinarians vaccinate adult dogs every three years instead of annually, and many veterinarians have changed their protocols in accordance with the new guidelines. The change was implemented after experts agreed with overwhelming evidence showing that annual canine distemper vaccinations were unnecessary and harmful. It is up to the pet owner to avoid veterinary service providers who recommend, or even require, annual vaccinations. There are many vets who choose to ignore the guidelines as they don’t want to miss out on the revenue these booster shots bring in each year. Another veterinary service that pet owners should avoid are those offered in a parking lot or pet supply store where you and your pet do not have the benefit of a relationship with the veterinarian providing the free service. Your pet may pay the price for inappropriate or unnecessary veterinary care. Vaccinations are a huge stress on your pet’s immune system and can cause side effects and allergic reactions, as well as long-term chronic diseases such as skin allergies, arthritis, leukemia, upper respiratory infections, irritable bowel syndrome and neurological conditions. such as aggressive behavior, epilepsy. , autoimmune diseases and cancer. Today it is common for veterinarians to see sicker dogs and cats at a much younger age. Pets as young as 5 years old are diagnosed with cancer and autoimmune diseases are also on the rise. Combine over-vaccination with poor nutrition, poor breeding practices and environmental stresses and you’re left with generations of pets that are susceptible to chronic diseases and congenital disorders. Annual veterinary check-ups are essential for your pet, as it provides them with a solid foundation of health, helps pet owners recognize subtle changes in their pets over time, and develops a relationship between your veterinarian, you and your pet.
It’s best to prepare for your dog’s annual veterinary visit. Be prepared to discuss the best vaccine strategy for your pet by bringing the veterinary records of your pet’s vaccine history. Do not assume that the clinic will have the latest information on hand, and this is especially important if you have changed veterinary clinics. Include all test results, such as heartworm, antibody titer, blood and/or urinalysis. Have a clear idea of whether you want or need your pet to receive any vaccinations for which diseases and ask your vet if any special vaccinations are necessary due to the conditions in the area where you live. Consider the risk. If your pet is only indoors and is never exposed to unvaccinated animals, then the risk of infection is low. Educate yourself so you can have an intelligent conversation with your vet about the pros and cons of vaccinating your pet. Know your pet’s health; if he has health or behavioral problems that your vet should be aware of and bring a list of any medications or supplements your cat is taking along with dosage, strength and frequency. The decision whether or not to vaccinate your pet is very individual and should be based on extensive research before going to your vet. If you are visiting a vet for the first time, it is a good idea to make an appointment to see him without your pet to discuss his philosophy on vaccinations and other tests such as the antibody titer test. A “titer” is a measurement of how many antibodies to a particular antigen are circulating in the blood at that moment. A dog that shows a positive antibody titer test result is considered protected from the disease for which the vaccine is intended and does not need vaccines at that time. Never vaccinate an animal whose immune system is compromised by an infection, as the vaccine may distract the immune system from treating the infection and make it more likely that the vaccine will not produce protective immunity.
If you choose to vaccinate your pet, consider asking your vet to perform a health exam and other tests first and then wait for the results. If your pet is in good health, schedule a follow-up vaccination visit. Avoid multiple vaccines in one or combined vaccines; if this is the only option available, look elsewhere. Do not vaccinate your pet more than every three years. Some vaccines such as Lepto, Bordetella or Lyme do not last more than a year, however consider whether these diseases have increased in your area before vaccinating your pet. Schedule these shots separately from the rabies shot if your pet needs them and administer them to a different part of the body. Vaccination schedules should be tailored to the specific needs of each animal, not mass. You must factor the dog’s age, environment, activities, lifestyle, and previous negative vaccine reactions, if any, into the equation. Do not vaccinate puppies and kittens younger than 12 weeks as their immune systems are very vulnerable to vaccine stress. Keep puppies and kittens safe from exposure by avoiding public areas such as parks and pet stores. Vaccinate puppies 12-15 weeks of age for parvovirus and distemper and wait until they are 6 months old before vaccinating for rabies. For kittens, a combination Panleukopenia (FRCP) and, if available, vaccine is administered separately, three to four weeks apart. Consider your cat’s lifestyle and environment; if he goes outside and you have rabies in your area, vaccinate him at 6 months. Feline leukemia and FIP vaccines may not be necessary for your cat. Keep in mind that legal requirements vary from state to state. Studies show that a single vaccination for parvovirus, distemper and panleukopenia provides long-term protection, and a simple blood test will reveal whether antibody levels remain high enough to resist infection, so a “booster” is not needed. Vaccines do not need a “boost”. Veterinarians do not recommend vaccinations unless the diseases are locally endemic or if a particular kennel has been infected with Bordetella, corona virus, leptospirosis or Lyme. The leptospirosis vaccine is generally not useful because the currently licensed leptospira bacteria do not have the serovars that cause leptospirosis today. An alternative homeopathic method used by pet owners who choose not to vaccinate is Nosodes which can be used on animals less than three months old if the animal is at risk. These homeopathic remedies help protect pets against Parvovirus, Distemper, Kennel Cough, Panleukopenia and FIP. Although some repellents work more effectively than others, they are not vaccines and do not produce antibodies against these diseases, but they do appear to offer some protection in the severity of the disease if the pet has been exposed even if they do not prevent the disease.
When it comes to vaccinating your pet, educate yourself. You are the caretaker of your pet and the decision is yours, not your vet’s, nor should it be. You are responsible for your friend’s care; give them the best by researching and weighing their health care decisions very carefully.
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