Pet Vaccines: Are
they all necessary?

Currently there has been a push lately for many pet vaccines to switch from yearly vaccines to once every three years. In the past is was necessary to give your pet a painful shot as well as the anxiety of a visit to the vet every year in an effort to provide them the best health possible.

Vaccinations are a big business and often the primary source of income for veterinary clinics. Owners often comply with veterinary vaccine recommendations often without question in order to protect their pets from diseases such as rabies or distemper.

However, some veterinarians and pet owners are starting to question the wisdom and necessity of annual vaccinations.

Dr. Margie Scherk who runs a veterinary clinic in Vancouver was quoted in a CBC news story as stating that "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."

If this is true, why do a lot of vets keep warning us to have our dogs and cats vaccinated annually?

Of course some people think that vets are just out to make a quick dime, but the majority of veterinarians are just following the protocols they learned in veterinary school.

Pet owners in general are not anxious to take risks with such deadly diseases and so until conclusive studies are embraced by the medical field they will continue with annual vaccinations.

On the other hand, some studies have shown that certain pet vaccines, such as the Feline Leukemia vaccine may be linked to an increase in tumors in cats.

Until these concerns have been researched further, veterinarians take their own stand on vaccinations. Dr. Kruth, who was also interviewed by CBC, believes that owners should make decisions based on the lifestyle of their pet. He explains that hunting dogs are clearly more at risk for picking up some of these diseases than a pet kept indoors in the city.

Some indoor cats may not even need to be vaccinated at all if they are strictly indoor cats. They are not subjected to any immunological challenges.

How can pet owners make an educated decision? There is a lot of information available online, as well as recommendations from Associations and veterinary schools which may reflect the more recent research. However, most individuals will likely require the experience and recommendation of their Veterinarian or shop around to find one who seems to be implementing newer recommendations. In this case most will suggest a three year gap between most vaccinations. There are still some diseases that may require annual shots.

Currently and in the future, veterinary medicine is currently moving more towards personalized vaccines protocols for dogs and cats. By giving your veterinarian a detailed history about your pet’s life style they can personalize the vaccines to your pet’s lifestyle.

Currently recommended pet vaccines protocols are available at these sites:

American Veterinary Medical Association

American Animal Hospital Association

American Association of Feline Practitioners