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Vaccination: Is Your Pet Actually Due for its Shots?

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Spring time is coming. Is your pet actually "due" for its shots?

As spring time rolls around, many pet owners receive notices from their vets to bring their pets in for their vaccinations. But is your veterinarian knowledgeable about the current vaccination protocols?

Many veterinarians still advocate annual vaccination, a practice that is both outdated and completely lacking in scientific merit. Sadly, many vets feel this is the only way to get some clients to come in for an annual check up with their pet. But researchers like Dr. Jean Dodds and Dr. Ronald Schultz have amassed a large amount of evidence indicating the harm of annual vaccination. Both Dr. Dodds and Dr. Schultz have used their research to help update the current canine and feline vaccination schedules, which have since been adopted by the American Animal Hospital Association and major veterinary universities in the U.S.

Scientific studies currently show that the duration of immunity from most viral vaccines lasts for years, if not for the lifetime of the dog. Continuing to vaccinate yearly for the same viral disease does not “boost” immunity any further, and can actually wreak havoc with an animal’s system. Life-threatening conditions like autoimmune hemolytic anemia, encephalitis, bone marrow failure, organ dysfunction, and neurological problems have all been associated with viral vaccines in dogs; the more viral vaccines that are given, the higher the risk of having a hypersensitive (adverse) reaction.

What are the current vaccination protocols? After the initial puppy vaccinations, most vaccines can be given at three-year intervals, including the rabies vaccine. Vaccines are further divided into “core” and “non-core” categories. Core vaccines include Distemper, Parvovirus, Adenovirus, and Rabies. All other vaccines are listed as Non-Core vaccines. This includes Parainfluenza, Bordatella, Leptospirosis (the “L” in the DHLPP vaccine), and Lyme vaccinations. Non-core vaccines typically must be administered yearly, and should only be given to dogs considered to be at high risk for contracting these diseases. Discussing your pet’s individual vaccination needs with your vet is an important step in developing a unique vaccination schedule for your animal.

Over the next few blogs, we will look at the core and non-core diseases and their vaccines. Are they effective? What are the risks and benefits of each one? How long do they last?

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