veterinarian guidelines

Too Many Vaccines?

Dear Kitty: 

I need your help! My human, whom I love dearly,  let me add, scheduled my yearly physical. She told them I needed my "yearly" vaccine boosters. I've been getting these boosters every year for the past 7 years. Do I really need to subject myself to these booster vaccines? How can that be healthy?

Please respond quickly. I need the answers before my vet appointment next week. 

Sincerely, an intelligent (healthy) Golden Retreiver

My Pawspective: 

Dear Intelligent Healthy Golden Retriever,

You are absolutely correct, and very smart too. Adult dogs do not need yearly vaccine boosters, according to guidelines set by The American Animal Hospital Association, whose members  include more than 6,000 companion animal practices in the United States and Canada.

Instead the guidelines recommend giving booster vaccines against distemper, infectious hepatitis, and parvo every three years or less often if your veterinarian feels they aren't necessary.

Why? Because these vaccines remain effective for a last seven years in more than 90 percent of dogs. And even more important to know, tests have shown that the vaccines have caused malignant tumors at the injection sites in an estimated 1 or 2 per 10,000 vaccinated cats.

But you will still need to get your rabies vaccine since it is a public health issue for the humans, and animals.

And the vaccines against kennel cough, Lyme disease and leptospirosis are also exceptions. These vaccines are protective for only 6 to 12 months, so if you are exposed to the diseases or boarded, you will need these boosted on a yearly basis.

For your good health, don't forget your monthly heartworm prevention and I would still recommend getting your yearly physical.

If your vet has different ideas about the frequency of giving out vaccines, let's hope your human asks for the reasons behind the policy. If she isn't happy with the reasons given, she will look for another vet.

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