(Thank you to the American Animal Hospital Association for their information and guidance with this Post. Your professionalism and concern for Animal Care is deeply appreciated, as were your explanations to a layman)
Vaccines are one of the wonders of the modern age of medicine for both humans and animals. Eradicating Smallpox and greatly curtailing the Measles, Diptheria, Polio viruses cannot be ignored. As for the Veterinary practioner, few in veterinary practice today can recall a time when serious infectious diseases were not preventable by the administration of safe immunizations. With the exception of the canine parvovirus (CPV) pandemic in thelate 1970s, widespread morbidity and mortality due to life-threatening diseases have largely been preventable in recent years. Even when parvo erupted , the rapid response by researchers and vaccine manufacturers allowed veterinary professionals to curtail the terrible losses of dogs to the disease. It is therefore safe to say that no single achievement has had greater impact on the lives and well-being of our dogs, and the ability to prevent infectious diseases than the development and ongoing improvements in companion animal vaccines.
(Distant sound of a shoe hitting the floor. THUD!!)
While vaccines are indeed wonderful, lifesaving, and sometimes necessary, it is vital that YOU learn about them, and how your Vet utilizes and charges for them. Especially controversial is the scheduling protocols of boosters, age at which your dog is immunized, and the particular vaccines that your Veterinary Doctor routinely administers. NEVER, please NEVER say to your Veterinarian, “I trust you. Give my dog whatever you think is best.” This is not only mentally lazy and irresponsible on your part, it puts an unnecessary burden on the Doctor. It can also lead to a serious hurt on your finances. Above ALL, it could be an early death sentence to your beloved dog.
For many years, the practice of veterinary medicinehas benefited from the ANNUAL administration of vaccines. (Not necessarily the dogs however) This practice has come under much fire of late, and it’s important for you to know the reasons. I am inserting here a snippet from an official statement from the American Animal Hospital Association on their position on ANNUAL vaccinations:
The burgeoning knowledge in the fields of vaccinology and immunology, together with the continued enhancements of vaccine efficacy and safety, have placed the traditional approaches to vaccine use in doubt and engaged our profession in a long overdue debate. What is clear is that the complexityof the issues involved make it impossible for our profession to make blanket statements with respect to vaccineselection and use—one size simply does not fit all.This underscores the fact that vaccination is a medical procedure and, as such, needs to be tailored to the individual and administered under a valid VCPR on the basis of informed consent. Not all vaccines are indicated in all animals and no vaccine should be given without a thorough knowledge of the risks of acquiring the disease, the potential for adverse reactions to vaccination, and the health of the animal in question. Current knowledge clearly indicates the need to refine vaccine selection and to re-establish vaccine protocols when revaccinating animals >1 year of age that have undergone an initial vaccine series. In the case of core vaccines (i.e., CDV, CPV, CAV-2, and rabies virus),every 3 years is considered adequate to maintain . Regardless of your eventual decision, we challenge you to keep an open mind and critically evaluate and incorporate new information as it becomes available. (Italics and Emphasis by this editor)
IF YOU VET WILL NOT HELP YOU UNDERSTAND AND THOROUGHLY EXPLAIN HIS VACCINATION PROTOCOLS, RUN AWAY. RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN. If the explanation is not clear and understandable to you, ASK the Doctor for help. Humility in this matter on your part is beyond VITAL. The fact that some Vets treat animals as an assembly line for their bank accounts is undeniable. The passage above titled “Informed Consent” strongly implies that the a “Reputable and Professional Veterinarian” will inform, advise, and help his patients and their owners of all the details you will require. HOLD YOUR VETERINARIAN TO THIS STANDARD.
I’m frothing at the mouth as I compose this, but it is so important for you to understand that certain vaccination protocols have given evidence of being cancer causing agents, Liver damage, Heart damage, etc, etc!!! A Veterinarian that just gives every dog he sees the very same treatments, is a Malpracticing Nitwit. EACH and every dog he sees should be treated as an individual with unique needs and requirements. If a Vet doesn’t have enough time to talk to you thoroughly, (during interview OR Treatment) Run AWAY. RUN VERY FAST. If he’s too busy to care for a patient, he’s TOO busy. Schedule be damned. (Within Reason of Course).
Next, I want to explain what Vaccinations do, and what they don’t do…