What is the point of vaccinations?

Necessary only after thoughtful consideration.

Dr. Masuma Barrett

The answer is simple.  The reason we vaccinate is to protect our pets from diseases.  The same way we want to protect our human children – so they get vaccinated when they are very young.  Then what?  Do we get vaccinated every year, every 3 years, when we are 92 years old?  No.

So why do we vaccinate our dogs and cats every so many years, like clockwork?  We get a reminder card for certain vaccines and fail to consider the risk factors and whether these vaccines are needed or not.  Why do we need formula medicine like that?  It’s called “herd medicine” where a critical mass of individuals are vaccinated and protected regardless of circumstances so everyone can be safe.

That is why rabies vaccine is required by law.  But none of the other vaccines are required by law.

I want you to have a discussion with your veterinarian to know why you want to do what is asked of you.  You need to be involved, should be involved, to be an informed owner.  It should not be as automatic as getting a card in the mail.

Most vaccines are “remembered” by the immune system long after they are given.  Just like our bodies remember vaccines we received when we were young.  Our dogs and cats are the same.  Instead of giving a vaccine and unnecessarily triggering the immune system, we can do a titer test to determine if the body remembers the vaccine or not.  Appropriate and targeted vaccinations are then given, based on risk and need, as determined by these titer results.

We do get vaccinated repeatedly if we are in the healthcare profession (nurses) or are teachers or attending school.  Why?  Risk factor.  So depending on the risk factor, the decision may change- for example if pets are boarded often, hunting dogs, working dogs etc.

And why not simply vaccinate, why is that so bad?  So many dog and cats get just that, and are “fine”.  For that, please read the blog on the immune system- a complex system that we know very little about even though scientifically we know a lot more about it than we used to.   It is best to keep the immune system healthy, happy and calm.  If the immune system becomes hypersensitive due to repeated stimulation from excess vaccinations, reversing the damage becomes very difficult and detrimental to your pet’s health and longevity.

Please discuss your pet’s vaccine protocol with your veterinarian before making any changes.  

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