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Are We Over-Vaccinating?

April 13th, 2008, 02:10 PM
I just found this website and found it interesting as it was written by a veterinarian. Our vet vaccinates on a three year schedule so every year they only get vaccinated for one thing. I haven't read all the links yet but he seems to think that we are still over-vaccinating. Anyone have any opinions?

April 13th, 2008, 02:17 PM
I didn't read your link Rainbow , but I always thought so yes. I met a vet years ago , who refused to vaccinate my 2 indoor cats. And he explain the raw diet to me , that was 15 years ago !!! He quited and wrote a book "Angry vet" his name is Dr Charles Danten , I should have listened to him about the diet / kibble ! But I did stop my cats vaccination after meeting him.

April 13th, 2008, 03:01 PM
Rainbow I have always thought the same thing, however I vaccinate for upper respiratory only. Even though mine are indoor cats I do get that one. My vet said that it is an airbourne illness and they can catch it just from sitting in the window. I think it was last year they made it mandatory for rabies but I think that is a 3 yr shot.


April 13th, 2008, 03:55 PM
He's advocating not vaccinating for Lyme's or Lepto. That's fine if there's no Lyme's or Lepto in your area, but we've had both. :shrug: Not to mention anaplasmosis...which, if they come up with a vaccine in the next few years, we'll likely add to the repertoire....

I wish we didn't have to vaccinate so much, though. And we're checking titers more frequently so as to avoid unnecessary immunizations.

April 13th, 2008, 04:09 PM
See I feel like a horrible pet owner saying my Cat hasn't been vaccinated yet, however I just got her (Shes 2 tho) and shes stricktly indoors, I've actually arranging for a vet to come to my house n give her, her shots...but I mean, It really does make me think. Its like with children, your afriad not to vaccinate them, but in the same repect to over vaccinate them...tough call:shrug:

April 13th, 2008, 05:32 PM
My mom vacinates our animals once a year.. i didnt know that its bad for them? When she gets home from vacation im going to ask her about

April 14th, 2008, 01:45 PM
I also think we're over vacinating but I still do it cause we live near the border. Dogs need certain vacinations to cross into the US. However, I do stop once my dogs are around 8 years old. I feel they have built up immunity by then. Also heard that the only reason that vacines are given once a year is that the product is only test for effectiveness for a year. They are probably effective for much longer but the drug companies want you to keep going back and they profit.

April 14th, 2008, 03:25 PM
Also heard that the only reason that vacines are given once a year is that the product is only test for effectiveness for a year. They are probably effective for much longer but the drug companies want you to keep going back and they profit.

I've heard that too. Also that the vets say if they didn't tell people to come in for vaccinations yearly then people wouldn't bother to bring in their pets for a yearly examination. :rolleyes:

April 14th, 2008, 03:32 PM
I'm not sure that's true for lepto and Lyme's...we've had dogs come down with both (albeit mild in the case of the lepto) while up-to-date on their vaccinations for them. The lepto in particular seems to peak in efficacy at about 6 months and offers declining protection beyond that time. :shrug:

For some of the other vaccinations, though, I suspect immunity lasts a lot longer than most people think. That's why we've done more titers lately to check for immunity against distemper, parvo, etc. before revaccinating. One big obstacle to this becoming common practice, however, is the cost of the titers. They're more expensive than the innoculations, so most people just opt to go with the needles...

April 14th, 2008, 03:34 PM
I have to believe there is something to it too. Last May I brought my 13 yr old golden for her checkup shots and had my sleeves rolled up to let her know that I was only allowing the rabies shot because her three years were up but that I did not want her getting any other shots. Before any debate even starts my Vet tells me she is not going to give her any shots due to her age and Godwilling if she makes it another year she won't be vaccinating then either! I asked if she thought we should do titers and she said not even. The dog has been well taken care of and vaccianted to the hilt since we have had her and that she can't believe there is any benefit futher vaccinate!!!

Ginger's appointment is next month and right now I am researching Sentinel and other flea/tick/heartworm pills and whether or not that is necessary for a 14 yr old dog.

All this to say, I do believe it is in some respect a cash cow for the vet's offices and I LOVE our vet.

April 14th, 2008, 05:39 PM
Re: "I've heard that too. Also that the vets say if they didn't tell people to come in for vaccinations yearly then people wouldn't bother to bring in their pets for a yearly examination."

Most good pet owners bring in their pets for yearly and even more frequent vet checks so that vet is plain wrong!! I suppose some less than good owners might not do that but they are also the type who prob would not think about any vaccination anyway.

I vaccinate mine once and depending on their health and what kind of illnesses have been IDed in the region, vaccinate every so often. Certainly not every year though. I hesitate to use again the ex of humans but only those of us who go to foreign countries (like I do with Drs without Borders and where some horrid diseases still exist) do we need more frequent shots.

People do need booster shots tho - our vaccinations as children are no good when we are adults do if you were vaccinated for say mumps (thinking of our outbreak in Hfx), you are no longer safe and can very well develop it. Another example is the new combo shot for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (better known as whooping cough), even though pertussis rates in adolescents and adults have soared in the last 20 years. Actually,, a mere 2% of adults have had the new combo Kind of shocking really since these can be very serious illnesses. It also surprises me that very few adults (again 2%) have availed themselves of the new vaccine for shingles (which is very painful - my mom had it but the viral drugs worked for her since we got it quickly).

btw, for MMR (Measles, mumps, rubella), anyone born in 1957 or later (especially those born outside North America) should receive at least 1 dose of MMR if there is no serologic proof of immunity or documentation of a dose
given on or after the first birthday. That actually includes me! There is a massive vaccination program on in NS with MMR right now - given our outbreak, esp at universities!

sorry to digress but this IS important too. Back to animal vaccinations....

April 16th, 2008, 12:20 PM
Most good pet owners bring in their pets for yearly and even more frequent vet checks so that vet is plain wrong!! I suppose some less than good owners might not do that but they are also the type who prob would not think about any vaccination anyway.

Apparently there are alot of people who believe that it is absolutely necessary to get annual vaccinations. If they were told that they were not needed then their pets would only see the vet if they had major symptoms that something was wrong and would not be seen at least annually for preventative health reasons.

April 16th, 2008, 01:30 PM
This is another reason I respect our vet. I took the opportunity during our vet visit yesterday to ask him about his opinions on vaccines. He said the manufacturer of the the rabies vaccine he uses recommends every three years although he suspects some dogs can go longer without. For the region we live in, for all other vaccinations, he feels some are not necessary at all. For those that are, he also feels that once every three years is more than enough.

As for paracitisides for adult pets, he believes it's the owner's call. Again, for our region, heartworm is rare. Other than that, he would recommend it for those that would want to prevent any problems with fleas and associated with intestinal parasites.

Off-topic :o, when I asked about his views on RAW feeding, he said he didn't support it because of some of the cases of bacterial poisoning he's had to treat in his practice (from pre-packaged RAW).

In conclusion, he'll offer his opinions but believes that it's up to the clients to make informed decisions weighing all pros and cons. That's an awesome vet IMO :thumbs up .

April 19th, 2008, 12:48 PM
My vet says the same thing and they only vaccinate on the three year schedule. The website I posted was written by a vet and he thinks the vaccines last a lifetime. :shrug:

April 19th, 2008, 01:30 PM
So to get a second opinion, I called another vet we sometimes use. She recommended yearly vaccines...all of them (and then she reminded me our dogs were due). When I told her my concerns and how recent studies suggest otherwise, and that I'd prefer to test titers, she said it wasn't worth the money as titer testing was more expensive than the vaccines themselves eg., rabies 160$ & distemper/parvo 100$ and most ppl opt for vaccines because they are cheaper. But she did add later in the conversation that perhaps the rabies vaccine wasn't necessary every year :rolleyes: and that I could test titers for parvo & distemper. She said that if I was comfortable with that, then she would only strongly recommend the Lepto vaccine on a yearly basis.

I'm thinking I'll call a few other vets to see what they say.

Dr Lee
April 19th, 2008, 02:16 PM
Vaccine protocols is a very difficult situation for both clients, their pets and the veterinarians. Most veterinarians seem to be in agreement that many vaccines last longer than is currently recommended. The difficulty is that there is not current data to support how long they last in the average pet to establish new recommendations. There is also a liability issue for veterinarians. There is a current lawsuit against a veterinarian who recommended less frequent vaccinations on an adult dog. The dog did come down with a vaccinatable disease despite having gone through a full puppy set and several years of routine vaccines. Now the veterinarian is being sued for over $33000. The vaccine company is not supporting the veterinarian.

Regardless of law suits, there is also issues that veterinarians have with no longer seeing the patient as often. While many people accuse the veterinarians of being greedy on this, most of the veterinarians that I talk to are concerned at so many pets that we discover infections, pain, chronic or new diseases on the 'just vaccine' visits. We worry about the pets as they cannot make the appointments for themselves when their owners do not recognize the problems.

There was a 'Think Twice For Life" campaign about 5 years ago to help promote physical examinations every 6 months and to decrease vaccinations. It was considered a failure by most. It is a difficult problem.

I personally, am a fan of titers. While they are more expensive than the vaccines, it also stops the animal from being injected with a medication that is designed to shock the immune system into thinking it has active disease when it does not. There is controversy as to whether the titers are a reliable estimate of the body's response to a disease. However when administering the vaccine we also know that there are some pets that will be 'non reactors' and will not have any response to the vaccine. So there is not perfect solution here either.

Also I would like to note and say again that all vaccines are NOT equal. Are the vaccines modified live? Killed? Recombinant technology? What preservatives are present? Adjuvants? Many of the 'cheap' vaccines are MUCH more dangerous than some of the high end vaccines. Especially for cats where there are many of the vaccines which can cause cancer and then a group that have been shown at this time, to never have cause or incited one case of cancer. Also is the vaccine against a virus, bacteria, protozoa or toxin? This GREATLY affected how long the vaccine will last. When we hear about vaccines lasting a lifetime etc... this is directed towards many of the viral vaccines - NOT ALL VACCINES. Many of the vaccines out there are proven to lose efficacy after 4 months, some after 6 months and some after a year. No disagreements. So whatever you decide on vaccines, please do not just lump all vaccines together.

If you are wondering what I recommend for a person's pet? I recommend that the decision be based on a large variety of factors: lifestyle, demographics, health and age of the pet, the owner's feelings on the vaccines and titers, type of vaccine used, etc... I would recommend that when you judge or pick your veterinarian on vaccines, that you find someone that is willing to discuss these with you and help you come to a decision that is best for you and your family. Do not judge them on their 'standard protocols' as this may not be reflective of their knowledge or desire to help you and your family (for example, our board regulations say that we need to comply with what everyone locally is recommending. That is a recipe for success and progress - just do what everyone else is doing). We have waivers in our hospital that discuss titers and ask clients if they want to discuss it with me. If they don't ask - we do core vaccines on a schedule recommended by the manufacturer. When they ask - I am always happy to have a discussion on this and sometimes they get more vaccines, most of the time less vaccines and sometimes titers. :pawprint: