Is your vet still over vaccinating your dog

Is your dog being overvaccinated and your vet is not following the new guidelines? How many of you are still getting annual “shots” for your dog? Has your vet told you that there is a “new” protocol for vaccinating your dog? I say “new” loosely because the guidelines have been around for over 5 years now! That is beside the point, lets just go with the new guidelines given out by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) last year in 2006.

First, a bit of information about the vaccination of your dog. The most common other vaccination given to your dog besides rabies is a 5 or a 6 in one shot. Meaning there are 5 or 6 different types of diseases your dog is being vaccinated for in one shot. The common acronym for this vaccine is DHLPP and sometimes added in there is a C. The letters each stand for a different disease – D=Distemper, H=Hepatitis (also known as Adenovirus), L=Leptospirosis, P=Parvo, P=Parainfluenza, and C=Corona.

For the new guidelines lets take the three core vaccines, the three that your dog should be vaccinated for Distemper, Parvo and Hepatitis (Adenovirus). After your dog has been initially vaccinated for these three core diseases usually as a puppy and then a year later with a booster, your dog has prolonged immunity against those diseases. What do I mean by prolonged immunity, well the research shows, your dog is immune for 6 to 9 years! That’s correct! The research done by reputable immunologists, such as Dr. Ronald Schultz, shows that after the initial puppy vaccination and a one year booster many dogs are protected for the majority of their life. WIth this new research AAHA developed some new guidelines. Their suggestion or guidelines, after puppy vaccination and the yearly booster is that the three core vaccines, only need to be boostered every three years. So according to the AAHA guidelines, instead of annual revaccination, your dog really only needs to be revaccinated every three years.

In fact, did you know, annual vaccination of your dog can cause severe diseases. Overvaccination has been linked to cancer, allergies, and other auto-immune diseases such as Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia. More research needs to be done but many of the recent studies show these links exist. In fact, in cats, overvaccination has been proven to cause sarcomas, a very severe cancer.

So now the question becomes, if the vaccines have been shown to produce immunity that lasts quite a bit longer than what was originally thought and annual vaccination might be the cause of certain allergies and other immune system diseases including cancer, then why has my vet not told me about this? Unfortunately, the answer is money, if not money then it is pure ignorance on your vet’s part. Yes ignorance, as in not current in their education or just an unwillingness to change because the old way is the way things have always been done. Money is the other answer and no it is not because veterinarians are greedy, but rather in many veterinary offices, 33% of the annual income comes from vaccinations. This is a large percentage of income that with the new guidelines will be cut. Veterinarians are not prepared for that kind of an income cut. Many could go out of business. Many clinics do not have the management skills or their other services are not priced correctly to compensate for that kind of an income loss. So changing to the new vaccination guidelines although would benefit your animals health can be a tough business decision for the owner of the veterinary clinic. Just remember though you have a responsibility as a pet owner for the health and well being of your pet and less vaccinations IS better for your pet, regardless of the business problems that some clinics may have going to the new guidelines.

So if your veterinarian is still requesting annual vaccinations, ask why. Be informed, make the right decisions, choose to protect the health of your dog by learning what your veterinarian is giving to your dog and why – specifically why, not just because he is the vet and it is to better the health of your dog. Ask questions, be dangerous!