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Are vaccinations important?


Dr. David Knox

There has been a tremendous amount of talk over the years about the importance and safety of vaccinations in pets. How many vaccines necessary? Are we over vaccinating? Can vaccines harm my pet? Are vaccines important? The answers are – it depends, possibly, potentially, & ABSOLUTELY.

The goal of this article is not to describe all of the vaccines available, as there are too many to adequately describe here. My goal today is just to address a couple of the questions I get as a practitioner. So, here we go.

1. How many vaccinations are needed? It depends on the vaccine as to the frequency of administration. However, we don’t really have much hard data to demonstrate how many are needed in a lifetime.

2. Are we over vaccinating our pets? Possibly. Without the data to show that a competently vaccinated animal is safe from disease for 5 years, 10 years, or a lifetime, it’s hard to really know which animals may be over vaccinated.

3. Can vaccines harm my pet? Potentially. There is a subset of pets that will have allergic reactions to vaccinations. These reactions can range from mildly to life threatening. There are also those pets that may develop a serious auto-immune response associated with vaccinations. Fortunately, both of these reactions are rare.

4. Are vaccines really important? ABSOLUTELY! Vaccines are designed to do one thing, prevent disease. Over the years vaccinations have been wildly successful at decreasing the cases of Rabies, Distemper, and Parvovirus compared to the unvaccinated population.

While vaccinations are very important for the health of your pet, if you have concerns regarding your pet please speak directly to your veterinarian about those concerns. We want to help. It’s what we do.

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“Ask the Vet” is a monthly feature of the Times-Advocate brought to you by Dr. David Knox of Companion Animal Clinic. If you have a question for the Vet, please submit it to: editor@times-advocate.com.

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