Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The pet vaccine debate: How much is too much?

Older cats like Beorn may benefit from a tailored approach
When it comes to pet vaccination, owners seem to be evenly divided. Some believe that all animals should be vaccinated every year, for everything possible, so they can ensure that the pet won't get sickened by something preventable. Others believe that animals should never be vaccinated, since vaccines have recently been linked to pet illness or even death. Put two people from opposite camps in the same veterinary waiting room, pop the popcorn and watch the sparks fly. Both sides are adamant that their way is best.

As for me, I sit in the middle of the road on this issue.

I do think kittens and puppies should have a complete series of vaccinations. Period. I also think all animals of all ages should be vaccinated against rabies, according to local laws. Breaking the law just doesn't sit right with me.

But after that, I want to customize a plan in concert with my veterinarian. Some animals travel to high-risk places and are exposed to many diseases, and they need regular vaccines. Some animals are old and stay indoors all the time, and they may need fewer vaccines or no vaccines at all.

I have my opinions on the issue, but I am open to listening to what the veterinarian believes about the issue. I've paid for the appointment, after all, so why not listen to what the paid expert has to say? Maybe there's something I hadn't considered.

In short, when it comes to the vaccine debate, I think the proper path really depends on the animal you're dealing with, and the veterinarian you work with should help you make an appropriate choice for that particular pet. A blanket statement for or against vaccines just doesn't seem appropriate.

Spot Magazine recently covered this issue in depth. This might make good reading, if you're still making up your mind on the issue. Click here to read more.