1. The only vaccine required by U.S. law is rabies. 16 states, and some localities, currently offer medical exemptions for animals with serious health problems and more exemptions are likely coming since the AVMA now approves. Not all states require cats and ferrets to be vaccinated, but all states require vaccination of dogs. Click here to see your state rabies laws. Note: laws change with little fanfare and not all veterinarians know current regulations. In addition, although all 3-year vaccine drug makers guarantee 3-year immunity, and despite the increased health risk from unnecessary vaccination, some localities continue to require more frequent “boosters.” Check with your local Animal Control for details. Find a list of states working on exemptions.
2. There is little or no research showing that annual revaccination for core vaccines boosts immunity. Studies show that the important “core” vaccines shouldn’t be given any more frequently than every three years — not every three years. Read this article on duration of immunity for more information.
3. Mature dogs and cats rarely die from vaccine-preventable infectious disease. (Click here for details.)
4. A simple blood titer test can prove immunity for canine core vaccines. Though more expensive than vaccines, titer tests need not be repeated often or perhaps even ever (according to many experts).
5. When cats, and small-to-medium-size breed dogs, receive multiple vaccines in one visit (a common practice) they become “significantly” more likely to have a reaction according to a major Purdue University study. Each additional vaccine can increase reaction risk by as”much as 27%. A “5-way” canine vaccine plus Bordetella plus rabies adds up to 7 vaccines! (Click here for more details.)
6. Treatment for vaccine reactions can cost hundreds, even thousands, of dollars over the pet’s lifetime and may ultimately prove ineffective. Who pays? You do! Only rarely will vaccine makers contribute to treatment and diagnostic costs; they are protected against liability by U.S. Law.
7. Groomers and boarding establishments often have vaccination requirements that have more to do with perceived liability than pet health. Though often well intentioned, many of these caregivers are unaware of the newest vaccination recommendations, the duration of immunity conveyed by vaccines, rates of vaccine effectiveness and/or the health risks of over-vaccination. Lately, some enlightened caregivers are accepting titer test in lieu of vaccination and foregoing vaccines with limited effectiveness. You can also offer to sign a waiver of liabilty to allay caregiver fears.
Want to learn more? Read the Questions Your Need to Ask BEFORE Vaccinating and/or search for more information by subject, category or tag (at right).