There’s a heated debate brewing in the veterinarian community over whether we’re overmedicating our cats and dogs.
You want to do what you can to keep your pets healthy. For more than 30 years that’s meant annual vaccines for serious diseases like rabies, distemper and parvovirus.
Now, some veterinarians like Christen Skaer say annual vaccines are not necessary; rather cats and dogs only need their shots every three years.
Most veterinary schools in the country agree. K-State is among those recommending less frequent vaccines.
“We have this growing body of evidence that shows vaccines last longer than one year. We’re over-vaccinating our animals,” says Skaer, a Wichita veterinarian.
Studies show over-vaccinating our pets can have serious health risks, although the risks are rare. Allergic reactions can range from vomiting and diarrhea to trouble breathing, even death.
In a small percentage of cats, there has been an increase in a type of cancer linked to some vaccines, but the incidence is one in 10,000.
Wichita Veterinarian Dr. Garry Cowan believes vaccines are safer than the side effects that have been reported in association with them. He says there’s not enough science yet to convince him less frequent vaccinations should be the standard. But years of annual vaccines have proven their case.
Veterinarians on both sides of the issue recommend you talk to your vet about your pet’s health specifically. Then make a decision based on their age, lifestyle and risk of getting infectious diseases. Meanwhile, the debate continues. Veterinarians are willing to put their own pet’s health on the line.
The American Animal Hospital Association has more information on the vaccine debate. Click here.