Current Thinking on Dog and Cat Vaccinations

You probably got a polio vaccination when you were a kid. Do you get a
“booster” every year?
Me neither.

So what’s up with annual vaccinations for dogs and cats?
Well the short answer is:

It’s based on established custom… NOT science.

AND it’s NO LONGER recommended.

Large scale pet vaccination started back in the 1950’s and mostly
just for dogs – Distemper and Leptospirosis.

When they measured antibodies in the blood stream a year later about a third of
the puppies didn’t have sufficient levels. (There are a number of reasons why this can be true).
Based on that, the standard of care recommendation was to vaccinate every year.

Yea, really that’s all the exhaustive science behind it.

It was later suggested that a blood analysis should be done first to determine if the pet needed to be vaccinated. This idea was dismissed on the basis that it would require two Vet visits instead of one (unless the pet didn’t need to be vaccinated).

Now in fairness, it was believed there was no risk with vaccinations.
So the standard of care became vaccinate every year.

In the early 1990’s that standard of care was debated. This
time with science.

Dr. Ron Schultz, a veterinary immunologist and professor at University of
Wisconsin published an article with co–author Dr. Phillips in Current Veterinary Therapy.

They said:

A practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual vaccinations. Almost without exception there is no immunologic requirement for annual revaccination. Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal.

The paper disclosed scientific validation and Dr. Schultz has released results that show most vaccines stay with the animal for at least 7 years.

Adding To That…

There are risks associated with vaccines.

In fact there are quite a few risks.

There is no coordinated reporting and monitoring of vaccine side effects. In addition, a Vet will only observe an immediate reaction. Adverse reactions can occur up to 45 days after the vaccine is received. Often people don’t associate the adverse reactions with the vaccination.

Adverse Reactions

Vaccinations work by stimulating the immune system – the positive effect is to protect against infectious disease. The negative effect can be a host of immune related diseases.

Adverse reactions range from minor and short term to long term limiting illnesses, chronic diseases and even death.

Allergies, arthritis, auto–immune diseases, cancer, epilepsy, seizures, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, colitis, kidney failure, liver failure, thyroid disease, parvovirus (yes, scientist believe that vaccinations actually
created parvo… it didn’t exist before the 1970’s), chronic skin problems, paralysis.

Also behavior problems such as aggression, suspiciousness, restlessness,
aloofness and unaffectionate, clingy and separation anxiety, excessive barking,
destructive behavior, tail chewing.

In fact vaccination site tumors have become so common in cats (between the shoulder blades), that it’s now recommended to vaccinate them in the tail or hind leg so it can be amputated if it becomes cancerous.

Current Recommendations

The practice of yearly vaccinations was the standard for decades and many practicing Vets still follow that. But you should note, it is NO LONGER the standard.

All 27 Vet Schools in the US have changed their recommendation, as have:

  • American Veterinary Medical Association
  • American Animal Hospital Association
  • World Small Animal Veterinary Association
  • Australian Veterinary Association

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) vaccination guidelines advise that duration of immunity is 7 years or longer, based on challenge and serological studies.

Dr Ronald Schultz, expert in immunology and a member of the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group and American Animal Hospital Association Canine Vaccine Task Force, says that if a puppy is immunized with the three MLV vaccines for parvovirus, distemper virus and adenovirus “there is every reason to believe the vaccinated animal will have up to life–long immunity”.

Vaccines aren’t risk free. Just because yearly vaccination was common for years doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.

Martin Goldstein, DVM:
“I think that vaccines…
are leading killers of dogs and cats in America today.”

Natural Dog and Cat Care 101 explains the history of vaccination for cats and dogs, the risks, the current science and recommendations from leading Vets. Get the best information to make the wisest care choices.