Documented research shows vaccinations are important to prevent illness and the spread of disease, but over-vaccinating has the potential to cause serious future health concerns for our animal friends. While there is no question that vaccinations have saved millions of lives over the years, animals of certain susceptible breeds or families appear to be at increased risk for severe and lingering adverse reactions to vaccines. In cats, while adverse vaccine reactions may be less common, aggressive tumors (fibrosarcomas) can occasionally arise at the site of vaccination. We are not talking about minor and temporary "flu" like symptoms, such as fever, body aches, and sleepiness that we often associate following a vaccination. We are talking about more serious symptoms, such as developing or escalating tumors/cancer, seizures, thyroid/kidney disease, or worse...complete immune system failure and/or death. All of these symptoms/illnesses have been well documented throughout the years in various veterinary literature and over the past few years veterinarians are starting to see a trend..."Over-vaccinating has the potential to cause more future health problems; therefore, we need to reevaluate our current vaccination protocol." While the incidence is low, only a few per thousand—do we really want to take a chance? Mind you...we are not trying to scare you, but to inform you of the all the risks and possibilities before giving a vaccination. We must remember that core vaccinations are needed/required as young animals both for their individual health and the health of the population. However, each animal is unique and thus healthcare needs a more personalized approach in treatment as well as vaccinations.
In the past and even currently, vaccine use has become so widespread that most veterinary practices send reminder cards to clients to schedule appointments for their pets based solely on their vaccination schedule. However, recent research shows that vaccine manufacturer's recommendations may have been arbitrary and not based on duration of immunity studies at all. The studies now being conducted to find out how long an immune response can last in a vaccinated animal have revealed that many of the common vaccines confer "immunity" for several years if properly administered. In some cases, a titer test may be taken instead of giving a booster vaccine. A titer is a blood test that will reveal the level of antibodies found in the blood, which functions as a measure of the immune response. For more information on titer testing, you can visit W. Jean Dodds, DVM website. (We also offer titer tested here at the clinic and we use hemopet because we trust their method/results and contribution to and use of their database. Hemopet also quantifies the titer level beyond a positive or negative more ambiguous answer.)
We strongly recommend pet parents to keep up on their pet companion's annual comprehensive examinations. We cannot express enough how preventative medicine is the very key to a long and healthy life for people and their pets. For consideration, our pets' life passes more quickly than ours. One calendar year we experience is equivalent to 4-7 years in both cats and dogs, therefore, it is essential that medical conditions are found early, so treatments can start a.s.a.p. to stay ahead of the illness and hopefully restore optimal health.
We also strongly recommend you stay up-to-date on your pet companion's vaccinations—become informed on current vaccination data/laws and know all your possible vaccination options. A good place to start is visiting the IVC Journal website. IVC Journal has several current articles on vaccinations and other subject matter you may find interesting. The articles also provide the direct links to current studies. If you have questions after reading about vaccinations, this is good because questions open the door for sharing information and for the development of trust; which we strive for here at Universally Holistic Veterinary Services. "We want to give you the most current information on vaccines, so you can make the best and informed decisions to fit your goals and lifestyle concerning your animal companion's health during their annual comprehensive exam."