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Vaccinating Pets: The Controversy Is Real

In the news, you can almost always find people who are anti vaccinating their children, just as you can find articles that are completely for vaccinations. However, what many people do not realize is the vaccination arguments go well beyond children. There are also controversies on whether animals should also receive vaccinations. Some veterinarians have come to believe that the vaccinations have become overkill, and led to cancers and allergies.

Why Vaccinate

The first question to address when it comes to vaccinating animals is why it should be done. Vaccines for people help prevent diseases that may be fatal. It is the same with animals. Millions of pets are still alive because pet vaccines have either killed off the disease entirely, or prevent it from becoming a problem.

Why the Controversy

So, if this is the case, then why is there a controversy over whether or not to vaccinate animals? The biggest question is not whether animals should be vaccinated, but rather how often the vaccinations are needed. With some veterinarians, vaccines are given every year. However, other veterinarians will give the same vaccine only once every two or three years. This debate has led to the confusion with pet owners and some will skip getting shots after the first year.

Do Vaccines Cause Cancer?

As mentioned above, one of the fears that has developed from vaccinations is the cause of cancer. While still very rare, cats will occasionally develop tumors where they have been given an injection. It is because of this realization that veterinarians have begun giving shots in areas on a cat that can be easily removed via surgery if a tumor is found. Now, while they are not cancer, vaccines can also lead to other side effects, much like they can in children. You may notice that your pet is lethargic and has diarrhea after having a vaccine. It is unclear why some animals have more severe reactions, just like it is unclear why some children react to vaccines so differently.

In Summary

Vaccines are still extremely beneficial to animals. In dogs, they prevent parvo, distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, kennel cough, and rabies. For cats, they prevent feline distemper, feline leukemia, herpesvirus, rabies, and FIV (basically HIV for cats). It is vital that you talk with your veterinarian about which vaccines are vitally important and which ones are optional. Non-core vaccines, or optional vaccines, should only be given if the benefit outweighs the risk of side effects. However, you will also want to make sure you communicate with your vet on what the schedule of vaccines will be, as well as how often they feel your pet should receive them. If you and your veterinarian do not agree, simple seek out a veterinarian that shares your belief on the shot recommendations.