As most pet owners know (and have been told), it is their responsibility to make sure their pets are properly vaccinated every year to “keep them healthy”.ï¿½ I’ve always done this for my pets and I most certainly was prepared to do this for our newest edition to the family, Mandy.ï¿½ When she was 8 weeks old I took Mandy to ourï¿½ï¿½vet for routine vaccinations.ï¿½ï¿½ As special as our new pup was, I had no idea that she was going to have a severe allergic reaction to her vaccines.ï¿½ Approximately one hour after getting her shots, Mandy’s face became severely swollen and she began vomiting.ï¿½ I immediately took her back to our vet who informed me that sometimes dogs can have an allergic reaction to one or more of the vaccines.ï¿½ This allergic reaction was much like it would be for a human who ingested something they were allergic to, or someone who was allergic to bees who got stung.ï¿½ There was swelling, labored breathing, vomiting, etc.ï¿½ The vet proceeded to treat her with steroid injections, antihistamine injections and medication for the vomiting.ï¿½ I was able to bring her home that evening, but she remained sick for three days.ï¿½ My vet informed me that Mandy would need to be “pre-treated” with steroids and antihistamines when she got her subsequent vaccines.ï¿½ I thought that would be the end of it, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
In the years to follow I would watch my beautiful lab have reaction, after reaction, after reaction to each vaccination.ï¿½ Pre-treatment didn’t work and still doesn’t.ï¿½ She simply cannot tolerate the shot, or shots.ï¿½ Every vet I’ve asked seems to feel that it is most likely the distemper/parvo vaccine that causes the reaction rather than the rabies, but they can’t be sure.ï¿½ So why did I continue to vaccinate her?ï¿½ Have you ever tried to board one of your pets without updated vaccinations?ï¿½ No pet boarding facility will accept a pet who is not up to date on specific vaccines.ï¿½ I would put off updating Mandy’s shots until we were going on vacation and had to board her, then subsequently end up at the pet emergency room every time.ï¿½ The most recent allergic reaction was two weeks ago and it was enlightening.ï¿½ The vet at the pet E.R. told me that the safety of pet vaccinations is a hot topic in the veterinary community right now.ï¿½ He stated that there is growing concern among some vets about the safety and necessity of yearly vaccines.ï¿½ This particular vet went on to say that he only vaccinates his dogs with a rabies vaccine every three years as required by law.ï¿½ï¿½ Apparently there is a blood test that can also be done to check your pet’s immunity to distemper/parvo that can be done before vaccinating, but this test can cost up to $55.00.ï¿½ Subsequent to my conversation with the E.R. vet I did my own research on the topic and found that everything he said was absolutely correct.ï¿½ There are no studies that show yearly booster shots are necessary for our pets or that they are even effective at preventing disease.ï¿½ Furthermore, they can adversely affect their immune system and cause chronic disease in some pets.ï¿½ï¿½
So why are we required to continue vaccinating our pets?ï¿½ There are different theories on this subject in the veterinary world, and I have my own as well.ï¿½ I should say that I understand the need for a rabies vaccine, especially when there are pet owners who do not properly supervise their pets all of the time.ï¿½ The distemper/parvo vaccine is another story.ï¿½ There are some who say the main motivation behind yearly booster shots for our pets is money.ï¿½ Is this surprising?ï¿½ Not to me, personally.ï¿½ It makes sense that if we all stopped getting yearly vaccines for our pets the income for veterinarians would drop significantly, as it would for the pharmaceutical companies who produce the vaccines.ï¿½ Luckily, there are some vets out there whose conscious outweighs their desire for compensation.ï¿½ I’m hoping the number of vets with a conscious will grow and they will begin to speak out publicly about their concerns over pet vaccinations.ï¿½ More pet owners need to know that there are definite risks involved when vaccinating their pets.
As for me, this latest allergic reaction experience has completely changed my outlook on yearly pet vaccines.ï¿½ I don’t want to have to watch my beautiful lab go through three days of suffering anymore, and I don’t plan to.ï¿½ I will get her a rabies vaccine every three years and that’s it.ï¿½ When I go on vacation I will either bring her with me or get a pet sitter who comes to the house rather than board her.ï¿½ It’s not worth it to me to risk her health.ï¿½