The trend of parents not vaccinating their children has gained momentum in thepast several years. This year, the United States saw one of the largestoutbreaks of measles in the past two decades.
Now, health officials are worried that the movement will move toward pets.
The problem of not vaccinating domesticated animals is severe in England. Arecent study from the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, a veterinarycharity in England, found that 25% of owners report their dog has not had aprimary course of vaccination.
There were a number of reasons the owners didn’t vaccinate. The majoritythough it wasn’t necessary and too expensive.
Vets in the U.S. worry that it is just a matter of time before this trend ofnot vaccinating pets travels to the U.S.
Dr. Beth Malinich of the Animal Hospital of Fairview Park said she sees moreand more owners opting out of vaccinations.
“Vaccine frequency is becoming a bit of a controversy in veterinary medicine,”she said.
She said their reasoning echoed the findings from PDSA, people either believethey’re not necessary, that they may cause other illnesses or that they’rejust too expensive.
Malinich said she is constantly researching what vaccines are necessary andhow often they should be given.
“For many, many years, most of the vaccines were required to be givenannually, it said so on the label,” she said.
Though, accepted vaccine frequency is changing.
“Many patients, where they have little to no exposure to other animals cansafely go on, perhaps, a three-year vaccine schedule with most of thosevaccines,” Malinich said.
It just depends on your pet. Ask your veterinarian if your animal is gettingcore vaccines or lifestyle ones.
For example, bordetella is based on your pet’s lifestyle.
“Dogs that are going to be outdoors and be encountering new dogs, especiallyones that you aren’t familiar with, certainly our most common vaccine for themwould be bordetella or kennel cough,” she said.
But to prevent your cat or dog from feeling “ruff,” or getting other animalssick, there are core vaccines that veterinarians say you shouldn’t skip.
CORE VACCINES FOR DOGS: parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis
CORE VACCINES FOR CATS: feline distemper, feline calicivirus, felineherpesvirus and rabies
Rabies is the only vaccination that is mandated by law because it can bepassed to humans, but it varies by state.
Herd immunity is the same for cats and dogs as it is for humans.
“If you live in an area where most pets are vaccinated, all of the other petsare at less of a risk,” Malinich said.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,most pets show no ill effect from vaccination but some side effects couldinclude fever, sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting and lameness.
T _his story was originally published byJessi Schultz on WEWS. _
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