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AVMA speaks out on the importance of pet vaccination

Posted by SusanStokes on October 13, 2017

The American Veterinarian Medical Association (AVMA) published a press release in 2015 speaking out on the ainti-vaccination movement, and the information is still pertinent today. Their position is that this movement not only threatens human health, it could also have devastating effects for our pets if that ideology gains a foothold in veterinary medicine.

The AVMA points out many examples of how vaccination has benefitted animals. They say the domestic dog variant of rabies has been eliminated, for example. Also, the deadly diseases of distemper, parvovirus, and panleukopenia have become much less common.

How vaccines work

Vaccines work by stimulating protective immune responses in pets and preparing them to fight future infections from disease-causing agents. They can lessen the severity of future diseases, and certain vaccines can prevent infection altogether.

What are core vaccinations?

Core vaccinations are those vaccines that protect against diseases that are extremely severe and/or especially common.  In some instances, there is also the threat of disease to humans.  Depending on whether you own a dog, cat, horse or other animal, discuss with your veterinarian what core vaccines are recommended. Pet owners can and should work with their veterinarian to tailor a vaccination program that fits the needs of each specific animal. Some vaccines are required by law.

Are vaccines safe?

The AVMA advises that the risks from vaccines are small when weighed against the benefit they provide. Adverse responses include fever and reduced appetite, but are rare and pass quickly.

One exception that does require further discussion with your vet is when your pet is already sick. Dr. Patty Khuly’s advice on PetMD is that vaccinating a sick pet does indeed carry risk.

“Now, consider a pet with an open, infected wound, a UTI (urinary tract infection), a URI (upper respiratory infection) or gastroenteritis (nonspecific vomiting and diarrhea). Should they be offered an immunological challenge at this specific moment? I think not. Not for their own safety. And not when you consider the diminished potential for effective vaccination if the attempt is made while the animal’s immune system is otherwise occupied.”

Further advice for pet owners

Discuss vaccine options with your family veterinarian. Learn what is required by law in your state or municipality and don’t skip annual wellness exams for your pet. Educate yourself on pet health issues and learn more about vaccination protocols. Read the AVMA advice about animal vaccinations here.

Susan, Taurus and Gemini

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First published on Examiner.com - National Pet Health