by Shawn Messonnier
This time of year we are getting reminders to have our pet’s annual vaccines done, yet it may be surprising that research shows that pets do not need and should not receive frequent vaccines. If the pet doesn’t need something, it is a waste of money to pay for that procedure. Research shows pets form long-lasting immunity to most vaccines, making regular boosters unnecessary.
Also, giving a pet unnecessary vaccines can cause both acute and chronic reactions. One of the major causes of the increase in cancer we see is overuse of vaccines, flea chemicals, poor diet, vitamin D deficiency (common in more than 90 percent of North Texas dogs) and chronic use of medications.
The alternative to frequent vaccination is annual titer testing by holistic veterinarians. The titer is a simple blood test which checks a pet’s immunity for common infectious diseases. If the titers are normal, no booster vaccines are needed. If they are low, a booster shot may be given, depending upon several factors, including the pet’s health.
Many veterinarians don’t do titer testing because they don’t know how to interpret them or feel that the testing is too expensive. However, a three-titer test can be done for less than $100. For pets that need a booster shot, new research shows that reduced dosing of vaccines (giving a smaller amount of the shot than the entire vial) is safer and as effective as the standard practice of giving all sizes of pets the same amount of vaccine. It’s time for all doctors to update their protocols and make titer testing a cost-effective standard of care.
Dr. Shawn Messonnier is a holistic and integrative veterinarian and owner of Paws & Claws Holistic Animal Hospital, in Plano. For more information, call 972-867-8800 or visit PawsAndClawsAnimalHospital.com.