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Vaccination for Your Pet – Is It Safe?

What’s the issue?

Some people claim that vaccination against diseases is a kind of poison. They “blame” vaccination for bad things in kids and pets, including autism, allergies, and anaphalaxis (shock). They claim that vets “overvaccinate” to make more money and companies sell vaccinations only to make a profit. They claim that vaccines contain all kinds of chemicals.

But scientists say it’s safe, and vets still vaccinate pets (and doctors vaccinate people!).

Problem is, this issue, takes more than one sentence to understand it.

Thanks to Bajimbi Cattery

Where’s the science? Where’s the proof?

Diseases can and do KILL pets – diseases from germs like Parvovirus, Distemper, Hepatitis, Feline Enteritis, and so on. Vaccination makes the pet’s body think it has the disease so antibodies can be made by the pet in a safe way. When the germ comes along, vaccination antibodies kill the germs before the germs can kill the pet. Parvovirus, for example, causes significant disease in pets in Australia with regular “waves” of disease every few years, and many animals die in horrible pain and suffering.

We KNOW vaccination works to prevent normal disease levels in 80-98% of a vaccinated population. So vaccination IS worthwhile. But some pets are still at risk, because they are too young, or too old, or too sick, or just don’t have the gene to make that antibody.

We also know that when a high percentage of the Australian pet population is vaccinated, the number of germs in the environment decreases. This is because there aren’t as many sick animals multiplying the germ and putting germs into the environment.

So we try vaccinate the whole population (or as many as possible) because this reduces the number of germs in the environment, and this partially protect those pets that don’t’ respond well to vaccination. So when you get your pet vaccinated you are not just helping your pet, you are actually helping the whole pet population.

BUT for almost every medicine even known, (and most foods, and other treatments), there is an individual or two in the population of pets who “reacts”. Usually this is a lump where the injection was given, occasionally a raised temperature. In only one in a million or so cases the reaction is severe enough to cause real illness.

So the scientists are right – vaccines ARE “safe” when you look at the whole population of pets, and have the added value of reducing the risk of the germs getting out of control and causing sickness and death. But a rare individual can have a side effect. While this is more than an acceptable “price to pay” for a whole population, that doesn’t make you feel any better if your pet is the individual, even if it’s only a small lump!

What do we need to do?

The population is only “protected”, if everybody vaccinates their pet. Sure, your pet might get a lump or a temperature, but isn’t this better than a horrible death due to a disease (or a huge bill to get them better)?

That is why most vaccines are currently given by veterinarians, and the batch number of the vaccine is recorded in the vaccination certificate. Vets are trained to give vaccinations, trained to look out for side effects and trained in how to treat them. Australian pets are offered quality vaccines registered with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary medicines Authority; and the APVMA also monitors side effects to vaccines in Australian pets.

Where can I voice my opinion?

email  YOUR industry group: Pets Australia at petsaustralia@petsaustralia.org

 

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