***This BarkPost article in no way constitutes medical advice. We are not, nor do we claim to be, veterinarians. If this article raises questions about your dog’s health, only consult with a licensed dog physician.***
Today, we’ll be talking about dog shots.
No, not those kind of dog shots.
Yep. Those kind of shots. Sorry, pup. There’s no getting around it. Whether you’re dog or hooman, at some point, for one reason or another, you’ll be getting a shot. Chances are, your shot will be for the purposes of vaccination. In other words, many of your shots will be intended to prevent illness.
For some parents (of hoomans), the decision to vaccinate their children is no decision at all, while others may hesitate to vaccinate their children for fear of long-term health risks.
Though no scientific evidence has ever supported the notion that human vaccination contributes to conditions such as autism—as claimed by the anti-vaxxer crowd—the issue has generated much controversy in the US, with parents on either side of the debate having strong emotional reactions to the opposition.
Recently, it appears that this debate has poured over into the world of dog parenting, with doggie moms and dads across the country making the conscious decision to abstain from vaccinating their dogs. But why?
Former president of the Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine Association and veterinarian Brian McKenzie hypothesizes that “over the last 10 or 15 years, there has been an increase in mostly unfounded concerns about vaccine safety for people — and that, I think, has raised people’s awareness and level of concern about vaccinations for their pets.”
More over, some veterinarians have begun to warn dog parents about vaccination, specifically combination vaccines, or “combo shots.” Unlike a straightforward shot such as the rabies shot, which is solely intended to prevent the onset of rabies, combo shots feature vaccines for several potential health risks, such as parvovirus and distemper.
The argument against combo shots claims that combining vaccines which effect dogs for disparate periods of time (the lepto portion of the combo shot is good for roughly 1 year, while the parainfluenza portion is good for 3), and that repeated administering of combo shots unnecessarily submits the dog to risk of adverse reactions like skin diseases or autoimmune diseases.
According to Christopher Brockett, the president of the New York State Veterinary Society, “The fewer animals that are getting the vaccine, the greater the likelihood that you’re going to have a firestorm if something that is that highly communicable comes along.”
While the debate over dog vaccinations continues, it remains difficult to determine whether or not the rate of dog vaccination has actually dropped, due to inadequate documentation of dog vaccinations.
So if you’re concerned that your dog is being over- or under-vaccinated, consult with your veterinarian to make the most informed decision possible. If you’re concerned other dog parents in your life might be over- or under-vaccinating, encourage them to do the same.