K9 Magazine

Do Dogs Really Need Annual Booster Vaccinations?

There is much debate about dog vaccinations and whether dogs do need them every year. In the dog world it's almost as debated as dog training methods, but as concerns about parvovirus rise across the UK, you may be left more confused than ever as to whether your dog will or won't benefit.

In this eBook, we will share opinions from both sides of the argument to help you better understand where opinion stems from to help you make your own decision.

How dog vaccinations work

All dog vaccinations (dog vaccines) are made from the bacteria or viruses of the disease, but they are either given in a dead form or so weak that the disease cannot be given to a puppy. What does happen is that in receiving these harmless doses, the puppy builds up an immunity to the disease in question by manufacturing antibodies. Therefore you can quite safely have your puppy protected against disease by having it vaccinated at nine weeks old and by giving it booster doses at intervals of two years or according to your vet's advice.

Do dogs need annual booster vaccinations?

In this report, we are not seeking to discourage anyone from getting their dog inoculated. This is an essential, responsible dog ownership step. This report seeks to examine the growing controversy over annual so-called 'booster' vaccinations and whether they are actually essential.

This report on dog vaccinations sets out to give you the information and insight you need to reach your own conclusions on whether your dog should receive annual booster vaccinations. It contains information from the UK's leading veterinary sources as well as one of the most high profile opponents of annual dog vaccinations.

CLICK HERE To Read an Extract
 Vaccinations are used to prevent often fatal diseases such as canine parvovirus, canine distemper, leptospirosis (dogs), feline leukaemia (FeLV) and viral haemorrhagic disease (in rabbits) plus many more.

PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Elaine Pendlebury, comments: “Losing a pet in any situation is heart breaking. It’s even worse when the loss is the result of a disease which could have been prevented through vaccination.

“Many of these preventable diseases can be very harmful to our pets. For example, over 80 per cent of puppies infected with the distemper virus will die. Some of these diseases can also affect us. Leptospirosis can cause serious diseases in people affecting the liver and kidneys, which again can be fatal.”

In cats, feline leukaemia (FeLV) is now the most common infectious cause of premature death in cats in the UK. It has been estimated that 8 out of 10 cats infected with FeLV will die within three years.

Rabbits don’t fare much better, either. One preventable disease, viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD) is a very contagious and almost always fatal viral disease. The virus is very resistant and can remain active for almost four months.  In the acute form, the rabbit usually dies within a day or two after showing the first signs of the disease.

Elaine continues: “The development of many of these diseases is often horrific, and it is distressing for vets, nurses and owners alike to see a pet die when the problem could have been prevented with a simple vaccination.”

Catherine O’Driscoll is founder of Canine Health Concern, and author of the book, ‘What Vets Don’t Tell You About Vaccines’. She is a high profile opponent of giving dogs regular ‘booster’ vaccinations. This is her take on why booster vaccinations might be doing your dog more harm than good.

In January 2004, 31 vets went to the extreme lengths of signing a letter, published in Veterinary Times (UK), stating that annual vaccination ‘constitutes fraud by misrepresentation, fraud by silence and theft by deception’.  I called annual vaccination fraud ten years ago, fully aware that, if proven wrong in a court of law, I could be sued.  I wasn’t.

The truth is that we are vaccinating too much, says Catherine.

In 2000, the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents (COBTA) presented their consensus, stating:

When an annual booster vaccination with a modified live virus (MLV) vaccine (i.e. Distemper , Parvovirus or Fe Distemper) is given to a previously vaccinated adult animal – no added protection is provided.  Modified live virus vaccines depend on the replication of the virus for a response. Antibodies from previous vaccines do not allow the new virus to replicate. Antibody titres are not boosted significantly, memory cell populations are not expanded. No additional protection is provided.

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