Veterinarian warns over-vaccination can harm pets - - Columbia, South Carolina

Veterinarian warns over-vaccination can harm pets

(Undated-NBC) May 30, 2005 - If you love your pet, you take him to the vet for a checkup each year. And that usually includes a round of vaccinations.

But some animal experts say that annual vaccination could be harmful to your pet.

Mollie Mae is a playful four-year-old Basenji. But at two-years-old, Mollie Mae was covered in sores and fighting for life. Sherri Crispin is the dog's owner, "She was really dying. She was laying in her bed. She wouldn't get up. She wouldn't eat."

Sherri Crispin says the doctors were baffled by her dog's mystery illness, until they narrowed it down to a most likely cause, a severe reaction to multiple vaccines given at the rescue shelter where Sherri adopted her, "What I understand now is that can potentially overload the immune system."

Jean Dodds, a veterinarian, understands the dangers of vaccinations, "You do not need to vaccinate animals every year and it may not be safe to do so."

Immunologist and veterinarian Jean Dodds says millions of pets get booster shots every year for everything from rabies and distemper to parvo virus and lyme disease. Most suffer no ill effects, but these days, many veterinarians are taking a less is better approach, "People are often so hysterical that they put the animals to sleep because it's an acute vaccine reaction and has to be treated rapidly to have the animal recover. And then you don't vaccinate again because the next vaccine could kill the animal."

Los Angeles veterinarian Rick Palmquist says vaccines can remain effective for years, without booster shots. He did a survey of over 100,000 dogs who were vaccinated once for distemper and parvo virus. In every case, those who were tested and did not get boosters have remained healthy, "The vaccine was doing what we wanted it to do without causing increased illness from overuse."

Over-vaccination has been suspected in causing tumors in some cats and immune problems in dogs. Doctor Palmquist says if you're getting your pet vaccinated, here's a simple plan. Start with the basics like rabies, distemper, and parvo virus, and then consult with your vet.

Pet owners who say they've seen the results of one shot too many couldn't agree more.

You also need to be aware of local pet laws when considering whether or not to have your pet vaccinated yearly.

Doctor Palmquist says that German shepherds, rottweilers, and poodles seem to be at higher risk for adverse vaccine reactions. If you're concerned, talk it over with your vet.

Posted 8:00pm by Chantelle Janelle

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