How Many Shots Does Your Pet Really Need?
The debate over pet vaccination has become big news. The return of measles and other diseases thought to be banished has ignited a controversy that most people thought was behind us too.
A similar debate surrounds the issue of vaccinating your pets.
[Update: August is National Immunization Awareness Month.]
“When it comes to your dog’s health, the single most important thing you can do for your pet is make sure she gets her shots,” according to DogTime. On the other hand, says Natural News, “the way vaccines are typically used today are extremely dangerous and potentially one of the most harmful things we could do to our animals.”
“Although it was well known that vaccines do cause reactions or have side effects, until recently it was thought that they were fairly rare, minor and treatable when they occurred, and far outweighed by their benefits,” according to the adoption site PetFinder.com. But “it is now believed that reactions may be more common and serious, and because of this concern, the debate has heated up about the judicious and appropriate use of vaccination.”
The real issue
… however, is not black and white.
“The current controversy regarding human childhood vaccinations is an entirely separate issue from pet vaccinations,” according to the activist site Stop the Shots. “The issue with animal vaccinations in a nutshell is mainly a question of unnecessary repeated inoculations, giving too many shots at the same time and giving unnecessary shots for diseases a pet will never be exposed to.”
The site does not oppose vaccinations in general, just urges pet owners to become fully informed and follow established veterinary guidelines. Many of the sites listed below address the debate — which pre-dates by years the current controversy over childhood vaccinations — so you can make the most informed decisions for your own pets.
What the doctors say
Rabies, distemper, and (for dogs) canine parvovirus are the “core” vaccinations every pet needs — then there are numerous “non-core” shots. Rabies shots are required by law in all states.
Of course you should ask your vet about these and any other vaccinations your pet may need. Until then, check out the websites and videos below to learn more:Puppies need more vaccinations than kittens, but both need basic rabies and distemper shots. Both should get rabies vaccinations after they turn 12 weeks old, then a year later, then every three years. Distemper shots are required several times up until 4–5 months, then on the same schedule as rabies. Puppies also need canine parvovirus shots following the distemper schedule.
Pet360: “Puppy Vaccination Schedule”
ASPCA: “Dog Care: Vaccinations”
Pet360: “Kitten Vaccination Schedule”
PetMD: “Cat Vaccinations”
Truth 4 Pets: “Questions to Ask”
American Humane Association: “Vaccinating Your Pet”
Healthy Pets: “How Much Money are You Wasting on Pet Vaccines?”
Clinics and DIY Vaccinations
Entirely Pets: “How to Vaccinate Your Pet”