Vaccines are the best way to keep your pets happy and healthy. They work with your pets natural immune system to help them develop anti-bodies that will stop serious infection from taking hold. There are many myths surrounding vaccinating your pets so let’s bust some of them.
Vaccinations are a waste of money and only line the pockets of rich pharmaceutical companies. Vaccinations are an important part of keeping your animals healthy. Most of the disease they protect them from such as parvo virus are potentially life threatening. They need to be boosted yearly because the viruses mutate and the anti-bodies your pet has gained from the vaccine the previous year will not keep them safe from the new form of the virus (although it will continue to keep them safe from the original form they have been vaccinated against.)
Animals don’t need vaccines because they get anti-bodies from their mother’s milk. Baby animals that feed from their mothers do receive some anti-bodies that give them some protection against diseases. However, this protection only lasts for the duration of the breast-feeding. Once the animals have been weaned they will no longer have any protection. Furthermore they not be protected from new strains of the diseases. For this reason it is important to vaccinate young animals as soon as your vet recommends it, particularly since young animals can get very sick very quickly.
Rabbits don’t need vaccinating. Rabbits do need vaccinating against two particularly nasty diseases myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD). Both these disease are potentially life threatening. Part of the confusion surrounding vaccinating rabbits is because the general public only recently started taking up on the idea of boosting rabbit welfare. However, over recent years there has been media coverage of myxomatosis outbreaks that have been linked to booms in the mosquito population.
My cat is an indoor cat so it doesn’t need vaccinating. There are some vaccinations that cats will need regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor cats because the bacteria or viruses can be transferred to your cat from you or your clothes. There is always the possibility that your cat can escape and pick up disease that way, or even when they take a trip to the vets.
Wild animals don’t have vaccinations, so why would domestic animals need vaccinating? It is not the case that wild animals don’t need vaccinations but they don’t have access to them. In fact many wild animals die from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. For example millions of wild rabbits have died from myxomatosis since it first arrived in the British wild rabbit population. Far from being natural the prevalence of many diseases is due humans forcing animals to live in such close proximity to one another. In the case of myxomatosis, it is a human made disease.
Vaccines are dangerous and just cause the animals pain. Any medication that is given out in veterinary surgeries is extensively tested before it is released. Bad reactions are very rare (although like any medication, human or animal, they can happen). Most vets and vet nurses are also very experienced and are able to give the vaccines without causing the animals pain. It is also important to remember that the diseases these vaccines prevent are very painful for the animal and lead to lifelong health issues or death.