Dr. Karen Becker Weighs in on Pet Vaccinations

A new study by researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health was recently published in the journal Vaccine.  When I read this study and then saw the public and press responses to it, I headed over to FACEBOOK to share my thoughts.  Facebook proceeded to suppress my post.  Therefore, I’m finding other means to reach a very important audience: pet parents and their veterinarians.  Thank you, Dr. Becker’s Bites, for inviting me to share my thoughts with your audience.

2.0 pet parents know that establishing lifelong protective immunity to potentially fatal viruses is critical for animal health. However, repeatedly vaccinating already-immunized animals does NOTHING to bolster the immune system, because you can't "boost" an already-immunized immune system. This is science, not woo. It's why you got childhood vaccines but aren't getting "boosted" annually as an adult.

Our worldwide community of empowered, intelligent animal advocates is well aware of this immunologic fact. They are asking important questions in the exam room such as, "I'm interested in doing a simple and easy vaccine antibody titer test in place of guessing whether or not my pet is protected. A titer test will demonstrate if my animal needs more vaccines or not, do you agree?"

Instead of the professional community of veterinarians answering the tough questions and having an open discussion that benefits everyone, these educated pet parents are being reported as "anti-vaxxers"?!

To any potential veterinary trolls out there wanting to argue: how can your clients who are passionate about achieving (and proving) lifelong protective immunity in their pets be labeled anti-vaxxers? Why don't humans schedule their measles/mumps/rubella boosters annually until we die? Because we assume we are protected for life (and we don't even titer to make sure!).

Brilliant pet parents understand the basics of immunology and are wise enough (and responsible enough) to ask for confirmation via a vaccine antibody titer blood test.

We aren't anti-vaxxers, we're science-based longevity junkies, and it's about time the completely inaccurate name calling stops. We want 100% of pets protected against disease. We don't want the consequences of potentially over-vaccinating. There's a massive difference between doing nothing and knowingly achieving protective immunity. It's time our profession evolves to match the intelligence of our educated client base and stops hurling inaccurate insults.

 A few more thoughts: did you know that it was the vaccine manufacturers who set the initial guidelines for annual veterinary vaccines decades ago? Not research!

…that we veterinarians must all be vaccinated for rabies, but after our initial rabies vaccines, we are titered for rabies antibodies rather than routinely receiving an annual human rabies vaccine. 

…that titer testing is an effective way to determine whether previous vaccines are still providing immunity against specific diseases and can empower veterinarians to create customized vaccine protocols for individual pets.

…that rabies vaccines are required by law but you can insist on the 3-year vs. the 1-year vaccine and you can/need to give your pet the rabies vaccine detoxifier Lyssin.

 …that sick pets, especially those with cancer, should never be vaccinated against rabies.

And one last thing: I strongly encourage you to try to find an integrative veterinarian to care for your pet, especially when it comes to vaccinations.

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