Monday, June 29, 2009

Whose Decision Is It, Anyway?

(Contributed by Dr. Jessica Levy)

Okay, so veterinarians have been over-vaccinating animals for years. A lot of health problems and serious diseases are caused by vaccines. Many animals suffer severe reactions or even die after vaccination. It's all true.

In spite of this, I think that blasting veterinarians as the sole source of over-vaccination is overrated. How many times have I been forced against my better judgment to vaccinate an animal because the boarding kennel, the groomer, or the trainer required that the pet have "all his shots" before setting paw in their establishment? In order to take your dog to PetCo for a $5 nail trim, you have to prove that all the vaccines are up to date.

Any pet catalog will sell you any animal vaccine you want, and you can vaccinate your own pet as often as you please. In some states, the vaccines are available for purchase at farm stores or feed mills. State and municipal laws require boostering of rabies vaccines at predetermined intervals, regardless of what science tells us about post-vaccination duration of immunity.

Veterinarians play a decreasingly important role in deciding what gets done to animals and why. Yes, we're the ones conducting the research, but the information is not being disseminated to the wider public. In the past, we put so much time and effort into brainwashing people into believing that their pets would die without their annual shots, that now we've created an uncontrollable monster.

Some veterinarians may feel that if they don't follow the manufacturer's recommendation for that annual booster that they will expose themselves to legal attack. There have also been articles in the veterinary literature claiming that if I use a vaccine labeled for booster in a year, but I tell my client that it's good for three years, that I am putting my license at risk.

Hello, fellow veterinarians. We are professionals. We are highly educated. We have brains, and we can think. Can we regain control of this situation and put a stop to this nonsense? I fear that as a profession we are losing our credibility. The American Veterinary Medical Association has not shown the strong leadership I had hoped when I joined that organization. Veterinarians end up being blown around by the latest trends instead of taking a stand and upholding ourselves as the medical professionals we are.

Do day care employees determine the vaccination schedule of the children in their care? I think not.

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