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Vexing vaccinations

Apparently I’m now going where no other media organisations have gone before, because although the press release below was sent out, it has not been published – so you read it here first. (probably) It comes from Catherine O'Driscoll and Canine Health Concern (http://www.canine-health-concern.org.uk/) and I find it very worrying.

I want to know what is safe for our dogs – and I don’t want any attempts to brow beat me into having my dog vaccinated. For example if there is an event I want to take my dog to, I don’t want to have to produce a “valid” vaccination certificate.

And while we’re at it, just what it “valid”? My vet recommends a three-in-one shot every two years, so is my certificate as “valid” as someone who has their dog vaccinated every year? And if not is it just lip service to making sure all the dogs are vaccinated.

I have our two blood tested to see if they need a booster. But then of course if they are low on one component it has to be all or nothing as my vet and I spent ages trying – and failing - to source single vaccinations. And would a blood test certificate stating the dogs have immunity be as “valid” as a straight “I’ve banged the required medicine into my dog like a good girl” certificate?

To be clear I am not anti vaccination, I am just anti over vaccination.

I shall now climb off my hobby horse and get a coffee, here’s the press release:

Leading Vets and Dog Owners Condemn Vaccine Manufacturer for
Promoting Unnecessary Vaccinations

This month, June 2009, has been designated National Vaccination Month by vaccine
manufacturer Intervet. The multi-national’s marketing campaign offers a discounted
full ‘starter’ series for dogs, cats and rabbits whose vaccines have lapsed by 18
months. Yet it has not been scientifically proven that dogs, cats and rabbits actually
need annual boosters, nor that they need to start the whole course again. Rather,
scientific studies show that dogs and cats, once immune, are unlikely to need
vaccinating again.

Thirty-three vets and doctors, from around the world, have signed an important letter
(attached) to clarify the science. They quote world veterinary bodies that have
announced publicly that annual vaccination is not necessary, and that it can be
harmful.

Concerned pet owners have signed another letter, asking that the veterinary
profession, regulatory bodies, pet charities and government stop promoting or
facilitating unnecessary and potentially harmful vaccines. Many of the signatories
have signed on behalf of the dogs who they believe were made ill, or died, as a result
of unnecessary shots.

“We are not suggesting that pets are left unprotected,” says Canine Health Concern’s
Catherine O’Driscoll. “We understand that everyone wants their pets to be protected
against deadly viral diseases. But we are asking that vets stop promoting and
administering unnecessary boosters. All medical procedures come with a risk – even
the humble aspirin – and no medical procedure should be performed without good
cause.”

Although three-year vaccines are now licensed, many vets in practice are sticking
with vaccines that have been licensed for only one year. The Veterinary Medicines
Directorate, which is supposedly meant to oversee the safety of veterinary products
on behalf of consumers, needs to take the science on board and ensure that the
public aren’t paying out money unnecessarily, and aren’t subjecting their family
friends to unjustified injections that have the potential to cause harm. The Royal
College of Veterinary Surgeons, the UK’s veterinary professional body, is also urged
to embrace the science and act to protect the safety of pets, thereby meriting the
trust of their clients.

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