Are we over vaccinating our pets?

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We have rescued many Shelties over the last 20+ years and they have all enjoyed a good life until they reach about 12 – 13 years. We know that at least four of our Shelties have died of cancer: pancreas, prostate, bladder and lung. They all have been given premium dog food, regular checkups. We have read that flea control could be one of the reasons for the cancer or we could be “over” vaccinating our pets. Can you please share your thoughts on this?

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Asked on May 26, 2015 6:19 pm


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Over the past 20 years flea control has come a long way. Today’s spot on products that are not absorbed into the blood stream and are insect specific toxic, like revolution and advantage, are definitely safe to use. Prior wholesale insecticides for flea control may have contributed to the overall toxic load the pet had to deal with. Researchers cannot say for sure what causes many types of cancers. They do agree that toxic insults may lead to an increased incidence of certain types of tumors.

Current research does indicate we do not need to vaccinate are pets as often as we once did. However, the only tumor linked to vaccines is the vaxosarcoma in cats. This is a tumor which shows up in the area of the vaccine administration. It is very rare, in relation to number of doses of vaccines administered. Certainly, 12-13 years old is considered old age for dogs. We would expect a higher incidence of tumors in this aged population. We must constantly ask ourselves is the treatment we are using less of a risk than the disease we are trying to prevent? The treatment should never be worse!

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Posted by Dr. Gaylord Brown
Answered on May 26, 2015 6:20 pm