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© Jennifer Hewitson, 760-944-6154

Is Your Pet Dying From Over-Vaccination Due to Vet Economics?

Nationally and internationally, companion animals (pets) are being over-vaccinated - a practice that is resulting in vaccine related deaths, severe illnesses, reduced longevity and large monetary costs to guardians (pet owners).

The most common practice is the annual administration of rabies vaccine, based upon the oft-stated supposition that an annual booster is necessary to maintain the vaccine's effectiveness. In reality, there is no research substantiating that practice, and veterinary schools and professional associations increasingly are embracing a triennial administration standard.

A study of more than 1,000 cats and 1,000 dogs in the United Kingdom by Canine Health Concern in March 2001 showed a 1 in 10 risk of adverse reaction from vaccines! The study, which tracked over a seven-month period the health of cats and dogs vaccinated by one UK veterinarian, found that 7.54% to 12.42% of the dogs had adverse reactions within a 45-day period post-vaccination. An almost-identical number of cats - from 7.56% to 12.44% -- also suffered adverse reactions within 45 days. This is quite contradictory to the vaccine-manufacturers' claim that less than 15 adverse reactions occur out of 100,000 companion animals vaccinated. The UK study results were reported at the 99% confidence level. Vaccine manufacturers rely on adverse-reaction statistics from the vets themselves.

In our opinion many vets continue to cling to the annual rabies shot has less to do with a cautious standard of care and more to do with their economic dependence on vaccinations for fiscal solvency. This is especially true of a substantial - if not vast - majority of small vet practices (1-3 people, non-specialty, non-emergency practice).

A vial of rabies vaccine costs the veterinarian about 61 cents and is typically administered at a cost to the guardian of from $15 to $38 - not including the $35 office visit. In perspective, an 18-oz. package of Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes® is $2.20 to the grocer and approximately $2.75 retail. If the grocer's mark-up were comparable to that of rabies vaccine, Frosted Flakes would cost $137 without the office visit and more than $260 with it. To borrow Tony the Tiger's expression, that size of a mark-up is "Gr-r-reat!"®

Take out 1 year of rabies vaccination and the consequential office visit-- just for dogs -- and the average small-practice vet's income drops from approximately $87,000 to $25,000 -- and this doesn't include cats or other vaccinations!

The Veterinarian "Shot-based Practice" Model is a systemically flawed economic approach and potentially detrimental to companion animals. Bad practice-management becomes bad medicine, resulting in unnecessary -- and widespread -- death, illness, reduced longevity of companion animals and unnecessary cost to owners.