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Uptick in Human Measles Serves as Reminder that Vaccines are Still Necessary for People and Pets

Vaccinations are a perennially controversial subject in veterinary (and human) medicine. As I have mentioned before, there are few aspects of vaccination upon which all...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Sep 7th 2008


Vaccinations are a perennially controversial subject in veterinary (and human) medicine. As I have mentioned before, there are few aspects of vaccination upon which all veterinarians can agree.

Most reasonable vets agree that pets need vaccines. But if you get a group of us together and get us talking about which pets need which vaccines and how often, fights soon break out. It’s really quite remarkable, since veterinarians are notoriously non-confrontational. Six years ago I saw two leading experts on animal vaccinations nearly come to fisticuffs in front of an audience of 200 at a convention on feline vaccinations.

The long and short of it is that nobody knows for sure how often pets should be vaccinated. But one thing is certain: don’t trust anyone who believes that the subject is simple.

This fact is belied by an article I noticed regarding human vaccinations in the September 5, 2008 issue of The Week. Many parents have declined to vaccinate their children because of a suspected (and now thoroughly discredited) link between vaccines and autism. As a result the rate of measles, a disease that is preventable through vaccination, has increased by 200% over the last year. Autism continues to become more prevalent as well.

I wish the take home message were simple. But it isn’t. It boils down to this: vaccines are complicated. Pets should benefit from thoughtful, tailored vaccination protocols that are suited specifically to their needs.

In the world of vaccines, one size does not fit all.