Vaccines for dogs are a good thing. Nobody wants Mister Floofles to die of Canine Hepatitis, Canine Distemper, Canine Parainfluenza or Canine Parvovirus. But it’s easy to get spooked by rumours of the side effects of vaccines, and some people are turning down shots for their pets.
Photo by David Baxendale.
The Daily Wire reports that skipping dog vaccines is a thing “idiot hipsters” are doing, but it’s really a natural extension of the same factors that lead people to avoid vaccinating their kids or themselves. (Be honest: did you get a flu shot this year?)
Let’s look at the grains of truth behind the fears of vaccines. Some people who are concerned about “vaccine safety” in dogs (this is the new buzzword for the people formerly known as anti-vaxxers) point out the work of veterinary researcher Ronald Schultz, who has said that dogs get too many vaccines. But his research isn’t about skipping necessary vaccines; it’s about proving that some vaccines cause longer-lasting immunity than we originally realised.
Another researcher, Nicholas Dodman, has identified autism-like symptoms in dogs (even though autism is a purely human condition, so they technically can’t “have autism”), but he has said that he does not believe that vaccines cause these symptoms and would not recommend that anyone forgo vaccinations due to his research.
So let’s review: the reason to get shots for your dog is because the benefits of the shot (not getting or spreading canine diseases) outweigh the risks (which are real but rare — for example, allergic reactions).
Sometimes your dog’s case is different: maybe they’re at a higher risk for allergic reactions, or maybe they don’t need a kennel cough vaccine because they don’t spend much time socialising with other dogs. Your vet understands these issues, though, and they will be happy to discuss what’s best for your dog.