Vaccination FAQ

Live vaccines are dangerous; why can't we have killed ones instead?

Live vaccines are preferable to killed ones in many cases because they give a more rapid onset of protection, most usually require only one dose, provide a better stimulation of the immune system and give longer lasting protection. Strains selected for live vaccines have to be tested to the same high safety standards as for killed vaccines.

Why do boosters have to be given; people don't get boosted, so why do our pets?

Immunity is not lifelong to all diseases and therefore booster vaccination will be required at intervals to maintain the high level of protection necessary to prevent disease. Many human vaccines do require boosting but may not be routinely used. For example, it is rare for polio boosters to be given in the western world where polio has effectively been eradicated. Longer intervals between some vaccines have been introduced in recent years where vaccines have been shown to last for longer than 12 months.

My pet showed signs of disease/illness after vaccination; why aren't people told about the problems vaccines can cause?

Serious side effects following vaccination are very rare indeed. No vaccine can be guaranteed 100% safe and effective in every case, despite undergoing thorough and independent evaluation of safety, quality and efficacy. Where there are known side effects, these are clearly listed in the product data sheet. Owners are encouraged to discuss any specific concerns with their vet and any suspected adverse reaction should be reported to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).

Aren't homeopathic nosodes a safer alternative?

As there is little if any conventional active ingredient present in a homeopathic preparation, homeopathic vaccines (or nosodes) may theoretically be even less likely to cause side effects than conventional vaccines. There is however no proper evidence to support their efficacy in terms of disease prevention & as a practice we would recommend the use of conventional vaccines for preventing life threatening diseases.

Why do the shots cost so much and why is there so much price variation between practices?

The vet will not only administer the vaccine(s), but will first perform a routine health examination. In effect, you are paying for a full professional consultation and you will have the opportunity to discuss other aspects of pet healthcare. Variation in prices charged may occur because of different practice overheads, regional cost of living differences, type of vaccine(s) used etc. Any concerns should be discussed directly with the vet. At Capontree every effort is made to ensure that the cost of vaccination is kept to an absolute minimum.

The literature says that only healthy animals should be vaccinated; why is this and what are the risks to an unhealthy animal?

It is important that the animal is in full 'immunological' health and that the immune system is not 'otherwise engaged' fighting some acute disease condition. Your vet will therefore carry out a health examination before vaccinating your pet. It would be wrong to discount the possibility that an acutely sick animal may be more likely to respond adversely to vaccination. When faced with an animal with chronic disease such as heart disease or diabetes, most vets would advise that vaccination should be continued.

Why can't my pet be tested to see if it needs vaccinating before deciding whether to 'boost'?

Although circulating antibody levels to some diseases can be measured in the blood, the main problems are cost and inconvenience. Testing is more expensive than vaccinating and samples need to be sent away to a specialist laboratory with a delay of about a week before results are available.

Please ask one of our vets for the most up-to-date information on vaccination