Although vaccines for dogs against distemper, parvovirus and adenovirus (hepatitis) exist which provide stated protection for 3-4 years, vets in the UK persist in selling annual shots to unsuspecting pet owners. Although CHC and vets from around the world have formally asked the British licensing body, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) to withdraw the licenses for one-year core vaccines, to stop potentially harmful and completely unnecessary annual vaccination, the VMD has declined on the following basis:
“The main benefit of any vaccine, whatever its duration of immunity (perceived or actual), is the induction of an immune response and this benefit can only be assessed taking into account the individual's immune status at the time of vaccination. Your risk:benefit evaluation focuses entirely on the revaccination of animals. However, all authorised vaccines have a value even if that value is perceived as being limited to a primary course of vaccinations an animal receives. I therefore repeat my previous comment - the most qualified person to assess what the animal needs is the veterinary surgeon, engaged by the owner. The veterinary surgeon and the owner should discuss the vaccination of a given animal and agree how to proceed. The VMD as a medicines regulatory body does not interfere in the relationship between the veterinary surgeon and their client.” Steve Dean, chief executive VMD.
Research presented at the 2010 British Small Animal Veterinary Congress reveals that just over 50% of vets in the UK no longer vaccinate annually. This leaves nearly 50% who still do, and hundreds of thousands of pets who are over-vaccinated and who are being subjected to life-threatening adverse reactions. Many British vets continue to take part in ‘National Vaccination Month’ – a sales and marketing campaign which draws the owners of dogs and cats into the veterinary surgery in the belief that their pets have ‘lapsed’ if they haven’t been vaccinated in the last 18 months.
Please be aware of World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Guidelines: once a dog is immune to distemper, parvovirus and adenovirus (hepatitis), they are likely to be immune for many years and probably for life. The WSAVA also states that these vaccines should be repeated no more than triennially, but add that dogs should remain immune for life from their puppy shots. Furthermore, the WSAVA advocates titer (blood) tests to find out if vaccination is even needed (which it is unlikely to be).
Canine Health Concern
7th April 2011
Correspondence between CHC and the VMD can be viewed below. CHC's original response to the VMD can be viewed below:
The VMD position paper.
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CHC's original response to the VMD