Message Number: YG3683 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-05-17 12:11:00 UTC
Subject: Are we over vaccinating our ferrets?

"Could it be possible that we are unknowingly doing more harm to our
pets than good?" "When was the last time you had your 'baby' shots?"

Found this in the latest issue of the No-Kill News, the quarterly
newsletter of the Doing Things for Animals organization. They
printed it with permission from The Cat Care Society. Just something
to think about - hell, we use the same dosage of distemper vaccine
and rabies vaccine for our ferrets as is given dogs 10-20-30 times
their size.

(moderators note - I hesitate to re-open this discussion as we have done it quite thoroughly and with a great deal of finger pointing. Still the article is very well written and it is such a valid concern I decided to go ahead and put it through... so, hopefully reprinted with permission, here it is. Thanks Vickie!... I would point out, don't vaccinate and if your ferret scratches someone, it's a death sentence.....with that said, CCB)

Rethinking Annual Vaccinations

by Karen Caton

Consider the following: "A practice that was started many years ago
and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual
for years or for the life of the animal. Successful vaccination to
most bacterial pathogens produces an immunologic memory that remains
for years, allowing an animal to develop a protective anamnestic
(secondary) response when exposed to virulent organisms. Only the
immune response to toxins (such as tetanus) requires boosters... and
no toxin vaccines are currently used for dogs or cats. The practice
of annual vaccination in our opinion should be considered of
questionable efficacy unless it is used as a mechanism to provide an
annual physical examination or is required by law (i.e. certain
states require annual revaccination for rabies)."

The above statement can be found on page 205 of Current Veterinary
Therapy XI, a reference published every two to three years and
considered to be "the bible" for veterinary medicine. Could it be
possible that we are unknowingly doing more harm to our pets than
good? More and more veterinarians believe this to be true and are
moving towards annual wellness exams rather than annual
revaccination. Although most veterinarians feel that some degree of
vaccination is needed, problems may arise from repeated exposure over
a period of years.

More and more animals are suffering from adverse reactions to
vaccinations. These adverse reactions can include lethargy, fever,
stiffness, sore joints, abdominal tenderness, anaphylactic shock (an
allergic reaction that causes swelling of critical airways which can
result in death within minutes), liver and kidney problems and more .
(1) If an animal has a preexisting health problem, vaccinations can
expedite a decline in health of that animal as they are known to
depress the immune system. Many animals with chronic problems fail to
improve or respond to traditional treatment. The homeopathic
community refers to these adverse reactions as "vaccinosis", which
broadly means the vaccinations interfere with the body's own ability
to heal itself.

Recent studies have begun to link several chronic health problems to
vaccines. There is epidemiologic evidence linking feline leukemia and
rabies vaccines to sarcomas at the site of injection. These soft
tissue tumors are usually malignant and quite aggressive and most
often fatal. Sarcomas may occur as often as I in l000.(2),(3) Skin
problems such as hair loss, lesions, ulcers, indurations (hard lumps)
at and near the injection sites have been associated with some rabies
vaccines. 4 Typically these problems are treated with long-term usage
of steroids and/or surgical removal. Though the risk of these types
of adverse reactions may not be at epidemic proportions, it is
certainly real enough to warrant reexamination of traditional
vaccination practices.

We are not trying to create an alarmist attitude about this
situation, but we would hope that readers will at least start asking
questions about your pets health care. All too often, the best we do
is the usual "knee jerk" response, only because it is what we've been
doing for years. As a result of these findings, along with the
recommendations of our shelter veterinarian Dr. Linda East, and some
first hand experiences with adverse reactions of shelter cats, we at
Cat Care Society have significantly modified our own vaccination
procedures. We strongly encourage our adopters, as well as
supporters, to start asking questions before automatically agreeing
to any procedure or practice that concerns your pets health.

By the way - when was the last time you had your "baby' shots? Paws
for thought.


(1) W. Jean Dodds, D.V.M., "More Bumps On The Vaccine Road",
proceedings of AHVMA Annual Conference, 1994.

(2) JAVMA, Vol.207, No.4, 8/15/95 - "Are We Vaccinating Too Much?"

(3) JAVMA, Vol.202, No.8, 4/15/93 - "Postvaccination Sarcomas In Cats"

(4) W. Jean Dodds, D.V.M., "Vaccine Safety and Efficacy Revisited:
Autoimmune and Allergic Diseases On The Rise", Veterinary Forum. May

From The Cat Care Society,