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keobooks's avatar

How would you explain the difference between dog and human vaccinations?

Asked by keobooks (14303points) February 22nd, 2015

I see anti-vaxxers posting about dogs being over vaccinated and this is proof that humans are also over vaccinated. My gut says there is a big difference between dog and human vaccination scheduling, but I can’t find any citations at this time.

My guess is that pet vaccinations aren’t tested nearly as thoroughly as human vaccinations so the odds of them being harmful is higher. My second guess is that dogs vary in size so greatly that it’s hard to make an easy to dispense vaccine that is the right amount for all the different breeds of dogs.

Anyone have any information or theories that could be used in the argument that human vaccines are different from dog vaccines?

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18 Answers

janbb's avatar

Wouldn’t first have to find verifiable proof that dogs are over-vaccinated and that vets are not determining the right amount of vaccine? Are you going to just accept that as fact because the people with an agenda say that it is so?

keobooks's avatar

The problem is, people ARE accepting this at face value because some mainstream news organizations are covering it. I can’t find any decent source refuting that dogs are over vaccinated right now either. I just find dog vaccination schedules.

I’m usually pretty good at finding stuff I want to online. But this one must be so new an argument that I can’t find any good rebuttal. So I’m going with..ok maybe dogs ARE over vaccinated, but that doesn’t mean that people are as well.

Here is one link I found, but it can’t really compete with a picture of a sick puppy on the news. There are tons of links with anecdotal evidence in favor of dogs being over vaccinated, but I can’t find any real studies on the matter.

Coloma's avatar

Well, for one, in the case of many animal vaccines and especially rabies, it has been proven that rabies probably provides a life long immunity, but…because it is a fatal and incurable virus most states/counties require yearly or 3 year vaccines. I do not plan on re-vaccinating my 2 mature cats for rabies. They are 6 and 8, and had their last rabies ( the 3 yr. vaccine ) in 2013. They are mostly indoors only and I am not going to re-vaccinate for rabies knowing what I do.

Most vets will tell you that many vaccines are good for life but they are subject to state regulations and rules. Kind of like the Tetanus vaccine, most of us have had oit several times or more in our lives and are most likely afforded life long immunity but, in the event of an injury just like a potential rabies exposure in our animals “they”, the medical professions will want a booster, just in case.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Yeah, what @Coloma said sounds right to me, from when I had pets to vaccinate. I think the reasoning is that specific vaccines are probably good for life, so any booster for those vaccines is excessive. I don’t remember ever hearing of an animal being made sick from an unneeded booster, though.

I would be wary of any report of illness due to vaccination scheduling in pets (as I would be of reports of illness in human children due to the scheduling). They should be citing their sources in the story – if they’re not, why take the claim at face value? If they are citing a source, follow up and see if they read it clearly. This sort of material is very susceptible to sensationalism.

keobooks's avatar

That’s the problem. The authors aren’t citing any sources at all. I have no reason to trust them. I don’t even know if the sick dogs in question even exist. The problem is, anti vaxxers have latched onto this new argument and won’t let go.

Usually, I have tons of factual websites at my disposal when it comes to refuting the claims of the anti vax crowd. But this? I get a whole lot of nothing substantial on either side of the debate. Just lots and lots of opinions.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@keobooks “The problem is, anti vaxxers have latched onto this new argument and won’t let go.”

Well, what else is new. As always, the burden of proof is on the person making the fantastical claim. A simple “show me any evidence to support this” should shut them up. The lack of anyone trying to disprove a silly claim is not evidence that the claim is true.

keobooks's avatar

I never said I thought it was true. I’m just saying there isn’t much out there to refute it, unlike the human vaccines.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@keobooks I know – I wasn’t saying that.

keobooks's avatar

Ahh sorry. I’m just frustrated with this group of moms. They have latched onto this bunk Wakefield study, even though it’s been totally discredited and ignore the 13 other studies that found no connection between autism and vaccines. Now they are using this anecdotal evidence of dog over vaccinations and holding that torch high as proof their cause is legit.

I get so frustrated watching the crazy train fly by.

keobooks's avatar

I HAVE discovered something somewhat pertinent. If you think your dog doesn’t need a booster vaccination, you can get a titer test that can measure the amount of antibodies found in your dogs blood. And if you have any objection to the vaccine, most vets will do a titer test for you.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@keobooks Yes, @JLeslie talks about the titer test for adult humans, as well.

I hear your frustration. I share it on this topic and many others (creationism is one that quickly comes to mind). I think it’s important to know when to stop doing other people’s research for them, to preserve one’s own sanity. They are not going to be convinced by any single argument, anyway. Pick your battles.

syz's avatar

Vaccine protocols for pets have changed over the last few years because of research and verifiable results. Some clinics are even offering vaccine titer tests before boostering.

Human and pet vaccines work similarly by inducing an immune response, but there are not a lot of direct correlations to be drawn between the two; cats and dogs are not small humans.

While protocols that were postulated to the best of expert recommendations may have been more vigorous than necessary, I can tell you that the negative impact of lack of vaccination or under-vaccination far, far, far outweigh any potential health risks.

The most common financial euthanasias (pets that are put to sleep because an owner does not have money to treat) that we perform are far and away for parvo virus. As a direct result of a lack of 2–3 $20 vaccines, I have literally seen hundreds and hundreds of puppies killed or dead to parvo virus. And some of those who do opt to treat may spend $2000 to get a puppy through it.

Coloma's avatar

@syz Whats the scoop on feline leukemia and other feline vaccines like feline distemper, and whatever else is included in the usual vaccine packages for cats?

JLeslie's avatar

I absolutely believe animals are over vaccinated, but better to be safe than sorry in the absence of research. I’m not saying there hasn’t been research, I’ve not looked into it, I don’t have pets.

I know when my sister’s cat got cancer in one leg she told me it’s common for cancers to develop where the injections are frequently done. I don’t know where she got that info from. It make me wonder everyone I see a three legged cat or dog. They wanted to remove the cat’s leg. She chose to remove the tumor against the doctors “best” advice. She was lucky and the cancer did not come back (the vet said it would likely be back in a year) and the cat died about 4 years later from other causes. My sister stopped vaccinating that cat, it was an indoor cat anyway, not readily exposed to rabies and other diseases. Plus, most likely his titers were still high I would bet. Moreover, it was around 14 years old at the time of the cancer.

syz's avatar

Personally, I don’t vaccinate against feline leukemia. All of my cats are indoor cats, and I have seen a few vaccine associated sarcomas (they are typically associated with FeLV vaccines which is why the vaccines are given in a distal leg rather than the neck area – a leg can be amputated, but a head cannot).

The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends vaccinating against feline panleukopenia (distemper), feline viral rhinotracheitis, and feline calicivirus every three years.

keobooks's avatar

Now personally, I know my cat is way behind on her shots. I don’t think she’s had any for at least 7 years. But she’s indoors and never exposed to other cats. She also is very old now and I’m not sure if it would be healthy to inject her full of stuff at this age. My vet keeps asking but I just haven’t kept it up to date.

I think pets and people are totally different. You can’t keep your kids isolated from the world and promise to never let them outside with other kids. I think you’d go to jail for that.

janbb's avatar

I assume that “herd immunity” is not a big factor in vaccinating pets, is it, @syz ? Except for rabies which is for societal protection as well as the animal.

syz's avatar

There are too many feral, stray, and inadequately cared for pets for herd health in cats and dogs.

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