At one point, I ordered a child vaccination book to try to avoid another similar panic. It was available at almost every pet store on the East Coast. I started reviewing the list of shots by name and quizzing the vets as to which shot I needed. By the time I was finished, I felt like I had botched the pregnancy-test business. The dogs and cats did their vaccinations.
By the time I was finished, I felt like I had botched the pregnancy-test business. The dogs and cats did their vaccinations.
I soon learned that when a rabies vaccination is ordered for your pets, it is likely that your vet will not include it in the prescription. That could be because there is no cure for rabies and the disease has a limited disease-causing effect on dogs and cats. So it is generally safe for a pet to go out to the park, the beach, or the backyard, regardless of how many shots you have gotten. Rabies vaccinations are included in these kits; although there are no vaccines specifically for pets, and vaccine schedules are for humans, all of the treatments are short-term.
The vaccines my pets received were appropriately prescribed and most were well worth the doses. But several vaccines, particularly the ones for Lyme disease, are not. Pet owners might be surprised to learn how dangerous a parvovirus or Lyme disease vaccine could be.
For example, the latest licensed poultry vaccine to not have the standard rule requiring six hours of incubation after injection for the Ramboulis virus, a contagious and fatal virus. The kit includes a 9-12-hour incubation period. If the kit includes a shot for a disease you’re only worried about for dogs, the kit does not list that virus. Again, it’s no different than giving a pregnant woman an abortion pill. So the potential for infecting someone with the Ramboulis virus is low, yet the number of people who get infected with this virus may be many times that number. If your pet develops the skin rash, the rash is going to last. It’s like being pregnant with the pregnant duck. You’re going to have to wait until after your pet is four weeks out of the incubation period before you know whether or not it’s a parvovirus infection and whether or not it could be fatal.
I know I sound like the irresponsible dog parent, but the reality is that there is no way I could have ensured a safer or more informed pet and population if I had jumped on the rabies vaccine bandwagon. We live in the era of vacuum bubbles of information. I wanted to learn more about what I needed to know before I tried to offer a life-or-death shot. I ordered a kit from MDVIP and ended up needing to have the Ramboulis virus given in an ointment. Now I take my children to the vet with me every time I have a dog to see if my vaccine includes the virus. The Ramboulis vaccine does not require an exemption because the code-named Ramboulis virus is generally harmless to humans. But the fact that I have to see the veterinarian so early on doesn’t make a lick of difference to the size of my family.
I hope this column will have the effect of convincing more people that vaccinations are the best way to protect their pets and that no matter what family you are in, if the animal is healthy enough, the vaccine is the responsible thing to do.